Cockroaches in Apartment | Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

Written by George Climer

Cockroach infestation is a nightmare for every homeowner! Seeing a roach crawling over your floor, or even worse, your food is something you never want to see. Unfortunately, these pests are very common thing.

If you are dealing with a roach infestation, you must remember that it’s not necessarily a sign that you’re keeping poor hygiene inside your home.

Cockroaches can get inside in so many ways and if they find shelter, food, and water, they are staying for as long as they want to! But don’t worry, there are so many simple and efficient ways to get rid of them and keep your home safe!

How to get rid of cockroaches in apartments? There are a few steps to follow in order to eliminate cockroaches in apartments. First, clean your entire apartment thoroughly. The next step is to identify them and find their shelters. Now, choose an insecticide that you are comfortable with. The safest bet is cockroach baits or dust. Lastly, create a strict hygiene routine for keeping your home healthy and clean.

We will help you understand the issue more deeply. Our step-by-step guide will eradicate cockroaches in your apartment. In a severe infestation case, professional help is always the best option. Let’s begin!

Cockroaches in Apartments | Information

Where Do Cockroaches Come from in Apartments?

Cockroaches simply adore moisture, food, and shelter. Those are the most important factors that provide them a secure development and living. Considering those conditions, it’s pretty clear that roaches will establish their shelters almost anywhere.

They can get into your apartment in so many different ways. The most common way is through drains, cracks, small holes, or simply crawling inside. You can also bring them in, by carrying them around on grocery bags, boxes, and even your shoes.

What Causes Cockroaches in Apartments?

What Causes Cockroaches in Apartments

People usually connect poor hygiene with cockroaches. Well, hygiene can be the cause, but it’s not always the case. There are various reasons why a cockroach infestation has appeared in your home. First, if your home hygiene is not maintained every day, you are providing them with ideal living conditions.

They enjoy living in crowded areas, with lots of places to hide and food everywhere. Another problem that can contribute to roaches invading your home is old pipes and drains that need to be repaired. Leaks provide moisture, and sludge inside the drains is used as food, which is simply perfect for roaches.

Related: Different Types of Cockroaches: Identification Chart

Where Do Cockroaches Live in Apartments?

Any place where they can easily hide and access food and water is just a perfect spot for cockroaches to inhabit. Usually, those conditions are connected to the bathroom and kitchen area. Humid areas around leaking pipes, sinks, and hidden places like kitchen cabinets are usual places for their infestation.

Any cracks and holes can also be a great shelter for roaches. Since roaches can feed on anything edible, there are so many options inside a home for them to hide.

How Do Cockroaches Get in Apartments?

How Do Cockroaches Get in Apartments

Cockroaches can crawl through any small hole and crack, drains, pipes, and even windows, and doors. Kitchen cabinets and bathroom drains are the most common areas they inhabit. You can bring them inside your apartment by carrying them on your clothes, shoes, and bags, and they will stay in your home if they find food and a hiding place.

Can Cockroach Infestations Come from Another Apartment?

Yes, cockroaches can definitely come from another apartment. This is a challenging situation for many people moving from a roach-infested apartment to a new place. Also, if your neighbor is having roaches, you can expect to have the same problem if they don’t deal with them on time.

You can avoid bringing roaches with you by following simple steps to control them. While you are packing your things, inspect your items closely to make sure there are no signs of them. It doesn’t have to be only roaches, search for stains, and bad smells over your stuff, and especially be on the lookout for their eggs.

Vacuum your old apartment while packing, and launder your clothes. Use boxes and bins that can be sealed while packing. After you check your stuff a few times, move them to another apartment and do another check when you unpack them.

Can Cockroaches Climb up the Outside of an Apartment Building?

Cockroaches can climb on floors, buildings, and crawl through pipes, sink, and shower drains! They cannot come through your toilet because of the water.

They can enter your home from the outside through your windows or open doors. To prevent them from staying in your apartment, you have to keep it clean and your plumbing installations need to be functional without leaks.

How Common Are Cockroaches in Apartments?

How Common Are Cockroaches in Apartments

Cockroaches in the apartments are more common than we think. They can get inside and inhabit a home with great hygiene, meaning that their appearance is not a problem for dirty places exclusively.

