How to Get Rid of Roaches Overnight

Can you get rid of cockroaches overnight?

The short answer: YES.

But it will depend on how bad your infestation is.

In most cases, you can eliminate light infestations in 1 to 2 days.

But larger infestations can take anywhere between a week to months to eliminate. That’s true even with professional help.

In this article, we’ll go over how to eliminate roaches overnight in light infestations.

1. Clean

The first step to eliminating roaches overnight is cleaning.

Eliminate any potential food sources for cockroaches to survive on.

The less food available, the more likely that the roaches will eat the bait we’re going to set up in later steps.

Make sure you :

  • Clean your dishes
  • Wipe your counters and stove
  • Seal your food
  • Throw your trash and cover your trash bin.

You’ll also want to clean unexposed areas:

  • Clean under your appliances and furniture.
  • Clean your cabinets and kitchen drawers.
  • Clean under the bathroom and kitchen sinks.
  • Under, on the front and behind the refrigerator.
  • Under and inside the microwave.
  • Clean the corners of your walls as grease, crumbs, and hair tend to build up there.
  • Clean drains and garbage disposal.
  • Clean your pantry. Make sure to seal all food so roaches can’t get to them.

2. Declutter to Minimize Hiding Spots

Roaches love to stay in places where they can easily hide.

And a cluttered home is like a big playground to them.

Piles of books, clothing, and papers are all great hiding spots for a roach.

Stacks of books and clothes in your attic or basement are excellent places for roaches to mate and hide their eggs.

The more stuff you have, the better for them.

To keep roaches away, remove the items in your house that you don’t need.

Organize your closet and cabinets to minimize places where roaches can hide.

Staying organized plays an essential role in keeping roaches out of your home.

Less clutter means fewer places for the roaches to hide.

3. Apply Gel Bait Around Your Home

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.

Gel baits turn cockroach feces into poison.

When a cockroach ingests gel bait, they don’t die right away.

Instead, roaches return to their homes where they defecate.

Because juvenile roaches (nymphs) rely on feces to survive, the toxic wastes will kill them.

But the termination doesn’t end there.

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

Gel Bait typically takes around 24 hours to take effect with secondary and tertiary kills kicking in within 2-5 days.

Gel bait alone will not kill all your roaches overnight, but it will reduce them significantly.

And can terminate them entirely within a week.

Bait gel can take one of two forms.

  1. Bait Stations
  2. Syringe or Tube

Bait stations are in small containers and are easy to move around.

That said, they can be limiting.

Bait stations can’t access smaller areas where roaches travel, such as holes and crevices on walls, cabinets, and floors.

For the most effective treatment, I recommend using bait stations in conjunction with the syringe.

Place bait in open areas such as inside your kitchen cabinets, on the corners of your walls and countertops.

Next, syringes to apply treatment into all tiny cracks and crevices around your home.

I recommend applying a pea-sized drop about every two feet so that the roaches can quickly access the bait.

Here are some ideal locations.

  • Tiny holes and crevices on your kitchen and bathroom floors and walls.
  • Corners of your cabinets
  • Cracks under baseboards or
  • Voids under cabinets
  • Crevices between countertops
  • Between sides of cabinets

Syringes are also excellent if you want to place gel bait under your appliances.

For this, I recommend putting the gel on a 2×2 inch wax paper. The paper will make it easier for you to keep track of where you placed your bait.

If you have a more significant infestation, I recommend giving gel bait several weeks to finish the job.

Gel bait remains effective for two weeks, so reapply accordingly.

4. Apply Dust Bait Around Your Home

Dust bait is similar to gel bait, except it’s powder.

It comes with a small hand pump or tube, perfect for getting deep into small crevices and wall voids.

I recommend using dust bait with gel bait to treat places that are too deep to treat with gel.

Dust bait kills roaches via ingestion.

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

Because roaches regularly groom themselves by running their antennae and legs through their mouth, they will consume dust bait and die.

