How To Keep Cockroaches Away

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

Keeping roaches away is almost certainly a top priority among homeowners. Cockroaches are the mascots of filth. These pests set foot not only in drains, but also sewers, then they enter our homes to transfer bacteria to our countertops and food. 

Witnessing cockroaches roaming your kitchen floor during the night can be a startling sight for anyone. This may bring you to question your level of cleanliness and what you can do to stop those pesky invaders. Understanding what brought them into your home will help you to prevent them from maintaining a permanent residence.

What Attracts Roaches to the Home?

There are more than 4,000 different types of this pest in existence. Fortunately, most of these will never set foot indoors. The list of what potentially attracts cockroaches to your home is, however, almost endless. These pests are resilient, so every decision they make is in order to survive.

Think about the wandering hiker, tired from being on the trail for days on end. Through the rain, he spots a cabin. The thought of food, shelter, warmth, and water drives him to the front door. Cockroaches are no different.

However, there are only a few species within the United States that exclusively build their nest indoors. The rest only venture beyond the porch, when conditions outside are less than ideal. Some of the most common things several cockroach species find attractive are listed below.


Cockroaches love to eat and, to be frank, they are an easy dinner party host, since they will eat almost anything. They are adaptable to their surrounding environment, which is also why it can be challenging to get rid of them.

They can survive on very little food, sometimes all they need is nail clippings, or hair, for that matter. Youngsters will even feed on the elder’s feces if they have to. Nevertheless, they do have their favorites, which unfortunately tend to be our top picks as well. If there is a large infestation of roaches, you may notice a greasy or stale odor through the home.


Apparently, cockroaches love to get high on sugar. Anything sweet will do since this is their number one flavor, which is also why we use it in bait.

Because of this, you should pack away any sugar you may use for baking or adding to your coffee. Cockroaches will step in it, feed and walk away. They will leave your sugar bowl full of bacteria that can give you salmonella, or a virus, such as polio. Store it in a closed container, so that they cannot smell or reach it.

The same goes for juices and sodas. These drinks contain high concentrations of sugar. Even that drop you forgot to wipe up yesterday will summon the roaches for a meal. Natural sugar that you find in fruits is another favorite. That fruit bowl on your countertop may look pretty, but it is also a cockroach buffet.


You can find starch in pretty much any food item today, such as bread or rice. Cockroaches love it so much that they will do almost anything to get to it, even eating packaging containing starch. Leaving the cereal box on the counter may be a bad idea.


No, not the movie, but more the leftover grease in the pan you have yet to wash from dinner yesterday. Cockroaches enjoy munching on the hard grease left on the cooker hood or the stove top. This is also one of the ways you can spot an infestation.


Leftover cheese on the counter, or rotten pieces in the trash, either way, roaches will gather. Cheese often has a potent odor which many cockroaches are attracted to. This doesn’t mean it only applies to the stinky French brie. American cheese will be just as irresistible.


Meat is an exceptional source of protein, for humans and cockroaches alike. Leftovers of small pieces can easily make the roaches enter through the kitchen window, for a bite on the run.


Water, or damp areas, are essential for most cockroaches. They can quickly dehydrate, and several species require a steady supply of moisture to survive.

They don’t need a flowing river, but the water dripping behind the sink is enough to attract one roach during a warm summer. This single insect is likely to summon his friends, and soon you may be contending with an infestation.


We all love a warm bed to rest our heads, and cockroaches are no different. Any place will do, as long as there’s shelter from rain and a source providing some warmth.

Cockroaches In House

The brown-banded cockroach, for example, usually nests around electrical outlets, behind refrigerators or TVs. Other species tend to stay inside cabinets or soft furnishings, such as your favorite armchair.


Most cockroaches are nocturnal and thus will scatter as soon as the light comes on. Some, however, do find the beam coming from your window attractive. This generally applies to the flying cockroaches, as they are hovering through the darkness of the night looking for food.

One of the cockroach species that finds light attractive is the smoky brown cockroach. This kind is a strong flier, but is not usually one to infest homes. Although, if your house provides the ideal conditions, he won’t hesitate to enter.

How to Keep Roaches Away

Keeping cockroaches out of your home can be a challenge, though not entirely impossible. These pests are persistent, and when they find a place they like, they go for it. There are several natural methods you can easily try to keep them out, before resorting to other effective ways of killing roaches.


Although cockroaches can enter even when your house is perfectly clean, keeping it tidy can make your home less attractive to them. We now know cockroaches are attracted to food residue and grease lying around your home. The next step is to ensure that you clean everything before switching off the lights.

Take the trash out, wipe counters, wash the dishes and remove all crumbs daily. Sweep and mop your floors at least once a week. This may sound like a lot, but if you live in roach-friendly territories, it is a necessity.

Eliminate Cracks and Holes

Cockroaches love cracks and crevices. Their flattened bodies help them to fit perfectly through the smallest of spaces.

CC Image courtesy of louento.pix

Seal any potential gateways around countertops and walls, up in the cabinets and the baseboards. You can use caulk, which is available to buy in a tube with an attached nozzle, making it quick and easy to apply it where needed.

Invest some money in weather stripping to seal any openings around doors and windows.

Seal Any Water Leaks

Since cockroaches love moisture, fixing that leaking pipe behind the sink is essential. Water is crucial to them and, as mentioned above, without it they quickly dehydrate and die. Most species can easily go weeks with little to no food, but only a couple of days, if that, without water.

Avoid overwatering indoor plants, too. Make sure all sinks are empty before you go to sleep and wipe the bathroom floor. Close sink stoppers to prevent the pests from entering your home in this way.

Adjust Indoor Temperature

Cockroaches thrive in warmer climates, and heat is one way most roaches get their energy. Adjust the heating thermostat and keep the home as cool as possible to ensure that you are still comfortable, but the roaches aren’t.

Essential Oils

Essential oils such as peppermint, cedarwood and cypress, can repel cockroaches. Add some drops of oil to water, about 30 percent oil, 70 percent water, and spray around the room and on countertops.

You can also moisten a cotton ball in some oil and leave it under the fridge or couch. The smell will deter the roaches.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is the tiny fossilized remains of diatoms- aquatic organisms. The skeletons of these organisms consists of silica, a substance capable of dehydrating any cockroach.

diatomaceous earth
diatomaceous earth

Keeping roaches away without chemicals can be a challenge, but this powder is all-natural and safe to use around children and pets. Make sure you buy the food grade product, however. Apply it by simply spreading the dust around any places where you suspect cockroaches to crawl. This will likely kill them within 48 hours.