How Can I Get Rid of Cockroaches in My Car?

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Spotting a cockroach in your beloved vehicle is enough to send anyone into a spiral of panic. As well as giving most people the creeps, cockroaches are known for spreading bacteria and damaging personal property. To make matters worse, cockroaches tend to be found in groups, with females laying between four and 30 (!) eggs in a single reproduction cycle. That’s right – the single roach that scuttled across your dashboard has probably brought a few buddies along for the ride. 

cockroach inside car

So, how can you get rid of these pesky creatures and ensure your car isn’t colonized by an expanding group of cockroaches? You’ll be pleased to hear that eliminating roaches is relatively straightforward with the right tools and know-how. In this handy guide, we’ll explore how to get rid of roaches in your car – fast. 

Are cockroaches dangerous?

We all know that cockroaches are a little gross, but do they pose an active danger to you or your vehicle? And how quickly do you need to act? Unfortunately, cockroaches love to spread contaminants via their droppings. As well as causing an unpleasant odor, cockroach waste can cause a host of nasty diseases, including:

  • Dysentery
  • Listeriosis
  • Streptococcus
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Giardia
  • E-coli
  • Staphylococcus

Some people are also allergic to cockroaches and may experience skin itchiness or breathing problems in their presence. 

Cockroaches are even known for chewing through wires or burrowing into furniture. While they may not be as destructive as termites, a big group of determined critters could wreck the appearance of your car and compromise its functionality within days. 

Finally, roaches have the potential to attract additional pests. When rats sniff out the scent of cockroach droppings, they’ll probably want to join in the party and seriously ruin your day. If a rat manages to climb aboard your vehicle, it won’t take long to start chewing through wires and leaving their bacteria-laden feces around the place.

We’re pretty certain you’ll do everything you can to avoid this nightmarish scenario. So, the first thing to do when you spot your first roach is to take decisive action. The quicker you take steps to eliminate pests, the easier your job will be.

How do roaches infiltrate cars in the first place? 

Many people feel a little embarrassed when they realize they have a cockroach infestation on their hands. Don’t fret – it happens to the best of us and doesn’t indicate that your car is unsanitary. In fact, cockroaches are found in high numbers in countries all over the world – you can’t escape them!

Roaches are also really, really good at squeezing through tiny gaps. They have flat bodies, after all, and will go to great lengths in their search for food and shelter. The most common entry points for cockroaches attempting to enter a vehicle include:

  • Exhaust vents
  • Damaged window seals
  • Sunroofs
  • Electrical outlets
  • Air vents
  • Engine blocks
  • Front grill
  • Weatherstripping

Are cockroaches attracted to particular environments?

Yes. Although cockroaches are sometimes happy to enter spotlessly clean cars, there are a few factors that can boost your chances of attracting an infestation, including:

  • Leaving food crumbs in the car
  • Spilling liquids (especially soft drinks) on the floor or seats
  • Moisture – a major problem during winter or in poorly ventilated vehicles
  • Keeping perfume, makeup, or other cosmetics in your car
  • Not cleaning your car – sweat, oil, and dead skin can attract roaches
  • Peeling leather and exposed adhesives
  • Keeping cardboard, paper, or newspapers in your car – cockroaches love to chew through these items

So, if you’re hoping to avoid a cockroach infestation, you should remember to clean the interior and exterior of your car at least once a month. As well as making your car a more pleasant place to be, regular cleans will help eliminate cockroaches’ favorite tasty treats. 

However, don’t be fooled into believing that a deep clean alone will get rid of an existing roach problem. Annoyingly, cockroaches can survive for a month without eating and are happy to resort to your seats or other possessions if possible. 

Where do cockroaches tend to congregate?

Okay, so you’ve come across a solo roach in your car. How can you check for other cheeky critters? Roaches can hide virtually anywhere, but their favorite spots include:

  • Within cracks and crevices
  • The trunk
  • Glove compartments
  • Foot mats
  • The rear window
  • Air vents
  • HVAC systems
  • Above footwells
  • Around the engine 
  • In takeout boxes, books, bags, cups, or any other bits of detritus you have lying around

Roaches feel safe and comforted when sandwiched between objects (aww), so look for tight spaces and be prepared to uncover whole groups of them (eww). 

