Cockroach in bed while sleeping [what to do]

You’d naturally dread the unpleasant scenario of a scurrying cockroach in bed while sleeping. Although roaches don’t bite, their presence often evokes disgust. Exposure to their skin and waste products can lead to allergic reactions or exacerbate asthma symptoms. Moreover, roaches are primarily active during the nighttime, intensifying the need to learn how to keep them at bay while you sleep.

The reality is that cockroaches are widespread pests that commonly invade even personal spaces. And to evict them from your bedroom, you would be implementing similar measures as you would for other areas of your home.

Cockroach in bed while sleeping

Step 1: Roach-proof the room to stop cockroach in bed while sleeping

a. Seal the entries

Start by sealing up possible entry points in your bedroom. It will require you to thoroughly examine every nook and cranny. Pay particular attention to areas where cockroaches might have a chance to infest from the outside.

Look between walls and the floor or ceiling, every corner of the room, the air vents, and the vicinity of windows. Do note that roaches can squeeze through tiny openings and gaps. American cockroaches, for instance, can “squeeze through gaps of 3 millimeters—the height of two stacked U.S. pennies,” according to The Atlantic.

b. Caulk up holes

You need a caulking gun, it could be from a nearby home improvement store. Identify cracks in your bedroom that invite cockroaches and position the nozzle of the caulking gun against the crack. Activate the trigger while moving the gun along the crack to fill it with caulk.

Try to seal your refrigerator door if it’s not in good condition to block baby roaches trying to get in through gaps or damaged areas. Make it a habit to inspect the seal and always address any issues or wear as soon as possible.

c. Use silicone tape on your bed posts

You can get a non-tacky rubber silicone tape at hardware stores or online. Wrap the tape around each bed post, starting just below your box spring and extending to the point where the posts touch the floor.

d. Fit weather strips onto rhe room doors

Your bedroom door typically leads to the interior of your home, but roaches entering through other exterior doors can potentially migrate to your bedroom and your bed while you are sleeping. The solution is to install weather strips on all exterior-facing doors.

e. Check your room’s vent screens

Vent screens are a primary barrier against cockroach entry through air vents. If you find any holes or damage on the vent screens, you want to replace them. If it’s only a small hole, cover the opening with 1-2 layers of durable tape, such as duct tape—it’s only a temporary fix unless replaced though.

f. Use bedding that doesn’t touch the ground

Your sheets should be tightly tucked in. If necessary, you may have to replace oversized comforters with smaller ones that do not reach the floor to protect from a cockroach in bed while sleeping. Do note that roaches also crawl up bed skirts too, so consider removing them from your bed.

Step 2: Make your room inhospitable

a. Declutter your room

Clutters typically serve as a haven for roaches, providing them with hiding places. Divide the clutter in your bedroom into two categories: items to discard and items to keep. Discard the items in the “discard” category and neatly store away the items in the “keep” category. You also want to maintain dirty laundry inside your designated laundry basket, while ensuring that clean laundry is neatly folded in your dresser or hung up in your closet.

b. Maintain cleanliness throughout your room and home

Roaches prefer unkempt environments, so regularly clean not only your bedroom but also the entirety of your living space. Make it a weekly routine to sweep, mop, vacuum, dust, and wipe down surfaces with a multipurpose cleaner and rag.

Be diligent in doing the dishes and taking out the trash as roaches are attracted to the food provision from these sources. Avoid letting kitchen sinks accumulate dishes and ensure that trash cans are regularly emptied to minimize the likelihood of roaches being drawn into your home.

Identify and get rid of potential water sources to cut off access to water.

c. Remove wallpapers or shelf liners on your wall

Roaches are known to consume the paste on the back of such materials, which serves as their food source in your bedroom.

Roaches are also attracted to cardboard and newspaper materials. Make sure you remove any newspaper and replace cardboard boxes with plastic storage containers to discourage a cockroach in bed while sleeping. Nevertheless, cockroaches are drawn to cardboard or thin plastic containers.²

Additionally, eliminate items that contain glue, starch, soap, fabrics, and wood from your bedroom.

d. Get rid of backyard debris

Extend the roach-inhospitable environment to the exterior of your home to significantly decrease the likelihood of getting a cockroach in bed while sleeping.

Roaches tend to seek refuge under disordered woodpiles and among dead leaves. Therefore, rake and dispose of dead leaves, as well as tidy up and organize any woodpiles in your yard, particularly if they are located near your home. Maintain a clean and organized outdoor area to create a deterrent for roaches and reduce their potential entry points into your home.

e. Don’t eat in your room

Avoid bringing food into your bedroom altogether. If it is necessary to store some food in your room, it should be securely stored in tightly sealed boxes or bags.

Step 3: Keep roaches at bay

Having identified and maintained a clean environment within and outside your room, your next task is killing and keeping them away from your room for good.

a. Repel roaches with bay leaf

Crush bay leaves to create a scent that can prevent the scenario of a cockroach in bed while sleeping. Bay leaves are a natural repellent when crushed into a powder using a mortar and pestle or any other suitable crushing tool.

Sprinkle the powdered bay leaves into several open containers and around your bedroom and bed to discourage cockroach presence near your bed.

b.  Deter a cockroach with cypress and peppermint oils near your bed

These natural essential oils have repellent properties against roaches. Create a spray mixture by combining 8 drops of cypress oil, 10 drops of peppermint oil, and 1 cup (240 ml) of water in a spray bottle. Apply this mixture to areas where you have noticed roaches, and particularly focus on spraying underneath and around your bed.

c. Use cigar clippings

The nicotine in cigars acts as a deterrent for these critters. If you or someone you know smokes cigars, collect the clippings and sprinkle them in open containers. Place the containers near your bed without sealing them.

d. Repel cockroaches with coffee grounds

Sprinkle coffee grounds into open containers and strategically place them under or near your bed to deter roaches. This method will create an environment that repels roaches and discourage their presence. Coffee grounds can also repel insects such as ants due to caffeine content.

e. Create a DIY insecticide with baking soda and sugar

Baking soda and sugar mixture can kill/stop a cockroach in bed while sleeping. Create the mixture by combining equal parts baking soda and sugar in a bowl and sprinkle it around your room to prevent cockroach in bed while sleeping. While the sugar attracts the roaches, the baking soda eliminates them when consumed. Sweep or vacuum up the baking soda and sugar mixture after a few days, and dispose of any deceased roaches you come across.

When using this homemade solution, exercise caution around pets or children to prevent them from directly consuming the poison in your bedroom.

f. Exterminate cockroach in bed with boric acid

Boric acid can eliminate roaches, ants, and other pests. Purchase boric acid from a local supermarket or online and apply a light dusting of it on the floor of your bedroom to target roaches. As roaches walk through the powder, it sticks to their bodies, and when they groom themselves, they inadvertently ingest it. Even the roaches hiding in your room eventually ingest and die as well. This ingestion eventually leads to their death. Keep boric acid out of reach of children and pets—it is a poisonous substance and can cause severe harm if ingested.³

Remember to thoroughly vacuum or sweep up the boric acid after 1-2 days to remove any residual powder and ensure the safety and cleanliness of your living space. Properly disposing of the boric acid helps prevent accidental contact or ingestion by children, pets, or other household members. Boric acid loses its effectiveness when it becomes wet or is excessively sprinkled. So, only apply boric acid in dry conditions in your bedroom for optimal results.

Read also: protect your electronics from cockroaches


  1. “Why You Can’t Keep Cockroaches Out of Your Home.” The Atlantic
  2. “Cockroach Control Manual.” Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County
  3. “Boric Acid.” National Pesticide Information Center
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