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10 Ways to Keep Roaches Out of the House

The American Cockroach

The American Cockroach

How Do I Keep Cockroaches Away and Out of the House?

If you're looking for an effective way to get rid of cockroaches, you're in the right place! Here are ten basic principles you should remember:

  1. Shuffle things around.
  2. Keep your home dry.
  3. Contain your foods.
  4. Do the dishes.
  5. Clean out bottles and cans.
  6. Keep all lids shut.
  7. Vacuum often.
  8. Borax is your friend.
  9. Wash your clothes.
  10. Maintain your home.

It's important to understand how cockroaches survive in order to fight them, so I've provided detailed explanations of why these principles are essential to prevent invasions below.

Borax works to get rid of roaches in your house.

Borax works to get rid of roaches in your house.

What You Need to Know About House Roaches

One of the main ways to ensure your home stays free of cockroaches is to keep your home tidy. They eat almost anything, even wallpaper paste! Don't give them access to anything that will help them extend their stay!

You will need to keep your house as clean as possible, as much as possible. If you live in an apartment and your neighbors have cockroaches, you may find it harder to get rid of them. But fear not, it can still be done!

Borax is a handy tool to keep in your tool belt. It attracts roaches because of the sugar and, once consumed, damages their digestive systems and outer skeletons. In other words, borax kills them.

When using borax:

  1. Label it: Make sure to label borax containers so people don't play with them.
  2. Play keep away: Store borax where kids and pets won't have access to it.
  3. Make it easy: Get a bottle with soft sides (like a ketchup dispenser) for easy distribution.

How to Keep Cockroaches Away

This list may look overwhelming, but tackle things one at a time, and you'll make great progress.

10 Tips to a Roach-Free Home

  1. Shuffle things around: Slide the stove, refrigerator, and other large appliances to the side and clean the area underneath them. Wipe down the sides and back of every kitchen appliance, and sprinkle a thin layer of borax across the floor before placing the appliances back in their usual space.
  2. Keep your home dry: Check your washing machine's hoses to make sure they're tight. Prevent water leaks because roaches need access to water. Go throughout the house and check your hot water heater and under every sink to make sure everything stays dry.
  3. Contain foods: Contain and cover every food item in the house. Whether it's food for you or food for the pets, keep the outsides of the canisters tidy and tightly closed! Don't forget to do the same for spices and condiments.
  4. Do the dishes: Wash your dishes every night. If you use a dishwasher, make sure to squirt some borax powder in the cracks underneath it. Buy a soap dish with a lid to keep bar soap in.
  5. Clean cans out: Get your family in the habit of washing out beverage bottles/cans before they recycle them. You can buy a large plastic trash can with a tight-fitting lid to hold the cans outside until you recycle them.
  6. Keep lids shut: All indoor trash cans should have tight-fitting lids and be kept clean. It might be a good idea to clean them all over at least twice a week.
  7. Vacuum often: Vacuum every nook and cranny in the house at least twice a week, from your couches to little spaces throughout the house. If you have deep cracks on the floor, squirt some borax laundry detergent into each of the cracks.
  8. Borax is good: Squirt borax powder in the back of all your cabinets. If you have floating cabinets, spray the area underneath them as well. Using borax powder is by far the most effective way a homeowner can get rid of roaches.
  9. Wash your clothes: Don't let clothing pile up, and keep your laundry done. Roaches love dirty clothes!
  10. Maintain your home: If you have a baby in the home, be fastidious with the many diapers, cups, bottles, and food containers you use every day. Used diapers need to go in a tightly covered trash can, and food containers shouldn't be left out when not in use.

Clean homes and borax make it possible to get rid of cockroaches without using pesticides. It takes more effort, but it can be done! Use these tips, and you'll be well-armed to keep them at bay.

Fun Facts About the American Cockroach

The American cockroach's name is a little misleading. They most likely originated from Africa and then spread to the United States on ships in the early 1600s. Now, they are commonly found throughout North and South America. Florida is home to a very large species known as the palmetto bug.

The average American cockroach is about 1.6 inches long. It has wings and a reddish-brown color, with a bit of yellow on the back of its neck. They are very active at night and shun light. That's why they will scurry away and hide if you turn on a light in the room.

Cockroaches can run up to three-and-a-half miles an hour, or about 50 body lengths a second. At that speed, it'd be like a human running two hundred miles an hour!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Please post your comments or questions about keeping roaches out of your home, and thanks for reading.

1 on March 23, 2019:

my house it really bad i have tried everything but they keep coming back. everyday we are killing at least 10 cockroaches. i will try the tips from the article though.

i hope they work.

Bridget on December 17, 2015:

One way to get rid of all creepy crawly infestations: move.

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on June 17, 2013:

Yes prevention is the secret to keeping roaches away. Thanks for the comment.

SolveMyMaze on June 17, 2013:

Cool Hub! I had no idea that roaches would eat wallpaper paste! I would have thought that would kill them out right. Having said that, it's good that you can use laundry detergent to get rid of them without having to go down the route of using a wide array of chemicals. Mind you, making sure your house is tip top is a much better approach anyway, since prevention is always better than the fix.

jo on July 14, 2012:

Our house is having a problem with roaches getting in from outside. Many times we have seen them getting in on the track for the bottom of the sliding glass doors. Any other places they are getting in from I don't know.

Spiders get in and so do large millepedes and really biiiiggg spiders!

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on May 24, 2012:

Outside pour moth balls under buildings or under anything they can hide under and they will go away and stay away. Just be sure to put the moth balls where kids will not get to them.

Amethystraven from California on May 24, 2012:

This is good to know. I just passed this onto a friend of mine. She has a bad problem with them outside. Thank you for the great hub.

cbpoet from Las Vegas, Nevada on December 29, 2011:

I should have read your blog years ago .... At one time I had so many cockroaches in the house that I wrote a tale about it.

JohnM from Miami Florida on September 04, 2011:

Palmetto Bugs are just scary. I saw them in Miami and I was terrified of all of them on my friends back door. He said the light drew them to the back door but to me it looked like an invasion of giant cockroaches.

Thelma Alberts from Germany on August 31, 2011:

Thank you very much for this great hub. I usually have a problem with cockroaches when we are on our holiday in our Philippine house. Thanks for sharing. Voted Up! I have to bookmark this for later use.