How To Get Rid of Roaches

Cockroaches are hardy little critters with a reputation for surviving just about anything. So how do you successfully and permanently get rid of them?

There are several tried-and-true methods available, which we will cover below. The first thing to consider, however, is what attracted them to your home in the first place.

1. What Attracts Cockroaches?

Cockroaches are drawn to a variety of food sources, and, for them, almost anything will do. As omnivorous scavengers, they can live off whatever is around. While they do prefer crumbs from sweets or meaty things, they will settle for clumps of hair, fingernails, glue, or the pages of your favorite textbook.

They also love moisture, like a pile of wet towels or the area underneath leaky pipes. Moisture is a necessity for them, too, and it should be noted that they can live several months without food, but only a few days without water.

2. Why Not Just Let Them Stay?

Aside from their startling appearance, cockroaches are also known to carry harmful bacteria. E.coli and salmonella have been shown to live up to two months in cockroaches’ outer layers, remaining alive even in their fecal matter. Additionally, proteins in their skin, feces, vomit, and other body parts dry up and find their way into dust, becoming allergens to many. This leads to increased allergies and even asthma in areas where cockroaches are plentiful.

3. What Can be Done to Get Rid of Them?

Each step below explains how it works to rid your space of cockroaches. Read each section carefully, and be sure to implement our tips in the proper order when indicated for best results.

Clean Everything

This means absolutely everything. Sweep behind your refrigerator, wipe every inch of your counters, and mop every corner of your floors. Get rid of any leftovers from meals immediately or promptly store them in the refrigerator. Check cereal boxes to make sure the bags inside are sealed up tight. Toss out piles of papers or cardboard to deter their use in nest-making. Essentially, there should be no crumbs left anywhere when you put away your cleaning supplies—and the kitchen should be kept in this condition, as well as any other space where food is stored.

Dry it All Out and Patch it Up

Seek out any wet or damp areas in your home and dry them out. If there’s a pipe leaking, fix it. Hang damp items to dry and never throw them on the floor. Ensure your home is properly ventilated and equipped with working exhaust fans where needed to draw out excess moisture.

One common way for cockroaches to enter your home is through cracks and rips in pipes, vents, window screens, etc. Patch these up thoroughly in order to keep roaches out. Caulk, screen repairing tape, and steel wool work great for this task.

Also, pay close attention to what you may be carrying in on your shoes, moving boxes, grocery bags, backpacks, and other items and shake off any unwelcome critters before you come through the door

Diatomaceous Earth

This substance is made of soft, sedimentary rock crushed into a powder which is both abrasive and absorbent. Its qualities work together to puncture the cockroach exoskeleton and absorb fluids from its body. Over time (approximately 12 hours), this results in the roach’s dehydration and death. It’s said to work similarly on fleas, bed bugs, grubs, ants, maggots, and other pests, too.

Left where cockroaches congregate, it acts as an effective pesticide without harming other animals. If you’re after a product that is both safe for children as well as pets, use 100% organic food grade diatomaceous earth powder.

Boric Acid and Powdered Sugar

Another way to rid the home of roaches is to make a batch of three parts boric acid and one part powdered sugar. The sugar draws the cockroach in toward the sweet smell, while the boric acid kills them.

While this mixture is also non-toxic to children and pets, it can be irritating if played with, rolled in, or ingested. For this reason, it’s advised to place this blend in hard-to-reach areas such as behind large appliances and in the cracks of walls and cupboards.

Keep Things Cool

Cockroaches are cold-blooded, and most species die in temperatures at or below zero degrees Fahrenheit. They love warmth like humans do, and grow more active in warmer temperatures. When they’re feeling toasty enough, some even begin to fly—not something many of us would enjoy experiencing. While no one is expected to set their thermostat as low as zero, it’s wise to keep your environment as cool as possible to prevent them from taking flight.

Professional Exterminators

If you’ve tried everything recommended above, or simply prefer to hire professionals, there are numerous exterminators available nationwide. Most of these services will first analyze your home for an infestation, attempt to determine how/why the pests were entering, apply select treatments both inside and outside your home as needed, apply sealants to keep pests from returning, and follow up to make sure the treatments were effective. Stay up on their recommendations and keep all scheduled visits, and you should remain cockroach-free.