Eliminating cockroaches in your home is a 2-step process. First, stop more from coming inside. Then, use natural methods to get rid of the ones already there.
Are Cockroaches Dangerous?
Cockroaches can be a dangerous source of allergens and asthma triggers. Their feces, saliva, and shedded skins are all irritants that act like dust mites and can spread in your home’s air the same way. They also carry dangerous bacteria, molds, funguses, and viruses, including the one which causes polio.
They Can Multiply Without Mating
That cockroach you saw skittering across the kitchen floor can reproduce without breeding if it’s an American cockroach (also known as a waterbug). Known as parthenogenesis, this strategy allows females to create hundreds of offspring when mating partners are in short supply.
Fortunately, most cockroaches you see are German cockroaches but they still pose health issues. So, if you’ve seen one, it’s time to find out how to get rid of roaches fast. Otherwise, you may be dealing with a major infestation before long.
Why Do Roaches Invade Your Home?
Like most household pests, cockroaches search for a comfortable, safe spot to breed where there’s also a ready food supply. The average household provides all of these things:
- Sources of food: Dirty dishes, full garbage cans, pet food, and crumbs.
- Hiding places: Cardboard boxes, clutter, and crowded cabinets.
- Breeding spots: Warm, humid areas like refrigerator drip pans, musty closets, and sweaty pipes.
Cockroach Entry Points
Cockroaches get into your home through cracks in your foundation, gaps around windows or doors, or where pipes and utility wires enter your home. Roaches often hitch a ride indoors in delivery packages left on the front step, cardboard boxes or paper bags from stores, and newspapers that sat in your driveway.
Steps To Get Rid of Cockroaches
To get rid of cockroaches in your home, you need to stop new ones from coming inside by eliminating their entry routes and the things which attract them, then use home remedies as roach baits to trap and kill roaches already living in your home.
Step 1. Seal the Gaps
Check your home’s exterior for cracks and holes where pests can enter. Use caulk for gaps around windows and doors and also to fill any crevices between your home’s siding and foundation. Add door sweeps and weatherstripping as needed, too. Before caulking larger gaps, you may need to add foam insulation, backer rod, or steel wool.
Step 2. Remove Their Sources of Food
Cockroaches don’t necessarily mean you’re a terrible housekeeper, especially if you live in an apartment or other multi-family structure or in a very warm and humid area. A cockroach infestation is a sign that something in your home is attracting them, though, so a thorough cleaning is one of the best home remedies for cockroaches.
In the kitchen
Clean your counters and backsplash, moving everything that’s sitting out, so you don’t overlook any crumbs or spills that might attract pests. Vacuum and mop your floor, including behind and beneath your appliances. Your refrigerator’s drip tray and the drawer under your stove are two favorite hiding spots for roaches. Be sure you also empty and wash your trash cans. If you’re concerned about missing any areas, use a kitchen deep cleaning checklist.
In the bathroom
Hair, makeup, and other messes in the bathroom provide an abundance of food sources for cockroaches. Clean all surfaces thoroughly, including cabinets beneath the sinks. Then scour your sink, tub, and shower drains with baking soda and warm vinegar to eliminate any biofilm that might also attract them.
In the family room
If your family likes to snack in front of the TV, you need to be vigilant about crumbs and dirty dishes they leave behind. Be sure to vacuum or sweep this area as part of a daily cleaning routine, so you can get rid of food sources before cockroaches find them.
Dirty dishes and food wrappers aren’t the only things that attract cockroaches to bedrooms. Since roaches are drawn to dark, humid areas, they may also invade your bed or piles of blankets left on the floor. Pick up laundry, make your bed, and keep dirty dishes out of your room to stop a roach infestation.
Step 3. Smells that Repel Cockroaches
Cockroaches dislike the smell of lavender, peppermint, and bay laurel. Place cotton balls dampened with these natural repellents near entry points and in the corner of cabinets, or use them in a homemade all-purpose spray when you’re cleaning the areas mentioned. (If you have pets, stick with lavender since it is one of the essential oils you can use safely around animals.) You can also scatter bay leaves in closets and cabinets to repel them.
Step 4. Make a Homemade Cockroach Killer
The best way to kill cockroaches that are already in your home is to bait them so they ingest powders that will destroy their exoskeletons and cause their death. The recipe below makes simple, homemade cockroach balls that bait and kill roaches without harming pets or kids when placed as directed.
- 2 tbsp of Crisco or cooking grease (bacon fat works very well)
- 2 tbsp powdered confectioner’s sugar
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 cup borax or diatomaceous earth (DE)
- Combine the grease, sugar, flour, and borax (or DE) with just enough water to make a soft dough that holds its shape.
- Roll the dough into olive-sized balls.
- Put the cockroach killer balls where roaches like to hide (e.g., behind appliances, under sinks, in the back of cabinets). If you have pets or children, you can first put them into a berry box or other perforated container.
You might see a surge of pest activity when you first use the homemade roach killer balls. That’s because the grease lures bugs from their hiding places. Then, since both borax and diatomaceous earth have microscopically sharp edges that tear up their digestive tracts, they’ll dehydrate and leave you with a home free of cockroaches.