Can Cockroaches Infest Furniture?

Cockroaches are difficult creatures to find. To avoid detection, they plant themselves wherever they can for safety, preferring to come out at night under cover of darkness to protect themselves. If roaches see furniture as an opportunity to hide, they’ll use it. The issue for renters and homeowners is that cockroach infestations can occur without them even knowing.

Cockroaches may hide in furniture such as closets, dressers, chest of drawers, bathroom cabinets, or mattresses, to survive. These aren’t the likeliest places for cockroaches to live, but they make a good base for roaches to make shuttle runs to the kitchen and bathroom to find food and water. If the furniture is quiet and dark enough, roaches will lay their eggs inside. They sometimes also lay their eggs in clothes.  

Cockroaches hide in places that offer warmth and darkness. Kitchens and bathrooms where water and food are close by are their favored places to live. However, if the furniture is easily accessible, cockroaches will get inside until they find somewhere better.

Do Cockroaches Hide In Furniture?

Cockroaches have the remarkable ability to hide in the smallest spaces away from harm. As described by PNAS, cockroaches intrude everywhere by exploiting their soft-bodied, shape-changing ability.

They can also traverse horizontal crevices smaller than a quarter of their height. They do this by compressing their compliant exoskeletons in half. They then move from one place to another at 20 body lengths per second, even in vertically confined spaces.

Unfortunately, this makes it easy for cockroaches to get into furniture, including couches, dressers, and cabinets. Cockroaches like places that are:

  • Warm
  • Dark
  • Quiet
  • Sheltered
  • Away from predators
  • Humid or has easy access to water

As mentioned before, while furniture isn’t the favored choice for cockroaches to live, they will reside inside pieces of furniture that make them feel safe, only leaving when the time comes to find food and water.

Though, if the furniture is in regular use by people in the house, roaches aren’t likely to stick around for long. Cockroaches are known to hide in:

  • Closets
  • Dressers
  • Drawers
  • Couches
  • Storage boxes
  • Mattresses

Couches, in particular, harbor food crumbs that cockroaches feast on. Because couches are regularly used and are risky for roaches, it’s more likely that they will scavenge for food down the sides of the furniture before going back to their permanent home.

Also, because cockroaches prefer moist places to hide and breed, they choose furniture that gives them easy access to areas with water and food. Roaches in used furniture are more common, as old wood is a viable food source and means they don’t have to go scavenging as often.

In most modern homes, the couch is near to the kitchen. Similarly, dressers and closets are usually located in the bedroom in close proximity to the bathroom.

Cockroaches will make supply runs to these areas to get what they need, so much of your furniture is ideally placed for the pests to survive.

How To Tell If Cockroaches Are In Your Furniture

Unfortunately, cockroaches are quiet and tuck themselves away in the tightest spaces. It isn’t easy to know whether cockroaches are living in furniture unless you’re actively looking for them.

However, there are many other signs to look out for that can give the pests away. When checking for cockroaches, look out for the following things:

Feces

Cockroaches leave droppings everywhere they go. When you’re inspecting your furniture, look out for tiny black or brown dots that look like coffee grounds. If your cockroach is active inside your furniture or visits regularly, feces will undoubtedly be present.

Large amounts of feces mean there’s likely to be more than one cockroach. However, if you only find a few droppings, you might only have a lone roach inside your furniture. This is much easier to manage.

Don’t leave any feces you find lying around. Roach poop contains proteins that can trigger a range of health problems in people, including respiratory conditions, diarrhea, and asthma.

To remove them, vacuum or sweep the feces up and disinfect the area you found them in. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly afterward, as cockroach droppings are harmful.

do cockroaches lay eggs in furniture?

Unpleasant Odors

If you have a large-scale cockroach infestation, you’ll notice an unpleasant odor caused by the secretions roaches produce.

As described by the US National Library of Medicine, cockroaches have copious opportunities to spread foul-smelling pathogenic agents onto food sources. Over time, the odor gets worse until homeowners can smell it around the home.

The reason cockroaches smell so bad is because they store uric acid in their fat. They also give off pheromones to communicate with other roaches.

Dead cockroaches smell even worse because roach carcasses emit oleic acid, which is also known as the “death stench.” This smell is used to warn other roaches about nearby dangers and hazards.

If you face an unpleasant stench when you open the doors of your furniture, inspect for cockroaches, as it’s likely they’ve set up home.

Eggs Cases

Another tell-tale sign of a roach infestation inside furniture is egg cases. Cockroaches lay multiple eggs at a time, all of which are contained in one casing called an ootheca.

Roaches deposit the ootheca in warm, sheltered locations where they can’t be harmed. This means that furniture makes the ideal home for a roach’s eggs.

Homeowners rarely inspect the backs of their furniture, meaning the eggs are in the best position to remain unharmed.

Inspect all areas of your drawers, closets, dressers, tables legs, and beds for signs of egg cases. Finding them is a sign that you have multiple roaches in the home and is bad news for homeowners.

