Cockroach Poop: Appearance & Treatment

  • Written By Dan Edwards on August 12, 2018
    Last Updated: November 25, 2020

Knowing whether or not you have a roach infestation in your house can be difficult. The most obvious sign is, of course, the cockroaches themselves. Although, you may not notice them at first, since they are nocturnal. Roach droppings are also a telltale sign of an infestation.

Finding traces of unknown creatures within our home is never fun. Whether it’s roaches, rodents or other insects, they need to go. Roach droppings can resemble those of other bugs. If you know what to look for, you will be able to tell the difference. Let’s take a look at what these droppings actually look like.

What Do Roach Droppings Look Like?

Cockroach droppings all have a similar color, which is a very deep brown, almost black tone. Some will look like drops of ink. The size and shape of the feces varies, depending on the size of the roach.

The smaller roaches, such as the brown-banded and the German cockroach, leave behind tiny droppings. These often look similar to ground coffee or black pepper.

Droppings from smaller roaches usually appear as stains or smears. Sometimes, they can also appear raised. The nymphs (babies) of these species are tiny and therefore they will leave extremely small droppings, also known as specks.

Bigger roaches, like the American and Oriental, will naturally leave larger droppings. These droppings are solid and shaped like small cylinders. Some species will leave cylinder-shaped droppings with ridges running down the side. These can be as big as a grain of rice.

Differentiating between larger roach feces and mouse droppings can be difficult at times, since they look very much alike. They both have a cylinder shape; however, mouse droppings don’t have the ridged sides. Rodent droppings also have pointed ends, whereas roaches have more rounded ends.

Where Can You Normally Find Cockroach Poop?

Roaches will defecate anywhere, especially near their food sources. Unfortunately for us, our food is usually their food. This can result in cockroaches causing food poisoning or infections.

The area around a roaches nesting place will be full of droppings. This is where the cockroaches spend most of their time, when they aren’t out looking for their next feast.

Cockroaches also like to defecate in dark corners. You will notice smears of droppings on the floor as well as the walls. Shelves and cabinets containing food debris are also highly likely to have a few traces.

Cockroaches In House

Roaches like to hide out in narrow cracks within the floor or walls. These places are likely to have a good amount of feces. Areas behind and underneath refrigerators and stoves are warm, making them ideal conditions for roaches to thrive. You will surely notice some black suspicious-looking rice shapes there as well.

Importance of Finding the Feces

These pests have been shown to not only trigger allergic reactions, but also increase the severity of an asthma attack. When there are many roaches together in one location, they will emit a particular odor. The odor is not only unpleasant, but it also contains a chemical triggering allergies and asthma.

Another crucial reason as to why you should locate the feces is because they can attract more roaches. The same musty odor will invite even more cockroaches from neighboring homes.

Placing attractive bait and pesticides in the areas where you have discovered a considerable amount of excrement, will kill more roaches. The feces will attract the cockroaches; they will then eat from the bait and die.

Does Finding Roach Feces Mean You Have an Infestation?

Finding out whether or not you have an infestation going on can be quite tricky. Cockroaches are rarely seen during the day, but we might sneak a little peek as they run around looking for food during the evening.

Seeing the occasional roach feces here and there does not mean you have an infestation. I recommend inspecting your home thoroughly if you suspect a problem. Have you found an abundance of droppings in specific locations around the house? This is a very likely sign that you are dealing with a lot of roaches.

Check all of the places where you store food, such as cabinets and pantries. When there is an infestation, this will be full of feces. Cockroaches like to hide out in dark places, and these will usually be the same areas where they defecate.

During an infestation, the roaches will come out of their hiding places. Finding droppings out in the open is another sign that you likely have an infestation.

Other Signs of an Infestation

Cockroaches are nocturnal insects, which means they are active at night time. They thrive in dark locations where they are least likely to be seen. When an infestation has gotten out of hand, some of the smaller roaches will choose to become active during light hours.

Cockroaches will turn to cannibalism when food sources are low, which happens when the population is too large. This helps protect them from being eaten by their peers.

Finding the oothecae, which are the cockroach egg casings, is a rare thing. These are most often placed in secure locations, usually within tiny cracks. When there is an infestation, however, cockroaches sometimes look for other places to stash their eggs. The nest will be overcrowded, therefore, unsafe for the oothecae.

