One of the worst things you can see when you flip on a light in your kitchen is the scuttling legs and antennae of cockroaches on your floor or countertops. These little pests give just about anyone the creeps, but they can also transmit bacteria and contaminate your food. Worst of all, they can survive extermination attempts.

According to Orkin, there are over 4,000 species of cockroaches throughout the world. However, in America, we only come across two types --- German cockroaches and American cockroaches. In your home, you will most likely encounter the German variety, which are about an inch long and have light-brown bodies with two dark stripes.

The American cockroaches are a tiny bit bigger, about 1.5 inches, and they mostly live outside.

Even if you haven't actually seen a cockroach in your home, there are also other signs of an infestation, the most obvious being cockroach droppings. Smaller roaches produce feces that looks like black pepper or coffee grounds, and the larger ones have droppings that are more cylindrical. If you can actually see cockroach feces, that is a good sign that you have an infestation.

man spraying cockroach

Cockroaches can also produce an unpleasant smell, and when the infestation is serious, you might detect a strong, oily or musty scent. Plus, you could find dead cockroaches throughout your home.

Another hint is cockroach eggs that can hide behind furniture or between books. The egg cases are oval-shaped, and they won't be out in the open.

Cockroaches can bring illnesses causing E. coli and salmonella to your kitchen countertops and food, so you should never take an infestation lightly.

There are a few options that will allow you to put an end to even the nastiest of infestations, but you must make sure that you eliminate the nest itself because that is the root of the problem. That will require a few tricks and tools, but there are definitely methods that can prevent cockroaches from coming back.

So here is a look at the variety of ways that you can get rid of cockroaches --- from the fastest and most effective to the ones that take a little more time.

Call A Professional Exterminator

Professional exterminator

This is definitely the easiest and fastest way to get rid of cockroaches, but exterminators can be expensive. And, some of the pesticides can expose you to toxic chemicals. However, they can help you eradicate the nest, so if you have a bad infestation, it may be worth the money.

It can be very difficult to figure out where the cockroaches are coming from, and getting a paid pest-control professional to pinpoint the source is the quickest way to get cockroaches out of your home.


cockroach poison on shelves

This method will take about a week, but you can do it yourself, and it will eradicate the entire nest if you do it right. It also costs less than hiring a pest-control professional, but it can get pretty nasty before it gets better.

You can apply poisonous roach baits like Advion in various spots on your kitchen counter and floor before you go to bed, and by the next morning, the gel will have attracted the cockroaches.

Continue to place the gel in other parts of your home and let the cockroaches continue to feast on the deadly treat. Also, don't sweep up the dead cockroaches because the live ones will eat the dead ones, and that will poison them. Then, they will take that poison back to the nest and die, then the others will eat them. This basically starts a chain reaction.

After a few days, you will see the number of dead cockroaches dwindle, until you reach the point that they are all gone.

Adhesive Traps

cockroach adhesive strip

Cockroaches will be attracted to these traps that work like glue, and once they come in contact with them, they will be stuck. However, even though this method may quickly rid your kitchen of the cockroaches you see running around, it won't fix the problem of the cockroaches' nest.

Natural Remedies

baking soda and sugar
Baking soda and sugar are a natural remedy to fight off cockroaches. Wikimedia Commons

Mother Nature Network suggests homemade cockroach bait --- three parts boric acid to one part powdered sugar --- as an option, with the sugar attracting the roaches and the boric acid killing them. However, this mixture can be irritating to people and pets, even though it is not toxic. So, if you use this bait, be sure to sprinkle it behind appliances, under the sink, and in cracks along the edges of cabinets. But, keep it off countertops or places where hands can reach, especially if you have kids.

Fabric softener spray is a home remedy that is only effective if you spray it directly on the roaches that you see in your home. Actively spraying them with fabric softener can kill roaches, but spraying it on the floor and hoping that will do the trick will not work.

The mixture is three parts fabric softener to two parts water, and all you need to do is shake up the thick mixture in a spray bottle. Once you spray the roach, it will suffocate them because they breathe through their skin.

Baking soda and sugar is another effective mixture, but you have to know exactly where they are hiding out in order see a decline in the population. All you need to do is mix equal parts baking soda and sugar in a bowl or cup, and sprinkle where you have seen roaches.

When a roach ingests the mixture, it will mix with its stomach acid and eventually die. This is a long process, and you will need to repeat setting out this bait to make sure you have killed them all.


The scent of lemons repels cockroaches Wikimedia Commons

Cockroaches are attracted to food residue, so it is important to clean your kitchen counters daily, never leave dishes in the sink, sweep the floor, and wipe down the stove top. This may seem like a lot of work. But, ten to fifteen minutes each night can eliminate the majority of food residues, and keep your home cockroach free.

Also, it is smart to seal up any cracks and holes your house might have. Roaches are able to crawl through tiny spaces, so take the time to seal up any entry into your home. A tube of caulk and a caulking gun is a small investment that can go a long way.

Leaky pipes and moisture also attract roaches. So, repair any leak you may have and don't let water stand in your sink. Roaches can survive just a few days without water, so cutting off their water source will help keep them away.

Crushing up dried bay leaves into a powder and sprinkling it around your home is a great way to prevent roaches from entering. They hate the smell, and that makes bay leaves a natural repellant. Also, the smell of lemons also repels roaches, so cleaning your house with a mixture of lemon juice and water is also an effective way to keep the roaches away. Plus, your house will smell lemony fresh.

Once you have roaches in your home, using lemons to get rid of them isn't the most effective method, so lemons are best used as a prevention and not a cure.

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