No one wants to deal with a cockroach crawling out of their drain. If you have run into this problem before, you might have found yourself looking for something to pour down the drain to eliminate the problem.

But pouring chemicals down your drain isn’t safe for you or your sewer. Even chemicals made for  the purpose, such as liquid drain cleaners, can cause a lot more damage than you would expect. Besides, there are safer ways to rid your home of those pests.

Here’s what you need to know to stop sewer cockroaches.

Where the Cockroaches Come From

The first thing you have to understand is that cockroaches may not be coming from the drain itself. You may see them scurry into the drain for shelter when they are really coming from the ground and into your home some other way. Therefore, pouring chemicals down your drain may not kill all of them.

Can cockroaches come up through the toilet or other drains? Though cockroaches may come up from the sink or shower drain, they cannot come up through your toilet because of the water. Even the cockroaches who exclusively live in drains will only come out into your home if there is a source of food available. So be very careful that you’ve found the actual source of the roaches and aren’t just jumping to conclusions.

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What Not to Pour Down the Drain and Why

Besides the fact that it is likely to be ineffective, pouring chemicals down the drain to stop cockroaches can create problems in your sewer and plumbing system. Here’s why you shouldn’t pour commonly suggested solutions down the drain:

  • Baking soda and vinegar: This combination may seem smart, but it can actually create clogs and add to the pressure in your pipe. In the worst case, combining baking soda and vinegar in your drain can create leaks and burst pipes.
  • Insecticide or pesticide: In most jurisdictions, it is illegal to pour these chemicals down the drain, as drain water makes its way back into our water system and also into the environment.
  • Scaling chemicals: Chemicals that are meant to wear away at calcium or other mineral build-up may weaken your pipes and create worse problems than a cockroach infestation.
  • Hot water: Hot water may irritate cockroaches, but they may be so far down your drain that the water isn’t very hot by the time it reaches them. Besides, hot water can create clogs by melting fats and grease, so they solidify together further down the sewer.

In short, it’s never wise to try to tackle your cockroach infestation by pouring something down the drain. However, that doesn’t mean you’re out of options.

How to Stop Cockroach Infestations

Call your plumber to inspect the sewers so you can be sure the cockroaches are truly there. Then, your plumber or pest control professional will help you develop a plan to rid yourself of the cockroaches. It will typically involve cleaning up any sources of food that may attract cockroaches to your home. Depending on the condition of your sewers, it may also involve cleaning or replacing your sewers so that they are less attractive homes for the cockroaches.