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How to Get Rid of Cockroaches

Cockroaches are an unwelcome guest in any home – find out how to get rid of them for good with our guide to pest control.


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You’ve spent all morning working to get your home looking spotless – then before you know it, you spy a sneaky cockroach crawling across your clean floor. Sound familiar? Cockroaches certainly aren’t the most welcome of house guests, and they can actually make us quite sick with stomach upsets, diarrhoea, and allergy symptoms – so it’s important to get rid of them as soon as possible. But what’s the best way?

Cockroaches thrive on old food, and are attracted by the delicious smells of cooking, so try to get rid of any crumbs and smells by cleaning regularly. When it comes to cockroaches, regular kitchen cleaning products just won’t cut it – bleach is what you need, so always keep a bottle of Domex handy for roach invasions. Remember to follow the safety guidelines & wear protective gloves.

Key Steps for Cockroach Control

If you want to know how to get rid of cockroaches, we’ve got a simple, 3-part process that is sure to get your floors cockroach-free. Here’s what to do:

  • Step 1: Clean Your Home

There are three essential aspects a cockroach cannot do without – food, water, and shelter. By taking these things away from them, they’ll begin to look for a more suitable place to live. Use bleach to thoroughly clean your kitchen and get rid of any crumbs or lingering food smells. The bleach will also help to remove any waste the cockroaches have left behind – getting rid of cockroach waste can improve health, as it’s a very common allergy trigger.

  • Step 2: Trap the Roaches

You can get rid of cockroaches by using bait to lure the roaches out of their hiding places and into a trap. A tall glass jar filled with water is ideal, as the cockroaches can get in, but are unable to get back out. Try adding some coffee grounds or chopped banana to the water – these have excellent success rates as the smells are so inviting to roaches they can’t refuse a closer sniff. Studies suggest that this method has roughly an 85% mortality rate.

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  • Step 3: Locate the Nest

If you’ve trapped a few cockroaches but are still noticing more and more scurrying around, you may have a nest somewhere – check in dark corners, as these are ideal breeding grounds. If you don’t destroy the nest, new roaches will continue to cause a nuisance, so it might be time to call in an exterminator or use a pesticide. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and ensure children and pets are kept well away from the roach poison.

Getting rid of cockroaches is one thing, but it’s another to make sure they never come back again. One of the main reasons why cockroaches may be eyeing up your home as their new place to live is because your cooking smells so delicious they can’t resist coming in for a closer look. Try to keep any leftovers tightly sealed, and if any scraps get thrown away, take the garbage out immediately, and keep the bins as far away from your door as you can. It’s also worth trying to think like a cockroach – you may look a bit silly, but get down on the floor and look for any cracks in your doorframes where the roaches may be able to sneak inside – they really are sly little things.

Do you want to learn which household cleaning tasks cause the most stress?  Then read our Heated Household data analysis. 

Frequently asked questions on getting rid of cockroaches

Why are roaches attracted to coffee grounds?

Roaches have survived for a long time thanks to their excellent sense of smell. Coffee has a strong aroma, so it'll naturally pique these insects' curiosity to investigate if there are other sources of foods available. However, they much prefer other things located next to it on your pantry, especially sweet stuff like sugar or cookies.

Can cockroaches bite you?

Cockroaches can theoretically bite you or your pets but there is very rarely a need for them to actually do it. This is because there are plenty of other sources of food usually available for them to nibble on. That said, they do carry a wide array of diseases so taking steps to rid your home of them is recommended.

Can roaches live in washing machines?

Roaches love dark and moist places with easy access to food, so a washing machine fits the bill: they can relax there while feeding off any starch-based items inside it. Regularly cleaning your washing machine is key to preventing an infestation.

How do you get rid of cockroach smell?

The first priority for getting rid cockroach smell is quickly locating and disposing of their feces and dead bodies. Make sure you disinfect all the affected areas and use an insecticide to deter any of their friends from coming along.

How do you get rid of cockroaches in a toilet?

Most modern toilets are filled with a water trap so a roach won't be able to bypass it without serious risk of drowning. Unless your toilet's trap is broken or your toilet is clogged, it's likely the presence of a roach inside is circumstantial: it was probably already in your bathroom and just fell in there by mistake. It's recommended to check other drains and holes in the walls for more likely points of entry.

Originally published