HomeCockroachCan Roaches Travel on Your Clothes? Myths & Truths!

Can Roaches Travel on Your Clothes? Myths & Truths!

Have you ever wondered if roaches can travel on your clothes?

Do you worry that you may unknowingly bring these pests into your home or workplace? Do you want to know how to prevent and treat this problem?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this blog is for you.

In this blog, you will learn the answer to the question: Can roaches travel on your clothes? You will also discover how roaches can hitchhike on your clothes, what risks they pose, and how to prevent and treat them.

can roaches travel on your clothes
Can Roaches Travel on Your Clothes? Myths & Truths!

Do Cockroaches Hide in Clothes?

Cockroaches, fortunately, have little interest in living in your clothing. They often seek out cracks or crevices in the walls, under furniture, or other hideouts that offer minimal disturbance. Considering that clothing is routinely disturbed by humans either during wear or laundry, roaches tend to steer clear of these areas. 

That being said, no pest rule is without its exceptions. An untreated cockroach infestation can cause these insects to explore every possible hiding place. This might sometimes include your dresser or closet. These areas provide a dim, serene environment that cockroaches thrive in. While clothing itself isn’t their prime real estate, in their relentless quest for shelter, they may inadvertently end up amidst your garments. 

Do roaches travel in clothes?

Roaches and their eggs can hitch a ride on clothes, especially if they are hidden within folds. This is how roaches from the bedroom can potentially spread to your car and other areas. It’s advisable to wash any clothing first to prevent unintentionally spreading them.

Besides, clothes provide an easy mode of transportation for roaches, and they can easily infest your car, where food particles often drop as people eat on the go.

Young roaches can also find their way into handbags, and spotting them can be challenging, especially if the handbag is made of fabric. Handbags crafted from heavy fabric, especially dark or dull-colored ones, can inadvertently facilitate the spread of roaches. This is a key consideration to prevent roach getting in car.

can roaches travel on your clothes

Reasons why cockroaches will hide in clothes

Roaches are generally dark brown and this is why they also love hiding in dark areas. This helps in keeping them away from predators. Check the folded clothes at the far end of your wardrobe where it is dark and you will find them.


Heavy clothing will trap moisture and retain heat. This the main reason why cockroaches hide in clothes. A wooden wardrobe that is not regularly cleaned will attract roaches to breed and lay eggs.

Cockroaches will not come to eat your clothes but the environment and how your clothes smell is what will attract them. Keeping the clothes clean is the best way to avoid and deter roaches from your clothes.

Warmth in wooden wardrobes

Metallic wardrobes tend to be cold. They will not hold the outside temperatures like the wooden ones do. This will make it difficult for roaches to survive there because they do not like cold temperatures.

Wooden wardrobes on the other hand will hold off the cold and keep your clothes warm. This will encourage the roaches to breed and lay eggs in there. The eggs will have the right environment for the young ones to thrive.

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Dirty clothes

Roaches also hide in clothes because they are attracted to our sweat and food stains. Food stains that are trapped on clothes will keep roaches in clothes. They also hide in poorly washed clothes.

Roaches are attracted to sweat and they will try to find it as they eat through the fabric. They will also leave stains on your clothes. This is one of the reasons why you should keep them away.

Roaches will smell food stains on clothes. As a result, they will come looking for that smell especially if it is something they like beef stew. 

Tip: Since they are not intelligent, cockroaches will eat through your clothes while trying to get a taste of the stain left. If you have a bucket with dirty clothes left for a long time, do some cleaning as soon as possible.

How to get rid of cockroaches in clothes?

The best way to get rid of roaches out of your clothes is to wash the clothes in a washing machine set at 46° C and above.

Cockroaches cannot stand high heat levels and they will die faster when it is combined with soapy water.

Keep your clothes in order

If you have many clothes, try to sort them out in a way that you can access them easily. Either way, you do not need too much that you do not use. It is even better to give the ones that you do not like instead of keeping them to provide cockroaches with a hiding place.

Consider changing your wardrobe if it is infested with roaches. However, this will be useless if you do not properly clean the clothes that you removed from the previous one.

After washing clothes, ensure they are well dried and aerated. If you have to fold, keep them in an open aerated place for some time so that they do not harbor any unwanted pests.

Use a dryer with high heat levels

If you live in a cold area where clothes cannot be aired outdoors after washing, use a dryer to get rid of the roaches completely. Simply set the degrees to anything above 46°C and any roaches in them will die.

