Roaches belong in the sewers. In the garage. Or in the garden.
But not in the microwave.
When you pop open that door ready to heat your next dinner, the last thing you wanna see is a big nasty roach running for cover. Gross!
There are quite a few places they can infest in the microwave, including the internals of it- like the computer, digital display, or even inside the handle.
Can you imagine them crawling around at night eating those bits of burnt cheese from your burrito?
Thankfully, you can get rid of them if you’re diligent and have a plan of attack- DIY style!
They’re really not that hard to eliminate if you keep it clean. That’s the key to all your roach problems. No food. NO roach!!!
In this guide, you’ll learn about:
- Why you have cockroaches in your microwave oven in the first place
- What they’re eating
- Whether or not they’re damaging your appliance
- How to get rid of them from your microwave naturally
- How to keep them out of your kitchen for good
- And more
If you have specific questions, post a comment in the comment section at the end of this page and I’ll help you out if I can.
Feel free to bookmark this guide. It’s quite lengthy and you may want to refer back to it easier later on.
By the end of it, you should have a solid understanding of ways to naturally control, mange, and eliminate cockroaches from your microwave.
Sound good? Let’s send those roaches back to the garden. Or at least out of your property.
Last updated: 4/25/22.
Can roaches get in microwaves?
Roaches can infest your appliances such as your microwave, fridge, toaster, or even your coffee maker. But they can also infest your walls, carpet, and even your electrical outlet!
Take a look at this video and say I’m wrong:
The microwave often contains bits of splattered food debris, grease, oils, or spills.
Roaches are NOT picky and will eat anything to give them energy and sustain themselves- including the glue backing behind wallpaper.
As you probably know, these disgusting pests can transmit a handful of diseases, including over 40 identified strains of bacteria. Do you want these bacteria or viruses getting into your food? Probably not.
The microwave provides a vector of direct contact between pathogens and food. Don’t assume that the microwave heat kills bacteria or viruses- it can’t even kill cockroaches!
So read on to find out how to control, manage, and eliminate those pesky roaches in your microwave.
Doing it naturally without synthetic compounds is ideal. Putting poisons where you eat isn’t smart.
Why are roaches in my microwave?
They’re in there because it provides them with a place to hide, food, water, and warmth.
They can easily hide inside or behind it undisturbed, so it makes a good place for roaches to congregate. Roaches will hide near sources of water, as it’s critical for them.
Your microwave is in your kitchen, which is near your sink (in most setups).
Water from washing dishes, hands, or spills will be easily accessible to them while they eat the food scraps from your kitchen.
So it makes sense that your kitchen appliances are good places to infest. Roaches are also found in the kitchen, garbage, or even your car.
These buggers infest the world. Your kitchen is the first place you’d expect them to be. Just turning on the heat ain’t gonna kill them. They can detect the heat waves and dodge them.
How’s that for crazy? No wonder why roaches rank as the top 5 most reported bugs by readers on BugWiz.
How do roaches get inside the microwave?
Roaches get inside by simply crawling to it. As you know, roaches can climb vertically, sideways, and upside down.
It doesn’t matter if it’s your oven, toaster, fridge, rice cooker, stove, or blender. Roaches don’t care. They eat debris from anywhere and everywhere. These guys are the least bit picky.
If you’ve never seen a roach nest, you’ll be in for quite the surprise. Foods you never expect were even foods in the first place. Like wallpaper, glue, or even cardboard, plastic, or packaging wrap.
If your kitchen walls and cabinets aren’t made of perfect stainless steel, then a roach can climb it. All it takes is for a few of them (or a single pregnant female) to climb up in search of food to infest the unit.
They’re mostly flat, so they can squeeze into fine cracks as thin as two stacked pennies.
Smaller roaches obviously can get into smaller wedges. They’re like a thin disk that can pierce through the cracks around the microwave door.
Roaches can also get in from behind the unit, through the ventilation ports, or the exhaust fan grates on the underside of the microwave unit.
If you leave the oven door open, you’re just asking for roaches to feast on the food left behind from your breakfast.
Can roaches infest the microwave?
If you’re reading this DIY pest control guide, you probably know the answer.
Roaches can live in your microwave- both inside and outside of it.
Common areas where they infest include inside the door, inside the vents, or behind it where it touches the kitchen wall.
Cockroaches are excellent hiders and generally come out at night when disturbances are minimal. This is why you see them scatter for cover when you flick on the lights.
They like places that are secluded, warm, and humid.
These are all necessary for proper gestation so they can breed into the thousands. Microwaves provide all of these, plus it has unlimited food from your leftover dinners.
The grease and burnt food buildup are mounds of buffets for roaches. They eat anything and everything, including spilled, burned, oils, grease, splatters, etc. Kitchen appliances will provide safety for them to breed and deposit eggs.
If you’ve ever tried to heat a roach inside it, you’ll probably be surprised. Roaches don’t get killed by the microwave heat.
No matter how long you run it, the roaches won’t be harmed by the microwave’s scorching burn and will escape before any harm is done.
