Some people associate cockroaches with dirty and unsanitary homes. Though a dirty home definitely can attract roaches, it's also possible to be an excellent housekeeper and still encounter these pests.


Updated: May 9, 2022

So why is there a sudden appearance of cockroaches in your tidy house?

You may be relieved to know that the issue could stem from factors that don't relate to your cleaning abilities at all. Learn how to get rid of roaches and what attracts roaches to even the most pristine of homes — and what to do if you think you have a roach problem.

What causes roaches in houses and apartments?

aches are drawn to houses and apartments in search of food, water and shelter, though they are usually brought into a building on other items, such as luggage or clothing. While food may not be readily available in an extra-clean home, water and shelter are almost always a guarantee. Additionally, cockroaches can go for as long as a month without eating, so lack of food might not be an immediate deterrent. Plus, German cockroaches have been known to eat things other than food to survive.

Why do I have roaches in my clean house?

Some factors that can attract cockroaches to clean houses include:

  • Moisture. Leaking sinks and appliances create conditions in which roaches thrive, since they offer a readily available source of water as well as the warm, sheltered spaces that provide the ideal harborage for cockroach nests.
  • Untidy landscaping. Certain landscape features like palm trees in your yard can attract roaches, as they're a source of both shelter and water for cockroaches. And once roaches are near your home, they're more likely to find their way inside.
  • Food sources. Even if you keep your counters and floors clear of food residue, roaches can find a source of nourishment. Cockroaches will eat almost anything, from cardboard boxes, to pet food and even hair.
  • Easy points of entry. Loose window seals, gaps under doors, tears in screens, holes around dryer vents and other access points can give roaches a clean path into your home.

Why do I have roaches in my clean apartment?

Roaches show up in clean apartments for the same reasons they show up in clean houses. However, when it comes to cockroaches in apartments, other factors could be at play, too:

  • You can't control your neighbors' cleaning habits, so they may be keeping untidy apartments that are more attractive to roaches.
  • Roaches can follow plumbing and utility lines and gain access from one apartment unit to another.
  • If your neighbors have roaches, they could make their way into your apartment in search of additional food, water and shelter.
  • Neighbors might try to control a cockroach problem using DIY methods. This can drive roaches out, leaving them looking for other places to live, including your apartment.

Related: Discover common cockroach hiding places >

Where you live could contribute to roach problems

Many species of roaches prefer damp and humid climates. If you live in a state or region that fits this description, there's a good chance you'll find roaches in your house at some point, no matter how good of a housekeeper you are.

How do roaches enter a clean home?

There are many areas of the home that we just don't think about as being access points or attractants for roaches. You can help prevent a roach infestation by being mindful of factors that may escape everyday notice, like:

  • Window screens that aren't flush or that have small tears.
  • Cracks in the exterior of your house.
  • Gaps between the walls and floor.
  • Clogged rain gutters.
  • Air conditioner units that don't fit properly in windows.

What to do if you suspect a roach infestation

If you think cockroaches may have invaded your home, you want to act quickly. Roaches are prolific breeders and could be laying eggs and expanding their colonies without you realizing that an infestation has started.

Don't risk these insects getting out of hand by trying DIY cockroach removal methods. Contact Terminix® to customize a cockroach control and prevention plan that fits the needs of your home and family.