How to Prevent Cockroaches in Clothes and Wardrobes? [In 5 Steps]

cockroaches in clothes

The one insect that terrorizes with its appearance is the cockroach. With a long tentacular antenna on its head, it gives an impression of being ready to pounce on you and attack at any moment. 

People may face big cats at any given point. But run helter-skelter on noticing a cockroach. The little monsters can accommodate themselves in the narrowest crevices in your clothes, kitchen, wardrobe, or any other area out of your reach.

Cockroaches carry various diseases, which can quickly transfer to humans through contact with their droppings, exoskeletons, or other bodily secretions. In addition, cockroaches can cause significant damage to clothing by eating the fibers and leaving behind unsightly holes.

Cockroaches in clothes or wardrobes compel immediate action. It means they have already infested your clothes stacked in it. In addition, they are highly reproductive and start laying their eggs wherever they colonize.

Can Cockroaches Hide and Live in Your Clothes?

removing cockroach from clothes and wardrobe

Yes! The stacked clothes in your wardrobe are the best hideouts for cockroaches.

Cockroaches favor clothes untouched for a substantial time to make a living there and grow their population without any hindrance. If there remains an ounce of food or sweat in the clothing, or if you stack them without drying them off completely, the chances of attracting pests are more.

It’s crucial to wash your clothes and dry them in a clean place. Avoid drying them in open spaces frequented by cockroaches. It is one preventive measure to keep cockroaches out of your clothes.

Once they make a living in your clothes, it will be hard to rid of them. They immediately start laying eggs on the clothes, which aren’t readily visible to the naked eye, and consequently difficult to remove.

Always machine-wash your clothes thoroughly, and if required, use hot water to eliminate the cockroach eggs if laid on your clothes.

Why are Cockroaches Attracted to Your Clothes?

Cockroaches love cluttered areas to hide out and make a living. It allows them to delve there effortlessly, encouraging them to grow their numbers.

Cockroaches have the high sensory capability to detect the residual smell of food; sugary drinks spilled on clothes long back. We may not be able to get a whiff of these, but cockroaches can. Also, the specific sweet smell of soap can attract cockroaches. Any clothing not washed appropriately can also attract cockroaches—E.g., dirty clothes, remnants of sweat, etc.

These small residues are enough for cockroaches to feed on and survive. As a natural process, whatever cockroaches eat, the excess is excreted, contaminating your clothes and wardrobe. You may notice a stink if there’s a high proportion of infestation.

The stacked clothes help them to hide in between the layers of clothes. They immediately detect any external motion and keep themselves hidden until the potential trouble-makers go far away.

Cockroaches and ants can coexist in the same environment. If you’re also looking to get rid of ants then you must read: Why are Ants Attracted to my Clean Clothes

Are dead cockroaches are attracting ants in your closet? Then you must read: How To Get Rid Of Ants In Your Closet

Can Cockroaches Lay Eggs in Your Clothes?

cockroach eggs in pile of clothes

If clothes are left untouched for a long time, cockroaches can lay eggs between them. American cockroaches (Periplaneta americana) typically lay egg cases called oothecae, which contain around 14 to 16 eggs and can hatch within a few days. Cockroaches are known to lay eggs in warm, humid, and dark environments.

Steps to Prevent Cockroaches in Your Clothes

1. Clean All Stained Clothes

man cleaning clothes in washing machine

Sort out any clothes that have any stains on them. The marks may be due to drinks/tea/coffee spilled, tomato sauce, soups, dried sweat, or simply some dirt that has stuck onto your clothes.

Follow the washing guide from the manufacturer before cleaning the stained clothes to avoid damaging them.

You may find several ways to remove the stains based on the type of material spilled on your cloth.

Herewith is a typical method to remove stains that you can DIY.

  1. Take one tablespoon of vinegar.
  2. Take 2 to 3 cups of rubbing alcohol.
  3. Mix vinegar and rubbing alcohol.
  4. Using a clean rag, dab the stain with this solution.
  5. Dab the stained spot till it vanishes.
  6. Cleanse these clothes thoroughly by applying a disinfectant to remove all the contaminants.

Wash the clothes only after you are sure the stain has disappeared.

Related: Will Vinegar Bleach Black Clothes

2. Naphthalene

naphthalene balls

Naphthalene is organic and emits a strong smell that keeps most insects away, including cockroaches. 

Naphthalene oozes out its vapors slowly into the air. They block the respiratory tract of the cockroaches. Cockroaches sense this as a danger and try to stay away from naphthalene. Eventually, naphthalene breathed excessively by cockroaches results in killing them.

3. Boric Acid

boric acid powder

Boric acid is an effective weapon against cockroaches. It is a slow poison for cockroaches and can take 72 hours to kill them. 

When cockroaches run into an area dusted with boric acid, the powder gets stuck to them. When the roaches try to dust the powder off, they consume it. Boric acid is toxic and kills the cockroach eventually.

4. Mothballs

mothballs in red spoon

Mothballs also emit a strong smell, blocking the breathing of cockroaches. It’s one of the effective ways to control cockroach infestation.

5. Disinfectant Spray

women applying disinfectant spray

Take out all the clothes from your wardrobe. Spray a substantial amount of disinfectant on the wardrobe. Look out for cracks, crevices, and corners of your wardrobe.

Keep the wardrobe open for about an hour and re-stack your clothes back into it.

Should I Clean The Wardrobe Where I Found The Roaches?

Yes, cockroaches carry several contaminants with them. They are a significant cause of increasing contamination and invoking various diseases. 

Along with the contamination, they also lay eggs in large proportions. You may not be able to notice them with normal vision. But if ignored, you may soon see a new generation of cockroaches taking up the space.

A contaminated wardrobe will pass the infestation to fresh clothes, making you vulnerable to risk your health. 

Therefore, it’s crucial to clean your wardrobe if infested by cockroaches.

Wondering what other insects can eat holes in your clothes? If yes, then you must read: Bugs That Eat Clothes

  • Can roaches stay on your clothes?

    Yes! Cockroaches can stay on your clothes and make their colony into the clothes.

  • What smells keep roaches away?

    The smell of naphthalene, camphor, coffee grounds, peppermint oil, cedarwood oil, cypress oil, etc., will keep the roaches away.

  • Will roaches go away if you clean?

    Yes! Cockroaches like dirty, filthy environments. They will keep away from cleanliness. Once you clean your wardrobe off cockroaches, use preventive methods like placing naphthalene or mothballs in it to keep them away.


The very sight of a cockroach sends shivers to many of us. They give out a feeling of hideousness and a threat to our health. 

When you notice cockroaches in your clothes or wardrobe, you should be vigilant and take strict action to remove them. Luckily, there are a few simple methods to keep cockroaches away, not only from your clothes and wardrobe but from your home too.

If your clothes or wardrobe has cockroaches, try out a few or all methods given above and get rid of them.

Related: How to keep roaches out of coffee maker?