How to Avoid Getting Cockroaches in Washing Machines

Roaches are attracted to food, water, and shelter, and washing machines can offer all of these. In a well-lit room with constant foot traffic, roaches may have a hard time sneaking in and occupying; most of our washers are in basements, laundry rooms, or other low-traffic rooms.

Before you know it, you could find a cockroach infestation in your washing machine, laundry room, and surrounding cabinets.

To try and prevent this from happening, you will need to make the area around your washing machine a bad spot for cockroaches, as well as clean the inside thoroughly. But even that might not be enough to completely eradicate a roach infestation.

Before you call a pest control professional, read on to figure out how you can avoid cockroaches inside your washer. 

Are Roaches able to Survive inside of Washing Machines?

A washer is a good environment for cockroaches to live in, but occasionally a dead cockroach may turn up in clean clothes, indicating some aspects of a washing machine will kill a roach. Roach eggs also need to be destroyed and are harder to kill. The drum is the only area of the machine that fills up with warm water and could potentially drown the unwanted guests.

A cockroach cannot survive heat over 125 degrees, so hot water is needed otherwise, an average adult can survive 30 to 40 minutes without drowning. Cockroach eggs can survive even harsher conditions but will not produce living roaches if the machine is used frequently. If dirty clothes are cleaned with boric acid (borax) based laundry detergents, the roaches will die, especially when the boric acid is combined with other soapy water.

Spaces under the machine, as well as pipes, the drain hose, and panels, can also house roaches and may not fill with water or soap. As long as roaches can leave the pipes to access a food supply and moisture when the drum is empty, and the chemicals and boric acid are gone, roaches can live for a long time in your washer.

Look for signs of cockroaches and cockroach activity around your outdoor and basement appliances to prevent the breeding of cockroaches and larger infestations.

How do Cockroaches Enter Washers?

Washing Machine Drain Tube

Pests and insects like cockroaches are no strangers to hiding, and a washer is a great place to sneak into. With plenty of gaps and internal parts that a roach can easily slip into an insect breeding ground inside, the appliance designed to clean your clothes is just around the corner.

Make it harder for roaches to start hiding in your machines by blocking these common entryways. 

Drain Pipes

Most laundry machines have a hose that gives you options on how your washer will drain. If cockroaches can access the drainage hose, then they can climb inside whenever water isn’t actively flowing out. A simple solution is to attach items like screens or mesh that roaches can’t fit through.

You may still need to stop roaches from congregating where the starch-based items pour out. White vinegar in a rinse cycle can help with that. 

Power Supply Access

The gaps that allow the power cord to poke through the back panel can be an entry point for roaches. Even adult cockroaches can slip through the tiniest of gaps and, once inside, can destroy your machine or, at the very least, live undetected for quite some time. Sealing these gaps can help keep roaches out.

Gaps in Compartments

The soap tray and other compartments that receive external inputs can also serve as doorways for curious roaches. Trying to keep appliances free of cockroaches is hard to do if the area surrounding them is dirty or cluttered. Look for cockroach droppings near where compartments open. 

The Lid

The lid should seal tightly, but over time the fitting may wear down. If roaches are in the habit of climbing on top of your machine or you have an army of cockroaches in your laundry room, it could be only a matter of time before they start getting inside and laying eggs. 

Lose Panels

Traces of starch and water vapor near panel junctions can lead roaches to explore more thoroughly. If panels have become loose over time, there may be gaps wide enough that roaches can get directly inside the inner part of your machine. If a roach population explodes in there, you will have a hard time removing them all. 

Appliances Roaches Live In

ApplianceHow They EnterHow to Remove
WasherDrain HosePour boric acid until dead roaches spill out
DryerPower and gas supply Crank to max heat 
RefrigeratorDoor gapsKill slow roaches and seal the door gap
FreezerLoose panels Tighten panels and let roaches die 

Washers and Dryers

Keeping your laundry room clean is the best way to prevent roaches from getting into your appliances. Any food particles, food crumbs, or even cat food in the room with washers can lead roaches to enter in mass. Eliminating all of the cockroach’s essential food sources can keep these pests away from your washing machine. 

Fridges and Freezers

In general, these appliances are really good at keeping roaches and anything, including warm air, out. But the older refrigerators and freezers we place in our basements and garages can be a little worse for wear. If cockroaches find a food source inside that they like, they will enter. Make sure all noticeable gaps are sealed, as even a layer of duct tape can go a long way in excluding insects and pests. 

How to Eliminate Roaches in Washing Machines?

Milliard Borax Powder - Pure Multipurpose Cleaning Agent, Laundry Detergent Booster/Stain Remover (1 lb, Resealable Bag)

If roaches have made their way into your washing machine, then you will need to act quickly to prevent a full-scale infestation. The methods below will get all the roaches out of your appliances in the least amount of time possible. If the invasion is too large even for these solutions, then you may need to call in professionals to destroy all the bugs. 

Borax Detergents

Boric acid destroys the guts of roaches, and adding laundry detergent containing this chemical can help kill roaches in the drums and hoses. Adding bleach and other vinegar or other chemicals can help get rid of and deter future roaches from entering these parts of the machine.

Hot Water Cycle

Using the hottest cycle to kill adult roaches is possible, but you will need to get your water temperature over 125 degrees. Water will only kill the roaches it comes into contact with and cannot hurt roach eggs or insects in other compartments.

Cleaning Under and Around

Check for leaks and grime buildup along the ports and hoses. Any leaks are water sources, and any grime can be drops of food for scavengers like roaches. Once the entire machine is cleaned, unplug it and move it around to kill anything underneath. Remove all food sources from under and around the machine to begin ending the roach infestation.

Open All Compartments

Check all the seals and doors to find any hideaways for roaches and their eggs. If you can’t get into the panels, spray a natural pesticide or dust a toxic powder into the cracks to kill any hidden roach eggs.

Preventative Measures

When the machine is cleaned, and the area around it has been purged of roach attractants, you can prepare the area with a common deterrent of roaches. Powder pesticides like diatomaceous earth and natural repellents made from essential oils are the best ways to avoid cockroaches in your washing machines.