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How to Get Rid of Cockroaches in a Storage Unit

Storage units are great places to store things temporarily (when traveling or moving) or more long term. Most people assume their items will be safe, especially in climate-controlled storage units. Cockroaches are notorious for always finding a way into areas where they are not welcome, including these types of storage areas.  

You should know what you can do to keep your items safe from roaches and other insect pests (e.g., spiders and ants) in paid storage units, as well as in your home storage areas.

Why Do Cockroaches Like Storage Units?

Storage units

Cockroaches are always on the lookout for food, water, and shelter. Even the slightest small crumbs or stickiness on stored clothes, furniture, or other belongings can bring roaches running. They don't need much food to survive and they can go for about a month without. Roaches also spread bacteria wherever they go, and you don't want your things contaminated.

More bad news is that cockroaches multiply quickly, too. So, two or three roaches left unchecked in a quiet storage area... before long, there could be lots of cockroaches nesting in your things.

What Else Do Cockroaches Eat?


Cockroaches will first go for crumbs and other food remains that they might find in your stored items. They also love to eat non-food items, like book bindings, papers, photos, cardboard, and glue from envelopes. Your favorite leather couch? If given a chance, cockroaches will feed on that, too. 

How to Prevent Roaches in Your Storage Unit


Good cockroach control is founded in keeping things clean and dry. Here are some tips to help you keep your storage areas free of roaches. If you're renting a storage unit, you'll want to start by inspecting it thoroughly before you start moving any items in.  

  • Make sure all trash is disposed of. Storage units are used by several people, and they don't always clean up after themselves, Before storing any items in any storage area or unit, verify that there is no trash to be seen (e.g., especially fast food or half empty beverages). Make doubly sure the area is clean of crumbs and spills. If the unit is in any way unsanitary, DO NOT store your items there! 
  • Inspect the water management. Inadequate water management could lead to flooding, leaks, etc., and that will bring cockroaches for sure. Check your storage area or unit for where water might come in, how it's managed, etc. Does the storage unit have a rain gutter? Is it well maintained to keep water flowing away from the structure? If there has been previous water damage, dry the area or unit out with a dehumidifier.

  • Repair holes, cracks, and crevices. Cockroaches are very crafty and sneaky when it comes to cramming through even the smallest of openings. Scan the storage area or unit for any potential entry points that might invite roaches or other pests in. Seal these off with caulk or spackle before moving anything in in. If a storage unit is run down with lots of cracks and openings around the perimeter, get a refund and store your things elsewhere.

  • Clean your items thoroughly. Before moving your belongings in, make sure everything is cleaned and wiped down. Thoroughly wipe out plastic storage containers before packing items inside. Launder clothes before storing. Steam clean your furniture and cover it in plastic. Wipe down and clear out appliances and containers that might have food in them (e.g., blenders, toasters, tupperware, etc.). 

  • Avoid empty cardboard boxes and stacks of periodicals. Roaches love empty boxes and stacks of old newspapers, magazines, etc. They might even snack on these items. Use tightly sealed plastic containers, and keep stored items off the floor as much as possible (use palettes or cinder blocks).

How Do You Keep Roaches Out of Storage Totes?

Storage unit

You should pack your items in plastic containers with airtight lids. Such plastic containers are best, especially for fabrics, linens, and clothes. For cardboard boxes, it is recommended you buy new boxes, as roaches often lay eggs in older ones. 

Can I Bomb My Storage Unit?

Bug bombs are generally more effective against different insects, but they have been deemed generally ineffective against cockroaches. If you do decide to bug bomb your storage unit, make sure it's allowed in your rental contract.  

Get Rid of Roaches in Your Storage With a Reliable Cockroach Killer

Cockroaches can be spot-treated and killed directly by spraying them with an effective plant-powered roach killer spray like Maggie's Farm Ant & Roach Killer Spray or Maggie’s Farm Home Bug Spray. The effectiveness will be temporary, however, and won't address the hidden cockroaches you can't see. 

For a longer-term solution, try Maggie's Farm Roach Killer Gel , Maggie's Farm Spider & Insect Dust, or Maggie’s Farm Bed Bug KillerBaits and dusts are longer-lasting treatments for out-of the-way areas where there might be roach activity in your storage area or unit. Dusting your stored items lightly with Maggie's Farm Spider & Insect Dust will keep your storage items protected for long periods of time when left dry and undisturbed. 

Always follow directions on any pest control product you use.

For more information on getting rid of cockroaches, check out:

Get Rid of Roaches

Cockroaches: Control Strategies and Products

Cockroach Control Checklist

Types of Cockroaches

Got tips and tricks to get rid of cockroaches at home? Post a comment. We’d love to hear from you!


For scientifically-tested, effective cockroach control in your storage areas that is friendly to the environment, try Maggie’s Farm pest control products. Our promise is that our plant and mineral-based products are developed by scientists and seasoned pest control professionals to be the most effective.

1 comment

  • Thank you for you help. I have battled these roaches for 4 mo. lived here over 10/yrs- no problem, now! I am grossed out. I am ready to move! My whole building is infested. I hope I can breach my contract.

    Patricia Ann Graff

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