“Cockroach smell” is the odor given off by roaches in a given area. But what causes it? And more importantly, how can you get rid of it? Here are some tips to help identify the odor and permanently remove cockroach odor.
The stench associated with cockroaches originates from the roach poop. Individually, the feces are very difficult to see. But collectively, cockroach feces can be very visible. The poop itself, once dry, often doesn’t emit much odor. However, mold growing on the feces is generally responsible for the “cockroach smell.” Coincidentally, the number one cause of asthma in children and older adults is a fungus that grows on roach feces. The odor is generally present in smaller, confined areas, such as cabinets, drawers, and closets. You can remove cockroach odor by removing the feces and fungus growing on it.
Since the odor associated with roaches stems from the mold growing on the feces, it is essential to get rid of the feces. Since asthma is linked to the mold growing on roach feces, you should take proper respiratory precautions. Wearing an N-95 disposable is a good start, but check with your physician first to see whether you are physically fit to wear one. A half-faced or full-faced respirator with P-99 or P-100 cartridges provides more protection, but if odors are very bad, you may want to get P-100 OV cartridges (organic vapor) when you attempt to remove cockroach odor.
Remove all porous items that have come in contact with roach poop (ie. clothing, linens, towels, trash, recyclables, etc). Clothing and linens can be washed and the poop should come off, causing the odor to cease. If you have unwanted trash, remove it from the home. Other porous items are up to you. Cleaning roach poop takes time and patience and you must determine how much time and effort you want to put in to salvage some of the contaminated items. Books, papers and pictures can generally be salvaged; however, you will need to be careful not to oversaturate them with cleaner and be careful not to rip any pages when agitating them. Some people prefer to take digital photos of the original to keep the memories, then dispose of the contaminated items. If you choose to remove the odor, you will need to find any carcasses and remove them. You will need to locate the actual poop and apply a disinfectant to reduce the chance of airborne particles. You can scrub the surface after the disinfectant has had time to work. On severe spots, you may want to use a degreaser. After the spots have been removed, apply the disinfectant again to the clean surface.
You will also want to wear disposable gloves, or dish gloves, since there is a lot of scrubbing involved. First, identify all areas that contain cockroach feces. If the odor is in a cabinet, you will need to remove the contents of the cabinet and spray all items and the interior of the cabinet with an EPA-registered disinfectant. If the odor persists in a drawer, remove the drawer. Check the sides, bottom, back, and inside the area holding the drawer. Spray all affected areas thoroughly. Let the disinfectant sit for 10 minutes (or longer, depending on the label instructions), then wipe all areas dry. Next, use a light degreaser on the affected areas. Spray the degreaser liberally and let sit for 5 minutes to re-hydrate the feces. Use a non-scratch scrub pad for finished wood and painted surfaces. Scrub the affected areas until the feces is removed. Wipe the areas clean. Repeat this step as necessary. Once the area is free of feces, dry the area. Scrub all affected areas in this manner until the feces is no longer present. The area will likely smell like cleaning chemicals, but it will dissipate. Once you are sure that all areas are free from feces, reapply the EPA-registered disinfectant to all areas again. Let the disinfectant sit at least 10 minutes, then dry. After the chemical odor dissipates, you will remove cockroach odor.
As simple as these instructions seem, there are situations that will require much more work. In order to get to some areas of contamination, you may be required to remove baseboards, quarter round molding, carpet and carpet pad, doors, door knobs, and even separate cabinets from the drywall in order to get to all of the areas. Sometimes, exposing the areas to clean is tougher than the cleaning itself. Biohazard remediation companies generally know how to remove cockroach odor. For more information on illnesses related to roach poop, click the CDC website link HERE. To find a company in South Carolina that knows how to properly remove cockroach odor, visit Palmetto Commercial Services at https://www.palmettocommercialservices.com.
Mike Young owns Palmetto Commercial Services, an extreme cleaning company located in Columbia, SC. PCS has completed over 700 hoarding cleanup jobs and many of these jobs require cleaning up roach poop. PCS has won multiple awards, including Best of the State Best Cleaning Company 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, Post and Courier/Free Times Best Cleaning Service 2019, 2020 and 2021, Lexington Life Magazine Best Restoration Company 2021 and 2022, Columbia Metropolitan Magazine Best commercial cleaning Service 2019. 2020. 2021 and 2022, Top Rated Local Best Janitorial Service in SC 2019, 2020 and 2021, BBB Torch Award for Business Ethics 2017, and SC Best in Business Best Janitorial Service in SC, Best Floor Cleaning Service in SC and runner up for Company of the Year in SC 2021. Mike writes cleaning service SEO blogs to help other cleaning companies with their online visibility.