How to Get Rid of Roaches in Dishwasher

Have you ever spotted a cockroach while putting your dirty dishes in a dishwasher? Did that creepy creature lead you to shout for help and simultaneously make you question your cleanliness standards?

Unfortunately, roaches are the most common and challenging pests found in almost every household. They live in warm and hostile environments, and hence your dishwasher offers them a perfect home. Interestingly, they can live there and breed for as long as they want until you finally notice them. 

Eliminating roaches from your dishwasher isn’t impossible, but it is a challenging task at times. However, lucky for you, this guide will help you get rid of these roaches for good. Dig in for some interesting tips and tricks. 

Why Do Cockroaches Enter Your Dishwasher Anyway?

Most people often refer to roaches as indestructible. That’s because they breed pretty fast and are usually found in unbelievable places. However, the truth is that they are like any other pest or animal. 

Roaches look for food, water, and shelter, and any place or corner that offers them all these essentials becomes worthy of their home. So, even if you keep the rest of your kitchen clean, your dishwasher may still contain all these elements. 


Your dishwasher makes dirty dishes clean, which otherwise contain ample food bits that cockroaches can feed on. At times you may rinse your plates or bowls before putting them in the refrigerator. But even in that case, some food particles might be left to curb the hunger of these roaches. 

Interestingly, cockroaches aren’t fussy eaters. From a sauce layer to small food chunks, a cockroach loves to eat anything and everything to survive. 

How to get rid of roaches in dishwasher

Removing all the food particles from your dishes is wise before putting them in a dishwasher. However, at times these residues are so rigid that they become hard to remove, and then instead of flowing through the drain, they get stuck in it. Roaches see that as an opportunity, as they can even access drainage pipes for food. 


A dishwasher is a perfect source of water for these pests. From drains to clean dishes, water particles are present everywhere. Besides, most dishwashers have an inner lining that contains water droplets due to high humidity levels. 

What’s more, in some cases, your dishwasher might be leaking. This means that most water might be settling on the floor, offering cockroaches another excellent opportunity to survive. 


If you own an old dishwasher, the chances are that it may contain faulty ventilation. It might not have a proper air vent, which means that the water collected in the machine may take days to dry out completely. This helps create a damp environment for roaches which is perfect for them to thrive. 

Dark Shelter

Roaches love a home that is both dark and quiet, and that’s what dishwashers are from inside. The compartments contain both food and water and are extremely dark. 

Alternatively, roaches may hide in the back or under your dishwasher. Again, since these spots are confined and dark, cockroaches find them perfect for breeding and surviving.

cockroach hiding in kitchen

How Do Cockroaches Enter Your Dishwasher? 

Even if you keep your dishwasher clean all the time and make sure that it performs well, the machine may still contain some food particles and water that are enough to feed these pests. But how do roaches enter the dishwasher?

Since a dishwasher is a  machine, gaps or loose seals might allow these pests to enter the unit. Alternatively, if you are always in a hurry, you may at times leave the door of the machine open after using it. Unfortunately, most of us do this without realizing that we are welcoming these pests ourselves. 

Also, you may find most roaches big and fat, but they are often quite flexible. For example, they can squeeze through small holes or gaps present in your unit, making their way to the internal compartments of your dishwasher. 

In some cases, roaches prefer staying under the unit instead of inside your dishwasher. There is usually a good enough gap between the unit and the floor to allow the dishwasher’s plumbing system to adjust. In addition, this place is both dark and moist, allowing roaches to survive as long as possible. 

So, yes, if you thought that roaches were innocent pests, think again. Since they have only a few basic demands for survival, they can be found anywhere, including your dishwasher. So having them in your place is like welcoming various health issues. 

While these pests don’t bite, they have the potential to cause various types of allergies. Besides, they can also trigger asthma symptoms, and their waste isn’t something you want to keep in your house. 

So, instead of making roaches your house pests, it is better to find ways to get rid of them. Whether they are inside your dishwasher or underneath it, many tricks and tips can help you win this war against them. The next section of this guide will look at both natural and chemical methods to eliminate roaches from your dishwasher. 

Getting Rid of Roaches from Your Dishwasher

You might already have an idea that roaches are resilient creatures that adapt quickly. This is why it is pretty hard to kill them. And above all, when they are in a dishwasher, it becomes tougher to eliminate them. 

This unit has many compartments and corners that are impossible for a human to reach. So, even if you spot a cockroach, you may find it hard to reach it because it may hide in a corner that is impossible for you to access. 

However, the good news is that you can still catch this creature in many different ways. Let’s look at some natural methods first. 

Clean Your Dishwasher

Since a cockroach can hide in even the most confined spots, some deep cleaning is the best way to deal with it. So as soon as you spot this pest, get on a cleaning spree like never before. 

