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How to Clean a Roach Infested House (4 Natural Ideas)

Roach Infestation

Whenever we think of creepy crawly bugs and problematic pests in our homes, cockroaches almost always come to mind first. Just hearing their name, cockroaches, is enough to send chills through your body.

Along with roaches comes the spreading of bacteria and disease, triggering of allergies, and just an all-around gross and unsanitary living environment for you and yours. Which is why they need to go. There is absolutely no room for roaches in your home and coexisting with them is simply out of the question.

In this article, we will cover both home remedies and other conventional methods for getting rid of roaches, as well as how to effectively clean your home to prevent them from ever coming back.divider 1

What brings all the roaches to your home (and yard)?

Cockroaches on the toothbrush on the bathroom sink_
Image Credit: Pasonglit Junuan, Shutterstock

Before diving into roach removal mode, let’s first consider some possible causes for the infestation. After all, getting rid of roaches is one thing, keeping them away is just as important—if not more. As such, preventative measures are just as key.

Below are some of the most common causes behind roast infestation:

1. Food

Easy access to food is a magnet for roaches—such as dirty dishes left in the sink, crumbs on tables and counter surfaces, pet food left unattended on the floor, or food scraps in an uncovered trash can.

2. Water

Leaky faucets and pipes in your home causing moisture build up are sure to attract roaches, as they are drawn to water and moisture. Likewise, having unventilated rooms or areas in your home that trap in moisture can also attract these unwanted visitors.

3. Shelter

Cockroaches seek shelter from outside in your home. Especially as temperatures change with the seasons, roaches will make their way indoors for shelter from the hot or cold. Their favorite havens are dark, quiet, unattended places like underneath large appliances, corners of the attic or basement, or in your kitchen cabinets.

4. Landscaping

Not only do roaches seek shelter inside your home, but they are also just as likely to set up camp outside your home. So, what brings all the roaches to the yard? All of the above—food, water and shelter. As such, avoid leaving any food out (including pet food), as well as minimize any still water sources like in your gutters, pots and planters, fountains, and birdbaths.

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How to rid of roaches—fast.

Cockroaches on the wood close up
Image Credit: Mr.Pattrawut Yamyeunyong, Shutterstock

A roach infestation is definitely a problem you want to solve right away. Below are some of the fastest methods for ridding your home of roaches ASAP.

1. Identify problem areas with sticky traps.

Using sticky traps, such as glue strips, line any possible entrances to your home including doorways, windows, and even cracks in your wall or foundation. The more areas you can line with sticky traps, the more likely you’ll be to identify the roaches’ entry ways into your home.

2. Set up bait stations.

Once you’ve identified the roaches’ entry points, you’ll know the best areas to set up bait stations to trap and kill them before they even make their way in. You can even set up bait stations outside your home all around your yard like along fences, ledges, and around the outside edges of your home. Bait stations attract roaches with their smell, luring them into a long tube where they find and eat the poisonous bait—killing them almost instantly.

3. Seal up all entry ways.

Using caulk or another heavy-duty sealant, seal up any possible entry ways around your home including any cracks or gaps in doors, windows, in between walls, tiles, in the ground, or along any other openings. Doing so will ensure that new roaches don’t make their way into your home after you’ve killed off their predecessors. One thing to note—caulk does wear over time, so make sure to monitor these sealed up entry points routinely and re-seal if/when necessary.

4. Pesticide the pests away.

If the above methods fail to eliminate your roach infestation, the method that may be most effective—albeit the most invasive to your home—is to use pesticide. There are a few options to consider here:

  • Roach Bombs. Roach bombs, also known as foggers, can be opted for in lieu of an exterminator. They are usually designed to be set in the middle of the room to spray a pesticide in the air throughout that room, coating all its surfaces to effectively eliminate roaches. Because they are extremely toxic, they should be used with caution and with the knowledge that their toxicity may be harmful to your home, you and others, as well as your pets and other animals.
  • Pesticide Spray. Using pesticide spray to apply around the perimeter of both your home and yard is another way to go. Pesticide sprays are effective and long acting, killing roaches upon contact and ensuring they stay away for several months or more. Again, you should heed caution of the toxicity of pesticide sprays and the harmful effects it can have on your safety and well-being, your home, as well as other animals when used outside.
  • Professional Exterminators. For the most effective method and best results, hiring professional exterminators is your best bet. As professionals who are skilled and knowledgeable about the nature of roach infestations, they know how to get to the root of the problem—identifying the causes, entry points, the severity of the infestation, and even the kind of roaches you’re dealing with. With all that, they can formulate a plan that will best solve your problem, while also educating you on how best to prevent future infestations. While this may be the most expensive and cumbersome method, it is also the safest method involving use of pesticides, as professional exterminators know how to locate and eliminate roach infestations safely and effectively, without putting your home, family, or pets at risk.

divider 7 How to rid of roaches—naturally.

Close up shot of cockroach that trapped on a sticky trap
Image Credit: ijp2726, Shutterstock

For those who’d rather opt for more natural roach-removal options to avoid all the chemicals and toxicity of bombers, foggers, and pesticides in your home, read on to find the best home remedy option for you.

