Cockroaches can be found all around the house, in the bathroom, and the laundry room. Often seen in the washing machine, cockroaches are believed to be an unlikely guest among clothes.
Roaches can seem like they are in the washing machine by mistake. But they can be there on purpose since what they find inside is what they love the most.
Cockroaches can live in leaky or dirty washing machines. Moisture and warm electrical parts attract them inside, alongside food crumbs and food stains. They can survive in washing machines for up to a few weeks if they have food traces to feed on.
Cockroaches can live in washing machines if there’s food, moisture inside, or even a water leak in or around it. Old washing machines that generate a lot of heat attract certain types of roaches that like heat, such as Brown-banded and German cockroaches.
Eliminating cockroaches inside the washing machines involves getting rid of all food traces, damp clothes, and possible water leaks among other steps.
Why do cockroaches get into washing machines?
Cockroaches don’t have too many reasons to get into a new or unused washing machine. This changes considerably in the case of frequently used, old, and dirty washing machines.
Cockroaches are attracted to damp clothes
Damp clothes are a perfect hiding spot for cockroaches. Most roaches are attracted to high levels of humidity and damp clothes provide the perfect shelter for them.
Even more, cockroaches feel comfortable laying eggs in damp clothes. This is why you should never store damp clothes in the washing machine and why you need to wash them as soon as possible.
Food traces in laundry attract cockroaches
Food traces on laundry stored in washing machines attract cockroaches and flies. People with children know almost every wash cycle includes at least a few clothes with food traces on them.
These food traces can be food crumbs. But they can also be stains such as those resulting from soda drink spills. Sugary drinks attract roaches.
Cockroaches love warm appliances
Cockroaches rely on environmental heat to survive. Their body doesn’t produce heat and they need a warm place to survive.
American cockroaches love warm places. Almost all of their nests are found in warm places, especially when it comes to indoor cockroaches.
This is one of the reasons why American cockroaches nest behind or under appliances such as washing machines, ovens, and refrigerators.
The washing machine is connected to a dirty drain
Dirty drains or clogged drains in the laundry room are an ideal place for cockroaches to thrive in. American cockroaches (sewer roaches) are some of the most common bug species that love dirty clogged drains.
Some water bugs are also known for thriving and multiplying in drains that suffer from organic material buildup. These bugs can be eliminated by cleaning the drains and keeping them clean.
Baking soda and vinegar are just a few common home remedies against organic buildup in drains. You can also use professional products to eliminate organic buildup in drains. While a routine task, it works best before roaches and flies emerge from the drain.
Can cockroaches live in washing machines?
Cockroaches can get into washing machines easily. They can crawl inside or fly inside. Food traces, warmth, and high humidity levels attract them inside.
Roaches live inside the washing machine
Roaches can survive a long time in the washing machine. They might not survive in the drum itself, but they can easily squeeze past it and survive on electric parts or the bottom of the washing machine.
Roaches can also survive next to the drain of the washing machine, especially if there’s a leak and organic material buildup.
Cockroaches can live in the washing machine drum
Some cockroaches can survive a washing cycle, especially a washing cycle at low temperatures. These types of resilient roaches are sometimes believed to be dead but they lay eggs before they die.
These eggs can hatch later right in the washing machine. Cockroach eggs might not be killed by a low-temperature washing cycle.
Roaches can live in the soap tray
This is why occasional roaches might be found in the soap tray of the washing machine. Roaches can also chew through the cardboard container of powdered soap stored next to the washing machine. They like the cellulose in the cardboard.
Cockroaches can live around washing machines that leak
Water leaks are one of the main problems in washing machine cockroach invasions. Water can leak inside or next to the washing machine eventually leading to organic material buildup cockroaches love.
Interior washing machine leaks are harder to spot. You need to regularly inspect your washing machine for possible leaks to avoid roaches seeing it as the ideal nesting site in your home.
Cockroaches can live in dirty spaces around the washing machine
Washing machines that leak create humidity problems. Even a small water leak can raise humidity levels around the washing machine more than the average of your home. This invites cockroaches to nest next to it.
Cockroaches can be next in the dirty area affected by water leaks behind your washing machine and not be visible during the day. They might only come out at night (cockroaches are nocturnal) to eat.
A leaky washing machine in the bathroom can also attract cockroaches inside the bathroom. Water leaks can lead to mold formation.
Cockroaches don’t eat mold. However, mold quickly decomposes organic matter in the bathroom. Cockroaches are attracted to decaying organic matter more than to other types of food.
How to keep roaches away from the washing machine
Washing machines might not be the first option for roaches, but they can be a comfortable place for them to live in. You can keep cockroaches away from your washing machine with these strategies.
Don’t store clothes in the washing machine
Clothes, particularly damp clothes are known for attracting roaches through high humidity.
Dirty damp clothes with food traces on them are good places for cockroaches to lay eggs in.
You can expect damp clothes that sit for a long time to attract roaches that easily transition to the washing machine.
Try a hot water cycle
How water washing cycles might not be the best for clothes but these prevent cockroaches and cockroach eggs.
Temperatures above 125 degrees have been shown to kill roaches and roach eggs.
This is why you need to consider a hot wash cycle if you have roaches in your washing machine.
Detergent still needs to be added but clothes should not be added to a washing machine that has roaches in it.
Use natural repellents near the washing machine
Some solutions for the washing machine aren’t in it, but next to it.
Spraying essential oils around the washing machine creates an invisible barrier that keeps roaches out.
Cockroaches don’t like essential oils that have a pungent smell.
Very aromatic essential oils are known to disturb roaches to the point they turn around and move in another direction.
You can spray essential oils around the house to completely seal off the area and also make it smell nice while repelling cockroaches.
Does detergent kill cockroaches?
Detergent can kill roaches, but it has to cover them up completely. Powdered detergent is considered the best against roaches in washing machines as it creates a rich foam that engulfs and kills cockroaches.
Detergent diluted in water can also be sprayed on roaches to kill them. It eats the exoskeleton of these bugs killing them in a matter of hours or even on the spot in the case of heavy applications/
Does bug spray kill cockroaches in the washing machine?
Bug spray kills cockroaches and some people consider using it in the washing machine. You can spray the washing machine to clear out all cockroaches but this doesn’t eliminate roach eggs.
To complete the cycle you have to use a hot water washing machine cycle or clear out all the eggs inside by vacuuming the washing machine.
Cockroach eggs are small and you might overlook them with the spray. This is why it’s best to use multiple cleaning techniques to ensure you clear out roach eggs.
Can cockroaches infest new washing machines?
New washing machines can be infested by cockroaches similar to old washing machines. Roaches are attracted to warmth and moisture which are present from the first washing cycle of a washing machine.
Cockroaches can infest a home and nest in the washing machine as they like dark places as well. The space behind the washing machine is as common of a nesting spot as the space behind cabinets.
Roaches can also infest washing machines whenever there’s a dirty train in the laundry room. Organic material buildup in the drain attracts cockroaches. While the washing machine might be new, the drain can already be the home of emerging cockroaches when dirty.