What to Do If Your Apartment Is Infested with Roaches?

A roach infestation is one of the worst things that can happen to your apartment. These creatures do not only pose a significant health risk but are also quite challenging to get rid of.

What to do if your apartment is infested?

  • If you are renting an apartment, it is the landlord’s responsibility to take care of the problem.
  • If it’s your apartment, then you can either call an exterminator or try dealing with the problem on your own with the help of chemicals or natural remedies.

Let’s dive deeper into the topic and discuss each solution separately.

What to Do If Your Apartment Is Infested with Roaches?

If you’re are renting an apartment…

Cockroaches are extremely hard-to-kill insects that can live off of practically anything. If you are a tenant, you might not want to deal with this problem on your own (and you don’t have to, by the way).

So, here is what you should do:

  • Contact the landlord straight away
    You have to notify the landlord that there is an issue. Ideally, in written form (for example, via a message or an email), so that you have proof that the landlord is aware of the problem.
  • Give the landlord some time to deal with the problem
    Unfortunately, the landlord has a whole month to take action. Within 30 days, the individual should take certain steps to eliminate the problem and/or hire a professional exterminator.
  • If you haven’t heard back from the landlord, then you have a legal right to break a lease and move out.
    Ideally, you would want to work with a tenant rights attorney who is going to guide you through the process and ensure that you get your deposit back.
    Fact: you can sue the landlord for damages if the infestation brought your harm in any way
  • If you choose to hire an exterminator yourself, you are allowed to deduct the cost from the rent.
    But there might be a problem with that, in case the landlord isn’t planning on cooperating.

 According to state law, your apartment has to be safe and livable. Any space that has a cockroach infestation is considered ‘unlivable’.

This warranty exists independently of the lease. So, no matter what the document says, it is the landlord’s responsibility to keep the space safe.

If it’s your apartment…

Unfortunately, if the apartment is yours, you’ll be left alone with the problem.

However, the first thing that you need to do is contact the building manager (if your residential building has one).

Your apartment might have gotten infested in the first place, because your neighbors already had an infestation or there are pests in the building’s basement, for example.

If your apartment is not the only space that got infested, then the building manager might decide to hire a professional exterminator on his behalf.

In all the other cases, you are left with the following options:

  • Get rid of the cockroaches naturally
  • Get rid of the cockroaches using chemicals
  • Call a team of professionals

It is important to make the building manager check the apartments of your neighbors. Only together you’ll be able to get rid of the infestation for good; otherwise, your neighbor’s roaches will continue coming back to your apartment even after treatment.

How to Get Rid of Roaches in Your Apartment Naturally

Diatomaceous earth

DE is made from the fossilized remains of very small aquatic organisms. These particles are extremely sharp and dehydrating.

When the roaches walk through diatomaceous earth, the tiny particles stick to the hairs of the pest.

In some time, the powder breaks down the waxy layer of the insect’s exoskeleton and the roach dies of dehydration.

Make sure to apply DE in all the places where you have seen roaches, but do that lightly (the insects won’t step in the powder if there is a lot of it).

Also, make sure that the space is dry as wet DE won’t work its magic.

Bear in mind that diatomaceous earth can irritate the nasal passages, if inhaled, and may also irritate the eyes, so be careful when using it.

Boric acid

Boric acid

Boric acid is a naturally-occurring treatment that can be used as an insecticide. It comes in various forms, but the dust form is the most convenient one for killing cockroaches.

The substance has an electrostatic charge. As the insect passes by the dust, the particles will cling to its body and get ingested later on.

Once boric acid makes its way into the roach’s body, it attacks the insect’s digestive and nervous systems.

You should avoid spreading the dust on any food prep surfaces, as people should not consume it. Target only the spots where you have noticed pest activity.


This natural mineral comes in powder form and it has been used as a cleaning product for decades.

You can make natural baits by mixing equal parts of borax and sugar. After that, you can dust the solution in crevices and along baseboards, for example.

If you want, you can try mixing 2 tbsps of cooking grease, 2 tbsps of powdered sugar, half a cup of flour, and a cup of borax with water.

Make a soft dough out of the ingredients and roll it into olive-sized balls (these can be put in the roaches’ favorite hiding places).

Once ingested, borax will tear up the insect’s digestive tract and cause dehydration.

Borax is relatively safe for humans, but should not be ingested. So, keep it away from children and pets.

Baking soda

To make the cockroaches consume baking soda, you should mix it with something ‘tasty’. For example, you can sprinkle diced onions with it.

Place the bait in a shallow dish and anywhere you have detected roach activity. Once consumed, baking soda will start creating gases in the pests’ stomachs; eventually, the insects will ‘explode’.

Essential oils

Some essential oils can be used not only to repel various insects but to also kill them.

At the concentration of 2.5%-30% rosemary oil, for example, has shown a 100% mortality rate. Oregano, eucalyptus, and mint oils can also be used to treat the surfaces in your house or in the form of a spray, for example.

Do bear in mind that some essential oils can be toxic to pets and that some can be hazardous to human health if swallowed.

How to Get Rid of Roaches in Your Apartment Using Chemicals


All these devices act as baits – the trap features an attractant that lures the insects and an adhesive that gets them trapped.

The main downside of this method is that a single trap can catch only a few roaches at a time. But, in some cases, that might be enough.

You can place the traps under kitchen appliances, in cupboards, and in your bathroom.


Baits can come in the form of gels. You can apply spots of gel bait in the places where you have seen the cockroaches, or apply the solution directly into cracks and crevices.

Gels usually consist of an attractant and a special substance that will kill the roaches by ingestion or contact.

Bear in mind that these kinds of treatment involve dangerous chemicals and should be used in areas that are generally inaccessible.


Roach powders are, basically, slow-acting poison. The main advantage of this treatment is that it can be easily applied even in the most hard-to-reach places.

You can get a hand duster or a puffer duster to make the application process even easier.


Sprays can kill the roaches on contact but are usually used as a preventative measure.

Many sprays have a ‘residual’ performance, which means that they are going to stay active, in some cases, up to 6 months after being applied.

Tip: when looking for a spray, opt for one with an extendable nozzle and a 360-degree valve – these features will help make sure that you can use the spray upside-down.


A roach bomb or a fogger is a special device that works by spraying a chemical insecticide right into the air. The pesticide then falls to the ground and kills the pests on contact.

The majority of these bombs have to be placed in the center of the room on a table or chair and activated by removing a tab.

A bug bomb is packed with heavy insecticides and should be used only when no one is around. Foggers also can’t penetrate into the hidden locations where the majority of roaches like to live.


All the methods mentioned above certainly can kill some cockroaches, but, in a lot of cases, only a professional exterminator will be able to eliminate the problem.

To make sure that you didn’t go through all that for nothing, you have to take a few preventative measures to stop the roaches from coming back.

  • Keep the apartment clean and dry
  • Keep the food in sealed containers
  • Get rid of any entry points (around utility pipes, windows, doors, etc.)
  • Empty the trash whenever you can
  • Use roach repellants

Be patient and consistent and you would never have to relive the cockroach nightmare ever again.

Alright, that’s it for this article, here are a few hand-selected articles that you might also find interesting reads:

How Common Are Roaches in Apartments – Things To Know!

11 Tips to Prevent American Cockroaches

How To Get Rid Of CockRoaches FOREVER – YES SERIOUSLY!!

Steve Foster

Mad about bugs and wanting to publish as many articles as I can to help educate people about these amazing beautiful creatures! For more info check out my about page https://schoolofbugs.com/about-steve-foster/

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