The main difference is that inside a clean apartment, there is a much bigger chance to eliminate them easily. When your cleanliness is regularly maintained and there is no food available, such as leftovers everywhere, a trash can full of garbage, and dirty dishes in the sink, the possibility of a roach infestation is much lower than inside the apartment with poor hygiene.

How to Check for Cockroaches in Apartment Buildings?

In apartment buildings, there is a high possibility that roaches will invade pipes and plumbing systems, which opens an easy way for them to get inside apartments. If you think that your building may be facing this problem, search for the signs of the cockroach infestation.

The most obvious sign is seeing cockroaches crawling around, or seeing dead roach bodies. Some other signs may even lead you to find their nest. For example, cockroaches grow and shed their “skin”, which means if can find fragments of exoskeletons, feces, or roaches’ eggs, their shelter is also near.

An odd smell inside the building can also be one of the signs. It’s a little bit harder to eliminate infestation from a building, so you may be needing professional help with this problem.

How to Remove Cockroaches from Apartments? | Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Clean Your Apartment or Certain Areas

Clear the room you want to treat with pesticides but the best thing would be to clear the entire apartment. Empty your bathroom, kitchen area, especially kitchen cabinets, and all the places that you think cockroaches can use as a shelter.

Clean up all the food, leftovers, and dirty dishes, and take out the trash. Before returning your food to the storage area, make sure that everything is packed and completely sealed. The only way to keep roaches away is to eliminate their food sources.

Step 2: Fix Your Plumbing Installations and Wall Cracks

All the leaks, old pipes, and clogged drains should be fixed. Also, fix all the tiny holes and cracks in the walls. It’s the best possible solution to eliminate the moisture roaches simply adore!

Step 3: Apply the Insecticides for Cockroaches

There are many different insecticides (bait, dust, spray, natural methods, etc.) that you can use for getting rid of cockroaches. The best method is to use baits or insecticide dust. Some chemicals need days to work, so ensure that the affected area is not close to your children and pets.

If you choose sprays, always use disposable equipment like masks and gloves. Never inhale a product you are using, it can seriously damage your health. Never touch your face while dealing with chemicals, or the product with your naked hands. If possible, use protective glasses as well.

The following are some of the best cockroach insecticides that you can use in your apartments:

Sale 1
Advion Cockroach Gel Bait, 4 Tubes x 30-Grams, 1 Plunger and 2 Tips, German Roach Insect Pest Control, Indoor and Outdoor Use, Roach Killer Gel for American, German and Other Major Cockroach Species
  • COCKROACH CONTROL: Advion Cockroach gel bait from Syngenta is a...
  • VERSATILE USAGE: Advion Cockroach Gel Bait is suitable for indoor...
  • HIGHLY ATTRACTIVE FORMULATION: Advion Cockroach has a...
  • EFFORTLESS APPLICATION: With a plunger and user-friendly tips...
  • CONVENIENT PACKAGE: This package includes four 30-gram syringes...
Sale 2
CSI - 82005007 - Viper - Insecticide - 16oz
  • Cypermethrin 25.3%
  • Viper EC is for use inside as a crack and crevice spray of...
  • Mix Viper Insecticide at a rate of 1.3 oz. per gallon of water...
Sale 3
Advion Cockroach Gel Bait, 4 Tubes x 30-Grams, 4 Plunger and 4 Tips, German Roach Insect Pest Control, Indoor and Outdoor Use, Roach Killer Gel for American, German and Other Major Cockroach Species
  • COCKROACH CONTROL: Advion Cockroach gel bait from Syngenta is a...
  • VERSATILE USAGE: Advion Cockroach Gel Bait is suitable for indoor...
  • HIGHLY ATTRACTIVE FORMULATION: Advion Cockroach has a...
  • EFFORTLESS APPLICATION: With a plunger and user-friendly tips...
  • CONVENIENT PACKAGE: This package includes four 30-gram syringes...

Step 4: Establish a Cleaning Routine

After you make sure that cockroaches are no longer crawling over the floors, you have to set up a cleaning routine. Use mild detergents and start cleaning the areas where you applied pesticides, and later everything else! Roaches don’t enjoy clean floors and surfaces with no food available.

