Is It OK to Vacuum Dead Cockroaches?

Roaches are unwelcome pests that can invade your home. Not only are these insects unpleasant to find scurrying around, they also can spread many types of disease-causing bacteria, such as salmonella, throughout the home. For those suffering with allergies or asthma, the pests can aggravate these conditions. One way to get rid of these unwelcome visitors is to vacuum them up, whether dead or alive, to safely remove them.

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Leaving food unattended can attract cockroaches.


To rid your home of cockroaches, you can safely vacuum them up if you find them alive or dead. You also can vacuum up their shed skins, droppings and egg capsules to remove them from your home without having to handle them. If you want to vacuum up cockroaches or their debris, use a vacuum that has a high-efficiency particulate air filter. HEPA filters trap more particles inside the vacuum itself, preventing them from being released back into the environment. These filters prevent the bodies of the cockroaches and their debris from causing allergic reactions in those with allergies to the antigens cockroaches produce.

Where to Vacuum

To kill the cockroaches, which usually hide in dark, moist locations, put cockroach baits, or sprinkle boric acid near sources of their food and water, such as under sinks, near drains and behind appliances, recommends the Alliance for Healthy Homes. This kills the cockroaches, and you'll be able to vacuum them away when you find them. Dead roaches usually show up under furniture, under sinks, around baseboards, in cabinets, among cushions and within closets. Use the hose attachment of your HEPA-filter vacuum to suck up the pests, getting into corners, cracks and crevices as much as you can. Not only does this remove the cockroaches, but also any crumbs providing them with a food source.


After using your vacuum to remove any dead or live cockroaches and their debris, immediately take out the vacuum bag and place it into a plastic garbage bag. Tie up the garbage bag and place it outside of your home in case there are any live cockroaches among the ones you vacuum up. In bag-less models, empty the contents into a garbage bag and double bag it before putting it outdoors. Wear gloves to avoid touching or handling the dead cockroaches or their debris from the vacuum, which can cause allergic rashes or asthma attacks. Pest-control company Orkin states that some cockroaches even bite, which is another reason to avoid handling them.


Cockroaches are medium-sized, flat insects with two long antennae. The bugs look similar to beetles, but have membranous wings instead of hard forewings. Of the 69 species of cockroaches present in the United States, only four of them are considered common house pests. These four species are the brownbanded, German, Oriental, and American cockroach. They range in color from dark brown to lighter reddish- or yellowish-brown. Cockroaches generally are nocturnal, and signs of an infestation include finding dead cockroaches in the home, their brown grain-like droppings, egg capsules and shed skins.