From compartments to drains, look for all the common and uncommon places that might be infested. The drain, in particular, is dark with water and blocked food particles, making it a perfect place for cockroaches to survive. So make sure to pull it out and give it a good wash. 

Once you are satisfied with your cleaning, run the unit without any dishes to allow any stuck cockroaches to move out easily. 

If you think the roaches are under your unit, take a vacuum cleaner and remove their mess first. This may contain food scraps, feces, and other dirt particles. 

Also, if possible, mix some bleach with water and wipe the surfaces under and around your dishwasher. This tip can eliminate the smell of roaches

Use Vinegar to Sanitize Your Unit

You can also sanitize your dishwasher when there are no dishes present inside. Simply place one cup of vinegar on the top rack of your unit and switch on your dishwasher. Make sure to run it on the hottest cycle. 

Since roaches are not used to surviving in extreme heat, the hot air will push them out, and the vinegar will simultaneously sanitize your dishwasher. 

Use Natural Repellents

If you think that there is more than one cockroach in your dishwasher, use natural repellents to push them away. 

Cockroaches hate certain smells and oils, which makes it difficult for the pests to survive in their presence. While these repellants can’t kill roaches, they can definitely help to kick them out. 

The natural repellents you can choose include peppermint oil, oregano oil, and eucalyptus oil. Simply place open containers of these oils around your dishwasher or even inside it, and see the roaches leave the place within days. 

Apply Boric Acid 

A repellant and a killer, boric acid works efficiently to eliminate cockroaches from your dishwasher. Simply spread some acid around the dishwasher and even underneath it. If you suspect roaches in the other kitchen parts, don’t hesitate to apply the acid to these suspected spots as well.  

While using this roach killer, keep your kids and pets away. When inhaled or even consumed, boric acid can prove quite dangerous for health. It is a toxic powder, and hence its bottle should always be kept away from your children and pets. 

Use Baits and Traps

Instead of going for small roaches, attack the adults first. They are the source of infestation that might cause natural anxiety every day, so handle them first and then go for their little ones. 

You can easily find traps and baits especially designed for cockroaches. They are pretty affordable and can trap roaches in any part of your home. So, what are they made of?

Traps usually contain a sticky material that catches these roaches. They look like cardboard cut into thin sheets and have sticky glue on one side. You can slide these traps under your dishwasher with some food and catch many adult cockroaches in one go. 

Alternatively, you can also use baits for this task. Baits are food particles sprayed with insecticides that roaches consume and damage their nervous system. 

Interestingly, baits are pretty effective. That’s because roaches love to share food and then consume their peers’ feces and vomit. They also even eat other dead cockroaches

So, any cockroach that consumes bait passes down its effects to the rest, killing the entire army within a few days. Therefore, it is best to place the bait in areas where the cockroaches will easily find it. Spots such as in the back of the dishwasher, underneath it, and around it are pretty accessible for the roaches. 

Make sure to check the status of the bait after every two days. Then, after three days, remove it and place a new one if it’s still there. Roaches like fresh baits, so make sure you provide them with that. 

Apply Insecticidal Dust

If the above tips haven’t helped you much in your mission, go for insecticides. There are many insecticidal dusts present in the market that are much less harmful than sprays. The most common of them all is the Diatomaceous Earth which helps destroy the exoskeleton of roaches, and as a result, they dehydrate to death. 

Make sure to use this dust under or around the dishwasher. But, again, keep your kids and pets away from the areas where the dust is present. 

Practice Preventative Measures 

Sometimes you don’t have enough time to deal with these pests. So, the best way to handle them is by preventing them from entering your dishwasher in the first place. 

You can achieve that by keeping your unit’s door shut. Moreover, remove the trash daily and clean your dishwasher frequently. In addition, sanitize the units once every two weeks and clean the drain for any stuck food particles. 

You should also look for any leaks or gaps in your unit. Such things are commonly found in both new and old dishwashers, but sealing them is necessary to keep all the pests out. 

When Should You Take Professional Help?

Even after following all the precautions and tips, you still find cockroaches around or inside your dishwasher; there is a high chance of a roach infestation. Therefore, it is imperative to eliminate these roaches from your entire house and not just your dishwasher. 

For that, calling a professional will be the wisest decision you will make. These people will clean your dishwasher from these pests and make sure that the hell-raisers leave your home, never to come back. 

Final Words

It is a nightmare to find a cockroach lurking in your dishwasher. Roaches are uninvited guests that won’t bite you but can spread diseases and can even trigger some asthma symptoms in a few people. 

However, instead of panicking, it is best to take action and get rid of these pests for good. You can either opt for a natural method or try chemicals to eliminate roaches; the choice is yours. In addition, you can also practice some preventive measures to block their entry in the first place. 

In case of an infestation, hire a professional who can eliminate these roaches from your dishwasher and house. It is necessary, especially if you can’t control their existence on your own. 

Similar Posts