Eliminate Roaches in Car Safely and Effectively

You’ve got a terrible problem: roaches in car.

So what do you do?

I know lighting your car on fire seems like a great solution right now. But you seriously don’t have to go that far. There are safe and effective ways to fix the problem.

Why are roaches in my car?

photo of a messy car
Photo courtesy of dpreview.com

Because you’re gross. 

Well, maybe not you as a person. But your car is probably gross.

Sorry to sound like a jerk… but it’s true. Roaches tend to live in gross places. So if the interior of your car is dirty and not kept clean… and some roaches find out… they just might decide to move in and stay a while.

Let’s be clear about the level of grossness. 

Your car inevitably gets dirty. 

Days at the beach fill your interior with sand. Maybe you work in construction and track in a lot of dirt. 

But this type of filth isn’t the kind that’s inviting to cockroaches.

Food is generally the problem. 

Maybe you eat breakfast on the way to work every morning. Sometimes an apple core is dropped under the seat and forgotten. Or maybe you don’t finish a bagel with cream cheese and crumble it up in the wrapper and throw it on the floor.

Or maybe you’re just a slob (why lie!?)

Whatever the source, if your car is a pigsty, it’s going to be a welcoming home to roaches who stumble upon it.

How do roaches even get in my car?

Cockroaches are master hitchhikers.

No, I’m not talking about picking up a roach on the road who is walking backwards with his tiny roach thumb out. 

They most likely got there because they were hiding in something you’re transporting in your car. 

Or worse, maybe they were hiding on your body somewhere.

Whatever the case, be aware of your surroundings. 

If you find yourself in a place that’s untidy like your drug dealer’s house or that Airbnb you got a great deal on (but it looked so  great in the photos!) be sure to check your bags and clothing when you leave. You just might have an unwanted hitchhiker leaving with you!

Can roaches get in your car on their own?

There’s a lot of articles out there that urge you to keep your car windows closed  because roaches will see the opportunity and climb into your car.

I call B.S, on this.

Can this happen? Yes. 

Will this happen? Not likely.

However….If you park next to a nasty, smelly dumpster that has cockroaches crawling all over it, you should probably pick another parking spot. 

But if you’re just parking your car in the lot of the grocery store, there’s no need to panic and get all paranoid.

There’s not a family of roaches is hiding in the bushes waiting for their opportunity to scurry into your car as soon as you walk away.

What is the fastest way to get rid of roaches in a car?

If you have roaches in your car, you want them out ASAP. 

But resist the urge to take drastic measures like using a roach bomb or roach fogger. 

While it may seem like a great idea to fill your car with poisonous gas that will kill all the cockroaches, it’s a pretty crappy plan.  Here’s why:

Roach bombs are harmful to you

Think about it for a second. You’re filling the air in your car with poisonous gas that kills bugs that can live without their heads for about a week and have been living on earth for about 280 million years (humans have been around for about 6 million).

It’s probably not the best idea to breathe that stuff in. Just sayin’. 

Cockroaches are hiding deep in your car

If you’ve got roaches in car, they’re likely not out sun bathing on the dashboard or sitting in your passenger seat.

Roaches are hiding deep in places like your dashboard, door panes, or seats. 

So there’s a good chance the toxic gas you’re filling your car with won’t penetrate into the areas where your car roaches are hiding.

Roach bombs may damage your car

If you use a roach bomb to get rid of roaches in car, it might cause some damage. It can stain your seats, headliner, and other surfaces in your car.

How to get rid of roaches in car

Getting roaches out of your car is going to take some work. There isn’t a quick method to get the job done. Here are some ways to evict your unwanted passengers.

Clean your car

Remember what you learned earlier about your car being nasty? 

Well it’s time to clean it. 

The roaches are in your car because they’ve found a food source. So get rid of all the crumbs and bits of food that have fallen between and under your seats. 

Clean out and vacuum every nook and cranny of your car’s interior – between seats, under seats, under floor mats… EVERYWHERE!

In addition to removing trash and filth, it would be a good idea to remove unnecessary stuff you might be carrying around in your car. Things like that crappy birthday gift you didn’t like. Or the cardboard box filled with the stuff from your desk when you got fired. 

Whatever it is…. Stuff like this doesn’t need to be in your car. It gives car roaches all kinds of places to live and hide. 

