A homeowner’s worst nightmare comes to life in the form of cockroaches using their bathroom as a luxury suite. Whether they’re lying dead on the floor, racing up the walls, or even swimming in the toilet, the unwanted residents are a tremendous pain to evict.
It’s easy enough to squash any roaches you see and move along with your day, but if you want to get rid of infestations for good I have put together 9 tips to follow.
To get rid of bathroom cockroaches, locate their hide-outs and points of entry, kill the existing cockroaches and any that may hatch from already-laid eggs, block the entry points, and seal the hide-outs. It is also crucial to eliminate organic matter (hair, soap, etc.) and standing water, which draws them.
Know Who You’re Dealing With
Signs of a cockroach infestation might make you want to skip right to the details on how to kill them, not read through an educational session on the squirm-worthy pests. However, understanding what characteristics draw cockroaches into your bathroom is a key factor in long-term prevention.
Survival necessities are the driving forces bringing cockroaches inside. If they’re living in your bathroom, that means they are readily being supplied with all three.
A cockroach’s diet can be very adaptable. If you never have human food lying around in your bathroom, you likely still have plenty of things that can make a great meal. Think toothpaste, soap, trash, and even strands of your hair.
The bathroom is the most abundant water source in the house. Cockroaches can drink from puddles leftover from your sink and shower; not to mention, they love the warm, moist environment it can provide.
Cockroaches are professional hide and seek players, and love to hang out in tiny, dark spaces when you’re not around. They can even stretch their bodies to be able to fit into crevices smaller than they are, making it difficult to identify all of their possible hide-outs.
Scope Out All Possible Hiding Spots
Because of how complex their hiding abilities are, it is suggested to hire a professional for the best results. If you are unable or choose not to, be prepared to roll up your sleeves and do some serious investigation.
Look for Evidence
While conducting your search, keep an eye out for signs of cockroach activity to note what areas they might be favoring.
Cockroach excrements, eggs, and dead cockroaches may be found near shelter areas. Droppings look similar to coffee grounds, and cockroaches lay eggs in a cylindrical casing around 0.5-1 cm long.
Identify Cracks and Crevices
Quite literally, every inch of your bathroom will need to be examined. Use a flashlight for any dark areas like under the sink, and thoroughly check the following:
- Under, above, within, and between cabinets and drawers
- Bathtub (particularly areas that meet the wall or floor)
- Around the toilet
- In the toilet tank
- Between tiles where the grout is missing.
Make note of any areas that show signs of activity or have gaps cockroaches could use to move in and out of the walls.
As if they couldn’t get any more inconvenient, cockroaches can even live inside of electrical sockets. It is a good idea to remove the covers on any outlets and take a look inside.
If you need help, below is a short video explaining how to remove electrical plates.
Don’t Ignore Other Areas of Your Home
Unfortunately, if you are only seeing signs of a cockroach infestation in your bathroom, that does not mean the pests are not hiding in or can’t spread to other parts of the house.
It is best to take precautions and minimize cockroach migration to and from the bathroom and the possible entryways they could use to get back inside after elimination.
Kitchens offer a water source through sinks, plus additional food sources. To be safe, you should check the kitchen as thoroughly as you did the bathroom. Look under any appliances, cabinets, and drawers. It is even possible for cockroaches to live deep inside the electrical portion of your refrigerator.
The species of cockroach that likes your bathroom will primarily want to be in areas where moisture is found, but to be safe check throughout the house behind anything that is hanging or mounted on the wall. Also, furniture, desk areas, and electronics (like TVs) should be investigated.
Minimize Food and Water Sources
If you want to get cockroaches out of your bathroom, stop giving them free snacks and drinks.
Keep Things Dry
Try and keep your bathroom as dry as you can.
Wipe up any excess water puddles in the shower and on the floor and counters.
Keep the Trash in Check
Take your trash out very often—as in every night. If you don’t, the cockroaches will find something in it to eat. The best prevention would be to get a trash can that has a tight lid on it so they can’t crawl in freely.
Keep Floors and Counters Clean
Make sure that you are regularly wiping down your counters to clear away toothpaste and soap spills. Remember, that even the dust and hair that dirties your floors can potentially be cockroach food, so be sure to vacuum and mop thoroughly.