What are common signs of cockroach infestation?

Cockroaches are nocturnal, so vehicle owners can go for weeks without spotting a serious pest problem. If you’re yet to meet a cockroach in the flesh, there are a few other tell-tale signs to look out for, including:

  • Unpleasant odors
  • Eggs (they lay eggs in pellet-like cases known as oothecae)
  • Droppings (roach droppings look a little like black pepper or ground coffee)
  • Old shells that have been shed

I’ve definitely got roaches – how can I get rid of them quickly?

Take a deep breath – while you’re likely to feel a little grossed out by your intruders, it is possible to get rid of them quickly and painlessly. Below, you’ll find a few natural homes remedies to get rid of roaches in your car. Please note that using one method alone is unlikely to successfully eliminate the roaches. Trying several approaches will produce the fastest results and boost your chances of eliminating pests in the long term. And remember – Natran is here to offer toxin-free pest control services if you’re unable to address the problem by yourself!

1. Crack out the vacuum cleaner

Before you try any other methods, dig out your vacuum cleaner and give your car a thorough going-over. To prepare your vehicle for cleaning, park it in an accessible space and open all the doors and windows. Circulating some air in the car will help to reduce odors and make the job much easier. You should also wear a mask, gloves, and a pair of goggles to protect yourself from nasty pathogens and allergens. 

Remember to vacuum every inch of your car’s interior and try to use a handheld vacuum cleaner, if possible. Handheld devices are much easier to use and will help you clean those extra-tight spaces. Of course, you may need to de-clutter your car thoroughly beforehand – you don’t want to destroy your vacuum cleaner with old hairpins or bottle caps!

2. Wash your car

Once you’ve collected as much dust and debris as possible, you can start washing your car with soapy water and disinfectant wipes. Start with the car’s interior, focusing on high-contact areas such as the steering wheel, dashboard, pedals, and glove compartment. Remember to wipe up any oily residues and food stains as you go.

3. Sprinkle boric acid in your car

So, your car is cleaner than ever before, and you’ve eliminated the roaches’ potential food sources – what next? To get rid of the nest for good, you’ll need to treat your car with a natural pesticide. Boric acid is an excellent option, helping to dehydrate the roaches and make your car an unlivable environment for pests. 

Before you grab yourself a tub of boric acid, however, there are a few tips you’ll need to consider. These include:

  • Sprinkle a fine layer of boric acid in your car. If the powder starts to clump, roaches will simply scuttle around it. You need to ensure the boric acid is invisible.
  • Remember to wear goggles, gloves, and a face mask when handling boric acid, and read manufacturers’ safety warnings before you get started.
  • Only use pure boric acid (i.e., without additives).
  • Don’t sprinkle the powder near air vents, as this will create a huge mess in your car.

4. Swap boric acid for diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth works in a similar way to boric acid, dehydrating pesky critters and ensuring colonies are destroyed. Pure diatomaceous earth is preferable to boric acid if you have pets or kids, as it is much safer. However, it is still important to wear personal protective equipment when applying diatomaceous earth to your car. Remember to sprinkle it in areas where roaches are likely to congregate, such as in cup holders and under seats. 

5. Spray essential oils in your car

Have cockroaches left a pungent scent in your car? Kill two birds with one stone by spritzing the seats with essential oils. As well as smelling great, essential oils are known for their roach-repelling qualities. Some of the most popular essential oils used for pest extermination include:

  • Cedar
  • Cypress
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Tea tree

Just remember to avoid spraying essential oils on driving mechanisms (particularly the steering wheel), and always dilute them with water. 

6. Place strong herbs and plants in your car

Some strong-smelling herbs such as bay leaves, basil, rosemary, mint, or lemongrass can help repel roaches. Place your herbs in a nylon sock or wrap them up in paper to ensure your car doesn’t get messy – and remember to choose an herb you like the smell of! You’re going to have to spend time breathing in the aroma, after all.

7. Lay down some sticky traps

Most hardware stores sell sticky traps designed to capture all types of bugs (you can also find them online by conducting a quick Google search). These sticky boards are designed to capture critters when they attempt to crawl across them and can be very useful for measuring the extent of your roach problem. The more creatures you manage to catch, the bigger the nest is likely to be (eek!). 

