How To Get Rid Of Roaches In Apartments

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If you live in an apartment in a big city, chances are you've encountered roaches at some point in your life. While the age of the building and the area you live in can have an effect, cockroaches in your apartment are very common in North America.

Even if you have the cleanest kitchen and bathroom in the entire apartment building, dirty neighbors can begin a roach problem in your building, bringing them into your space despite your best efforts to keep everything clean.

An infestation that's not your fault can be particularly irritating.

So, how do you get rid of roaches in your apartment? Whether they were caused by you or one of your filthy neighbors, we look at the safest and most effective ways to kill and prevent cockroaches in your apartment. Let's get to it!

What causes roaches in apartments?

Apartments have a bunch of shared walls, shared ceilings/floors, and shared HVAC systems, so there are many ways for cockroaches to enter your apartment.

However, the main culprits of a roach infestation in an apartment are:

  • Dirty dishes left out
  • Food crumbs & small spills
  • Long periods of not being home
  • Not enough cleaning
  • Dirty neighbors
  • Damp kitchens & bathrooms

Small bits of food crumbs and spills can attract these apartment dwellers easily, as well as dirty dishes left unattended overnight. They also love damp and greasy cabinets and drawers, so try to keep things as dry and well-ventilated as possible.

Roaches also tend to come out when no one is around and things are quiet, so if you spend a lot of time away from home, you might find that roaches like the empty space and start to make it their home in your absence.

Finally, roaches can also come out because you've got dirty neighbours.

Why are roaches common in apartments?

Roaches are common in apartments because of all those shared walls and shared spaces, giving them plenty of crevices and cracks to crawl through and hide in at night.


Cockroaches are also common in apartments because many buildings are old and have poor building standards that are hard to fix/update due to all the tenants living on different schedules or not consenting.


Why do I have roaches in my clean apartment?

If your apartment is clean and tidy but you're still having problems with cockroach infestations, consider whether it could be one of these issues:

  • Open food sources (open containers etc.)
  • Dirty neighbors bringing roaches into the building
  • Small crumbs & spills you're not noticing
  • A steamy, damp environment (like a wet bathroom)

There are many reasons you could have roaches in an apartment that is clean, but it usually comes down to small things you're missing (i.e. food crumbs in kitchen cabinets) damp conditions, or unclean neighbors who are attracting roaches into the building.

If you're having problems with cockroaches in your apartment and cleaning hasn't done the trick, speak to your landlord or property manager.

10 Ways To Get Rid Of Cockroaches In An Apartment

Getting rid of roaches is never easy, but it's even harder in an apartment building due to all the shared walls and ventilation systems with other people. If you need to keep the bugs away from your home, five these tips a try.

1. Call Your Landlord and/or Pest Control

First things first, give your landlord or property manager a call depending on the situation you're dealing with.

Roaches in your apartment could be something that you deal with yourself or something that needs intervention from your property manager or landlord, depending on the severity of the problem.

If your property manager has heard cockroach complaints from multiple tenants inside the building, then it's a sign that a major infestation in underway and pest control needs to be called.

Whatever happens, it's always good to call up and get their advice – they may be able to advise you on ways to deal with a cockroach infestation in your specific building.

kill cockroaches in your house

2. Maintain a clean apartment

Clean your apartment on a regular basis.

That may seem obvious, but some people have very different ideas of what a “clean apartment” looks like.

  • Vacuum regularly
  • Don't keep dirty dishes in the sink overnight
  • Clean your kitchen cabinets
  • Wipe down your surfaces regularly

Keeping things clean is the easiest way to keep roaches at bay, especially when it comes to food sources like the kitchen area. Be sure to clean out your kitchen cabinets regularly so that there are no little crumbs and spills to attract pests.

Also make sure to vacuum a lot – there can be small crumbs of food and cockroach eggs littering your apartment and you might not even realize it. Finally, NEVER leave dirty dishes out in the sink overnight – this is just asking for cockroaches to come up through the drains.

3. Keep food in sealed containers

That bag of sugar you leave opened? That pack of cookies you leave unsealed in the kitchen cabinet? These may seem like small things, but roaches in an apartment are often attracted to little pieces of food like this.

Don't risk it.

Any food in your apartment should be kept in a sealed container of some kind – even if it's in the kitchen cabinets. There are ways for roaches to get into these spaces, so assume that food is always vulnerable unless it's in the fridge or freezer.

Like all bugs, a cockroach needs food, water, and shelter to survive. If you can eradicate the food and water, then you reduce the likelihood of roaches in your apartment.

4. Fill in cracks and crevices

If you can get permission from your landlord or property manager, getting rid of roaches could be as simple as filling it the cracks and crevices in your apartment.

Oftentimes, roaches will be coming into your space through shared walls and cracks in doors, windows, and baseboards… so be sure to fill up these cracks with caulk or a similar substance.

A cockroach needs entry/exit points and places to hide – if you fill up all of these cracks and crevices, you eliminate the entry points for cockroaches and give them nowhere to hide.

It could be a pain, but filling in cracks in your space might be the best way to keep cockroaches out of your apartment in the long term.

