How to Get Rid of Cockroaches
Updated: Jan 15
Of all the unwelcome pests we have to deal with, probably none are quite as unpleasant as roaches. If you have them, you want to get rid of the roaches - and fast.
Switch on a light in a kitchen, in a basement, in an office and watch them scuttle away. Cockroaches, wherever we find them, make most of us shudder. Found on every continent except Antarctica, cockroaches don’t only plague urban-dwellers. They show up almost anywhere, in homes, fitness centers, retail stores, hospitals, detention facilities, dorm rooms and churches. The list is endless.
However, the biggest problem with roaches ‒ apart from having them in the first place ‒ is getting rid of them. Once they invade a space, they’re notoriously difficult to get rid of.
It doesn’t help that cockroaches are as tough and resilient as they come. Whether or not they can actually survive a nuclear blast (which some say they can), they breed very quickly and can live on almost any kind of food. In fact, they’ll eat each other if they have to, which shows how powerful their survival instincts are.
Potential Health Threats of Roaches
But roaches aren’t just an unsightly nuisance ‒ munching on your food, damaging wallpaper, dirtying books, etc. ‒ they also pose a public health threat. Known to be carriers of diseases such as salmonella, dysentery and gastroenteritis, they easily spread pathogens by tainting food, sullying appliances and soiling surfaces in the home or the office. There have even been suggestions that roach droppings are linked to increases in eczema and asthma.
How Do You Know if You Have Roaches?
Cockroaches are more active at night. During the day they tend to hide in cracks and crevices, inside walls and under stoves. Wherever they feel safe from predators (and human shoes!)
There are over 4,600 different species of cockroaches worldwide. However, here in the US, we generally encounter only four: the American, the brown-banded, the German and the Oriental.
While these commonly encountered pests have their individual preferences for food and places to live, they are easy to spot, particularly if you know what signs to look for.
Signs of a Roach Infestation
The following are four common signs of a cockroach infestation:
Unpleasant odors: A significant roach infestation emits a lingering and noxious smell that can soil any items they contact.
Roach droppings: Provided they have sufficient water available, roaches produce brown/black cylindrical droppings that are about 2mm long.
Smear marks: Again, if water is available, roaches generate brown and irregularly shaped smear marks, found most often on horizontal surfaces and at wall-floor junctions.
Shed skin: Like snakes, roaches have to shed skin in order to grow, and they’ll do it 5-8 times before they mature. These ‘shells’ are usually found close to their customary hiding places.
How to Get Rid of Roaches in 4 Easy Steps
Here are four steps that will help you to get rid of roaches:
Use Sterifab There’s a good chance that you’ll first learn you have a cockroach problem when you actually see a cockroach, or, if you’re unlucky, wake up to one crawling on you. One of the best ways to both prevent and get rid of a cockroach infestation is to diligently exterminate each one you find, hopefully before they have the opportunity to breed. Exterminators, or pest control professionals, use Sterifab as an insecticide, and so can you! Apply Sterifab to any living cockroaches you find and spray thoroughly in any nearby corners that could be used as a good hiding place. Search your environment for any additional signs of a wider infestation and proceed to kill any cockroaches you find with Sterifab. Revisit and recheck potential hiding areas regularly and continue to apply Sterifab as necessary. Note that Sterifab will not kill roaches once it has dried.
Deny Them Food Simply put, roaches are scavengers, and they’re pretty good at it, too. Of course, they do rather well around humans because we tend to leave food lying around. Think dirty crockery in the sink, bread crumbs on the kitchen counter, pet food on the floor, etc. In an urban environment, roaches rely heavily on the food humans leave behind. Plus, roaches and humans share a liking for sugar, carbohydrates, and, of course, protein. So, one of the most effective ways to get rid of roaches is to remove their food sources by cleaning properly and frequently.
Remove Clutter from Your Home or Office You know the truism that if you see one roach more are sure to follow? Well, that happens to be true, unfortunately. It has been established that roaches let their roach buddies know when they’ve found a safe habitat by releasing a pheromone in their droppings. Systematically removing clutter ‒‒ like old newspapers and magazines, dirty laundry in hampers or cardboard boxes stacked in the basement ‒ will help get rid of roach droppings. In short, removing clutter gives roaches fewer places to hide and call to their friends.
Clean Your House or Office Thoroughly Once you’ve removed the mess, it's time for some deep cleaning! Leave nothing untouched. That means you must dust shelves, moldings and baseboards; vacuum the floors, corners, and under tables, then mop systematically. The same holds for sofas, blinds and carpets. One of the best ways to prevent future roach infestations is to keep your home or office clean‒all the time! Make sure that work surfaces are clean (no food or crumbs!), sinks are empty and waste bins are empty or covered. If you’re trying to keep roaches out of offices and workplaces, try to discourage employees from eating at their desks.
How to Prevent Roaches from Returning
Be aware that keeping roaches out of your home or office can require some tenacity. However, there are a few things you can do to help the process. Roaches love damp and moist areas, so you can generally find them ‘hanging out’ near pipes and drains.
Check those areas regularly and make sure you repair leaks and damaged pipes, and clear blocked drains. Also, you can keep roaches out completely if you seal off cracks and crevices that could be an easy way in, such as:
Under kitchen sinks and bathroom cabinets
The Anti-Roach Checklist
Keep the following anti-roach steps in mind:
Deny them access to water.
Clean your house or office (thoroughly) as often as you can.
Hide food from view.
Mop floors routinely.
Take out the trash regularly.
Move yard debris away from the outside of the house.
Seal the house to keep roaches from entering.
Use Sterifab spray if you spot a roach.