Just be careful removing this stuff! You don’t want to bring it into your house and give your car roaches a new place to live! Keep an eye out for hitchhikers and cockroach eggs.

Three Bay Garage Pro Tip: Wear rubber gloves and be very careful when cleaning your roach-infested car. Cockroaches carry all kinds of diseases and bacteria that can make you very sick. They poop, puke (really), and shed their skins everywhere. The filth they leave behind is hazardous and you need to be very careful handling it. Wear PPE and wash your hands often.

Simply cleaning out your car won’t eliminate the cockroaches in your car. 

What it does is make your car a less appealing place to live. You need to take a few more steps to eliminate the roaches in your car….

Use roach bait

Once you give your car a thorough cleaning, you can replace the food with roach baits. Most big pesticide companies make them. You can buy them online or even in your local grocery or home improvement store.

Just tuck a few of these under your seats and when the roaches come out of their hiding spots for a snack, they’ll eat this and meet their demise.

Some baits also work in a way that allows roaches to bring bait back to the nest that will poison the other roaches hiding in your car.

How to get rid of roaches in car naturally

I’m not a big fan of chemicals. Especially pesticides.

If something is being used to kill or harm something else, it’s probably not good for you.

So if you’re wondering how to get rid of cockroaches in your car naturally, there are a couple very effective ways.

Diatomaceous earth

photo of a bag of diatomaceous earth

In my opinion, Diatomaceous earth is the best way to get rid of roaches in car. It’s all natural and highly effective.

Diatomaceous earth is  made from the fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic organisms called diatoms. It’s typically a fine powder and is pretty much harmless to humans. In fact, it’s even used in some medications.

Diatomaceous earth naturally rids your car of cockroaches by dehydrating them. 

When cockroaches walk through the powder, it sticks to the tiny hairs on their legs, breaks down the waxy layer on their exoskeleton, and starts to absorb oils and fluids the cockroach needs to survive.

For bonus points, cockroaches who have diatomaceous earth on their bodies generally return to the nest and will spread it to the other cockroaches hiding in your car.

Sprinkle some diatomaceous earth under your seats, in your trunk, and in any areas where you’ve seen the little buggers. Your car roaches will walk through it and will eventually die.

photo of a home maid roach bait
DIY Roach Bait


Another option is to use Borax. Borax is commonly used as a cleaning product. It is also found in some toothpastes and cosmetic products.

It is an all natural substance (sodium borate). But If not used properly it can be irritating to humans. But it’s deadly to roaches.

Cockroaches won’t eat borax on its own… so you’ll have to mix it with something delicious. 

Mix borax with a little peanut butter and smear it on the lid of a jar that you’ve tossed in the recycle bin and leave it under your seat.

It’s basically a less-toxic version of a roach bait. And you might even already have borax and peanut butter in your house… so this home-made roach bait will save you money.

Other natural methods

There are several natural herbs and plants that repel roaches. They include rosemary, lavender, catnip, bay leaves, and mint.

Using them certainly can’t hurt. But they won’t kill the roaches in your car.

These remedies just piss off the roaches. 

So if you fill your trunk with catnip, the roaches won’t go near it. So they’ll just hang out in the dashboard instead.

Your stoner cat, on the other hand, may start to actually enjoy going for rides in your car.

Can a roach survive in a hot car? 

We’ve all experienced the joy of getting into a car that’s been baking in the hot summer sun. 

So maybe you can use the sun’s power to bake the little buggers alive?

Nope. A roach can survive in a hot car.

A cockroach can’t survive more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. And on real hot days, the inside of your car in direct sun can exceed 120 degrees.

But before you drive to Florida so you can park your car in the sun, I’m sorry to say that as the temperature inside your car rises, the roaches will seek cooler spots within your car and will likely survive the heat.

Can a roach survive in a cold car?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes.  A roach can survive in a freezing cold car.

Roaches are able to basically hibernate when it gets extremely cold. Their bodily functions slow down and they enter a sleep-like state.

When temperatures warm up, the roaches wake up and carry on with being nasty inside your car.


Nobody wants to hear these three words: roaches in car. But if it happens to you, all you need to do is give your car a good cleaning and make it less inviting for the roaches. Then take measures to eliminate them. Using diatomaceous earth is just about the safest and among the most effective ways to do the job.

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