Understanding the causes of cockroaches helps you wrap your head around a new or established infestation. The next step is getting rid of roaches for good.

An effective way to do that is with a method we call CIAO based on an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach. CIAO stands for Clean, Inspect, Attack and Outsmart—the four components of long-term roach control.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Clean

    Clean your home of everything that roaches need to survive. Deep cleaning leaves your home less attractive to roaches and harder to infest.

  2. Inspect

    Inspect for roach activity inside and outside. A thorough inspection provides intelligence you can use in the next stage of Attack.

  3. Attack

    Attack cockroaches by targeting them where they congregate and travel. You’re going to use some of the best pest control products to eliminate them or significantly reduce their numbers.

  4. Outsmart

    Outsmart roaches that try re-infesting in the future. By taking steps now to keep them out, you’ll save yourself loads of future grief.

Here’s how you can begin to implement CIAO right now:

1. Clean and Sanitize

You might have a clean home, but this first step is about more than just sweeping: you’ll need to empty out cabinets, move furniture, and vacuum everywhere.

You should also throw out any opened, damaged, or unsealed food that could have been contaminated by roaches. Use a disinfectant spray to sanitize surfaces.

Use a towel to kneel on the floor and vacuum under appliances, behind furniture, and along floorboards. This is where our first two steps—cleaning and inspecting—overlap. Before you vacuum these hard-to-reach areas of the home, write down every place where you find evidence of roaches (droppings, dead roaches, or a musty stench).

Do the same as you clean and empty out cabinets. You’ll probably discover quite a few food sources and potential hiding places, which you’ll target in steps three and four.

2. Inspect for Hotspots and Entry Points

With everything cleaned out, it’s much easier to thoroughly inspect these areas to find out where roaches are hiding and how they’re surviving.

Every time you find more evidence, write the location down on a notepad and clean it up. Keep vacuuming and disinfecting as you discover other locations.

Then, near each hotspot, place a store-bought sticky trap. This will attract and trap any roaches hiding nearby to help you determine where they’re most active and how big the problem is. It’ll also give you a head start on the next step by killing roaches overnight.

If you’re dealing with outdoor cockroaches, now is the time to inspect the area outside of your house.

Walk the perimeter, looking for cracks and crevices less than half an inch wide. Add these to your list. Check for torn window screens and gaps around wiring. Make a note of any puddles or areas of saturated soil that you’ll need to address later.

Now that you’ve cleaned, emptied and written down your target areas, it’s time to attack.

3. Attack the Existing Roach Infestation

To get rid of existing roaches, you’re going to use four proven tools:

  1. Traps
  2. Gel bait
  3. Insecticidal dust
  4. IGR

You’ve already set some traps in areas where you found evidence of roaches. Now, add some more near other typical cockroach hiding places: around the fridge, dishwasher, and washing machine, in the pantry, along basement walls, and around pipes.

In the small cracks and holes that roaches use to get inside walls or under floorboards, apply drops of gel bait. This powerful pest control product spreads from roach to roach, so a single drop could kill a number of the pest.

Use insecticidal dust to treat inaccessible places like wall cavities and electronics. Did you know tiny roaches could hide in your microwave’s clock or inside your air fryer? Squeeze a puff of the dust inside to kill any roaches that touch it.

An IGR is a bonus product that stops roaches from reproducing. It might not kill the adults, but it makes them sluggish and weak enough that they won’t survive long. More importantly, it prevents baby roaches.

4. Outsmart and Outwit to Prevent Future Roaches

The only thing worse than finding roaches once is finding them twice.

But now you’ve got a file on them. You know where they come from and what they’re looking for. You know their habits and their hideouts.

Let’s turn that knowledge into strategy.

Keep Roaches Out

Outdoor species displaced by flooding or cold weather are determined to get inside. You’ll need to plug every opening in exterior walls with steel wool and weatherproof caulking. Repair screens, seal up window frames, and install weatherstripping to guard the spaces under doors.

Then, work on eliminating excess moisture by spreading mulch more thinly and clearing clogged gutters that might be dumping water into a moat around your walls. Stack firewood neatly to help it dry and rake any leaves and debris away from your house.