Try to keep your space as open as it can be, without crowded areas, making it harder for them to find a hiding spot.

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches Naturally in Apartments?

Boric Acid Baits

Boric acid is one of the most common natural remedies used for getting rid of roach infestation. A mixture that you should use is very easy to make. Simply put equal amounts of boric acid, sugar, and flour.

Ecoxall Boric Acid Fine Powder - 1 Pound - 99.9% Pure Fine Powder - Highly Effective Multipurpose Cleaner - Used as a Kitchen Cleaner, Laundry Stain Remover and Deodorizer - Industrial Grade Strength
  • BORIC ACID: Boric acid, also known as boracic acid or orthoboric...
  • MULTIPURPOSE CLEANING: Versatile in nature, this fine powder is a...
  • INDUSTRIAL GRADE: With its industrial-grade strength, our Boric...
  • LAUNDRY USAGE: Elevate your laundry game by incorporating this...
  • DEODORIZING POWER: Experience the deodorizing capabilities of our...

Mix them together and make a dough out of it. Use the dough and create smaller pieces and place them around routes that cockroaches use. This is the safest way to make a natural poison, not harmful to you and your family.

Sugar and flour will attract roaches, and when they start feeding on them, boric acid will kill them. Put the dough around all the possible hiding spots, such as under the refrigerator, inside the cabinets, and in drawers. Be aware that boric acid can also harm your pets, so make sure that your pets are kept away from the bait.

Essential Oils | Peppermint

Roaches can’t stand the smell of peppermint, eucalyptus, tree oils, and lavender. It masks the scents they use to track down the food while hunting. Higher concentrations of peppermint oil can kill roaches.

Put a few drops of essential oils on a cotton ball and use it to wipe down the places you usually spot roaches. You can also mix oils and water and make a spray, it’s a much easier way to cover unreachable spaces, by using a spray bottle.

If you don’t feel like preparing all of this, the simplest way is to buy a commercial peppermint spray for cockroaches.

Mighty Mint 16oz Cockroach Repellent Natural Peppermint Oil Spray
  • Safe
  • Extra Concentrated for Long-Lasting Protection
  • Natural Ingredients Proven Effective in the Real World
  • Large 16oz Bottle
  • Powerful Essential Oil

How to Keep Cockroaches Out of Apartments?

The best way to keep roaches out of your apartment is to maintain a regular cleaning routine for your home. You should always wash your dirty dishes after using them, and keep the floors without stains or food leftovers, crumbs, and water drops. Keep in mind that all these things attract roaches.

Try to set your furniture in a way that provides open space and not so many crowded, unreachable areas that you cannot clean regularly or keep clean. Fix your old pipes, clogged drains, or sink. Try to eliminate all the excess moisture, and also fix any holes and cracks on your walls.

Now, if you notice any signs of a roach infestation in your apartment, react immediately! The odd smell, unusual stains, waste, dead bodies from cockroaches, and anything similar can be a sign. If you notice them, apply one of our methods as soon as possible.

How to Manage a Cockroach Problem in an Apartment?

Can You Report Your Apartment for Cockroach Problems?

Definitely, this is the first thing you should do. Write a written report and hand it to your landlord. Naturally, you will speak to your landlord, but if you want to make an official report, writing is your best choice. Retain a copy of your report. By doing this, you’ll have proof that the problem was reported if your landlord failed to act.

Where to Complain About Cockroaches at My Apartment?

Where to Complain About Cockroaches at My Apartment

Usually, your first call is your landlord. Depending on the state or municipal law, landlords usually include pest control in the lease agreement. The best option is to discuss it before moving into the apartment in detail. One option is to report a problem and your landlord should cover the costs of pest control services.

Another option for you is to call the pest control services yourself, and then arrange to deduct the cost of it from your rent. Click on the following link if you are interested, and you will get free quotes from the best cockroach exterminators in your area. 

A landlord can also arrange regular preventative pest controls, usually, four times a year, if this is the case the tenant is responsible for anything that happens in the meantime.

