How to Get Rid of Cockroaches in Car

One of the most common pieces of advice you’ll get on how to remove roaches from your car is to set off a bug bomb or fogger.

But while bombs can work, they contaminate your entire car with toxic chemicals.

So what’s the alternative?

Here we’ll go over four more natural and safer ways to eliminate roaches inside your car.

Let’s get into it.

1. Steam and Vaccum

Steaming raises the temperature in your car above what roaches can survive.

While there are steam units and vacuums designed for specifically for insect control, the one you have at home
should be sufficient.

Most steamers can make your car as hot as 212-230°F, which is way past the limit roaches can handle (115° F to 120° F).

Here’s a step-by-step instruction on how to steam your car to remove roaches:

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Step 1: Clean Your Vehicle

Clean up your car so that the roaches will have nowhere to hide.

Remove any trash, containers, or papers from your car.

You’ll also want to remove any clutter such as bags, books, clothes, etc.

Setp 2: Steam

Begin steaming at the front seat of your car.

Next, steam the carpet and the rest of the car.

Be thorough and make sure to apply the steam to all corners and crevices in your:

  • In between seats
  • Side, under, and top of seat cushions.
  • Between armrest
  • Under and in between seats
  • Inside A/C vents
  • Inside your dashboard
  • Under Carpets
  • Plastic door casings
  • Trunk

Step 3: Vacuum

Once you’re done, remove the dead roaches with a vacuum.

Here is a video that will help guide you through using a steamer for the first time.

 


A word of caution:

Using steam to get rid of roaches is time-consuming.

If you do not have the time to steam every inch of your car correctly, this method is not for you.

You can also hire a professional to steam your car for you.

2. Use Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth kills insects by destroying their exoskeletons.

First, DE absorbs the oily and waxy outer cuticle layer found on a cockroaches exoskeleton.

Once the outer layer is destroyed, cockroaches lose water and die from dehydration.

Here’s a step-by-step instruction on how to use Diatomaceous earth remove roaches in your car:

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Step 1. Clean Your Vehicle

Clean your vehicle.

Remove the source of food, water, and shelter from your car.

You’ll also want to remove any clutter such as bags, books, clothes, etc. so the roaches won’t be able to hide.

Step 2: Use Bait

On wax paper, apply a thin layer of DE on all the surfaces of your car. Make sure to get into hard to reach areas as well. 

Then place a teaspoon of peanut butter of 2×2 pieces of wax paper. Create about six of these.

This extra step will make sure that the roaches will walk over the DE.

Place two wax papers in the front seat, two in the back seat, and 2 in the trunk.

Close your windows to make sure the roaches don’t go out.

Leave the DE in your car overnight for full effect.

Step 3: Vacuum

Vacuum your car thoroughly to remove any dead roaches.

Caution:

Although DE has a low toxicity level for humans, it can damage the respiratory tract when ingested.

3. Use Boric Acid

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Borax has been a household item for a little over a century.

It’s an all-natural ingredient used in many household products, such as laundry detergent and multi-purpose cleaning solutions.

But borax can do more than clean your house.

It’s also effective at killing roaches!

Step 1: Clean Your Vehicle

Clean your vehicle

Remove the source of food, water, and shelter from your car.

You’ll also want to remove any clutter such as bags, books, clothes, etc. so the roaches won’t be able to hide.

Step 2: Apply Boric Acid

But there’s a catch.

Borax can’t kill roaches only by contact; they need to ingest it.

So how do we make them eat borax?

There’s a couple of ways.

The first is to spread a thin layer of borax throughout your car.

Roaches regularly groom themselves but running their antenna through their mouths and eyes.

So while the immediate contact with borax with not kill roaches, but they will eventually ingest what boric acid gets on them.

The other way is to use it as a bait.

Roaches are not attracted to borax.

But you can get around this by combining boric acid with food.

Here are a few recipes you can try:

  • Egg yolks – Boil four eggs and remove the eggs yolks. Then add ½ cup of boric acid and ½ cup of sugar and mix until you reach playdough like consistency. If necessary, add more sugar to achieve the desired consistency.
  • Peanut Butter – Mix one teaspoon of peanut butter for every two tablespoons of borax.
  • Cocoa Powder and Flour – Mix 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, one tablespoon boric acid, and 2 tablespoons white flour. Add a few drops of water until consistency reaches a dough-like texture.