It is important to note, however, that these traps are unlikely to eliminate your roach problem. They’re best used as a means to measure the extent of the issue. If you manage to go a few nights without capturing any roaches, you can safely assume your efforts have been successful!

8. Place baking soda in your car

You may have heard about the powers of baking soda to eliminate cockroach infestations. Well, the rumors are true, and this cost-effective powder could represent an important tool in your elimination efforts. 

However, you must follow a few rules for this method to be effective. Firstly, you should understand that roaches won’t eat the powder by themselves – you’ll need to trick them into doing so. Combine equal parts baking soda and sugar to make a tasty substance that cockroaches will want to eat, placing it in a small bowl or bottle cap so you don’t spill it all over the place. 

Now, here’s the interesting part. When roaches ingest this substance, their body will essentially explode from the inside – a very quick method of elimination. If you’re struggling to lure roaches with sugar alone, you could try adding flour or peanut butter to make a more attractive substance. 

9. Invest in some catnip

Yep, you read that right – catnip. While catnip is known for attracting cats and sending them a little loopy, it has completely the opposite effect on cockroaches. A mere whiff of the stuff will drive roaches away from your car and prevent them from coming back. Of course, you’ll need to look after the plant to keep it alive and ensure it maintains its potent powers. This means you’ll need to remove it from the car during the day so it can soak up some sunlight and water it every few days.

How can I keep roaches out of my car for good?

So, you’ve managed to eliminate your roach problem and can step into your vehicle without fear of stepping on a creepy-crawly – congratulations! However, you shouldn’t take this feeling for granted. Cockroach infestations can reappear if you’re not careful, and you’ll have to go through the whole elimination process again. As we’re sure you’ll agree, destroying bugs isn’t exactly an enjoyable pastime.

Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to prevent reinfestations and maintain a healthy environment in your car. These include:

1. Keep the windows closed

This step should go without saying, really. Leaving your windows open is a serious security risk, even in safe neighborhoods. What’s more, it’s a surefire way to attract all sorts of pests, including roaches, wasps, beetles, spiders, ladybugs, and silverfish. So, remember to close all the windows every time you get out of your car (including the sunroof!). If your vehicle tends to heat up quickly, remember that hot cars represent inhospitable environments for cockroaches!

2. Complete any necessary repairs

Have you been avoiding repair jobs? No matter how insignificant the damage may seem, even tiny cracks and fissures can create entry points for cockroaches. So, remember to check your vehicle for damage once your cockroach problem has been addressed and complete any repair jobs straight away. You may be able to fix the problem yourself using DIY tools, although the safest option is usually to visit a garage. 

3. Clean your garage

Is your garage in need of a spring clean? Perhaps there’s motor oil splashed around or old food packages left on worktops? Even if your car is sparkling clean, a dirty garage could attract all manner of pests (including dreaded rats and mice). To make matters worse, garages often provide the humid environment that roaches love. 

So, once your car is clean, start tidying and preparing your garage. As well as getting rid of clutter and potential food sources for pests, you may need to take the following steps:

  • Fix any water issues such as leaks or condensation problems – dehumidifiers are relatively inexpensive nowadays and could also eliminate mold and dampness in your home.
  • Lay down sticky traps to check for pests – if you catch a roach or two, sprinkle some boric acid or diatomaceous earth on the floor.
  • Stop storing things that cockroaches will eat in your garage (i.e., pet food, books, paper, sugar, dried foodstuffs, flour, glue).

If you usually store your car in your driveway, try to keep the area clear and talk to your neighbors if you notice any pest issues. They may know something about the problem and be able to offer advice. 

And finally… Get in touch with Natran to address your cockroach woes!

Sometimes, DIY pest elimination simply won’t cut it. If you’ve been struggling to shoo cockroaches from your treasured vehicle for a while now, don’t hesitate to give Natran a call. We use natural pest control methods to get rid of cockroaches without exposing you or your family to harmful toxins. 

If that weren’t enough, we offer prompt and efficient services backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. What’s not to love? Reach out today at 281-326-9858.

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