Does Having Roaches Mean My House is Dirty?

Have you ever turned on the kitchen lights and seen a bunch of roaches scurry across the floor or counter?

It’s happened to me plenty of times and I know how gross and unsettling it can be, especially if you take pride in maintaining a clean and tidy home.

So does the presence of roaches mean that your house is actually dirty?

In this article, I am going to answer that question as well as other key questions, such as:

  • What actually causes roach infestation?
  • Where could they possible come from if you have a clean home?
  • How can you prevent them from settling into your home in the first place?
  • What are some of the best options for getting rid of them.

If you don’t have the time to read through it all, here’s a short answer to the question:

Having roaches in your home does not necessarily mean your house is dirty. Roaches can invade your home through nearby units, and can easily take up residence in your dwelling even if there is not a ton of clutter or easy access to large amounts of food laying around.

The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only.  It is not legal advice.  You should seek the advice of a qualified legal professional before making any decisions relating to the topics covered by this article.

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What Causes Roach Infestations?

Roach infestations can be caused by a variety of factors. These common pests are resourceful and resilient. They are amazing at seeking out sources of food and water and settling in dark corners to evade detection.

Here are some of the most common reasons why roaches invade your home:

Nearby Infestations

Roaches will travel between nearby units in a building through pipes, outlets and other connecting features between dwelling. So an infestation in your neighbor’s apartment can easily spread to yours.

Cracks and Crevices in Your Home

Even if the roaches aren’t nesting in your neighbor’s place, they can come from the outside or other areas of your building. They do so by entering through cracks or crevices in your home. Because they are so small, it is a simple matter for them to come into your home this way.

Poor Sanitation

Of course, this one has to make the list.

One of the main causes for a roach infestation is poor sanitation. This is because roaches are attracted to food debris and crumbs and any other source of readily available food. So if an apartment is not kept clean, this can attract roaches.

Typical examples of this include food left out in the open, crumbs on couches, beds, floors and other areas, dirty dishes left out in the open or in the sink, and open drinks or spills that are not cleared away quickly.

Obviously, leaving trash out in the open can also be a major contributor to attracting roaches in your home.

Excessive Clutter

Roaches love to hide amidst clutter, so homes that have a lot of it are prime targets for a roach infestation. This includes piles of clothes, papers, and other clutter that can allow the pests to conceal themselves from your eyes.


Roaches thrive in moist environments. If they do not have enough of it, they can die (see one of the moisture eliminating extermination options I cover below). So if there is standing water or other damp areas in the home, this can be a magnet for roaches.

Common examples of this include, leaky faucets, damp bathrooms and basements, condensation that builds up on windows or other surfaces and really any other meaningful source of humidity and moisture.

Where Do Roaches Come From in a Clean Apartment?

If you maintain a clean home and you did not have roaches when you moved in, there are still a variety of ways in which a roach can infiltrate your dwelling. We already covered some of them, but the most common source for a new roach infestation in an apartment is through another unit.

You can’t control how clean or sanitary your neighbors are – their place can be an absolute paradise for roaches. And as roaches continue to breed and grow there, it is natural for them to expand out, which means they can find their way into your home.

Where Do Roaches Hide?

If you suspect that you have a roach infestation, you have probably seen them moving about or seen evidence of their existence, such as dead roaches or roach droppings.

Now it is important to understand that roaches are nocturnal creatures so you won’t see them as much during the day.

They prefer to hide during the day in places that are warm, moist and have ready access to food and water. They obviously do not want to be in the open, so enclosed areas or areas that prevent easy detection are common. Here is a list of some of the most common hiding places for roaches:

  • Underneath or behind refrigerators, stoves or other appliances
  • Inside kitchen or bathroom cabinets (usually under the sink)
  • Behind walls, outlets or other cracks and crevices
  • Among clutter (especially if its not in a super dry area and has access to food or water nearby)
  • Drains and pipes (especially if there are leaks or moisture build up)
  • Garbage cans or trash bags
  • Pet food and water bowls

How to Prevent Roach Infestations

If you want to prevent a roach infestation, there are some steps you can take.

  1. Make sure to create an environment that is not hospitable for them. That means keeping your place free from clutter and garbage.
  2. Make sure all food is properly disposed of and do not leave any residue, like crumbs or dirty dishes lying around. Pack away in containers any food you are not eating and clean up spills promptly.
  3. Address any excessive moisture in the area – dehumidifiers and bathroom fans can be great options.
  4. You’ll also want to seal any cracks in your walls with caulking to prevent them from entering in the first place.

Best Options For Exterminating Roaches

If you are faced with a roach infestation, there a number of great options you can use:

Bait Stations

I like this option because it is affordable and effective. You are getting at the heart of the problem, which is their nest and where they breed.

The bait contains poison, which the roaches ingest and take back to the nest, which can eliminate the entire roach colony in your home. If the colony is in another unit, they may even take it back there.

Insecticide Sprays

These are sprays that can kill roaches on contact. They tend to be toxic, so you want to be careful when using them around kids or pets. You can also spray areas where roaches commonly travel or hide, which we already covered above.

Boric Acid

This is another common extermination method. Boric acid is a natural way to kill roaches. You can simply sprinkle it in areas where roaches will travel or hide. I have found that it can sometimes discolor carpet, so be mindful of that when using it.

Diatomaceous Earth

I have to admit, I didn’t know about this one until I started researching the topic. It’s an interesting solution. Remember when I mentioned that roaches need moisture to survive?

Well, this natural powder (which is made from the fossilized remains of tiny organisms) saps out the moisture from roaches and kills them through dehydration. Amazing!

Hire a Professsional

Of course, when all else fails, you can call in a professional.

These guys will assess the situation with their expert eye and use state of the art insecticides, baits and other treatments to eliminate the roaches. Multiple treatments may be necessary depending on the severity of the infestation.

If you are worried about the toxicity of the insecticides, you can hunt around for an exterminator that uses organic and non-toxic treatments. A simple google search should yield some good results that you can explore.


So there you have it – a comprehensive look at whether roaches mean your house is dirty and some great tips on how to prevent and eliminate roaches from your home. Hope this has been helpful!