5. Use store-bought pesticides

There are many different store-bought insecticides that you can potentially use to kill roaches in your apartment. These may include:

  • Cock roach killing spray
  • Baits
  • Boric acid
  • Gel bait
  • Cimexa Powder
  • Sticky traps
  • & more!

There are many pest control products on the market to help with killing roaches during a cockroach infestation, though some work better than others. Some also may or may not be suitable for your circumstances – like if you live with pets or small children, for example.

Don't overlook your family's safety.

Boric acid is commonly used as an roach killer, though it may not be suitable in certain circumstances. The same is true for cockroach killing spray products – they may be effective at killing pests, but could spell trouble if your condo doesn't have amazing ventilation.

Cimexa powder (or cimexa dust) is often used to help with a cockroach problem because the effects are physical, not chemical. The dust causes physical damage to the cockroach's exoskeleton and eventually kills it – it doesn't release toxic chemicals into the air like a spray killer can.

Just be careful which spray and powder products you use inside a small space like an apartment!

get rid of cockroaches

6. Try glue traps

Okay, so if you're dealing with a cockroach infestation problem, you need to keep an eye on how things are going. Glue traps (aka “sticky traps”) are not an effective way to eliminate your pests, but it's a good way to keep an eye on the progress of other methods you're using to get rid of roaches.

Set glue traps around key areas of your apartment where you notice cockroaches the most – places like the kitchen cabinets, bath, sink, kitchen floor, and anywhere else. If you keep finding roaches in the glue traps, then you need to up your roach-killing game.

It's not easy!

In case you're wondering, cockroaches that get stuck in your traps will usually die from starvation pretty quickly, though you may find a cockroach that is still alive and stuck in your trap.

7. Kill them with soap & water spray

If you want a DIY budget way to kill cockroaches easily, try a soap and water spray bottle.

Now, this isn't a long-term systematic solution, but it's a great way to kill cockroaches as and when you see them if you don't want to buy conventional pest control products.

Mix some dish soap and water in a spray bottle, making sure there is plenty of soap in the ratio. Spray this mixture directly at cockroaches when you see them – the soap should clog their breathing pores and cause them to suffocate shortly after.

Is it a little bit cruel? Perhaps… but it's one way to defend yourself.

cockroach dying
Image credit: Kitchen Infinity Photo

8. Do a lot of vacuuming

A pest infestation in the house is often the result of poor vacuuming. You might think that your home is clean, but tiny crumbs of bread, cookies, and other food items can be strong enough to do the trick.

Stray food attracts roaches easily, so don't make it easy for them.

Similarly, getting rid of cockroaches means getting rid of their eggs too. Cockroach eggs could be all over the nooks and crannies of your apartment without you realizing it. Vacuuming up these cockroach eggs can help you to keep the pests at bay by stopping their lifecycle.

Look to vacuum:

  • In and around the kitchen
  • Under fridges
  • Inside cabinets
  • Around the edges of your walls

Also don't forget that you need to clean out your vacuum itself if you're using a bagless model, which most people are these days. Be sure to empty and sanitize your vacuum cleaner regularly, otherwise cockroaches could make the inside of your hoover their new home!

The irony.

9. Cover your drains

Cockroaches LOVE damp spaces, so pay special attention to your kitchen and bathroom. It's a good idea to keep your drains and plug holes covered when not in use, especially at night or if you plan to be away for a long time.

If you're going away for a couple of months, cover up those drains!

Leaving your drains uncovered gives cockroaches an easy route into your apartment, with all the water attracting them to your space. You should also consider ventilating steamy bathrooms and kitchens well and possibly investing in a dehumidifier to keep things dry in general.

If you think that your apartment's HVAC ventilation system needs upgrading so that your space is less damp, speak to your landlord or property manager.

10. Put catnip around your apartment

So this is a bit of an unusual one, but many apartment-dwellers put catnip around their apartment in order to get rid of roaches. Research suggests that roaches do not like the smell of catnip, so they'll tend to stay away if it's present throughout your house.

Now, spreading literal catnip everywhere could be annoying, so we would suggests getting a few small, breathable bags that you can fill with catnip and put around your place in key corners and areas. As long as the cockroaches can smell the catnip through the bag, it should be enough to deter them.

Here's to hoping!

Obviously, this method only works if you don't have a pet cat, or if you have a pet cat who doesn't happen to be interested in catnip. Be sure to cover areas like the kitchen cabinets, room corners, and areas near cracks and crevices.

The Bottom Line – Is It Possible To Get Rid Of Cockroaches In An Apartment?

While cockroaches in your apartment are irritating, it is certainly possible to get rid of cockroaches from your apartment with some of these methods.

Whether you need to caulk up old cracks or have a serious talk with those filthy neighbors, there are many different cockroach-killing methods you can try.

So whatever solution works best for you, we wish you luck in your cockroach pest control efforts. Good luck!

Dino Paccino

Dino Paccino

Dino is a lifelong writer and home improvement specialist. He enjoys bringing cutting-edge information on home renovation and remodeling to Kitchen Infinity.

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