8 Effective Tips for Getting Rid of Roaches for Good

Carrie Circosta
Written by Carrie Circosta
Updated April 22, 2022
A modern kitchen interior
Photo: Johner Images / Johner Images Royalty-Free / Getty Images

Send those roaches packing

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When you witness the scuttle of a cockroach across your kitchen or bathroom floor, it’s tempting to scoop up every insecticide ever invented to start wielding your counterattack.

The good news is that you don't need a never-ending closet of sprays to tackle cockroach extermination in your home. Instead, we've pulled together the seven most effective tips for getting rid of roaches. Plus, get tips on keeping them out of your home for good.

1. Deep Clean Your Home

The first and most important tip for getting rid of roaches is to deep clean your home. Roaches are attracted to dirt and clutter, so the most effective tip is to ensure your home is clean and stays clean. 

This includes:

  • Washing dishes and putting them away after meals

  • Cleaning messes, spills, and crumbs right away

  • Keeping garbage sealed in a trash can with a lid or taking the garbage outside every night

  • Wiping the stovetop after cooking

  • Regularly mopping floors, especially the kitchen and dining room

  • Periodically vacuuming carpeted areas

  • Keeping clutter to a minimum and throwing away excess newspapers and cardboard

2. Cut Off Food Supply

Neatly organized transparent canisters for baking ingredients
Photo: Kristen Prahl / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Cockroaches are omnivorous, which means they will pretty much eat anything. This includes many items humans love to eat, such as starches, sweets, and meats.

But this also means they love to munch on not-so-appealing items, such as hair, books, waste, decaying wood, and dead animals.

Keeping your home clean helps cut off the food supply, but it's also essential to keep all your food items appropriately stored. For example, tightly seal cereal, sugar, flour, and other dry foods and ingredients in plastic containers.

3. Identify Problem Areas With Glue Strips

The next tip for getting rid of roaches is finding where they hide. Favorite hiding spots around the home will vary based on the species. For example, moisture attracts German and American cockroaches, so you'll most likely find them in kitchens, bathrooms, and basements.

On the other hand, brown-banded cockroaches prefer dryer areas, so you’ll most likely find them behind picture frames, under chairs and tables, or under the refrigerator.

One of the most effective tips for identifying problem areas is to use glue strips. Roaches are naturally attracted to the glue, so place the strips where you suspect the most activity. This can help you confirm your suspicions and lure and trap these pests.

4. Use Store-Bought Traps and Bait Stations

Once you have the problem areas identified, you can then start setting traps and baits. There are several traps and baits you can buy at the store.

The most effective traps are the ones that attract roaches with an alluring scent, and they get caught in a sticky substance. Depending on the roach situation, these kinds of traps can take about two weeks to be fully effective, so you have to check them often.

Bait stations work by attracting roaches and poisoning them with an insecticide disguised as something sweet and delicious. The cockroaches eat the bait, return to the nest, and die. And because roaches will eat anything, the others will eat the dead bodies and unknowingly ingest the same poison.

 5. Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a natural insecticide composed of fossilized algae that absorb oils and facts from a cockroach's exoskeleton, drying it out. DE also has exceptionally sharp edges, which accelerates the drying process.

Essentially, when a cockroach comes into contact with DE, it will dehydrate and die. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers this insecticide to be safe.

You can purchase food-grade DE and sprinkle it around the problem areas of your home. However, depending on the severity of the infestation, you may have to keep reapplying and clean up the dead roaches after the treatment. You’ll also want to wear personal protective gear when applying DE to be safe. 

6. Set DIY Baits With Baking Soda or Boric Acid

Another tip for getting rid of roaches is to create your own baits using baking soda or boric acid.

Most of us have baking soda already, so you can sprinkle some on a chopped onion or scoop of sugar and place it in a shallow dish near a high-traffic area. Baking soda is poisonous to roaches when consumed, so this can be an effective way to rid this pest.

Boric acid can also be another highly effective way to exterminate roaches. It is a natural pesticide comprised of water and boron that kill insects once consumed. Place sugar or peanut butter in the middle of a plate and sprinkle boric acid around it.

Another method is mixing boric acid with equal parts flour and sugar to make little balls of dough you can also place in high traffic areas.

However, please note that boric acid is also dangerous for pets, so if you have a dog or cat at home, DIY treatments with boric acid may not be the best tip for you.

7. Call a Pest Control Professional

Pest controller working in the kitchen
Photo: Karin & Uwe Annas / Adobe Stock

Depending on the severity of your situation, at-home remedies may not be strong enough to rid you of your roach problem. So if you've tried all the tips and tricks for cockroaches and they're still bugging you out, it's time to call in a local pest control expert.

A single roach treatment costs anywhere from $150 to $400. It’s also common for some homes to have two treatments, averaging about $300. In addition, extreme infestations require fumigation, which costs about $6,000.

8. Prevent Roaches From Returning

The key to getting rid of roaches is prevention. Make your home’s interior and exterior less hospitable to these unsightly pests, and you’ll be well on your way to saying goodbye to them for good.

  • Seal up entry points: Look for possible gaps or cracks along walls, tiles, doors, vents, pipes, or window seals.

  • Avoid clutter: Excess stuff lying around means roaches have plenty of hiding spots, so keep your home tidy.

  • Throw out newspapers and cardboard: Roaches love to breed in old newspapers and cardboard, so keep these items out of the house.

  • Routinely check for leaks: Moisture attracts various pests, cockroaches included. So if you see a leak, fix it right away.

  • Don’t leave out pet food: Roaches will eat pretty much anything, pet food included. Consider using a pet food dispenser, or be sure to clean up leftover food.

  • Spray essential oils: Oils such as peppermint and lemongrass naturally repel roaches, so mix with water and spray any roach hot spots.

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