How do I get Rid of a Roach Infestation?

C. Daw

Getting rid of a roach infestation can be accomplished by tackling the problem yourself with pesticides and cleaning, or a professional can be called in to contend with the insects. Even if a professional is called in to assist, a cleaning regime has to be implemented in order to prevent any further infestation outbreaks. Many people mistakenly believe that roach killing pesticides alone will take care of the problem. The only way to effectively deal with a roach infestation is to use a combination of pesticides and deep cleaning to make an area less hospitable.

Roach killing pesticides are typically only one aspect of getting rid of a roach infestation.
Roach killing pesticides are typically only one aspect of getting rid of a roach infestation.

Cleaning the area where the roach infestation is will always be the first step taken, whether a professional is assisting or the task is being accomplished without one. Roaches can survive, and breed, with very little food and even less room. Clean the building with a strong commercial type disinfectant, and make sure that all laundry piles are picked up and stored in sealed bags if necessary. Move all the furniture and appliances within each room to allow a complete deep cleaning. The final step in the cleaning process will be after the pesticide has been sprayed, which will consist of another deep cleaning session followed by washing clothes and furniture with hot water and a strong detergent.

Rubber gloves can protect your hands while using chemicals to kill roaches.
Rubber gloves can protect your hands while using chemicals to kill roaches.

Another important step in eradicating roaches is to seal up any cracks and crevices that provide ideal breeding and hiding places. Be sure to check behind cabinets, baseboards, electrical outlets and plumbing for areas of roach infestation. Areas that show evidence of roaches should be cleaned and sealed with caulk or other appropriate sealant or insulating material.

A professional exterminator will give directions before they come out to spray, and since they all use variations of pesticides it is necessary to follow the individual instructions. When going with a professional, however, be aware that some chemicals that they use are safer than others. Check around and find the best exterminator that fits the job. If the roach infestation is serious, strong pesticides may be required in order to deal with it. Always compare the products that they use and evaluate the safest and most effective route to take so that it will not have to be done again within a few months.

If tackling the roach infestation without the help of a professional, purchase a pesticide at any home improvement outlet store, making sure to get the strongest type available that is still safe. When spraying, make sure that chemical resistant rubber gloves are used, and that a properly ventilated mask is worn. Spray the entire building, taking special care to hit the areas where the nests are. Follow the directions on the back of the product and allow the area to stay undisturbed for the maximum amount of time called for.

Be sure to check behind baseboards for areas of roach infestation.
Be sure to check behind baseboards for areas of roach infestation.

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Discussion Comments


I lived in an older home for a while, and we had these gigantic roaches! I think they had taken up residence in the walls. I always said the only way to get them out would be to burn the building!

They were awful. We kept everything in the fridge so the roaches couldn't get on, or into, anything. We kept all the china in sealed gallon zip top bags.

I should have fogged the place and let our crazy landlady squall about it all she wanted to. She didn't mind giant roaches infesting "her" building, but she had a massive cow about me keeping a guinea pig in a cage! On second thought, I should have fogged it, sent her the bill and then taken her to small claims court when she didn't reimburse me.


Get your pets and dishes out, cover your electronics and fog the place! Don't remove your electronics, though -- roaches like to live in computers and televisions. It's nice and warm.

Sometimes, especially in apartments, cleanliness or the lack thereof has nothing to do with why your place is infested. They may very well have moved in from next door. We had that problem when we lived in an apartment complex. Someone in the same building acquired them, and then, everyone got to share in the joy. Management made two or three half-hearted attempts with the exterminators, but the guy told me that fogging was the only real solution, since they were all over the building. We ended up moving anyway, so we just left it to the roaches.

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