How to Get Rid of Cockroaches in Kitchen Cabinets

Have you ever encountered the horror of cockroaches in your kitchen? These critters are unpleasant enough wherever you find them, but anywhere near food, they are definite nightmare fuel. Today, we’re going to look at how to get rid of cockroaches in kitchen cabinets.

There are a few things you can do if you’ve ended up in this situation, including poisoning them, sealing off their entry points, and removing all sources of food and water. Make sure you clean thoroughly too!

What Are The Dangers Of Cockroaches In The Kitchen?

You really don’t want cockroaches anywhere in your home, but the kitchen is one of the worst places you could possibly find them; here, they are spreading disease to surfaces that you are going to touch with your hands and with the food you’re about to consume.

Cockroaches can be responsible for some nasty diseases too, including salmonella, typhoid fever, dysentery, cholera, and more. They often inhabit bathrooms and can easily track germs from these toilet spaces to your food prep area – not nice!

In the kitchen cabinets, cockroaches will climb onto and into food boxes, over crockery, and among cutlery and drinking glasses. You do not want their germ-covered feet touching the things you plan to consume, and you should also remember that cockroaches cause allergic reactions in some people, which is all the more reason to remove them.

You should throw away food that has been touched by cockroaches, rather than risk the really nasty diseases you might encounter if you ingest it. You will also need to thoroughly disinfect your kitchen.

Step One: Empty The Cabinets

So, let’s look at how to get rid of cockroaches in kitchen cabinets as effectively as possible.

The very first step you need to take involves emptying your kitchen cabinets completely. Start with the one where you think the cockroaches are, but don’t dismiss the others. Cockroaches wander around a lot and they have likely explored other places even if you can’t see any evidence of this.

You should put everything to one side to be cleaned and wiped down later. Pans, plates, dishes, and all other food-related items should be washed thoroughly in soapy water to remove any chance of contamination.

Step Two: Clean The Cabinets

Next, you should clean in and around the cabinets. This can be done with a disinfectant spray or some diluted bleach to make sure you kill any and all germs. White vinegar is a natural alternative if you prefer not to use man-made chemicals in your kitchen; this will kill all germs that could be lingering on the surfaces.

Wipe down shelves, up the inner edges of the cabinet, over the doors, and on the underside of the shelves – essentially, all parts of the cabinet should be cleaned with a sterile solution. Cockroaches can climb and fly, so don’t assume that any parts are out of reach for them; they will often have touched areas that seem hard to get to.

Once you are confident that the cabinets are clean, leave them to air, and then move on to the next step; killing the cockroaches. You will have to clean again afterward, but it is nonetheless a good idea to clean first as well. Sterile spaces cut off a cockroach’s food supply and make the cabinets less appealing to them.

How to get rid of cockroaches in kitchen cabinets

Step Three: Kill The Cockroaches

There are many different approaches you can use at this stage, so choose whichever suits you. If you have pets, it is a good idea to check any warning labels on the products that you use. Even if you are only spraying in a cabinet, it’s better to be cautious and choose pet-friendly options when you can.

So, what should you use to kill the cockroaches? We’ll run through some of the various options so you can decide.

Soap And Water

Firstly, soap and water. You will probably have these to hand, and they are inexpensive and pet-friendly. You should mix equal parts dish soap and water in a spray bottle, and liberally spray the cupboard and any cockroaches you can see.

The soap will coat the cockroaches and suffocate them, killing them quickly and effectively. This may need repeat treatments so you kill hatching cockroaches too.


Borax can be purchased reasonably cheaply and it is a great way to kill many different kinds of insects. It is an effective cleaning product, but all you need to do is sprinkle some around in the cabinets in your kitchen and you will find the cockroaches die quickly.

You can also scrub the cabinets down with it and then sprinkle some more for a secondary treatment and effective cleaning.

Cimexa Dust

Note: Could a link to Amazon be added here?

