How to Get Roaches Out of Furniture

hand holding cockroach in front of a bed

Cockroaches have the remarkable ability to flatten their bodies to the thickness of a dime, allowing them to hide even in furniture, potentially spreading diseases and triggering allergies or asthma. Therefore, early identification and control measures, like deep cleaning and using baits, are crucial to get roaches out of your furniture.

Roaches are attracted to warm, dark spaces and will often hide in the small crevices of furniture. They can infest items like drawers, bed frames, upholstered furniture, appliances, and even electronics. Regular inspections and cleaning can help stop a roach infestation.

Signs of Roaches in Furniture

You may notice hard-to-clean stains on furniture, droppings, a bad odor, or even spot the roaches themselves if your furniture is infested. 

  • Dark stains: Roaches often leave behind, dark, irregular smears on fabric, surfaces, and walls.
  • Droppings: Frass or roach poop looks like tiny rounded chunks or oval-shaped pellets that resemble coffee grounds or black pepper.
  • Odor: When roaches communicate, they release pheromones that create a distinct, unpleasant odor. The roach smell is often described as musty or oily.
  • Damage: Roaches will eat almost anything and can cause noticeable damage to your furniture, particularly leather.
  • Egg cases: Also known as oothecae, roach egg cases are oblong and brown and can house up to 40 new roaches.
  • Shed skins: Nymphs, or baby cockroaches, molt as they grow, leaving behind roach-shaped, hollow skins.
  • Live roaches: Seeing active roaches, particularly at night when roaches come out, is a good sign of infestation.

How to Get Rid of Roaches in Furniture

women vacuuming and cleaning the couch
Photo Credit: Mariakray / Canva Pro / License

Getting rid of a roach infestation in furniture can be a challenge. Roaches can conceal themselves in the tiniest crevices of dressers, couches, beds, and outdoor furniture. Check for and get rid of roaches in your appliances as well.

Pro tip: Protect your health when getting rid of roaches. Wear disposable gloves and a mask to prevent contact with roach droppings or other pathogens. Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling contaminated items.

  • Clear the space: Remove any items and accessories from drawers, shelves, and surfaces. Inspect each item for roaches or eggs. Immediately place infested items into sealed plastic bags for treatment or disposal.
  • After clearing: Once cleared, create a clean, roach-free space by vacuuming the floor and baseboards. Use a disinfectant spray to clean walls and hard surfaces to remove any roach droppings or stains.
  • Vacuum furniture: Thoroughly vacuum all surfaces, including drawers, corners, and crevices, using a brush attachment to effectively remove dirt, debris, and roach eggs. Don’t forget to vacuum the underside, especially in roach havens like couches and box springs.
  • Clean and disinfect: Roaches carry diseases and allergens, so ensure your furniture is thoroughly cleaned after an infestation.
    • Hard surfaces: For dressers, cabinets, and drawers, wipe down the surfaces with a disinfectant spray. Bleach will kill roaches, but it’s better to use it as a disinfectant. Here’s how to make a DIY bleach spray: Mix 4 teaspoons of bleach in 4 cups of water; pour this into a 32 ounce spray bottle.
    • Fabrics: Steam-clean sofas, chairs, and beds to kill germs and any remaining eggs. Ensure you get in the cracks and crevices. For smaller items, like throw pillows and clothes, you can wash them in hot water and dry them on high heat.
  • Allow to dry: Let the cleaned furniture dry completely; then treat the area to kill existing roaches and prevent them from returning. 

Pro tip: Cockroaches don’t often infest mattresses like they will the box springs. If you find evidence of insect activity in the crevices and seams of your mattress, you should also check for bed bugs.

How to Treat and Prevent Roaches in Furniture

cockroach sitting on a paper
Photo Credit: mansum008 / Canva Pro / License

There are several methods you can use to treat roaches in furniture and prevent them from infesting it again:

  • Roach bait: A highly effective way to kill roaches is with roach bait. It works by attracting roaches to the poisoned bait. The roaches then carry it back to their nests, killing the other roaches.
  • Boric acid: A common home remedy is to use boric acid for roaches. When these pests ingest the powder, it disrupts their nervous system, killing them. It can also act as a desiccant. Sprinkle boric acid in a fine layer behind furniture and along walls to kill them. Keep it out of reach of children and pets as boric acid is harmful if swallowed or inhaled.  
  • Diatomaceous earth (DE): You’ll find DE at your local garden supply. A natural powder, diatomaceous earth kills roaches by damaging their exoskeletons and drying them out. Wear gloves and a mask to avoid irritation, and don’t apply it around kids or pets.
  • Baking soda: A family-friendly option is to kill roaches with baking soda. Spread baking soda where you see roaches. You can mix it with sugar or flour to attract them to the powder. While it’s toxic to roaches, it won’t harm pets or kids unless a large amount is ingested.
  • Roach traps: Monitor an infestation and prevent these pests from getting into your furniture by using roach traps. Simple and effective, just place traps around your furniture. The roaches get stuck in the trap and die. Regularly check and replace traps as needed.
  • Professional treatment: If the infestation is severe or the above methods are not effective, it may be necessary to hire a professional pest control service. They have access to stronger treatments and can ensure that the infestation is completely eliminated. 

