How to Get Rid of Cockroaches in Kitchen Cabinets | Dangers and Prevention Tips

Written by George Climer

Cockroaches are very resourceful pests, able to live almost anywhere if water, food, and shelter are provided. Some species can even survive in very cold temperatures. These insects are very good at hiding, so you may not be aware of their presence around your home at first. As cockroaches prefer to inhabit the area close to food and water, the kitchen cabinets are a very common spot for their infestation.

It’s never a pleasant scene to spot a cockroach inside your home. These undesirable insects carry around and transmit organisms that can be very harmful to your health. Once you start seeing them inside, be sure it’s time to react!

How to get rid of the cockroaches in kitchen cabinets? The first thing you need to do is empty your kitchen cabinets and locate the possible infestation spots. Clean the surfaces and leave them without any food and water sources. Then, use professional cockroach control products that contain both insecticides for killing the active ones, and bait to attract hidden ones. Be patient, the complete elimination of cockroaches may require even weeks, but it’s a must-do thing.

Any insect infestation inside your home is a serious problem that requires your immediate attention, but this is especially important when roaches are your enemies. They can severely harm your health, causing allergies and asthma. Bacteria they carry around and deposit on food can cause different intestinal diseases.

In the following sections, you’ll get more detailed information about roach control, signs of infestations, and a step-by-step guide to help you eliminate these unwanted pests from your home!

Table of Contents

Cockroaches in Kitchen | Information

Cockroaches in Kitchen at Night

Maybe you already know that cockroaches are active at night. Their normal rhythm dictates that the highest activity and hunting for food starts at night, usually a few hours after the lights go out. Any food they find inside the kitchen they can use, even crumbs on the floor, garbage, rotting food, or sludge stuck in the sink.

It doesn’t mean that they are completely inactive or don’t come out during the day. If you spot a cockroach in your kitchen during the day, it’s a clear sign that there is a serious infestation there. Daytime searching for food means that their number is seriously growing and there is limited food access for the present population during the night, so they are forced to hunt during the day.

Signs of Cockroaches in Kitchen

Cockroaches in Kitchen

Many signs can lead you to find out that you have a cockroach infestation in the kitchen. First, an unusual smell comes from the dirt they carry around and contaminated items they get in contact with. Very common are cockroach droppings, produced if there is some water available. Droppings look like really small, brown, or black stains.

Cockroaches shed skins 5-8 times as they grow, so you can spot their leftovers near the place they are sheltering in. On the other hand, the most accurate sign is finding cockroach egg cases. Roaches lay multiple eggs that stick together in a form of an oblong, brown case. When eggs mature, the case is left behind, proving without any doubt that cockroaches are inside your kitchen.

The most common household species produce from 10 to 20 eggs, while a species called the German cockroach, which is, unfortunately, the most common one, produce up to 50 eggs.

Why Do I Have Cockroaches in My Kitchen?

If you are dealing with this very unpleasant situation, you must be wondering why they infested your home. Unfortunately, our homes usually represent ideal living conditions for cockroaches. If there is food, moisture, and shelter – they need nothing more! Homes with poor hygiene provide just perfect conditions.

There are many areas inside a home that can be affected, such as pantries with food stockings, kitchen area, dirty dishes, sludge in the sink, crumbs on the floor, and leaky pipes in the bathroom. Unlike some other insects, cockroaches are a problem you can face any time of the year, but during the summer they are most prevalent.

Heat and humidity are great conditions for them.  Having a clean home is great prevention, but doesn’t guarantee you won’t be facing them at some point.

Where Do Cockroaches Come From in the Kitchen?

There are various ways roaches can enter your home, including vents, pipes, and cracks, or you can even bring them in on grocery bags, boxes, shoes, etc. It’s enough just to bring them inside, and if they find shelter and food, the problem begins.

A kitchen contains many ideal areas for cockroach infestation, such as dirty dishes and food leftovers, leaking pipes, dirty storage units, sludge in the sink, and moisture inside the cabinets near the sink.

Related: Where Do Cockroaches Live? | Information & Facts

Can Cockroaches Climb up Through Kitchen Sink?

Can Cockroaches Climb up Through Kitchen Sink

As scary as it sounds, yes, they can. They can climb up the sink or even the shower drain. As they are capable to survive around water, crawling through pipes and drains is something very familiar to them.

You may get scared when you spot a cockroach going out from your sink and trying to flush it down, but that is not the solution to your problem. It’s only temporary, as cockroaches can survive underwater for more than half an hour and come back up. It’s not a way to kill them or prevent them from returning.

Can Cockroaches Lay Eggs on Kitchen Appliances?