This powder can be purchased easily online and it will kill any cockroach that crawls through it. It relies on a physical effect, not a chemical one because the dust damages the exoskeleton of the cockroach.

With their exoskeletons damaged, the cockroaches quickly lose moisture, and then they dry up and die. You can use diatomaceous earth for the same effect.

Sprinkle this liberally around any cracks and crevices to kill cockroaches passing through, and to deter any more from arriving. You do need to make sure that you sprinkle it in unbroken lines, or the cockroaches will simply walk around it.

If you’re using diatomaceous earth, make sure you (and any pets) don’t breathe it in as it is not good for your lungs. Otherwise, it’s harmless.

Use A Killer Spray

There are a lot of cockroach-killing products on the market, and an aerosol is often an easy way to rain death upon these unwelcome insects. However, the disadvantage of this method is that the sprays themselves tend to be quite toxic and dangerous, and you don’t really want to be spraying them in your kitchen.

If you are going to use them, ventilate your kitchen thoroughly and then leave the house for a few hours, taking pets, children, and other household members with you. The aerosol should give you an indication of how long the product lingers in the air, but you may wish to wait a bit longer just to be safe.

It is also a good idea to remove all food from the kitchen before using this sort of spray in your cabinets. The chemicals will not be designed for consumption and could make you as sick as (or sicker than) the cockroaches would.

Vacuum Them Up

Vacuuming is an effective way to remove adult cockroaches and the debris left from their skins and feces. If you have a vacuum to hand, this is often quick and effective. However, you should remember that you’ll need to deal with any eggs that hatch later, or you’ll be back to square one.

If you are going to vacuum up cockroaches, you also need to be ready to block off escape routes. You may find it helps to have someone else close by to help with this because cockroaches are very fast movers and will run away from you, diving into cracks out of reach.

When you have finished, you should remove the bag from your vacuum cleaner and dispose of it in an outdoor garbage bin. Because cockroaches can cause allergies, you should not leave them inside your vacuum cleaner unless you have the appropriate filter. Even then, removal is the best option.

Gel Baits

Another easy-to-buy product, gel baits are an excellent way to deal with adult cockroaches. You simply apply pea-sized blobs of gel around inside the kitchen cabinet. The cockroaches will eat the gel, and die from poisoning.

This is simple, effective, and minimal effort. However, as with some of the other methods, it will only take care of adult and juvenile cockroaches. The eggs will remain.

You will have to do this repeatedly to get rid of them for good, so be prepared for that. It is often a good idea to put gel bait on a piece of cardboard so that you can easily remove it and the dead cockroaches when it has done its work.

Gel baits are particularly good because there is no risk of them getting into your food or lungs, and you don’t have to fumigate the kitchen. Just apply the bait and wait for it to start working. If one brand doesn’t work for you, try some others out.

You should put the gel anywhere that you think the cockroaches might be, and you’ll soon notice the infestation numbers dwindling.

Glue Traps

Not the nicest option, glue traps are nonetheless a pest control method you can use. These will not get rid of a cockroach infestation in a kitchen cabinet, but they can help you to reduce the numbers, and they’ll make it easier to estimate how many are left.

Get Rid Of Water

All insects need water to survive, and cockroaches are no exception to that rule, no matter how invincible they seem. Most roaches prefer damp, dark spaces, and if you can dry out any spills in your kitchen, you’re less likely to end up with these nasty insects in your kitchen cabinets.

You should particularly keep an eye out for spills under the kitchen sink. If your pipes are leaking or there’s a dripping tap, you’ll find cockroaches are far more likely to move in, especially if they can get behind the cabinets.

Call a plumber and dry out the cabinets thoroughly, as well as wipe up any spills in the kitchen. This should minimize the chances of ending up with cockroaches in your home.

Get Rid Of Food

Cockroaches can go for a long time without food, so this won’t work on its own, but you can use it in conjunction with other techniques, and it should definitely be part of your cockroach removal strategy.

