How To Get Rid Of Cockroaches In Your RV

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Get rid of cockroaches in your RV. Photo: Shutterstock

How To Keep Cockroaches Out Of Your RV

Cockroaches are notoriously hard to get rid of. They’re practically the poster child for seemingly immortal pests! Plus, these insects are gross and may even carry diseases. Sometimes these insects find their way into even the cleanest living spaces, so everyone should know how to get rid of cockroaches, whether it’s in a house or an RV.

Many people have found that traditional methods of dealing with pests don’t work on cockroaches. These things are ridiculously hardy and can reproduce fairly quickly. So even if you wipe out one generation, another one is already on the way. 

Fortunately, there are some methods that have been effective in the war against cockroaches. If you target different parts of their biology and habits, you can eliminate them. You may not know how to get rid of cockroaches, but read our guide below to get a full education on these nasty bugs. 

How to get rid of cockroaches in your RV

If you’ve got roaches, you have a couple of options for how to deal with them. Although some people have been dissatisfied with pesticides, some of them are actually quite effective. Here’s how each method works and how it targets/kills cockroaches. 

Store-bought methods

1. Boric acid

Despite the name, boric acid usually comes in powder form. If you dust this around the floors of your RV, roaches who come into contact with this substance will die. It’s incredibly poisonous and works whether they ingest it or just walk through it. 

Try to place boric acid in areas with high roach traffic. Keep in mind that it’s dangerous to humans and pets, so you may only want to use this method if the RV is empty or in storage. 

2. Sticky traps

Physical insect traps work just as well on roaches as any other insect. Sticky floor traps will attract them with an appealing scent then trap their feet in place once they step on it. This technique won’t help you solve all your problems because not every roach will be attracted to it. It also doesn’t do anything about the eggs that have already been laid.

In general, sticky traps are useful because they help you identify when you have a roach problem and find some of the most heavily infested areas. 

3. Gel bait

If you can get the cockroach to ingest poison, that’s a great way to kill them. There are certain types of gel bait that attract roaches. They then eat the gel, and it eventually kills them. However, this method has a secondary effect.

It’s pretty gross, but roaches also eat each other once they die. If others in the colony eat the roach that died from eating poison, they will also ingest the harmful gel and die. When used properly, gel bait has a powerful ripple effect.  

4. Insecticidal dust

Just like any other creature on earth, cockroaches need water to live. Although roaches can go for long stretches without food, they’ll quickly die if they get too dehydrated. That’s where insecticidal dust comes into play.

This dust forms tiny tears and cracks in an insect’s exoskeleton. From here, it absorbs moisture and weakens the roach. Eventually, the pest will dry out and die. This is a slow-acting method, but it’s pretty effective if you can spread the dust in areas where the roaches hang out. 

5. Chemical pesticides

Finally, you can use a range of chemical pesticides to attack roaches with harmful fumes and substances. Some pesticides are more effective than others, but you’ll always have plenty of options. Some of the best selections to get rid of cockroaches are:


Use chemical pesticides with caution and always follow the instructions. After all, if it’s strong enough to take down hardy insects like cockroaches—it also has the potential to hurt you!

Homemade/natural methods

If the methods above are a bit too expensive or harsh for your tastes, don’t worry! There are plenty of natural ways to get rid of cockroaches in your RV.

1. Baking soda and sugar

One of the best options is a mixture of baking soda and sugar. I know you’re used to hearing about baking soda and vinegar, but that’s better for cleaning, not pest control. Baking soda is deadly to cockroaches if they ingest it, but it doesn’t smell very good to them by itself. 

But if you mix in a sprinkle of granulated sugar, they’ll go crazy for the stuff! Just stir up a batch of this and leave it somewhere that the roaches can easily access it. 

2. Fabric softener spray

You might be surprised to hear that you’ve got a roach killer in your laundry room. When properly applied, fabric softener can be used to suffocate roaches. Just grab a spray bottle and create a mixture of 3 parts fabric softener and 2 parts water. You want the mixture to be thick, so you need to use more fabric softener than water. 

Spray this concoction on any roaches that cross your line of sight. These little pests breathe through their skin, so you can suffocate them if you manage to land a good hit on them. Unfortunately, this method requires direct action, so you can’t just wait for them to fall into a trap. It’s a good idea to keep this spray on hand if you know you have a roach infestation. 

3. Diatomaceous earth

This substance is quite similar to the insecticidal dust we mentioned earlier. It’s comprised of thousands of crushed fossils. When a roach comes in contact with this dust, their exoskeleton is nicked, scratched, and worn down. This weakens them, and it also makes them more likely to die from injuries or dehydration. 

How to prevent cockroaches from entering your RV

Limit their access to food

Cockroaches have a voracious appetite, and they’re drawn to the smell of food. They often multiply and live in homes or RVs that have a buildup of trash, food stains, and other bad-smelling items. 

If you keep your living space clean and tidy, they are less likely to slip past you. Unfortunately, they also eat several non-food substances that you can’t easily get rid of. For instance, they have been known to eat glue, book bindings, and wallpaper paste, as well as human hair, fingernails, and skin.

Therefore, you should make an effort to keep your RV clean and well-dusted as well. Any kind of organic substance could serve as food for a hungry roach. Cleaning will also help you find and remove any roach eggs or larvae. 

Remove hiding spots

These insects don’t often venture out into the open if they can help it. They’re drawn to cracks in the walls and holes in cushions. They’ll also hide underneath furniture if they can. 

If you remove potential hiding spots, you’ll make your RV less appealing. It will also be easier to get rid of cockroaches if they don’t have a safe place to retreat to. Seal up any holes in your RV, patch up tears, and block off any gaps between furniture and the floor.

Place scented deterrents around the RV

Finally, you can use potent smells to discourage roaches from entering your RV. There are many things they like to eat, but there are a few things they will actively avoid. 

For example, bay leaves are a great deterrent against cockroaches. Just crush up a few dried leaves and sprinkle them around any potential entrances. 

Some essential oils are also great for pest control. Peppermint oil has proven to be effective against roaches. Mix up a blend of peppermint oil, water, and salt, and spray it around your RV. The roaches should give you a wide berth if they smell this. 


One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and more.

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