For sure! As they are mostly active during the night and free to move all over your kitchen, including kitchen appliances, egg cases can be found anywhere.

This can be very harmful to your health, keeping in mind that kitchen appliances are used to prepare food. Many diseases can be transmitted to you through dirty and contaminated food, kitchen surfaces, and appliances.

Health Risks of Small Cockroaches in Kitchen Cabinets?

There are numerous health risks connected to cockroaches existing inside your living area. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cockroaches are “unhygienic scavengers in human settlements.” Bacteria and other microorganisms they carry on their bodies contaminate food and surfaces we use for food preparation.

Once taken in, the contaminated food can cause diarrhea, and bring salmonella, staphylococcus, and streptococcus. Allergic reactions to their saliva, feces, or shedding body parts can be a problem for many people. These allergens can even trigger asthma.

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches in Kitchen Cabinets | Step by Step Instructions

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches in Kitchen

Step 1: Deep clean your kitchen cabinets

The main thing that attracts cockroaches is food. Another important thing is water. Make sure that you empty your kitchen cabinets and deep clean them. That way you cut food and water out of the picture. Also, remove any food leftovers and crumbs.

Get rid of every opened package, box, or food container as it is probably contaminated. Make sure that, before putting your food back, everything is packed and sealed. Easy access to food once you return everything to your kitchen cabinets is like a call for cockroaches to come back.

Step 2: Catch up on maintenance

Cockroaches prefer to stay in dark places high in humidity.  A kitchen cabinet with a water leak is an ideal environment for them. If your kitchen has pipes or drains with leaking issues, you should have them immediately fixed.

Maybe you’ll need to call a professional for maintenance, but there should be no leaking or extra humid areas around your pipes if you want to eliminate cockroaches.

Step 3: Products to treat a roach infestation

After you finish cleaning cabinet surfaces and fix your plumbing, it’s time to choose a product that will eliminate the cockroach infestation. You can choose some of the following solutions:

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Along with using pesticides, make sure to seal up all the cracks that can be used as entry points for cockroaches.

Step 4: Be careful with pesticides

Chemical pesticides can be very harmful if inhaled or eaten for your health. Make sure that after using them, your kitchen area is deeply cleaned. After eliminating pesticides, you can put your stuff back. Make sure that food is well packed and sealed.

Step 5:  Establish a great cleaning routine

Once you get rid of these unwanted visitors in your kitchen, make sure your cleaning routine is regular and good. Food waste, garbage, and even drops, and stains can be a call back for roaches. Eliminate all the food sources by maintaining great hygiene.

Garbage should never stay for days inside your kitchen, make sure you take it away regularly. Food waste should be put away immediately.

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches in the Kitchen?

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches in Kitchen Sink?

If your sink is in the affected area, flushing water won’t solve your problem. First, you have to check if there are sludge or food leftovers stuck in the sink. Your dishes should never stay for a very long time dirty inside a sink. Keep the dishes and the sink clean.

Next, check for leaks. Repair if you find any, as leaks and humidity are perfect conditions for cockroach infestation. Use chemical pesticides for complete elimination, the best choice here is a liquid one, like spray. Clean your drains and pipes to remove anything that stops the water to flow.

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches in Restaurant Kitchen?

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches in Restaurant Kitchen

A challenging task is the elimination of cockroaches from the restaurant kitchen. First, there are so many reasons why the infestation has occurred. Food leftovers falling on the floor while preparing meals, waiters coming in and going out and spreading crumbs and leftovers with their shoes around, lots of food, trash containers, humidity, and full storage units.

To fix this problem, you have to address it first. Find all the weak spots like cracks and leaks, these are great hiding spots that are not easy to clean, and food can get stuck there easily. The best way to do it is to raise kitchen hygiene to the maximal level, keep the floors wiped a few times during the day, trash should be taken away immediately.

Storage units must be kept clean, without any food drops or stains on storage surfaces. Infestation can be solved by using different variations of chemical products. Because there are a lot of people involved, maybe the best solution for the restaurant is to provide perfect hygiene as prevention and leave the elimination of cockroaches to the experts.

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches in Kitchen Drawers?

Start by emptying the drawers and cleaning them. Here there is no need to use chemicals, only cleaning will do the job. Empty the drawers and clean them deeply, so you make sure that there are no foods, crumbs, or even stains left. Search for the possible way for roaches to enter drawers. If needed, set baits around the area.

How to Kill Cockroaches Behind the Kitchen Counter?

This can specifically be a hard thing to do, as sometimes the area behind the counter is very hard to reach. That is also the reason why the cockroach infestation has occurred here. The cleaning of the area is very difficult and food can be dropped there with ease. 