Similar to using DE, you want to make at least six baits.

Place two wax papers in the front seat, two in the back seat, and 2 in the trunk.

Close your windows to make sure the roaches don’t go out.

Leave the boric acid in your car overnight for full effect.

Step 3: Vacuum

Vacuum your car thoroughly to remove any remaining boric acid bait or  powder in your car. 

This is also a good time to vacuum any dead roaches that may be laying around in your car.

Caution: 

Ingesting boric acid is dangerous, when vacuuming wearing a mask is advisable. 

4. Use Gel Bait

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Gel bait is one of the most effective ways to eliminate cockroach infestations.

This control method is highly effective because it implements tertiary kills.

Here’s what I mean.

When cockroaches ingest gel bait, they don’t die right away.

Instead, they return to their home where they defecate.

But gel baits turn cockroach feces into poison.

And because juvenile roaches (nymphs) rely on adult feces to survive, the contaminated feces will kill them.

But the killing doesn’t end there.

Once the nymphs die, they pass on the poison to the other cockroaches that eat their bodies.

Bait gel can take one of two forms.

  1. Bait Stations
  2. Syringe or Tube

For your car, I recommend using a syringe as they’ll allow you to get the formula into small holes and crevices.

Step 1: Clean Your Vehicle

Remove the source of food, water, and shelter from your car.

You’ll also want to remove any clutter such as bags, books, clothes, etc. so the roaches won’t be able to hide.

Step 2: Apply Gel Bait

Apply to gel bait to all corners and crevices:

  • In between seats
  • Side, under, and top of seat cushions.
  • Between armrest
  • Under and in between seats
  • Inside A/C vents
  • Inside your dashboard
  • Under Carpets
  • Plastic door casings
  • Trunk

To avoid staining your car with gel bait, apply a small piece of scotch tape where you want to apply it. This will also make it easy to remove later. 

Leave the gel bait in the car 1-2 days.

 Make sure to close the windows to prevent the roaches from escaping.

Step 3: Vacuum

Vacuum your car thoroughly to remove any dead roaches.

5. Use Dust Bait

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Similar to DE, dust bait comes in the form of powder.

When roaches walk over the dust, it will get all over their bodies.

Since roaches groom themselves frequently, they will eat the dust and die.

Dust bait comes with a small hand pump or tube, making them perfect for getting deep into small crevices and wall voids.

Step 1: Clean Your Vehicle

Remove the source of food, water, and shelter from your car.

You’ll also want to remove any clutter such as bags, books, clothes, etc. so the roaches won’t be able to hide.

Step 2: Apply Dust Bait

Apply to all corners and crevices:

  • In between seats
  • Side, under, and top of seat cushions.
  • Between armrest
  • Under and in between seats
  • Inside A/C vents
  • Inside your dashboard
  • Under Carpets
  • Plastic door casings
  • Trunk

The best way to apply this is using a pump. Pump the bait across your car until you can see a nice even distribution for the cockroaches to eat. 

Leave the dust bait in the car 1-2 days.

Make sure to close the windows to prevent the roaches from escaping.

Step 3: Vacuum

Vacuum your car thoroughly to remove any dead roaches.

Why You Shouldn’t Use A Roach Bomb In Your Car

But while bombs can work in eliminating roaches in your car, they contaminate your entire vehicle with toxic chemicals.

When the bomb goes off, the powder disperses into the air and settles on everything.

This process covers the interior of your car with toxic chemicals.

It can cause illness when inhaled.

Plus, they don’t always work.

Bug bombs can’t target essential areas such as small holes, under seats, and carpet where cockroaches typically hide.

Thus, you’ll almost always need to use multiple bombs for it to be effective.

But even then, there’s a chance that it won’t work ultimately.

Bug bombs are also extremely flamable and in some cases have started fires. 

How do You Keep Roaches From Coming Back Into Your Car?

Once you’ve gotten rid of roaches in your car, it’s essential to take steps to keep them from coming back.

The most important step is to maintain a clean car.

Don’t eat or drink in your car.

When you eat in your car, make sure to clean thoroughly, so you don’t leave behind crumbs.

Roaches can’t survive in your car without food and water.

By keeping your car clean, they wouldn’t be able to stick around.