However, be aware that an absence of egg casings doesn’t mean you don’t have roaches. Roaches may be present but in small numbers. Lone roaches are much easier to eradicate but can breed and start a colony if another roach joins.

Stains

Cockroaches commonly leave behind brown smear marks on furniture where they’ve scuttled along, especially if water is present. The marks are usually long and irregularly shaped. They’re also sometimes raised from the surface.

Wipe these stains off using a disinfectant but be careful not to touch them with your bare hands, as they contain harmful pathogens that can make you unwell.

Damage

Cockroaches sometimes cause damage to wooden furniture. They bite and scratch the inside of wooden furniture to try to consume the wood. Plastic furniture tends to fare better.

Cockroaches chew on clothes, too, especially when they’re made from natural, organic fabrics like cotton and linen.

If you notice pieces missing from the garments that are stored inside your closet and drawers or find damage to the internal structure of your furniture, try not to overlook it in case roaches have invaded.

Similarly, damaged clothes are usually blamed on moths, which isn’t always the case. Instead, look out for the cockroach signs we’ve already mentioned or get in touch with pest control, who can do it for you.

Do Cockroaches Eat Furniture?

Cockroaches won’t eat plastic furniture as it’s not an organic food substance. However, wood makes up a large part of a cockroach’s diet when it’s available, especially if the wood is starting to decay. Old, antique, or used furniture is more likely to rot or decompose.

Decaying wood is softer and easier to eat. Roaches can digest cellulose, allowing them to eat wood and other tree-based matter such as paper and cardboard. Unfortunately, this means wooden furniture is a good source of sustenance.

Roaches can eat paint. To prevent roaches from chewing on your wooden furniture, treat it with varnish to help it last longer.

When cockroaches get into beds and mattresses, they may eat the fabric if they can’t find another source of food. However, roaches are more likely to eat the dead skin cells and hair that you shed each night.

Similarly, if you eat food in your bed, roaches can detect the crumbs and will eat them. No food is off-limits.

Do Cockroaches Lay Eggs in Furniture?

Cockroaches lay eggs in tight spaces where they are safe. They also need to be warm. Moist, dark hiding spots in the kitchen and bathroom are preferable. However, as opportunistic pests, anywhere will do.

The benefit roaches find with furniture such as drawers and dressers is that it’s dark, especially down the back and in the corners. Humans can’t see small roach eggs unless a significant amount of light shining into the furniture.

Take care when bringing new furniture or pre-owned (second-hand) furniture into the home. If boxes are left out for too long, roaches may seize the opportunity to get inside to live and lay their eggs.

Similarly, if you’re moving home with cardboard boxes, check them before you put furniture into them and again when you’re in the new house.

You don’t want to risk bringing in cockroaches that have laid eggs inside your furniture, or you’ll have a new roach infestation to deal with.

Cockroach Eggs in Clothes

While not as common, cockroaches sometimes lay their eggs in clothes, especially if they’re laid flat in a dresser or drawers.

Cockroaches like nesting in places that absorb the odors they emit. This is because they are less likely to be undetected, keeping themselves and their eggs safe.

Clothes left in boxes will also attract roaches as there are lots of crevasses for them to lay their eggs. They also eat cardboard and paper as it contains starch. The box itself is as attractive as the hiding spots the clothes are associated with. Hanging your clothes is the best way to protect them.

How To Get Rid Of Cockroaches In Furniture

It’s not a pleasant thought that cockroaches could be living in the furniture you use. It’s also unhygienic, as cockroaches harbor a range of dangerous diseases that make humans ill.

If you’ve discovered a roach infestation, you must prevent it from getting worse. To do so, you will need to clean all aspects of the home, starting with your furniture.

So, to ensure this doesn’t happen, remove cockroaches from your furniture as quickly and efficiently as you can.

Couches And Sofas

To eradicate cockroaches from your couch or sofa, a thorough cleaning is required. Crumbs fall down the cracks, encouraging roaches to invade once they detect that food is nearby. These steps will help you remove cockroaches from your couch/sofa for good:

Step 1

Vacuum the couch, paying particular attention to the gaps where cockroaches are likely to be residing.

Remove the cushions and give them a vacuum too. For cushions that have a zip with padding inside, remove the padding and turn the cover inside out.

If your cushions are machine washable, you can follow the washing instructions and clean them properly in the machine. The heat from the water will kill cockroaches and their eggs. However, if the cushions are likely to shrink in the wash, proceed with vacuuming.

Tip the couch over and vacuum the underside if it’s not too heavy. Cockroaches are most likely to reside underneath where it’s safe and dark.

No part of the couch should be left untouched in case there are lone cockroaches that can’t be seen by the naked eye. Similarly, a thorough cleaning will remove the eggs as well as the roaches

Step 2

Ensure you empty the vacuum bag or container and take it straight out to the trash to stop cockroaches from returning.

If cockroaches have survived the vacuuming and are allowed to escape the bag or vacuum, they will reinfest the home.

Step 3

Wash your couch with an upholstery shampoo. Adding 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the solution helps to drive out cockroaches from their hiding spots and will repel them from returning. Roaches can’t bear the smell of vinegar.