    In the U.S., the average cost of a cockroach exterminator is around $180. However, prices vary based on the infestation severity, the size of the home, and your location.

Pro tip: You can get roaches from second-hand or used furniture. Always thoroughly inspect any used items for signs of roaches before bringing it into your home.

How to Prevent Roaches From Moving With You

Business woman unpacking luggage
Photo Credit: Alliance Images / Canva Pro / License

There are times when a roach problem is out of your control. Infestations moving in from neighbors, especially in apartment buildings and condos can have you running from the building, but you don’t want to bring the problem to your new home. Protect your sanity and your stuff by following these steps when moving.

  • Inspect and clean: Thoroughly check all your belongings for signs of roaches or their egg cases. Clean all items, especially furniture and appliances, before packing or moving them.
  • Reduce roach population: Before you start packing, place baits and traps around your current home. This can reduce the chance of roaches hitching a ride. Consider using a roach bomb or fogger to kill roaches.
  • Use new or plastic boxes: Roaches can hide in cardboard boxes, so using plastic bins will allow you to see if any make it in. If you need to use cardboard boxes, pick up new ones and avoid reusing old boxes.
  • Pack day of move: If possible, pack your belongings on the day of your move. The less time boxes are left sitting out, the less chance roaches have to crawl inside. You can also keep items in a cockroach-free storage space before your move date.
  • Hire a professional: If you have a serious roach infestation, consider hiring a professional pest control service. They can reduce the number of roaches before the move and treat your new home before you settle in. Treating your new home beforehand can ensure any roaches that make the move won’t be able to establish a new colony.

How to Identify Roaches

German Cockroach on a floor
Photo Credit: Sarah Camp / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Various types of roaches call the U.S. home. The most common is the German cockroach, which is typically found in buildings, like homes and businesses. Outside roaches, such as the American, Oriental, and brown-banded cockroaches, are the second most prevalent. Each species has distinct characteristics, including differences in size, color, and preferred habitat.

Accurate identification is crucial as several insects, such as crickets, horned beetles, and ground beetles, can look like roaches. Here are a few characteristics that set roaches apart from other insects.

  • Body: Roaches have big abdomens and small heads with flat, oval bodies and long antennae. 
  • Color: Roaches vary in color from brown or reddish-brown to black, with some species having patterns on their bodies.
  • Size: Depending on the species, roaches can go from 1/2 inch up to almost 2 inches in length.
German cockroachBrown or tan with two black bands parallel to each otherWarm, damp areas inside buildings.
American cockroachReddish brownSewer drains, dumpsters, damp areas
Oriental cockroachDark brown to blackDumpsters, sewers, garbage cans
Brown-banded cockroachTwo horizontal bands across the wingsWarm, dry places 

FAQ: Roaches

Do Roach Bombs Work?

Yes, roach bombs will kill roaches. However, they won’t treat an infestation as the insecticide can’t reach the roaches hidden in cracks and crevices or their eggs.

Can Roaches Ruin Furniture?

Roaches can ruin furniture by chewing on wood, fabric, and other materials to create nests and lay eggs. Additionally, their feces and shed skin can stain and damage furniture over time if left unchecked. 

What Attracts Roaches?

Food, water, and shelter are what attract roaches to your home. Sealing potential access points and fixing water leaks can help prevent roaches. To avoid a roach infestation, keep your home clean and store food in sealed containers. In addition, cockroaches will likely try to enter your home if your neighbors have them.

When to Call a Pro

If you’re finding it difficult to eliminate roaches from your furniture despite your best efforts, it may be time to hire a professional pest control service. Experts have access to more potent treatments and can ensure complete eradication of the roaches. Don’t let roaches take over your home — reach out to a professional pest control pro today and reclaim your space.

Pest Gnome participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Pest Gnome may earn revenue from products promoted in this article.

Main Image Credit: rawintanpin / Canva Pro / License

Raven Wisdom

Raven Wisdom is a writer with a passion for pest control, gardening, sustainable living, and making a positive impact in the world. When she's not defending her garden from critters in the wilds of West Texas, Raven can be found writing, wrangling two kids in a neurodivergent family, and supporting her local animal rescues.