Roaches mean you’re dirty and it is best to take that positively for cleaning purposes. It is very difficult for roaches to breed and thrive in a well-cleaned house because they will lack food and eventually move out.

Dirty clothes and upholstery will attract roaches. Cleanliness is the only solution to keep them away. If you have seats made of fabric, ensure you keep them free from food stains especially if you have kids.

Hang your clothes instead of folding them

Hanging your clothes in the wardrobe after washing is better than keeping them folded. Hanging clothes are well aerated and are always moved or shaken at the slightest touch. This will deter roaches for them.

It is difficult for cockroaches to hide in hanged clothes because they are not warm enough. Moving around from one hanged clothe to another will be difficult for roaches. It will be quite a hustle for them to fly around since they crawl a lot.

Keeping the wardrobes open for aeration will also prevent cockroaches from hiding in them. You can even get those that do not have doors at all. Roaches will never hide in the open and they will avoid bright places that are well lit.

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The clothes will also be well aerated and free from dampness and moisture that attracts roaches.

Spray clothes with natural cockroach repellents

You can use sprays that smell good but repel roaches since some insecticides may leave your clothes with a bad smell. One of the best ways to get roaches out of your clothes is to use a homemade peppermint spray.  

This will leave your clothes with a good smell and keep any bugs away from them at the same time. Here are some simple steps of how to make peppermint spray for cockroaches at home:

  1. Put 20 drops of peppermint essential oil in a clean container
  2. Add one tablespoon of vinegar into it
  3. Add another ¼ cup of water into the solution and mix
  4. Pour this into a bottle spray and spray your clothes and the wardrobe with this
  5. You can then close the wardrobe doors for better results

This is best done after cleaning the clothes so that the smell takes time to settle to repel any roaches that are still hiding in there.

Bay Leaves Can Repel Cockroaches 

Bay leaves for cockroaches are a natural and effective way to repel these pests.

The strong smell of the essential oils in the bay leaves makes them unpleasant for the roaches to be around.

However, to harness their full potential, you need a stronger form than just dried leaves.

Bay leaf essential oil, when diluted with water, creates a powerful spray that can be used in roach-prone areas.

Alternatively, grinding fresh bay leaves and placing them in satchels intensifies the scent, making it a more potent repellent.

And as a bonus, lavender pairs wonderfully with bay leaves in keeping roaches at bay! 

Coffee Grounds Keep Roaches Away

The morning elixir for most humans, coffee, is a bane for cockroaches.

The potent smell of coffee grounds, especially post-brewing, serves as a deterrent for these pests.

Do roaches like coffee? No. The brewed grounds not only give off a stronger aroma but also mask other scents that might be enticing to roaches.

So, the next time you’re done brewing your morning cup, consider spreading the grounds in areas vulnerable to roach activity

Cayenne, Garlic, And Onion Deter Cockroaches 

Nature’s kitchen is full of cockroach repellents.

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Cayenne, garlic, and onion, with their robust fragrances, are loathed by cockroaches.

Whether you’re using crushed or powdered form, these potent ingredients can be strategically placed to ward off roaches.

Besides being effective, they are economical alternatives to commercial repellents or essential oils. 

Boric Acid Can Eliminate Cockroaches

For those looking for a solution beyond just repelling, boric acid emerges as a formidable adversary for cockroaches.

This substance, while lethal to roaches, dehydrates them and disrupts their physiological systems.

However, always remember to use such products as directed, considering the safety of other inhabitants of the house. 

Using Multiple Cockroach Repellents 

Combining defenses is often the best strategy in war, and the same applies to the battle against cockroaches.

Utilizing a mix of repellents, from natural ones like catnip and bay leaves to more aggressive solutions like boric acid, can be highly effective.

This layered approach ensures that no stone is left unturned in making your home an unwelcome place for these pesky invaders.

In addition, finding the roach nest is also crucial in effectively eliminating roaches. For more details, please refer to this article: “How to Find Roach Nest and Get Rid of Them for Good.”

Do cockroaches lay eggs in clothes?

That’s right. Roaches will hide and lay eggs in folded clothes because fabrics trap warmth which provides a good environment for the female to lay eggs. Folded clothes that lay in a wardrobe for a long time will be perfect for roaches to lay eggs.

Before putting on any cloth that has been folded for some time, check along the edges and the inner area. Shake it off and see if you have any roaches hiding in there.


You have just learned the answer to the question: Can roaches travel on your clothes?
If you have a roach infestation, you should act quickly and use effective methods to get rid of them.
If you want to learn more about how to deal with roaches and other pests, check out our other blogs from Pestweek.

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