Remove food sources and any spilled food from your kitchen cabinets and even your kitchen as a whole. This may be a nuisance, but it’s important to do. Not only will it stop your food from getting contaminated, but it will reduce the number of cockroaches by cutting down their food supply.

Couple this with a thorough cleaning routine, sweeping and mopping floors, and wiping down counters to minimize food remnants or the scent of food, and you will find that there are fewer cockroaches around.

Baking Soda And Sugar

Another cheap and store-cupboard way of killing off cockroaches is this simple mixture. The roaches are interested in the sugar and will eat the mixture, but the baking soda will kill them. This is quick and effective, and you may already have the other ingredients in the cupboard.

Killing a cockroach using spray


You can also use a few things to deter cockroaches. This is well worth doing both before and after you get rid of them, as it can stop them from coming back, and put them off staying as well. It probably won’t work indefinitely, but it can still help you get infestations under control and prevent future ones.

So, what are the top cockroach deterrents?

Bay Leaves

These fragrant leaves are much liked by humans, but much hated by cockroaches. They will steer a clear path around them, and if you put bay leaves in your kitchen cabinets, you are much less likely to end up with cockroaches in them.

You will need to refresh the bay leaves every so often in order to keep the scent strong and make sure they keep repelling cockroaches. This will not work on its own to keep cockroaches away (as they are highly adaptable insects and will adjust to pretty much anything), but it will help.


A pleasant, leafy scent, this isn’t bad to have in the kitchen. You can use eucalyptus oil as a way of deterring cockroaches from coming into your kitchen cabinets. You will need to refresh the smell a few times a month, but it will help to keep your cabinets insect-free.

Try sprinkling a few drops on paper towels and leaving these in the cabinets so you don’t stain the cabinets by adding the oil directly to them. You can keep using the same piece of paper towel, simply adding a few more drops of oil whenever the smell fades.


Good for deterring many unwanted insects, lavender is a great way to keep cockroaches out of your kitchen cabinets. It is edible so it won’t harm your food, and its lovely scent will permeate your kitchen with calm – while stopping any insects from taking up residence in your kitchen cabinets.

Sprinkle dried lavender around the cupboards and refresh from time to time, ensuring that the smell stays strong and keeps the cockroaches away.


Another kitchen-safe scent that cockroaches hate and people like is citrus. You can sprinkle citrus-based essential oils like lemon, grapefruit, or orange around, or you can use orange peels.

Refresh the peels or the oil from time to time, and make sure you clean up any peel before it has had a chance to go moldy (or you’ll have another issue on your hands).

What Else Should I Do?

What other things should you check over when you’re dealing with a cockroach infestation in a kitchen cabinet? Well, it is a good idea to look at other areas in the kitchen and in your home.

Try and move furniture to see if cockroaches are hiding behind or under it. Pull out the garbage can, remove any garbage, and look under the sink or around any pipes.

Check the bathroom, too, as this is a popular spot with cockroaches because it is often damp. Look near water sources or in any dark, undisturbed corners.

It’s important to make sure you don’t have infestations in other parts of the home at the same time as addressing one in the kitchen, or the cockroaches may come straight back. You should also try to identify any potential areas that your kitchen cabinet cockroaches might try and move into when you disturb them.

Clean and dry these areas before they can become a problem, and you may save yourself a lot of work in the long run.

It’s also a good idea to work out where the cockroaches have come from. Use a flashlight or your phone to identify cracks and holes in the walls or around pipes, and seal these off with an appropriate material as soon as you can to stop cockroaches from coming back once you’ve gotten rid of them.

You should try and look for cockroaches at night in particular, as this is when they are active, and you will rarely see them during the day. Move quietly and use a flashlight so you have a chance of spotting them.

Keep cleaning while dealing with the infestation, particularly on any surfaces that are used to prepare food. This will minimize the risk of infection and also deprive cockroaches of the meals they need to stay in your home.


Now you know how to get rid of cockroaches in kitchen cabinets. Top methods include poisons, powders, traps, and deterrents. Any of these or a combination should remove the insects from your home.

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