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How To Get Rid Of Roach Smell

Acockroach infestation can cause trouble in a number of ways, but one of the grossest is the smell associated with them. A heavy roach infestation can leave your apartment, house, or place of business with a stench that can be nearly unbearable. So, what causes roach smell, and how can you get rid of roach smell?

What do roaches smell like?

People often use words like musty, oily, sooty, or mildewy to describe roach smell. The Oriental roach is said to produce one of the worst smells, but German and American roaches can also give off a foul stench.

What are the causes of cockroach smell?

There are three main reasons why roaches smell. The first is their normal secretions, known as pheromones. Pheromones are a form of communication and can be used to attract mates and gather other roaches to a good nesting spot. The second cause of roach smell is from feces. Roaches poop wherever they live or travel. The excrement contains some of the previously mentioned pheromones, but it can also start to grow mold, which will add to the stench. Cockroaches most often live in dark, moist environments that are optimal for mold growth. Lastly, when cockroaches die, they give off a “death stench.” Decaying bodies and shed skins from molting will release oleic acid, which also has a powerful smell.

Handpicked Related Content: How to Clean Up Roach Droppings

How do you get rid of roach smell?

Eliminate the Roaches

In order to get rid of the roach smell, it is essential to start getting rid of the roaches. Complete cockroach control will probably take some time to achieve, but the more you can eliminate along the way, the better. For more information, check out our guide onHow to Get Rid of a Roach Infestation. Strong musty odors are an indication of a roach infestation and should be dealt with quickly to prevent the population from increasing. Reduction of their food source, water source is one of the first most important steps in pest management.

Use the Proper Equipment

Since roaches are a major source of allergens, and they can carry bacteria, it is best to use precautions when cleaning up after them. Wearing a mask and disposable gloves is recommended.


Starting at the highest areas of your home and working your way down, vacuum up any cockroach feces, shed skins, or live roaches that you come across. Run your vacuum hose along the tops of cupboards and appliances, inside drawers, behind appliances, under sinks, under furniture, and anywhere else you have seen roaches. Once you have vacuumed up as much as possible, seal the bag and dispose of it.

Identify roach nests

The next important step to take is to identify the major areas where cockroaches live and travel. These nests will be the biggest source of the smell and will need extra cleaning. Findroach nests by using a flashlight to check for major harborages like cracks and crevices in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and crawl spaces. Roaches prefer dark, hidden areas where food and moisture are present. Cockroach nests can be identified by piles of shed skins, feces, live or dead roaches, and egg cases. If you are still unsure where they hide, you can put out roach traps in many areas and see which ones catch the most roaches. That is where you will want to focus your efforts. You might also find our article on Identify Roach Poop helpful to identification.

Disinfect and Clean

Once you have found a major harborage, spray it with disinfectant and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then you can wipe the area dry. Next, use soap and water or a light degreaser to scrub the area down. Spray it one last time with a disinfectant to kill any leftovers. This can also help dissuade the roaches from coming back.


As you get rid of the roaches, these steps may need to be completed again. Roach infestations are not fun, but with a little work, and some great Harrishome pest control products, you can take care of the problem for good.  Conclusion: Now that you know that large populations can cause a musty odor in your home, you then can follow the necessary steps to get rid of cockroaches. Learning where to identify areas that this bug is attracted to and also steps to prevent you can eliminate the odor.