When using dust bait, only apply a very light layer.

 Cockroaches avoid thick layers of dust because it is hard to walk through.

One to two pumps is typically sufficient for dust bait to work.

The best place to apply dust bait include:

  • Wall Voids
  • Holes on Walls
  • Crevices Between Cabinets and Appliances
  • Behind and Under Appliances – Dishwasher, refrigerator, stove, microwave.
  • Under and Inside baseboard for Cabinets

Dust bait typically takes between 12 and 72 hours to fully kill cockroaches.

In most cases, the bait is designed to paralyze the cockroach with 24 hours and after 48 hours they die.

Using this in combination with gel bait will ensure the best results because it offers different delivery methods. 

5. Apply Diatomaceous Earth Liberally Around your Home

Diatomaceous Earth is a natural, non-toxic pesticide used to kill many insects, including cockroaches.

DE can eliminate 60% of roaches in your home within 24 hours, 80% within 48 hours, and at one week, 100% mortality rate.

This powder is effective at eliminating infestation because it allows for horizontal transfers.

When one roach gets in contact with DE, the powder remains on their body and gets transferred to other cockroaches.

Note that DE must be dry for it to be effective on cockroaches.

Before treating an area with DE, clean it to remove any oil and grease. Then give it a few minutes to dry.

If your attic, basement, or bathroom is too humid, use fans to minimize moisture before applying DE.

Next, apply a thin layer of DE on your kitchen counter, kitchen, and bathroom floor.

You can also leave the bait in the middle of DE to draw out roaches into the open.

For this, I recommend placing 2tsp of peanut butter on small 2×2 pieces of wax paper.

Leave the undisturbed powder overnight.


Be careful not to inhale DE.

Just like any dust, inhaling DE dust can irritate your lungs.

But the silica found in DE makes it especially harmful.
Inhaling crystalline silica can scar your lungs (silicosis) and cause inflammation.

Although food-grade DE contains less than 2% crystalline silica, long-term inhalation can still damage your lungs.

If a substantial amount is inhaled, people may cough and have shortness of breath.

The silica on DE can also irritate the skin and eyes.

To avoid this, I recommend wearing a mask when applying DE.

You’ll also want to avoid the area while it’s being treated.

Food-grade diatomaceous earth is safe for humans to consume.

They can pass through your digestive system unchanged and do not enter the bloodstream.

If you want to learn more about DE and how to use it to get rid of cockroaches check out this article here

Boric Acid (DE Alternative)

If you cannot find DE in your local store, you can use borax as an alternative.

Borax is one of the best ways to kill roaches.

It is easy to use, inexpensive, has low toxicity to humans, and effective at killing bugs.

Studies show that at 2 grams per meter, squared roaches have a 30% mortality rate within 24 hours and a mortality rate of 100% after 15 days.

Borax is deadly to roaches when consumed.

While roaches will not eat borax on purpose, they do it by accident.

Roaches regularly groom themselves by running their antennae through their mouths and eyes.

So while the immediate contact with borax will not kill them, they will eventually consume the boric acid that gets on them.

You can also mix borax with food to attract roaches. 

Here are a few recipes you can try:

  1. 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.
  2. Peanut Butter – Mix 1 teaspoon of peanut butter for every two tablespoons of borax.
  3. Cocoa Powder and Flour – Mix 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, one tablespoon boric acid, and two tablespoons white flour. Add a few drops of water until consistency reaches a dough-like texture.


Make sure to leave the area undisturbed overnight.

Similar to DE, borax can be dangerous when inhaled, so I recommend that you don’t go to the area you’re treating without a mask.

Here, is an article that will help you understand the differences between diatomaceous earth and boric acid. 

6. Sticky Traps

Sticky traps are great at capturing dying cockroaches so you wouldn’t have to worry about dead bodies later.

These traps typically come with a scent that naturally attracts roaches.

If not, you can place bait in the middle to draw the roaches in.

Place sticky traps under appliances, inside cabinets, kitchen, and bathroom floor.

If you have an attic and basement, place a few there too.

7. Seal All Entry Points

Seal all entry points to prevent more roaches from getting back in.

This task may be challenging to complete in one day, but do as much as you can as soon as you can.

You don’t want to go through all that work only to have roaches come back.

Some entry points are much easier to spot, such as open doors or broken window screens.

But there are subtler ones such as pipes, holes on your floors, and gaps around air vents.

Do a thorough inspection and look for all the entry points around your home.

Seal all holes and tears on your doors, windows, walls, and floors.

Weatherstrip your doors and windows to keep roaches from entering the sides or top of your door.

Use a door sweep to block the gap under your door.

If you don’t want to drill, I recommend using the kind that sticks onto the door with an adhesive strip.

Make sure to caulk any cracks and holes in your pipes and faucets.

Don’t leave your windows and doors ajar. If you like keeping them open, make sure you have screens installed.

Bonus: Insect Growth Regulators (IGR’s)

If you have a medium to massive infestation, I recommend using IGR in conjunction with the treatments above.

IGR is like “birth controls” for roaches.

It stops infestations by making adult roaches unable to reproduce.

It also blocks the roaches’ ability to turn into an adult.

If juvenile roaches are unable to grow into reproductive adults, their population will eventually die.

I recommend using IGR packets instead of sprays for ease of use.

Break the pack to activate the hormone and place them in the kitchen or bathroom.

For most, one IGR packet treats 50-75 square feet and lasts about three months.

So, apply and replace them accordingly.

Don’t skip this step. 

Replenishing your IGR packs is essential to prevent stragglers from repopulating.

It takes over 1-2 months for nymphs to molt and grow, treat your home with IGR for around 7-8 months.

Most IGR applications last between 3 months, so reapply at least 2-3 times.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I Get Rid of Cockroaches in One Day?

YES. If you have a light infestation, you can eliminate it in 1 to 2 days.

But larger infestations can take anywhere between a week to months to eliminate. That’s true even with professional help.

In this article, we’ll go over how to eliminate roaches overnight in light infestations.

Can I Get Rid of Cockroaches With Home Remedies?

Yes. There are plenty of home remedies that you can use to get rid of roaches.

Some of the best ones are:

  1. Essential oils
  2. Borax
  3. Baking Soda
  4. Cockroach traps
  5. Detergent and Fabric Softener

That said, home remedies will typically take longer to work because they are less toxic than professional-grade equipment.

But if applied appropriately, home remedies should be sufficient to eliminate cockroaches.

For more information on home remedies, check out this article.

Can I Use Raid to Kill All My Roaches?

Yes. But the amount of toxic chemicals you’ll need to kill all the pests in your house is excessive, that it’s impractical.

Insecticides like Raid and Hotshot contain pyrethroids, which can have side effects such as extensive coughing, shortness of breath, and congestion.

The best approach to eliminate infestations is to use multiple treatment methods around your home.

If I Clean Thoroughly, Will the Roaches in My House Starve?

It is very unlikely that you could starve a cockroach population.

Roaches can go six weeks without eating.

Plus, they eat pretty much everything including books, wallpaper, dead skin and hair.

Here are 10 reasons why a clean house could have roaches.

Why Do I Suddenly Have Lots of Roaches?

The roaches have likely been there for months.

But, since roaches are nocturnal and great at hiding in small spaces, they may have remained hidden up until now.

Roaches may be more apparent now because the population is growing, and they are looking for more space, food and water.

I Saw One Cockroach, Should I Be Worried?

No. But you should take it seriously.

Although the sight of one roach is not necessarily a sign that you have an infestation, it doesn’t mean you don’t.

When you see a roach, you must take the necessary actions to determine if you have an infestation.

Here’s an article that can help.

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