Starve them

Whenever food and water are easy to find, roaches will invite themselves to dinner. Here’s how to cancel their reservations and get rid of roaches:

  • Dry up any standing water around sinks, tubs, and toilets. Roaches can only live a week without water.
  • Meticulously clean your kitchen, including crumbs near the stove, microwave, and refrigerator.
  • Vacuum scraps of food from corners and around the cabinet bases.
  • Wipe down cupboard insides and drawers with soap and water.
  • Immediately clean and put away dirty dishes.

Serious roach removal

If your spotless house still attracts roaches, bring out the big guns.


Traps: Set sticky traps—like the famous Roach Motel ($2.50)—in dark locations where roaches congregate: Under sinks and refrigerators, behind stoves, and in cupboards. Traps will work immediately, so check them daily. Toss when full.

Bait: Bait stations ($10 for an 8-pack) have stick-and-peel backs; place them anywhere. Fipronil, the active ingredient, kills by touch or ingestion. Roaches often will share the bait with nest-mates, killing others in the process. Change stations every three months.

Green kill: To paralyze and eventually kill roaches, mix boric acid with water and flour, and place in jar lids in the back of cupboards and underneath stoves. (Caution! Keep out of reach of pets and children.) The flour will attract the roaches; the boric acid will eat away at their exoskeleton.

Hire a pest professional

If you can’t get rid of roaches yourself, hire a pest control company to fight the war for you. Exterminators typically spray your house with Cynoff WP (keep it away from aquariums), set bait stations, and return until the roaches don’t.

An initial visit costs $100 to $300, followed by monthly or quarterly visits at $50 a pop. Check the company’s guarantees, and make sure the chemicals it uses are safe for you and your pets.