Why Cockroaches Live in Cars, How to Get Rid of Them and Prevent to Come Back

Driver found a Cockroach in the CarHave you ever wondered what that pepper-like substance is on your car’s steering wheel? If you haven’t cleaned your car in a while, chances are that these are the fecal droppings from a cockroach infestation. Therefore, it’s time you check your car for these nocturnal pests lurking under your driver’s seat.

But why are cockroaches living inside your car anyway? That’s maybe because your vehicles are usually dark and warm, the ideal place for roaches to build an entire colony. In addition, untidy car insides can also attract roaches.

Regardless, roaches are never a good sight. These creeping monsters can even spread several diseases. That’s why, when you spot a bunch of roaches in your car, you should get rid of them right off the bat.

Of course, you don’t need to set your car ablaze. Instead, you can wipe out a cockroach infestation from your vehicles with a few handy tricks, such as cleaning your car and using boric acid. To make your job easier, we’ve listed some effective methods to kill roaches and prevent them.

Why are Roaches Lurking in Your Car’s Interior?

Any dark, warm, and moist place can make up a vacation spot for cockroaches. Unfortunately, your car checks all these things. This is why you might have observed these roaches lurking in your car’s interior now and then. Not only that, but roaches also live in the wheels of the cars.

Apart from the comfortable environment, roaches also come into your car for:

  • The Ample Supply of Food. The food crumbs or sauce drips from your delicious pizza slide are indeed a treat for them. In fact, they can feed on your leftovers for many days.
  • The Unclean Environment. Your untidy vehicles can also be an invitation for roaches. Although roaches are omnivores who devour meat, sweets, and starch, they can survive on trash as well.

How Do Cockroaches Make Their Way into Your Car?

Roaches can enter your vehicle in many ways. Since cockroaches are clingy passengers, they’d stick to almost all your belongings and enter the car through them. So, before you know it, you might have invited these hitchhikers into your car.

Roaches are experts at infesting your homes and cars. They can easily hide inside the stuff you tote around and then enter your car once you put them inside the vehicle. Not only that, but roaches might even lay their eggs inside your belongings to give their babies a brand new home.

The most common roach carriers include any item you buy, wear, or borrow. For example:

Shopping Bags

They are an easy access point for them. If you’re out of luck carrying an infested grocery bag from your local store, be prepared for a hideous surprise of roaches.

Suitcases, backpacks, and Purses

Roaches cling onto your suitcases and bags to reach your car and build their home underneath the seats or floor mats.

Sale Boxes From the Yard

Boxes are the easiest hiding spots for roaches since they are dark and warm. When you carry these boxes to your car, these pests crawl into your vehicle within a few minutes.

Laundry From the Laundromat

Your clothes can also be an excellent way for roaches to enter your vehicle.

Once these pests make it to your car’s interior, they’ll sneak out of your belongings to hide in hard-to-reach places, such as under the car seats or floor mats. Then, they’ll party each night on the delightful cookie crumbs or candy you leave for them.

To make matters worse, they quickly start to breed and colonize inside your car.

Why is it so Important to Get Rid of Cockroaches?

A cockroach infestation is the last thing you might want to happen in your car. While the bugs are a nuisance, they can also spread and cause several diseases.

In addition, they transmit many pathogenic bacteria and viruses to spread serious infections and diseases. Therefore, to keep yourself and your family safe and healthy, getting rid of bacteria sooner is the best thing you can do.

How to Eradicate a Roach Infestation from Your Car?

You need to be proactive to remove these unwanted guests from your car. That’s because getting rid of roaches isn’t as simple as picking up a broomstick and scaring them off.

Since you’re dealing with car roaches, you must have a tactical and targeted approach rather than spraying a can of useless insecticide.

The following remedies are sure to help you remove roaches from your car:

Identify Roach Hang-Out Spots

To kill the pest, you need to find its nest. Once you’ve discovered their colony, you can start your mission. As crazy as it may sound, one excellent idea to find cockroaches inside your car is to think like them. For instance, think: “Alright, time for dinner. Where are the crumbs?”

Here are the most common hang-out spots for roaches in your car:

Under the Seats

Your strategic approach is likely to take you to spaces underneath the seats since here’s where you put all your leftovers and trash. From food crumbs and empty water bottles to candy wrappers, roaches find these places as heaven in a car.

Floor Mats

Your next potential roach hiding spot is right under your feet. Yes, we’re talking about the floor mats. Whether you have fabric or plastic mats, they’re likely to have crumbs and stains on top. However, that’s not it.

You need to go ahead and lift your floor mat to see dozens of tiny roaches hiding there. Additionally, you’ll also get a view of their small crunchy eggs and eggshells.