If there is any chance, try to clean the area first. Maybe you’ll need some help to manage that. Once you take out all the leftover food and made sure the area is completely clean, use a spray or bait to kill the cockroaches. This may take a few times to succeed.

Make sure that there are not any hidden cracks or places that roaches can use as a shelter behind your counter. The hygiene of the area must be at the maximum level.

Will Remodeling a Kitchen Remove Cockroaches?

Remodeling the entire kitchen will surely help in many ways. The kitchen will get brand-new plumbing installations, all the holes will be sealed and there will be no more leaks or humidity.

On the other hand, it’s only a plus, but not the solution. Poor hygiene will get you the same problem in your new kitchen. The best prevention is keeping your kitchen regularly cleaned, keeping the dishes clean, and taking out the trash daily.

What Can I Use to Kill Cockroaches in My Kitchen?

Is Advion Cockroach Gel Safe to Use in the Kitchen?

Advion Roach Bait Gel is completely safe for use inside the kitchen. You don’t even need to empty your cabinets if you plan to use this specific product, but it is recommended for health-concerning reasons, such as cockroaches going over your utensils.

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  • VERSATILE USAGE: Advion Cockroach Gel Bait is suitable for indoor...
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Pea-sized baits should be placed in the corners of the cabinets or near the suspected shelter, like cracks and crevices. Avoid the surfaces that get in touch with food, like food storage units or surfaces you use to prepare and handle the food so it doesn’t get contaminated with the product.

A serving area as well should not get in contact with the bait gel. If the temperatures are high, use another product, as the gel will turn into liquid and lose its effectiveness.

Where to Apply Chemicals for Cockroaches in the Kitchen?

Wherever you see the signs like skin shedding, dead cockroaches, odd smell you should inspect further and find possible cockroach shelters. This can be the sink, area around pipes and drains, drawers, cabinets, behind the kitchen counter, etc. Those are all parts of the kitchen ideal for infestation, as they contain all the necessary conditions – hiding place, moisture, and food.

When you start the chemical treatment for cockroach elimination, you should search for places like that inside your kitchen.

How to Apply Advion Cockroach Gel in Kitchen

Using Advion gel is pretty easy. You need to apply one to three drops in all the suspected areas of your kitchen and spread it a bit around the area. It is the amount strong enough to solve light to moderate infestation. If the cockroaches’ population is big, add three to five drops and spread around. The application tip helps you get to places that are hard to reach, like tiny holes and cluttered cupboards.

Once eaten, an active ingredient called indoxacarb in the gel reacts with a cockroach’s proteins and kills it after a while. The bait is packed in syringes, made for multiple applications.

 If you have a pet in your home, make sure the pet stays away from the area covered with Advion gel.

Does Bleach Kill Cockroach in the Kitchen?

 Bleach kills cockroaches by drowning or ingestion, but it is not so safe to use a large amount of bleach that you can inhale or touch. A better and much safer choice is a chemical pesticide specially made for this purpose. Bleach can put your family or pets in danger further than a roach-killing pesticide.

Best Insecticides for Cockroaches in Kitchen Pantry?

Inside the pantry, you can put any type of chemical pesticide, but the best choice is cockroach bait. It’s much more convenient than spraying all the surfaces and easier to set and clean afterward.

Some products can be placed near the dishes, but a much safer way to do it is to empty the cabinets first. That’s the safest way to keep them clean and away from pesticides or cockroach contamination.

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches in Kitchen Cabinets Naturally?

Home Remedies for Small Cockroaches in Kitchen

There are many popular home solutions for cockroaches on the internet nowadays, but you have to choose wisely.

A mixture of baking soda and water is highly recommended. Just put the mixture into the suspected area and wait. You may have to repeat the remedy a few times.

Boric acid is another solution, some may say even better than baking soda. Sprinkle just a little on the affected area and you’ll get rid of these unwanted pests. Boric acid works as an all-natural poison.

As unbelievable as it sounds, essential oils can also be of great help while fighting cockroaches. The strong smell they provide disrupts hunting paths for roaches and stronger doses can even kill them.

The smell that works as the best remedy is lavender, eucalyptus tea, and peppermint. Use a cotton piece soaked with essential oil to wipe down all the surfaces inside the cabinets. You can also mix it with water and put it in a spray bottle.

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No matter which solution you chose, the first thing you have to do is empty your kitchen cabinets and clean them deeply. After cleaning the area, apply the chosen home remedy.

How Clean up the Kitchen After Cockroach Treatment?