The nymphs will go through lots of transitions as they grow. They have an exoskeleton on the outside of their bodies, which they shed to accommodate their growing frame. When the roaches turn to cannibalism to control their population, the nymphs are their first choice. The nymphs will, therefore, spend most of their time outside of the nest.

Spotting these exoskeletons is not uncommon during heavy infestations. You’re most likely to find them around the food sources, or near to where they defecate.

How to Clean Roach Poop out of Mattresses, Clothing & Carpets

Cockroaches can be found anywhere within our homes; they can climb all surfaces, and some of them can even fly. Checking your mattress as well as bed sheets, pillowcases and other places where you sleep, eat or relax, is crucial.

Not only do the feces trigger allergic reactions, but the exoskeletons of growing nymphs can have dangerous effects if inhaled. Cleaning the areas where feces are found is essential. Here’s how to clean some common household items:


Inspect your mattress thoroughly. Remember these guys like to hide in small cracks. For this reason, you should search in the folds of the mattress and along the seams.

If have located any cockroach poop, it’s time to clean.

Feces that are large and solid should first be scraped off. You can do this using a blunt knife or a wall scraper.

Arm yourself with strong disinfectant soap and a large spray bottle. Mix a good amount of soap with warm water in a spray bottle. Spray the excrement and surrounding area, scrubbing it thoroughly with a rough sponge. Have another spray bottle at the ready with clean water to rinse out the area, getting rid of the soap.

When you have cleaned the area on the mattress, it needs to dry. If you have a smaller mattress, or strong arms, it’s best to take it outside and let it air dry. This is particularly beneficial on a sunny day. A ceiling fan can be great for drying out the mattress if it’s too big or heavy to move. Turn it on at the highest setting and leave it working until the mattress is dry. You could also use a blow dryer for faster drying.


Start by inspecting your closet. If you find large amounts of droppings on the floor or walls, there might be some on clothes as well. Heavy jackets or other bulky clothing will make a perfect hiding place during a cold winter. Inspect all folds and pockets. The sooner you find the poop, the better. This is because old stains can be difficult to get rid of.

All excrement found should be scraped off. Clothes are a little easier to clean compared to mattresses, since they can usually fit into a washing machine. You should always try to remove the stains before washing any clothing. Once they set in, the stains will become much harder, if not impossible, to remove.

Some stains can be persistent; you might have to soak the fabric in an enzyme product to loosen it up. When the stain has vanished—or is at least close to being gone—you can go ahead and wash. Wash the clothes at the highest temperature allowed according to the label. I recommend using a strong detergent. White clothes, if they can handle bleach, might need it to be soaked in a bleach solution to remove the stains.


Carpeting also needs to be inspected for roach feces, especially if it’s a thicker rug. Any solid poop should be scraped off. You can vacuum the whole area to get rid of any dried feces quickly.

I recommend buying a carpet detergent. These are specifically designed to eliminate stains. Dilute the shampoo with cold water at a 1:4 ratio. Use a brush or sponge to scrub the area and let the area dry before vacuuming.

Carpets can also be cleaned using a mix of white vinegar and dishwashing soap. Make a solution of one teaspoon vinegar and one teaspoon soap in a spray bottle filled with warm water. Spray and then scrub the area thoroughly, then let it dry. If you still see the stain, repeat the process.

Keep Your Home Clean

The best way to remove roach poop is by preventing it in the first place. Cleaning your home regularly, including vacuuming or sweeping the floor to get rid of any crumbs, will help to deter cockroaches from entering your home. Food can sometimes roll underneath the refrigerator or stove, so make sure to clean these areas as well.

Do you have kids, and do they have toy boxes? These should be emptied out at least once a week to make sure no roaches have made them their home.

Adding cockroach traps to the areas where feces is most commonly found, can help to control cockroach populations and their mess.


Finding roach poop doesn’t always indicate an infestation, but if there’s a significant amount, you might have a problem. The size of the feces will show what kind of roaches you are dealing with. Large solid droppings mean bigger cockroaches. Tiny stains or specks indicate smaller insects.

Roach droppings can cause uncomfortable side effects in humans. They will also stain fabrics. They should be cleaned as soon as they are found. If there’s a significant amount of feces, it’s crucial to protect yourself while cleaning. Wear rubber gloves, a long shirt, closed shoes and maybe even a mask if you’re sensitive. Always seek help if you suspect a large infestation.