Now, let’s head to the trunk, where you can also find a lot of cockroaches. Here, any storage space or the compartment for spare tires can be an ideal home for the bug.

Other Spaces

Lastly, you can inspect spaces like door pockets, tool compartments, glove compartments, car vents, and the space between seats.

So now, you’ve most probably exposed all roach colonies. Let’s prepare your cleaning weapons to start evacuating these annoying creatures.

End Roach Infestation With Counter Measures

First off, you need to make your car’s environment unbearable for roaches. For this, you need to learn the roach lifestyle and reverse it against them. Start by removing all things they love to exhaust them to death.

Sounds like a plan, right? Let’s start implementing it:

Make Your Car Inhabitable for Cockroaches

While you may feel the urge to become a roach serial killer out of frustration, you need to handle things patiently. To eradicate those tiny buggers, you’ll need to give your car a nice clean-over.

The good part is that you can do the job yourself without spending hundreds of dollars on hiring a professional pest-killer service.

Reduce Food Sources

Start by removing all carpets and floor mats, sliding the car seats, and opening all compartments. Next, remove any junk, debris, or food leftovers from these places. This way, the roaches will have no food source to feed on.

Vacuum Your Car

You should get your hands on a portable vacuum to suck up any residue in every crevice, crack, nook, and cranny of your car. But what if you don’t have a vacuum? Don’t worry; you don’t have to buy one.

In that case, you need to drive to a nearby car wash and invest some money there. The professionals there have powerful vacuums that can remove even the tiniest food crumbs from carpets that roaches love. In addition, they may clean the tight and hard-to-reach areas of your car and leave them all cleaned up.

Reduce Hiding Spots

You can temporarily remove all extra stuff you have in your car to minimize hiding spaces. For example, if your car appears more like a closet, get rid of them since all that mess gives roaches an ideal place for hiding and breeding.

Moreover, discard useless food containers, paper piles, and shopping bags. If you drive a truck, van, or SUV, here are some bonus tips:

  • Remove cargo and building supplies
  • Take out the firewood
  • Remove all recycling material

Besides, you should be careful when carrying outdoor materials, as you never know when a roach or two may hop on for a ride.

Kill the Roaches with Gel Bait and IGR

Don’t bomb your car already. In fact, ditch the idea of using a bug bomb since they can discolor and stain your vehicle’s headliners and upholstery.

Although the smoke created by the bug bombs may sound like a promising deal to bring out the cockroaches from every corner of your car, they may worsen your infestation. The logic behind this is that bug bombs aren’t that lethal for roaches and you may end up with a car filled with lots of cockroaches boiling from every corner.

On the other hand, you can also use gel bait to trick these tiny creatures. Gel baits are, so far, considered a powerful weapon to give roaches a silent death.

So if you want to try this option, start by applying gel bait near or inside potential hiding spots. But, make sure you don’t skip vacuuming these areas as the gel alone may not be as effective.

Once you’ve set the trap, you can let the gel work in two incredible ways:

Poisoning the Entire Roach Colony

As soon as roaches bite on the gel bait, the gel bait will start poisoning the roaches slowly. These poisoned roaches go back to their families and die after a while. When these roaches die, other roaches feed on their dead bodies and ingest the toxicant.

Don’t be surprised by this roach behavior since these tiny creatures consume the fallen kin out of extreme hunger.

This method will likely produce effective results as a quality gel bait is powerful enough to kill hundreds of roaches within a few days. You’ll have to remain patient, and soon your car will be roach free.

Attacking the Roach Nymphs

If you’re dealing with a bad infestation, one effective way to remove all roaches is to pair the gel bait with an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR). The IGR not only kills mature cockroaches but also attacks roach nymphs that may have survived the gel bait intoxication.

In addition, IGR stimulates the roach colony to consume more bait. As a result, even the worst car roach infestations can end within no time.

Use Natural Roach Killers as an Alternative

Now, just in case you’re a parent to young kids or pets, you might be hesitant to put any chemicals inside your car. Luckily, you can rely on natural ways to kill roaches. Check these effective ingredients:

Diatomaceous Earth

DE or Diatomaceous earth is a fantastic product for killing roaches that may be safe to use. All you have to do is put some DE on the carpets and under your car seats. But, make sure you spread a thin layer that’s enough to kill roaches whenever they stroll across the floor.


Borax and boric acid are two wondrous natural substances for ending a roach infestation. However, roaches don’t consume these ingredients easily, so you need to get a tad creative to make these pests eat them.

For instance, you can mix borax or boric acid with some peanut butter or powdered sugar and place them near troubled spots. However, ensure that you’re using a tiny bottle cap or paper plate for placing the deadly treat to make clean-ups easier.