How Clean up Kitchen After Cockroach Treatment

How to Remove Cockroach Smell From Kitchen?

After the pest control process is completed, you need to get all the treated surfaces clean. While cleaning you should use disposable gloves and a facemask. Use mild detergents to wipe all the pesticide leftovers away.

Pay attention and try not to touch your face during the process or pesticides with your naked hands. Rinse thoroughly with water. Throw away the mop and wipes you’ve used for cleaning. A detailed cleaning will remove all the stains and eliminate the smell.

How to Clean the Kitchen Drawers from the Smell of Cockroach?

The process is very similar to the one used for kitchen cabinets. Most important is to wipe all the surfaces with fresh smelling, but mild detergent. Repeat the process a few times if needed, until you make sure that chemicals and the smell are eliminated.

Leave the drawers open to dry well before you start using them again. During the entire process, it is very important to use disposable gloves, and facemasks and avoid touching your face.

How to Sanitize Kitchen After Cockroaches?

Strictly follow manufacturers’ instructions if you’ve decided to use chemical pesticides. Pesticides need a few hours to work until the goal is completed. Tablets or baits work for days.

After the recommended time on the product has passed you can start cleaning chemical leftovers before you put your stuff and food back in place. There are a few steps you should follow:

1. Discard food that came in touch with chemicals

If any food was left on a surface treated with pesticides, throw it away. It is not safe for you to consume it. Even if you’ve used organic chemicals, you should still throw the food away.

2. Protect yourself

Use disposable cleaning protection such as gloves and facemasks. Never touch chemicals with your naked hands.

3. Clean and get your kitchen in order

Start by wiping and rinsing the chemicals from the kitchen cabinets, drawers, and counters. After you clean all the kitchen elements, leave them open to dry for some time.

When the process is over, put your stuff back. Make sure that food is packed tight, and don’t leave any food easily accessible (open cans, bags, bottles). In the end, mop the floor. Take the trash out and keep your chicken clean for the rest of your life.

Cockroach Prevention in Kitchen

Cockroach Prevention in Kitchen

Sometimes cockroaches access even the most unpredictable places, through holes, cracks, and even pipes. But there is certainly a much greater chance to face an infestation in a very dirty home, with poor hygiene. To prevent cockroaches from infesting your home, establish a great cleaning routine.

Never keep your dirty dishes for hours in the sink. Keep the surfaces you use for preparing and handling food clean and dry. Keep the kitchen cabinets in order and food well packed.

Make sure there is no leak around the pipes and drains. Fill all the cracks and holes that cockroaches can use as a shelter. Keep the floor clean. Get the trash out every day and keep the area around the trash can clean at all times. 

How to Keep American Cockroaches Out of Kitchen Trash Cans

Empty the trash regularly. Make sure your trash can has a lid that fits the container tightly and empty the trash each night before going to sleep. It’s not wise to keep your trash can full during the night inside the house, as cockroaches are mostly active during the night.  

Make sure your outside trash cans are cleaned regularly and kept away from the home. Cockroaches can be found outside the home as well, from where they can easily be transported inside.

Related: How to Get Rid of American Cockroaches? | Information and Facts

How to Protect Kitchen Utensils From Cockroaches?

All your utensils should be clean and dry before putting them inside the cabinet. Cabinets should not have leaking pipes or any humid area inside. Also, the surfaces of the cabinets should be cleaned from time to time.

If you want to keep roaches away, any food leftovers, even stains, and crumbs should be cleaned. Keep your kitchen hygiene at the highest possible level, as contamination of your utensils can be very harmful to your general health.


Dealing with a cockroach infestation is a serious task. It is extremely important to follow some ground rules like fixing your plumbing and maintaining the kitchen clean to eliminate the two essential things for a successful cockroach population – water and food.

Fix all the cracks and holes inside your kitchen to prevent them from finding shelter. Before you start the pest control process, you should keep your children and pets away from the treated area, to protect them from unwanted chemicals.

Analyze your case and choose a proper product. You can opt for a more natural approach, which is up to you to decide. But, when dealing with a large infestation, chemicals have shown immensely better results.

After the eradication process is done, clean all the affected areas before using the kitchen again. Rinse thoroughly and leave everything to dry naturally. Follow the situation for a few weeks, to make sure your job was complete. If you spot any signs of roaches being back, you should consider getting professional help.

List of Sources

Why do I have cockroaches in my home, National Pesticide Information Center

 Cockroaches: Ecology, Behavior, and Natural History, Johns Hopkins University Press

Control Cockroaches In and Around Your Home, Missisippi State University Extension

IPM Tactics for Roach Control, Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities