How to Get Rid of Roaches in Your Car: A Simple Guide

Imagine getting into your car, ready to hit the road, and seeing a roach scurrying across your dashboard. Not a pleasant sight, right? You might wonder how these pests got into your vehicle and how to get rid of them for good. 

Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I’ll show you how to make your car a roach-free zone.

In this guide, we’ll cover the following topics:

  • How to identify roach presence in your car
  • What are the consequences of having roaches in your car
  • What are the solutions for removing roaches from your car
  • What are some considerations and tips for preventing roach infestation

Key Takeaways

Signs of roaches in your car include droppings, smells, sightings, egg casings, and shed skin.
Roaches in your car pose health risks, damage upholstery and wiring, contaminate food, and can decrease car value.
Deep clean, vacuum thoroughly, eliminate food sources, use roach baits or natural repellents, seal entry points, and park smartly. A combination of cleanliness and preventive measures is key to a roach-free car
Getting rid of cockroaches from a car is usually a simple DIY job, but if you’re struggling, contact a pest control professional.

How to Identify Roach Presence in Your Car

Roaches are sneaky creatures. They can hide in dark and tight spaces, making them hard to spot. But they do leave behind some clues that can reveal their presence. Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Droppings: Roach droppings look like tiny black specks or pepper-like particles. You might find them in hidden areas like under the seats, near the glove box, or by the door edges.
  • Odor: Roaches have a distinctive musty and oily smell. If your car starts to smell funky, and it’s not from something else, roaches might be the cause. The smell gets stronger as their population grows, so it’s a good indicator of how bad the infestation is.
  • Sightings: Of course, the most obvious sign is seeing a roach. If you see one occasionally, it might have hitched a ride from somewhere else. But if you see them frequently or see smaller nymphs (baby roaches), that means they’re living and breeding in your car.
  • Egg casings: Roach egg casings are small, oval-shaped capsules that contain dozens of eggs. If you find these casings in your car, usually in dark and hidden places like under the mats or seats, that means roaches are reproducing in your car.
Cockroach with Egg
  • Shed skin: Roache’s molt (shed their exoskeletons) as they grow. Finding these discarded skins is another sign of their presence. They vary in size depending on the roach species, but they’re usually a translucent brownish color that resembles the shape of a roach.

Detecting these signs early is crucial. Roaches multiply very fast. A few can quickly turn into a swarm. And trust me, you don’t want a car full of roaches.

So, always be alert. If you eat in your car or leave food items behind, you’re more likely to attract these pests. And once they’re in, they’re hard to evict. 

But by catching them early, you can stop them before they become a nightmare. Remember, in the battle against car roaches, early detection is half the victory!

Consequences of Having Roaches in Your Car

You might think that having roaches in your car is just a minor annoyance. But these unwelcome guests can bring a lot of problems that can affect your health and your car’s condition. Let’s see why you should not ignore them.

Health Risks

Roaches are not just harmless wanderers; they’re carriers of germs. They crawl through garbage, sewers, and other filthy places, picking up all kinds of pathogens along the way. 

When they settle in your car, they contaminate it with these germs. This can increase the risks of allergies, respiratory issues, and even infections. Think about it: breathing in an enclosed space with these microbes around? No thanks!

Allergen Build-Up

Roaches shed their skin, drop fecal matter, and leave behind body parts. These particles break down and mix with the dust in your car, creating an allergenic cocktail. 

This can cause sneezing, itching, and watery eyes. Especially if you’re already prone to allergies, these added irritants can make car rides miserable.

Wiring Damage

Roaches are curious critters. They like to nibble on wires. This can cause damage to your car’s electrical system. They can chew through insulation, causing short circuits, malfunctions, or even fires!

Upholstery Damage

Roaches don’t stop at wires. They can also damage your car’s upholstery. They bite through fabric, leaving holes, marks, and stains. This can ruin the look and feel of your car and cost you a lot in repairs. 

Your leather seats are not safe either. Roaches can damage them too, leaving their mark (quite literally) all over your car.

Food Contamination

f you often eat in your car, roaches pose another risk. They can crawl into your food, spoiling it with the germs they carry. That snack you left in the car for later? It might be a breeding ground for diseases.

Car Value Decreases

If you ever plan to sell your car, a history of roach infestation can lower its value. Potential buyers are less likely to be interested in a car that’s been home to pests. Even if you’ve gotten rid of them, the damage they’ve left behind can be a big turn-off.

Pile of Dead Cockroaches

Mental Stress

Last but not least, let’s not forget the mental discomfort of knowing there are roaches in your car. Every time you enter, there’s that nagging thought: “Are they here? Are they crawling nearby?” This constant stress can make driving less enjoyable and more of a chore.

As you can see, roaches are more than just unsightly bugs running around your car. They’re a potential health hazard, a threat to your car’s functionality, and a general nuisance. The sooner you deal with them, the better. 

You don’t want to share your ride with a bunch of freeloaders who not only don’t pay rent but also trash the place!

Solutions for Removing Roaches From Your Car

So, you’ve got roaches in your car and you want to get rid of them ASAP. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Deep clean everything: Start with a thorough cleaning session. Remove everything from your car — mats, seat covers, and personal belongings. Wipe down all surfaces using a solution of water and a mild detergent. 

Make sure you get into the corners and crevices, especially between seats and under the dashboard. A clean car is less inviting to pests.

  1. Vacuum like a pro: Get a powerful vacuum cleaner with strong suction. Vacuum every inch of your car, making sure you get under the seats, in the seat folds, and under the mats. This will help you get rid of eggs, tiny roaches, and any food particles that might attract them.
  2. Eliminate food sources: This is crucial. Don’t eat inside your car. If you do, clean up right away. Crumbs and spilled drinks are a feast for roaches. Store food items in sealed containers and check regularly for forgotten edibles. The idea is simple: No food, no roaches!
  3. Use roach baits: Roach baits are an effective way to kill these pests. They contain attractants that lure roaches in. Once they eat the bait, the poison slowly kills them. Place these baits in areas where you’ve noticed roach activity, like under the seats or near the dashboard. 
  4. Try natural repellents: If you prefer natural solutions, herbs like bay leaves or catnip can repel roaches. They hate the smell. Place small pouches of these herbs in various parts of your car. They will not only keep roaches away but also give your car a fresh, natural scent!
  5. Seal entry points: Check your car for gaps or cracks, especially on the floor or near doors. These could be entry points for roaches. Seal them up with a caulking gun to prevent roaches from getting inside.
  6. Park smartly: Where you park can make a difference. Avoid parking near dumpsters, garbage bins, or in areas with visible roach activity. These spots can easily become the launchpads for roaches looking for a new home — i.e., your car.
  7. Inspect regularly: Every now and then, inspect your car for signs of roaches, especially if you’ve had a problem before. Early detection is key to preventing a full-blown infestation.
  8. Use desiccants: Products like diatomaceous earth can kill roaches by drying them out. Sprinkle some in areas where roaches frequent. Wear gloves while handling it and vacuum it up after a day or two.

Basically, getting rid of roaches and keeping them out requires a combination of cleanliness, vigilance, and smart choices. Remember, your car is your territory, and with these steps, you’re setting some firm boundaries that roaches would be wise to respect!

Considerations and Tips

We’ve covered the basics of how to banish roaches from your car. But there are some finer details that you should know to make your task easier. Here are some tips and tricks to help you out:

1. Potential hiding spots

Roaches love dark and tight spaces. So, in your car, where might they be hiding?

Air Vents 

Yes, that gentle breeze might have an uninvited guest hitching a ride. They can move in and out through these vents, seeking warmth or shelter. 

To prevent this, you can cover your vents with mesh or screen material. You can also spray some insecticide or repellent into the vents periodically.

Under the Hood

This is another favorite spot for roaches. They can hide among the wires, pipes, and other components of your car’s engine. They can also cause damage by chewing on these parts or leaving behind corrosive substances. 

To avoid this, you can inspect your engine regularly and clean it with a degreaser. You can also apply some boric acid powder or diatomaceous earth around the engine area.

In the Trunk

Your trunk might seem like a safe place to store your belongings, but it can also be a haven for roaches. They can sneak in through gaps or vents and feast on any food or organic items you might have. They can also lay eggs or molt in your trunk, creating a mess. 

To prevent this, you can keep your trunk clean and organized. You can also use vacuum bags or plastic containers to store your items. You can also place some roach baits or traps in your trunk.

2. Seasonal activity changes 

Roaches are affected by seasons, too.

Summer and Spring

Roaches love warm weather and are more active when the temperature passes 70 degrees Fahrenheit. They also reproduce faster during these periods. Your car can be very attractive to them, especially if it gets hot inside. 

To deter them, you can park your car in a shaded area or use a sunshade. You can also keep your windows slightly open to allow air circulation.


You might think roaches would hibernate or die in cold weather, but they don’t. They look for warm places to survive, and your car might be one of them, especially if you use the heater. 

To discourage them, you can park your car in a garage or cover it with a tarp. You can also use antifreeze products to protect your engine from freezing and roach infestation.

3. The “Clean Car” Habit

Cultivating this habit can be a game-changer. Regularly dispose of food wrappers, vacuum up crumbs, and wipe down surfaces. Making this a routine, say, every weekend, keeps the roaches at bay.

4. Essential Oils as Deterrents

Here’s a fun twist. Some essential oils, like eucalyptus, peppermint, or lemon, can deter roaches. Mix a few drops with water in a spray bottle, and it spritz around your car. It keeps roaches away, and your car smells fantastic too!

5. Be Wary of Second-hand Items

That charming thrift store find or the backpack from your recent trek might carry hitchhikers. Always check and clean items before placing them in your car.

6. Check After Servicing

Whenever you get your car serviced, cleaned, or repaired, inspecting for roaches is a good practice. Sometimes, the transition from the garage or the change in car conditions can stir them up.

7. Use Roach Traps Cautiously

If you use adhesive roach traps, place them in areas where they won’t be a driving hazard. The last thing you want is a trap sticking to your shoe while driving!

8. Dehumidify When Possible

Roaches adore humidity. If you can, using a car dehumidifier or even silica gel packs can help reduce the moisture, making your car less appealing to roaches.

9. Regular Parking Spot Checks

If you have a dedicated parking spot and you’ve faced multiple infestations, it might be time to check the surroundings. Maybe it’s near a garbage disposal or a damp area – prime roach attractions.

10. Seek Professional Advice

If you’ve tried multiple methods and still find roaches cruising along with you, it might be time to consult an exterminator or a car care professional.


Let’s wrap up this guide and reflect for a moment. We’ve learned how to spot the signs of those unwanted roach passengers, the problems they can cause for your health and your car, and some proven ways to show them the exit. Remember, spotting and acting fast is your ticket to a roach-free cruise.

And here’s a final reminder before we go: Regular car maintenance isn’t just about engine health or shiny exteriors. It’s also a barrier against pests. Keeping your vehicle clean, checking those hidden spots, and promptly addressing any issues can make all the difference.

So, keep that car sparkling, stay vigilant, and happy roach-free driving!

Photo of author
Sean is the founder of Conquer Critters. With more than 17 years of experience in dealing with various pests, he is passionate about spreading his knowledge to help everyone manage their pest problem in the fastest, most effective manor possible.