Are Your Pets Safe Around Roach-Killing Chemicals?

Yes. Luckily, the mixtures and products we’ve suggested aren’t as toxic to your pets as they can be to cockroaches. In fact, most gel baits are made from food-based ingredients.

Moreover, IGR formulas aren’t labeled as dangerous for pets. Also, if you’re using borax and DE in limited quantities, your pets may not experience any harm.

However, you must stay careful and place the chemicals out of children’s and pets’ reach. That’s because if they come in contact with excessive chemicals they may fall sick.

How to Keep Roaches from Coming Back?

So, you’ve hunted the roaches, raided their nests, and wiped them out. Now what? Well, here’s our version of a famous quote, “Prevention is better than killing roaches.”

Therefore, your battle against these pesky bugs isn’t over yet. Instead, you’ve got one challenge ahead of you, and that is to prevent the roaches from coming back to your car.

Fortunately, a couple of useful methods can help you ensure an anti-roach car. Here, have a look:

Shut the Doors and Windows

Roaches are hitchhikers. However, a few kinds love to explore the world on their own. They may climb slopes while others may fly. Therefore, to keep your car safe from these bugs, it’s better you keep the windows and doors closed most of the time.

In addition, avoid parking your vehicle near the woods or wooden areas since the wood roaches won’t hesitate to take a peek inside your car.

Check Your Car After Camping Trips and Hotel Visits

Heading home after an outdoor trip? Check your vehicle to spot a roach or two inside your car. This is because cockroaches may jump on your ride from hotels, yard sales, or campsites to have a tour around the city.

In addition, avoid carrying boxes, mulch bags, and luggage in your car. If you want to do that, always clean them beforehand.

However, if you need to transport your stuff, thoroughly inspect it before placing it in the trunk.

Take Your a Car for Routine Washes

Keeping your car clean can help you avoid a tonne of problems. From stinky floor mats, and greasy seats, to roach infestations, you can get rid of several problems with just one easy trick.

Don’t make up an excuse for being too busy because simple tasks like tossing the garbage, vacuuming the carpets, decluttering unnecessary items, and cleaning the mats may only take 15 minutes every few weeks.

Therefore, you should maintain a routine for a car wash day to keep the roaches away for good.

Avoid Leaving and Eating Food in Your Car

We know you’re a foodie, but roaches are food-lovers too. So, if you want to prevent your car from a horrible roach infestation, avoid eating inside the car.

But what if you’ve children who like to snack in the car? Then you must brace yourself for a deep car cleaning session every few days.

In addition, you should never forget to bin the garbage and clean the crumbs every day. Moreover, if a child spills a drink, wipe it immediately as roaches love sweet juices and humid environments.

Avoid Parking Near Trash Bins and Sewers

Roaches enjoy dwelling in the trash. They live, feed, and breed in damp, dark environments. Therefore, you need to be extra careful when parking your car near garbage bins and sewage drains.

This is because cockroaches won’t take long to climb up your vehicle through the AC vents. So, when you leave your car, make sure you’ve all AC vents, doors, and windows.


Can Roaches Survive in a Car?

Well, that depends upon your car’s temperature and environment. A majority of roaches cannot withstand extreme temperatures such as over 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, if you live in a hot city, it’s easy for your car to reach this temperature.

But, you must stay mindful that these bugs are clever enough to hide under cooler places in your car, like inside the speaker, the door, etc. So whatever temperature your car’s engine or trunk may reach, roaches will survive in your car anyway.

Can Roaches Live in a Cold Car?

Similar to extreme heat, roaches can’t live in a cold car. But that may require your vehicle to reach temperatures below freezing point. However, some cockroach species, such as the American cockroach, may die when the Fahrenheit scale dips below 32 degrees.

Is It Fine to Spray Baygon in a Car?

No, it isn’t fine to spray any insecticides in your car. Of course, your Baygon spray can kill several roaches in your home, but you need to avoid spraying it into your car as it can be flammable. Moreover, these chemicals are toxic to pets and humans. Therefore, using insecticides should be your last resort to solve the roach trouble.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to taking care of our belongings, most of us ignore our cars. Unfortunately, this ignorance can cost you a lot of trouble if your car gets infested with roaches.

But, regardless of how cockroaches get in your vehicle, you should take action as soon as you spot a few crawling here and there. This prompt response can keep you from dealing with a serious and bad infestation that might need expert help.

If you’re more interested in saving your time and energy, you better maintain a routine of regular car clean-ups. Avoid littering your car and eating inside it because these things are the open invitations to roaches.

Until now, you must be all set and ready to end your car cockroach infestation. So, what are you waiting for; grab your tools and start the roach-killing spree right away.