Pest Resources

What Causes Roaches? Even in a Clean House?

It is a well-known fact that cockroaches are a common occurrence in unclean households. But sometimes, a cockroach infestation might appear despite our best efforts to keep our home clean. So what causes roaches in a clean house?

giant cockroach in kitchen
Thankfully this giant cockroach is just for display!

Signs You Have Cockroaches

Since cockroaches are mostly active at night, weeks could pass after the initial infestation before you actually see one. By then, the colony may already be large and difficult to deal with. However, there are certain signs you can look for that could indicate that your home is infested with roaches, such as:

  • Roach droppings. Cockroach feces appear as a dust of small, dark specks that look somewhat like ground coffee. These will usually appear in corners and other hard-to-reach areas.
  • Musty odor. Usually, with feces comes an odor. If you notice a musty smell in your household that you can’t seem to get rid of, you might be dealing with a cockroach infestation.
  • Smear marks. When roaches walk over wet surfaces, they can leave brown smear marks. This is one of the telltale signs of a cockroach infestation, especially in the kitchen and the bathroom, where wet surfaces aren’t uncommon.
  • Egg cases. Cockroaches lay eggs inside cases known as ootheca. These are usually oval-shaped and vary in size, but normally don’t exceed 10mm.
  • Shed skin. Cockroaches need to shed their skin when they outgrow it. These sheddings aren’t hard to identify, as they usually retain the shape of the cockroach. The size will vary depending on how old the cockroach is.

What Attracts Cockroaches to a Clean House

a clean kitchen with no pests
Even the cleanest properties can have a roach problem!

Cockroaches are generally attracted to food, moisture, and shelter, the first two of which are a common occurrence in unclean households. However, even if you do your best to keep your home impeccable, there might still be things that attract the pest. Let’s take a look at what they are.

Location and Accessibility

Cockroaches can go up to three months without eating. In other words, even if your home is squeaky clean, they might still move in due to the simple fact that it is safe. If there are many dark corners that are easily accessible (through crevices and cracks), this pest might pick your home for shelter. 

Another factor that plays a role is the geographical location of your home. Since cockroaches generally prefer wetter areas, states such as Florida are much more prone to household cockroach infestations than, say, Arizona.

Extermination in Nearby Areas

If your neighbors recently had a cockroach infestation and called in exterminators, this could be the root of the problem you’re dealing with. Pesticides or other repellants have driven the roaches out of your neighbor’s home, but they may have picked your household as their next address. This is an especially common issue in apartment complexes.

Leftover Food

Sure, you might keep your kitchen spotless, but do you have a habit of leaving food out in the open, especially overnight? We’re all guilty of occasionally leaving an open bag of chips or box of cereal in an easily accessible spot.

If you believe this might be the issue, there is an easy solution – tupperware. Not only will plastic containers make it impossible for a cockroach to get to your food, but they will also eliminate the smells that attracted the pest in the first place.

Pet Food and Litter

If you have a cat, its litter box could be another factor causing the cockroach infestation in your home. In that case, silica-based litter is your best bet. Silica has dehydrating properties, which is lethal for insects such as cockroaches. Needless to say, you should also do your best to keep the litter box as clean as possible. 


Aside from food, water is the most important thing cockroaches look for in our homes. If you have plants, for example, overwatering them could result in puddles around the pots. You may not even notice them, but they could be the very reason you have to share your home with these pests.

Your House Might Not Be as Clean as You Think

Nobody likes to hear it, but it needs to be said. If your home is under the attack of a colony of cockroaches, it might not be as clean as you think. This is not to say that you’re not doing your job right. Rather, there might be spots in your home that you simply don’t think about when cleaning. For example:

  • Behind and around the cooker,
  • Leaking pipes,
  • Behind the washing machine and the dryer,
  • Around and under the vanity and the sink,
  • Unclean AC units and vents,
  • Basements and garages. 

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches

If you’re dealing with a cockroach infestation in your home, your main concern probably isn’t what attracted them there, but rather how to get rid of them. Luckily, there are many things that you probably already have in your pantry that can be used to kill cockroaches. For example, borax is great for killing roaches. Baking soda is another solution you can use. Simply sprinkle either of the two on pieces of food and set up the traps around your home.

Of course, there is a much quicker, easier, and more effective way to kill cockroaches in your home – call professional cockroach exterminators. Using the right tools and techniques, a licensed exterminator for roaches will not only get rid of the problem but will also teach you how to ensure the issue doesn’t come back. What’s more, a reliable cockroach extermination company will offer a guarantee period for their services, so you can be sure the problem is dealt with appropriately.

Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each control method, product and process to prevent infestations effectively. 

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