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How To Get Rid Of Roaches In An Apartment With Pets

How To Get Rid Of Roaches In An Apartment With Pets

Controlling roaches is hard enough. Controlling them in an apartment can be even harder. But when you add pets into the mix, things can get really complicated.

Get Rid Of Roaches An An Apartment With Pets – The best approach to controlling roaches in an apartment with pets is to follow clean home practices and use a plant-based roach spray like Raid Ant & Roach Killer.

There are countless DIY solutions all over Pinterest and other social media these days. While some of them are backed with at least anecdotal evidence, many have no proven benefit at all. Rather than trusting this to social favorites, I’d suggest going with a product manufactured by a company who prides itself on effective pest control.

Why Are Roaches In My Apartment?

Roaches make their home in your apartment when you provide ready access to their essential needs: food, water, and habitat. The longterm solution to reducing roaches in an apartment is to eliminate their access to food and water.

I cannot stress this enough. No matter how many chemicals you spray throughout your apartment, the environment will be appealing so long as there is access to these essential needs.

There are two key strategies that we need to use: 1) Making your apartment less hospitable to roaches and 2) killing the ones that are there.

Let’s deal with prevention first. If we just kill the ones we see but don’t make the apartment a less appealing habitat, they’ll just keep coming.

Preventing Roaches In An Apartment

You can greatly reduce the appeal of your apartment to roaches by implementing consistent clean home practices such as:

  • Using a garbage can with a lid
  • Wiping down countertops and dining tables after eating
  • Storing pantry foods in airtight containers
  • Cover pet food bowls overnight or when not in use
  • Rinsing and placing dishes in the dishwasher immediately after use
  • Identify and repair any water leaks or pipe condensation.
  • Seal entry points with caulk or spray foam

Understand that each of these steps alone will have a limited impact. It’s only by incorporating a multitude of comprehensive practices that you can truly make your apartment less roach-friendly.

Here’s a few key points on each of these that you should keep in mind:

Garbage Can With Lid

You want a lid that closes tightly. A cheap, thin plastic lid that warps and doesn’t fit snuggly over the can will not work. Stainless steel garbage cans like this one (link to Amazon) are designed to provide a snug and consistent lid fit that won’t warp over time.

Clean Areas After Eating

Places where food is prepared and eaten should be wiped clean and any food particles removed. You can use a Lysol spray or any disinfectant that is safe to use on your countertop. The goal is to remove not only the food but the smell of food as well.

No Open Containers In The Pantry

Pantry items should not be kept in their original packaging once they are opened. This goes for cereal, sugar, flour, and any other food items that do not come in packaging that includes an airtight seal.

These airtight containers from Rubbermaid (link to Amazon) are an excellent example of pantry food storage options that can eliminate access and smell of panty items.

Cover Your Pet’s Food Bowl At Night

We overlook this one at lot but think about it. We are literally setting out food and water on the floor. Unless your pet has a serious habit of eating or drinking during the middle of the night, it’s good practice to cover the bowls before bedtime.

All I do is place a small plate over each bowl at night. Super simple.

Just make sure that you remove covering the following morning.

No Dishes In The Sink Overnight

Leaving dishes with food on them overnight in your sink is one of the worse habits that you can get into when it comes to roaches. You are literally setting out a feast and turning off the lights.

Get in the habit of immediately rinsing plates and utensils, then placing them in the dishwasher. Turn on the dishwasher and you’ll have clean plates in the morning. As a bonus washing your dishes at night can save on your water bill.

Repair Water Leaks And Condensation

Water is a major factor in having roaches in your apartment (source). You can minimize this attraction by eliminating access to water wherever possible.

Start by checking under sinks for leaks. If you notice fresh water stains, contact the apartment manager to have it repaired.

Air conditioner pipes often sweat or condensate when not insulated effectively. Make sure to check this if you have access.

And here’s a tip that has a dual-benefit. Put the stopper in your sinks (kitchen and bath) and fill them with just a small amount of water each night.

Drop a couple of drops of dish soap into the water. This makes the water less appealing to roaches. In fact, soapy water has been proven to kill roaches (source).

And it also has the added benefit of killing mosquitoes if you have any indoors.