1. Feed them baking soda.

One of the fastest and most effective ways to kill roaches is with something you likely already have in your kitchen pantry—baking soda. You can easily create a deadly roach bait by sprinkling a generous amount of baking soda on some diced onions. Leave this concoction out for the roaches on a shallow plate near any entry point or anywhere you’ve noticed roach activity. Once consumed, the baking soda will create gas in the roach’s stomach that causes them to burst and die.

Image Credit: NatureFriend , Pixabay

2. Create a booby trap of boric acid.

Boric acid is a compound consisting of a mixture of water and boron that happens to be deadly to roaches. Boric acid acts on the roaches’ nervous and digestive system—debilitating them upon contact as it gets stuck to their legs and wings, killing them instantly once ingested. To bait and kill roaches using boric acid, create a roach trap by sprinkling some boric acid onto a plate around some pieces of food to lure them to their doom.

3. Fool them with a not-so-sweet surprise.

A common ingredient found in many cleaning products like laundry detergent, Borax also doubles as an effective pesticide to get rid of roaches and other unwanted pests. A recommended method is to sprinkle a mix of equal parts white sugar and borax around anywhere you’ve seen roach activity. The roaches will be drawn to the sugar, but once they consume the borax, it will severely dehydrate them to death.

4. Use the essentials to keep them away.

While they don’t kill roaches, essential oils work great as a natural roach repellant. Easy to find at your local store, essential oils like lemongrass, peppermint, and citrus are effective in driving roaches away. Mix essential oil with some water and spray it generously anywhere you’ve noticed roach activity. You can also add several drops of essential oil to water and mop the floor near any entry points or areas that you’ve seen roaches in your home.divider 1

Cleaning up

Dead Cockroach
Image Credit: Nicholas_Demetriades, Pixabay

While tackling a roach infestation does take some time, it’s important to keep your house as clean and sanitary as possible in order to prevent the problem from worsening. Below are some tips on how to clean your home before, during, and after a roach infestation.

1. Get rid of food.

Start by throwing out any easy-to-access food in your kitchen cabinets and pantries that is not airtight sealed. Not only is this food likely already contaminated, but it will also continue to attract roaches. The risk of keeping the food around is too high, as roaches can spread salmonella and other diseases.

Avoid leaving food out, including pet food. Be meticulous in removing any crumbs or food remnants anywhere in your home. Throw out your trash frequently and opt for a tight-fitting lid on all your trash cans if possible. Make sure to also clean the interior and exterior of garbage cans often to get rid of any food residue.

2. Get rid of water sources.

Keeping your house dry and moisture-free is key. Because roaches like places that are moist, pay close attention to areas in your home that can collect moisture, such as in your bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry room.

Fix any leaky sinks or pipes to avoid moisture build up in your kitchen and bathrooms, under your sinks, and in your walls. Avoid having wet or damp items like clothing, towels, and rags laying around.

3. Get rid of hiding spots.

Roaches’ favorite places to hide are inside and under anything that blocks them from light. They like to hide in any dark corners of your home, especially dark corners that are west and moist. Empty your home of unnecessary clutter and items to eliminate as many hiding spots as possible.

Make sure to keep any remaining hiding spots—such as under furniture and appliances—as clean and dry as possible by sweeping and mopping them often and letting them fully air out to dry afterwards.

4. Keep surfaces clean.

Roaches are attracted to any bits of food and moisture that may collect as residue on surfaces throughout your house. Wipe down surfaces often with disinfectant cleaning spray—especially after cooking, eating, or doing anything food related. Likewise, sweep and mop your floors often, making sure to let them fully air dry to avoid more moisture build up.

Keeping surfaces clean is especially important after using bug bombs or foggers to get rid of roaches, as the residue from the pesticide will collect on surfaces. Use disinfectant cleaning spray to thoroughly wipe down all surfaces in your home—especially in the room the bomber of fogger was used—including the walls, the floors, and furniture. Vacuum and shampoo carpets as well to get rid of any toxic residue.

5. Get rid of dead roaches.

After using any of the above-mentioned methods to kill roaches, be sure to thoroughly clean your home of any of their dead remains. Even dead roaches are unsanitary and unsightly and should be removed from your home ASAP by sweeping or vacuuming them all up.

After removing the dead roach carcasses, do a deep clean of your home by thoroughly wiping down all surfaces, sweeping and mopping the floor, and vacuuming any carpet and rugs to make sure you get any last roach remnants out of your house for good.

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Getting rid of roaches in your home is no small feat. The process requires time, patience, vigilance, and any variety of the tips and tricks we suggested above. The important thing to remember is the three things that roaches need to survive: food, water, and shelter. The best way to get rid of roaches and keep them away is to stay mindful of these three things and do your best to make both your home less welcoming. The less inviting your home is to roaches, the less likely they are to come over unannounced and overstay their welcome.


Featured Image Credit: IrinaK, Shutterstock


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