Another thing you can do is to park your car on a different spot.

There is a chance that roaches are living near the areas where you park your car.

If you can, avoid parking near sewage opening, garbage disposals and drains.

Keep your car clean and tidy. Remove any clutter, such as clothes, bags, and plastic containers. These provide shelter for the roaches, so make sure to remove them from your car.

The Dangers of Having Roaches in Your Vehicle

Bugs inside of your car aren’t just gross. They’re a danger as well.

Cockroaches walk around filth and feces and easily spread bacteria and other pathogens.

These bacterias can cause salmonella and infections such as staphylococcus and streptococcus.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cockroaches can also cause dysentery, diarrhea, cholera, and typhoid fever.

Another often overlooked side-effect of cockroaches is the allergic reactions they cause in human beings.

This is especially concerning for those with asthma.

Research by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation (AAFA) has shown that the enzymes found in excrement, shedding body parts, eggs, and saliva can trigger both allergic reactions and asthma attacks.

Not to mention what could happen if one crawled on you while driving, and you accidentally drove off a cliff.

Where to Inspect Roaches in Your car

Clothing or bags in your car provide ideal shelter for roaches, so remove and inspect these first.

Next, check under and around your seats.

Look if there are any small holes and tears in the fabric and check there.

Inspect under your carpet, glove compartment, and trunk.

How to Tell When Your Car is Infested With Cockroaches

1. Fecal droppings

Finding cockroach feces in your car is a good sign of a cockroach infestation.

Adult droppings will look like ground pepper or coffee grounds.

Juvenile roaches (nymph) will have a small grey, black, or yellowish stains.

Some key areas to look are under your seats, inside door storage areas, in the corners of your trunk.

You’ll also want to check inside your glove compartment or center console.

The higher the number of roach droppings, the higher the level of infestation.

2. Cockroach eggs and carcasses.

Check for the dead roaches, egg and skin casings, and body parts from around your car.

3. Odor

Try to pick up the musty, oily, pungent odor. Cockroach odor is typical, even with small infestations.

4. Cockroach sighted during the day.

Cockroaches are nocturnal species. If you find them during the day, they’re likely forced out of their usual hiding space by other roaches.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I Use a Bug Bomb to Eliminate Cockroaches in My Car?

Yes, but it’s not an ideal solution.

While bombs can work in eliminating roaches in your car, they contaminate your entire vehicle with toxic chemicals.

When the bomb goes off, the powder disperses into the air and settles on everything.

These toxic chemicals get stuck in fabric, car seats, and even car vents.

If you breathe them in, it can cause illness.

Besides these dangers, they don’t work well.

Bug bombs only reach surface-level areas.

It can’t target essential areas such as small holes, under seats, and carpet where cockroaches typically hide.

As such, you’ll almost always need to use multiple bombs for it to be effective. But even then, there’s a chance that it won’t work ultimately.

Can You Fumigate Your Car?

Yes. You can fumigate your car but i would not recommend it. 

While this method is effective it does contaminate your car. 

Your car will be left with toxic chemicals in the fabric and vents. 

Also if you have a professional fumigated your car it will likely be expensive. 

If you decide to do it on your own be sure to wear masks and protective gloves. 

Can You Spray Your Car With Raid?

Yes. You can spray your car with Raid. 

Raid is useful if you only have a few cockroaches in your car. 

If won’t require you to use a large amount and kills cockroaches on contact. 

If you have a larger infestation, you can use it but I don’t recommend it. 

Using Raid on large infestations will require you to expose yourself and car to toxic chemicals. 

When using Raid be sure to wear a face masks and gloves. 

What Will Keep Roaches Away From Your Car?

The best thing to do to keep roaches away from your car is to keep it clean.

Roaches can’t survive without food and water. If you remove these from your car, they will have no reason to stay.

To be safe, you can also spray repellants outside your car.

Spray repellants on the bottom of your car.

Don’t spray repellants on places you typically touch, such as your door and door handles.

You can also use repellants inside your car.

For this, I recommend using a natural repellent like essential oils.

Some of the most effective ones are:

  1. Orange Oil
  2. Oregano Oil
  3. Rosemary Oil
  4. Peppermint Oil

Put a few drops of one of these oils in cotton balls and place them under your car seat.

Reapply several drops of essential oil every 3-4 days for the best results.

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