You can also add a couple of drops of dish soap to toilet water each evening for same reason.

An alternative solution is to empty the sinks and wipe them clean of any water each evening (or before you head out to work each day). Remember, just a little drop of water is still quite a find for a roach.

Seal Entry Points With Caulk or Spray Foam

Seal cracks and crevices to help get rid of roaches in an apartment. You can find pet-safe solutions online.

I’m a big believer in caulking and spray foam. Heck, this whole website began with my obsession over this as means of improving the energy efficiency of a house or apartment.

But there is another benefit and that’s the point I want to focus on here. Roaches come into your apartment through all of the cracks and crevices that you and I barely notice. Those cracks are entryways for roaches and we want to seal them up, making entry just a little harder.

Start by looking in all of the obvious places; corners where floor molding meets, around windows, anywhere you see cracks or spaces no matter how small. Seal them with caulk or putty, something to prevent roaches from entering and leaving through those spaces.

Next, begin looking under sinks and behind appliances. There are often holes in the wall or floor where plumbing passes and many times these are not sealed as they should be.

Depending on the size of the hole, caulk or expanding foam may be needed. I generally use basic spray foam for air-sealing but something like Great Stuff Pestblock (link to Amazon) may be a good choice for this since it has the added benefit of being specifically designed for this purpose without having pesticides in it.

The goal is to identify and block all access points that we can find.

Recommended Reading: Is GREAT STUFF™ Foam Safe To Use Around Pets?

So you see, it takes a little diligence. But the goal is to make your apartment a less hospitable environment so that they will seek habitat elsewhere.

And that brings us to the next step in the process….

How To Kill Roaches In An Apartment Without Harming Pets

Now that we’ve established good practices to reduce the appeal of our apartment to them, we want to move to the next step which is to make the apartment a hostile environment for roaches.

This means killing the roaches we see as well as the ones we don’t. We want to do this with a multi-strategy approach. At the same time, we need to be mindful of the products we are using so that our pets aren’t harmed.

Here’s how to kill roaches in an apartment with pets:

  • Use a pet-safe roach spray under sinks and around doorways and windows. Pet-safe roach sprays do not include chemicals that are harmful to your pet. Instead, they use essential oils as their active ingredient which studies have shown to be effective at killing roaches.

There are many products on the market for this. I’m partial to Raid Ant and Roach Spray Child and Pet-Safe (link to Amazon). Its active ingredients are Lemongrass extract and Geraniol that is derived from pine trees (source).

Now, you may be thinking to yourself “lemongrass?”. That’s always my first thought too. I tend to favor science over home remedies so let’s have a look at this.

Science Vs. Snake Oil?

First, let’s address the credibility of the manufacturer. With over 100 years of reputation on the line, Raid’s parent company, SC Johnson, has a lot on the line when they put their brand label on a product.

That’s a far cry from Aunt Susie sending you a social media post saying “Try this, I hear it really works!”

Second, there is actually substantial number of studies that have been conducted regarding the effectiveness of lemongrass extract as an insect repellant, including its effect on roaches.

The International Journal of Tropical Insect Science published a study in 1997 that showed notable promise of lemongrass extract as a roach repellant (source).

A study conducted in 2009 found that these essential oils had a measurable ability to repel cockroaches (source).

More recently, in 2016, Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology published findings that it is actually a component called citral which is found in lemongrass extract that impacts roaches (source).

The why behind the science is still evolving but what’s important is that this is an effective approach to killing roaches in your apartment without the fear of causing harm to your pets. And so, let the scientists geek out on why it works, and let’s focus on putting it to use.


Getting rid of roaches in an apartment without harming your pets requires a focus on not only killing the ones that are there but also preventing future roaches.

We do this by sealing cracks and crevices but also removing the aspects of your apartment that make it an appealing home for roaches.

The truth is, it’s nearly impossible from a practical standpoint to completely eliminate the possibility of roaches entering your apartment. But that doesn’t mean we are helpless.

You can significantly reduce the likelihood of roaches taking up permanent residence in your apartment by removing access to food and water, sealing cracks where they comfortably pass, and spraying entrance areas with a pet-safe roach spray.

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