Can You Break Your Lease if Your Apartment Has Cockroaches?

First, you should try to solve the problem with your landlord or even include the neighbors, if the problem affects the entire building. The best solution is to hire a professional exterminator that will eliminate the cockroach infestation from the entire building. Doing it by yourself can be extremely hard and without success in multi-apartment buildings.

If your neighbors or your landlord won’t cooperate, you should write a report to your landlord, clearly addressing the problem. If your landlord chooses to ignore your problem, you have the right to search for a unilateral break of your lease.

Can You Sue an Apartment Complex for Cockroaches?

If you have reported a problem, and your landlord won’t cooperate, you have several options. Dealing with a problem yourself is the worst possible solution, as there is no guarantee that your unresponsive landlord will deduct the pest control costs from your rent. Just keep in mind that pest control is very expensive, even for a single room.

If the problem affects the entire building, and not all the neighbors are willing to cooperate, your cockroach problem can reappear after some time. The elimination process should be taken seriously by everyone in the building.

If your landlord refuses to address the infestation, you can lawfully break your lease and leave the apartment. Hiring an attorney is a wise thing to do.

An attorney will make sure that you get out of the lease properly and get your security deposit back. If you have suffered health damage or loss of money, you have the right to sue your landlord for it.

Should You Vacate an Apartment Infested with Cockroaches?

Leaving the apartment should be your last resort after you get the clear image that there is no help with your case. If you failed to solve the problem yourself, a wise thing to do is get professional help. This is extremely important if we are talking about roach infestation inside a multi-apartment building.

Should You Vacate an Apartment Infested with Cockroaches

If one of the neighbors refuses to be a part of pest control, there is a high possibility that roaches will not be eliminated, which means that after some time, they will be crawling back to you.

If you think that fixing old and bad plumbing installations, eliminating the infestation, and getting back to normal living conditions will consume too much of your time, energy, and money, maybe the best thing to do is start searching for a new apartment.

What Are My Rights Living in an Apartment with Cockroaches?

If your living conditions are responsible for attracting cockroaches, your landlord can ask you to pay for pest control services and even evict you.

On the other hand, if you keep the apartment clean and the roach infestation has nothing to do with you, most states allow you to leave the unit infested with cockroaches.

In some states, you have the right to an exterminator and a paid hotel or another place while your problem is being resolved. The amount that you pay for temporary living should be given back to you by your landlord or deducted from your next rent.

You should always follow the procedure that is stated in your lease, just to make sure that you won’t be the one left with all the trouble and costs in the end. Always keep a copy of your written report and some pictures that document your problem. It can be very important if you end up in legal action.

How to Move Out of an Apartment with Cockroaches?

How to avoid bringing cockroaches when you switch apartments? Be very careful while packing your belongings. Wash your clothes and keep them sealed in plastic bags. While packing, check all your stuff and vacuum-clean the area. Clean your shoes and check them before packing.

Throw away every open can or bag with food, only sealed and well-packed food should be taken with you. While entering the new apartment, check your stuff one more time. Check every bag, box, and suitcase. Start with a regular cleaning routine once you move inside the new place.


Seeing a cockroach from time to time in your apartment is natural since they are nearly everywhere, especially in big cities. They can enter your apartment in many different ways, but if you want to make sure that they don’t invade your apartment, keep the cleanliness at a maximum level.

Cleaning should be something that you do on a regular basis. Dirty dishes staying for days in the sink, crumbs all over the floors, and spilled garbage is not something you want to have in your apartment, as it’s a clear calling for roaches to inhabit your living space.

Getting regular plumbing check-ups is another wise thing to do in order to eliminate unwanted and extra humid, just the ideal situation for roaches.

If you have problems with the infestation in a rented apartment, speak to your landlord immediately. If you can’t find a solution together, think about hiring an attorney and claiming your rights. You should never accept living conditions that can severely harm your health. Best of luck!

List of Sources

Bennett G., Wang C., A Practical Guide to Cockroach Control in Multi-Family Housing Units, Purdue University

Potter M., Cockroach Elimination in Homes and Apartments, University of Kentucky

Control of Vermin (cockroaches and mice) in Apartment Buildings, County of San Diego