Informational Guide

How to Get Rid of Roaches in the Dishwasher

Learn how to get rid of roaches in the dishwasher with these easy & safe methods.

by Holly Curell

A cockroach will take over any space they find. We've all heard that a cockroach can survive a nuclear bomb, so it should come as no surprise that they can live and thrive in just about anything, including your household appliances.

That means you shouldn't be surprised when you find a cockroach, or several cockroaches, in your dishwasher. There have been colonies of cockroaches found in just the door of a dishwasher, thriving there until they are discovered.

In this guide, we will learn how to get cockroaches out of your dishwasher and keep them out.


Your Dishwasher Is Dark

Cockroaches love dark spaces. They don't have eyes like humans, so they don't need light to survive. This is why you often see cockroaches out at night or scurrying around trying to get under furniture or into the cracks in your walls or floor. Since your dishwasher is completely dark most of the time, that makes it ideal for a cockroach.

Your Dishwasher Is Damp

Naturally, your dishwasher is going to stay pretty damp. Cockroaches are also attracted to water, so when people complain of cockroaches, one of the first pieces of advice is to get rid of any standing water that you know of. If you have a drying feature on your dishwasher, be sure to use it, but that might not be enough to keep the roaches away.

Your Dishwasher Has Food Residue

This one will attract most pests. Your dishwasher will have food residue in it at least part of the time, and cockroaches are very attracted to low hygiene areas with food residue. If you leave dirty dishes in the dishwasher, it is almost guaranteed to attract nearby cockroaches.

How Do You Get Rid of Roaches In A Dishwasher?

Take Everything Out Of Your Dishwasher and Sanitize

The first thing you need to do to get cockroaches out of your dishwasher is remove every plate, utensil, and even the dishwasher racks and clean everything thoroughly the second you spot a cockroach.

Clean the drain as well because, more than likely, that is your source for the infestation. Drains are dark and damp with an ample supply of food residue that comes from your dishwasher, making it the ideal place for a cockroach to be. Once you've cleaned everything, run the dishwasher empty once to remove any cockroaches that may be present.

While you're at it, clean and vacuum the area around your dishwasher, making sure nothing is left to attract the ants.

Use Vinegar and Boric Acid

Vinegar is also a useful tool in the fight against roaches in your dishwasher. Just place a cup of vinegar on the top rack, set your dishwasher on the hottest cycle, and let it run for at least one hour. This will sanitize your dishwasher even more, and the steam will kill the cockroaches.

After that, you can use a very fine line of boric acid around and underneath your dishwasher. This can actually be done all-around your kitchen. Boric acid is an efficient repellant, and it can also kill cockroaches. Use boric acid as a regular preventive measure to avoid cockroaches.

Just be careful if you have children or pets because it could be toxic.

Contact Pest Control 

And, finally, if none of these tips worked, call your local pest control service.

How To Keep Roaches Out Of My Dishwasher: Preventive Tips

To make sure roaches never come back, check around your dishwasher for any open spaces or cracks. If you find any, fill them with caulk.

You also need to keep your dishwasher and the areas around it clean. Make sure you thoroughly clean your dishwasher at least twice a month. Your kitchen countertops and floor should be clean at all times, and you should ensure that you don't leave food crumbs lying around.

You can also use natural repellents to prevent cockroaches. Some natural cockroach repellents are:

  • Peppermint Oil
  • Lavender Oil
  • Eucalyptus Oil
  • Tea Tree Oil

If you can avoid it, don't leave dirty dishes sitting in your dishwasher for extended periods. Load and wash your dishes right away, and then unload them as soon as they are clean. And most people do this already, but always leave your dishwasher door closed.

Borax to Kill Cockroaches: Is It Safe To Use?

Borax is relatively safe to use and an excellent cockroach killer, but if you have kids and pets, make sure to keep it somewhere safe.

You can use it around your house without leaving chemical residue or nasty smells everywhere. Just mix equal parts Borax and sugar, pour the mixture into a squeezable bottle, and dust the areas where you've seen roaches.

You can also use a powdered sugar dispenser or similar container, as long as you can spread a light dusting.


People also Ask (FAQs)

What smell will keep cockroaches away?

Cockroaches hate the smell of citrus. You can use citrus-scented cleaners in your kitchen and bathroom to chase roaches away.

Does baking soda kill roaches? What about dish soap?

To use dish soap to kill roaches, add a little dish soap and warm water into a spray bottle. Spray the roaches with it, and it will kill them on the spot. For backing soda, take equal parts of baking soda and a pinch of sugar in a shallow bowl, then place it near the cockroach-infested areas. The sugar attracts the cockroaches, and the baking soda kills them.


Finding cockroaches in your dishwasher can be a nightmare. Fortunately, after reading this guide, you will be able to remove the cockroaches from your dishwasher and keep them away.

Holly Curell is the editor extraordinaire for Plumbing Lab. Having grown up in Michigan, Holly has spent time living in New York, Virginia, & currently North Carolina, where she lives with her husband & family. Holly loves DIY & has years of experience with at-home plumbing problems that arise from having 3 kids & living in colder climates. When she's not writing about her plumbing knowledge, Holly enjoys reading, hiking & relaxing with family.