Step 4

Unfortunately, vacuuming won’t be enough to get rid of cockroaches altogether. You will need to use an effective form of pest control alongside your cleaning regime.

Natural roach bait is safe to be placed around the couch and is best if you have other animals in the house.

Mix 1/4 cup vegetable shortening, 1/8 cup white sugar, 1 cup boric acid powder, ½ cup flour, and a little water. Stir all the ingredients together to create a soft dough. If the mixture is too runny, add more flour to thicken it.

Roll the mixture into small balls and place them into empty yogurt pots. Cover the pot opening with a lid and make a hole that’s big enough for cockroaches to get through with a pair of scissors.

Cockroaches will enter the hole, eat the mixture, and poison themselves. They will then go back to the colony, where the poisoned roach will die. Other cockroaches will feast on the dead body and die from the poison – eradicating the entire colony in one go.

Drawers, Dressers, And Closets

Closets, drawers, and dressers are dark and make a good hiding spot for cockroaches. However, the biggest problem is that they house clothes. As previously mentioned, roaches sometimes use garments to lay their eggs. 

Clothes contain fiber and proteins that roaches eat if no other food is available. Clothes also generate heat inside furniture, keeping roaches warm.

Drawers, dressers, and closets made from wood, metal, or plastic are easy enough to clean as they can be washed inside and out with a soap solution mixed with warm water.

Step 1

To create your solution, fill a spray bottle with dish soap and warm water and spray directly onto both the furniture and cockroaches. This solution will kill roaches as they stand but won’t deal with the infestation.

Use a towel or dishcloth to wipe the solution off quickly. You don’t want to leave it on for too long or you may risk damaging the furniture, especially if it’s an authentic wooden piece.

Step 2

To tackle the infestation, the furniture will need to be treated with a spray or gel bait to kill the roaches.

If the invasion isn’t dealt with, cockroaches will keep coming back. Use the bait a couple of times a week until the infestation is eradicated. Be careful to choose a solution suitable for your pieces of furniture so that no damage is caused.

Step 3

Afterward, wash the clothes that were inside the drawers or closet to remove any eggs. Wash them on the highest heat the washing instructions allow to kill all roaches and eggs.

Don’t put your clothes back into the furniture until you’re sure you’ve removed the infestation. Otherwise, the cockroaches could begin the process once again. Instead, place them in a suitcase that roaches can’t get into.

how to get rid of cockroaches in furniture

Bathroom Cabinets

Bathroom cabinets that are placed underneath sinks to hide pipes and drains are particularly attractive to cockroaches.

Surprisingly, cockroaches eat soaps, toothpaste, and toilet roll, as all these items contain digestible starch. Many homeowners store these items in their bathroom cabinets.

To prevent roaches from getting into your bathroom cabinets, seal up all cracks and gaps that they could enter with caulk or plaster.

You can also block drains with rubber covers that prevent cockroaches from gaining entry, particularly at night when they are most active.

Fixing leaky drains and faucets will also help to repel cockroaches. Cockroaches are drawn to water and leaky taps provide an unlimited supply.

When it comes to the cabinet itself, keep it dry and store soaps and other starch-based items in tubs to prevent cockroaches from eating them.

Beds And Mattresses

Mattresses are much harder to treat if cockroaches have infested them. While it is unlikely cockroaches will set up home in the bedroom, a mattress makes a warm place to hibernate if there’s no better alternative.

Cockroaches can get in through gaps and rips, so once you’ve treated the mattress, be sure to patch them up to stop any more from getting in. Small rips can be stitched, while larger gaps can be covered with fabric patches. 

In the case of a severe cockroach infestation, boric acid will be needed. This is one of the most effective forms of pest control.

Sprinkle a light dusting on your mattress and around your bed. When cockroaches come into contact with it, they will consume it and die.

As cockroaches feed on dead cockroaches, the rest of the colony will also consume the poison and die. Boric acid is an effective way to remove large infestations.

If you’d prefer a more natural form of pest control, diatomaceous earth kills roaches by scratching their exoskeletons with its sharp edges. It absorbs the oils and fats from the body, drying the roaches out and killing them.

How To Prevent Cockroaches in Furniture

It’s also a good idea to invest in a mattress topper so that you don’t come into contact with any cockroaches or eggs. Some people prefer to get a new mattress altogether, but the infestation still needs to be dealt with or you’ll run into the same problems.

To repel cockroaches naturally, spray cypress and peppermint oils around your bed. You can create a solution by mixing 8 drops of cypress oil or 10 drops of peppermint oil with 1 cup of water in a spray bottle.

Spraying the mixture every morning and evening will be enough to keep cockroaches away. You might not want to overdo it as the scents are quite potent and may disturb your sleep when you move back into your bedroom.

Once you’ve managed to eradicate cockroaches from your furniture, you’ll need to deal with the rest of your home, starting with the kitchen and bathrooms.

Furniture is rarely the source of the infestation but an indication that there is one. Cockroaches invade all corners of the home, so you may find small groups of roaches in multiple places.