Cleaning with vinegar helps to remove any traces of food that can attract cockroaches.
Seal Cracks and Holes
One of the most important steps in treating cockroach infestations in your bathroom is take away their access to it.
It is unlikely that the roaches got into your home by waltzing through the front door. Most of the time, they enter through your pipes or gaps on the outside of the house.
If you identify any leaks or other breakages in your pipes, including where they meet the wall, plug them with caulk and be sure to keep them plugged.
Do a good search of the outside of your home and seal even the smallest of cracks in the foundation.
Caulk-Out Hiding Spots
You can use caulk (amazon link) to seal all other cracks and crevices you find in your bathroom. It’s also helpful to apply the caulk around the edges of bathroom appliances where there may be space between the floor.
You should ideally look for a caulk that is designed for bathroom use to prevent it from deteriorating on exposure to the excessive moisture present in bathrooms.
Also, caulks used should not contain organic ingredients, as you do not want the roaches to try and eat it away!
Beware of Questionable Treatment Methods
Careful consideration should be put into how you kill your cockroach roommates.
There’s speculation on whether or not you should step on a cockroach if you see one.
Some believe that this can release eggs, which you will then spread all over wherever you walk. This has been disproven, but there are other challenges in crushing a roach to kill it.
Their hard exoskeletons are like bulletproof armor. Often when you step on them, they are too hard to crush and can end up running right back into their hiding spots.
Cockroaches can also play dead excellently, and sometimes even grow back some of their limbs if they are lost.
Treatment methods that include “smoking” and using “roach-bombs” may be partially effective, but carry potential of the cockroaches moving deeper into your walls and eventually returning to your bathroom once the poison has worn off.
This can just create more frustration for you, as it can take even longer to treat the infestation.
Bait Them Out
Instead of pushing the pests even deeper into their hiding places, it can be more effective to draw them out.
Baiting is a common treatment method that works by luring the cockroaches out to eat the bait, which they assume to be an attractive food source.
When they eat the bait, they ingest poison that will eventually kill them. It works well for populations of roaches, as when one eats bait it can spread it to others in the nest through the waste and corpse.
Where to Place the Bait:
- Along baseboards
- Around the edges of cabinets
- Edges of bathtub and toilet
- Along the outside of your house
- Around vents
- Around drains
- Any cracks and crevices
Liquid Gel Bait
Liquid gel bait is hand applied using a syringe and works well for covering every crack and crevice directly.
If you choose the liquid bait, apply dime-sized drops a few inches apart from each other onto the target areas.
Advion (amazon link) is a popular and highly regarded gel bait due to its effectiveness and non-repellent properties.
Another option for gel baiting is bait stations. They offer some convenience compared to liquid forms and come in a small box you set on the floor without needing to hand apply it. However, the liquid bait could be a better option for fast-acting effectiveness.
Stick to a Consistent Treatment Plan
Treating cockroaches is not a one-and-done type of deal. Bait should be applied regularly, and the results will not be immediate.
Even after eliminating live cockroaches, there may be unhatched eggs that have yet to emerge.
Stick to the baiting treatment for at least two weeks, even if you think the infestation is gone before that.
Follow up Baiting With Spraying
For extra assurance, you can use a spray insecticide after successfully baiting the roaches. Target the cockroaches’ previous hiding spots as well as the outside perimeter of the house.
Spraying regularly around the outside of your home can help to prevent the pests from returning to your bathroom in the future.
Maintain an Anti-Roach Bathroom, Even When They’re Gone
Even if you no longer have a cockroach infestation in your bathroom, you should be regularly preventing and preparing for issues as if they could come back in an instant.
Plug Your Drains
The image of a cockroach crawling through your shower drain is nightmare-worthy. Find a cover that you can put over your shower drain to avoid the insects using it to get in.
Watch For Leaky Pipes
Check on your pipes as often as you can. If you spot any leakage, seal the pipe immediately.
Clean, Clean, Clean
Make sure that you are sanitizing your surfaces often and controlling clutter. Be conscious about making sure that trash is contained and that it is being changed often. In general, the dirtier your bathroom is, the more cockroaches will like it. Vinegar can be used to effectively clean surfaces.