Why? Microwaves are inefficient. Every appliance only has a few zones that are used for heating food, so they scatter to the cooler zones. This is why the microwave doesn’t kill bugs!
Can roaches survive in a microwave? How long can they do so?
Roaches can survive indefinitely inside the microwave, whether it’s running or not. They just run to the cooler zones when the “heat” is being directed to the center of it.
Roaches won’t explode inside a microwave. The lack of water and the ability to detect and evade the focused heatwaves saves their hides.
Did you know that cockroaches can withstand a nuke? So puny microwaves won’t do crap to them!
These machines work by emitting concentrated waves. The waves are concentrated towards the center of the device. So first, the bug needs to be in the center to heat up.
Second, the object being heated needs to have water molecules, as the vibrations from the waves will agitate them to heat them. Cockroaches have little water inside them, so they don’t get killed by the heat waves.
They carry only a few water molecules so the waves can’t vibrate them to the point of killing them.
Can roaches damage microwaves?
The bacteria, viral, and other pathogens they transmit to your food are probably more harmful than the damage they can do to the unit itself.
But they can ruin the internal electronics of your microwave over time.
Their spit is corrosive which can erode the circuit boards, sensors, display unit, or wiring inside the appliance. If you haven’t noticed them until recently, the damage can already be done.
It can cause your microwave to short circuit, the display to not work, or the unit to not function correctly at all. Buttons can stop working or the microwave may not turn on.
It completely depends on how many roaches you have, how long they’ve been there, and how old your unit is. There’s no way to say as every infestation is unique.
Roaches not only spit corrosive acids when they eat, but they also shed skin, release egg sacs, or poop inside. This can mess up your internal components.
Not to mention pose a biohazard risk. Fire, shock, or other hazards may be present.
This is why you need to get rid of cockroaches inside your microwave right away.
It’s not something to hold off on. If you don’t know what you’re ending up with, hire a professional pest exterminator.
What are they eating?
They’re eating the leftover food scraps.
Everything you cook can spill, overflow, or splatter whether you see it or not.
Unless you clean your appliances daily, you probably have some food debris stuck on them.
When you don’t keep your oven tidy, roaches will come out to feed on the food remnants. They don’t care if it burned, spoiled, or just plain disgusting. They’ll eat anything that gives them energy.
Just because you wouldn’t eat it doesn’t mean that cockroaches won’t.
How to get rid of roaches in the microwave
The following tips will help you eradicate the roaches for good.
But even if you manage to get rid of them temporarily, note that you need to keep up with your cleaning regimen to keep them out.
Once they detect that there’s an easy source of food inside that microwave door, you can be sure that they’ll infest it once again.
Have you heard the saying: “If you see one roach, you probably have a hundred more.”
The same goes for your appliances: “If you’ve had one infestation, you can get a hundred more.”
Just because you killed off one round of cockroaches in there doesn’t mean they’re gone for good- you need to keep it clean, set up roach repellents, place roach traps, and continuously monitor the situation.
Unplug your microwave
The first step to cleaning any appliance is to unplug it.
Safely disconnect the power completely so that it’s powered down. Some microwaves may have an internal battery, so be aware of that.
If you have a display on your microwave, roaches can live inside it as well. It should power down when unplugged. If not, there may be a battery that needs to be drained first. Refer to your owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer.
Remove the internal components for cleaning. If your microwave has other things in it, take them out. This includes the plate or rotating disc for reheating food.
Deep clean the inside
The cleaning part is straightforward. You’ll be doing a much-needed deep clean of your entire unit.
Get a solution of vinegar.
Fill up your sink with half vinegar half water. Immerse the components into it for 24 hours. The vinegar will slowly eat the food debris stuck on it.
After 24 hours, rinse them clean with a sponge.
If food debris remains, use a scrubbing sponge plus dish detergent to scrub it clean. The vinegar will loosen the burned food. Add a dash of baking soda for extra cleaning power.
If you have plastic or other materials on your components that may be destroyed by vinegar, stick with dish soap.
While you wait for the components, you can clean your microwave’s inside using vinegar/water mixture. Use a non-abrasive scrubber to scrub the entire thing clean.
Be sure you wipe off all the food bits, especially the burnt crisps that may be stuck on the edges of the plate.
These may require you to use a synthetic cleaner safe for microwaves to remove.
Clean everything in your microwave, including these common infestation parts:
- Front and back door
- “Roof” of the inside
- Back wall
- Platter wheels
- Ventilation holes
You may have to remove the unit from its mount to clean it thoroughly.
The backside that’s connected to the hood or mount can be a perfect place for cockroaches to thrive. It’s warm, dark, undisturbed, and provides easy access to food and water.
If you dismantle your microwave, check behind it for signs of roaches:
- Shed roach skin
- Frass (roach poop)
- Empty egg sacs
- Legs or wings
- Brown or clear skins
- Live or dead roaches
Roaches can squeeze themselves into cracks as thin as 1/8 of a cm, so don’t underestimate where they can hide. Chances are, your appliances aren’t flush against the wall so they can hide behind them.
Deep clean the outside
Place the entire microwave outside for a thorough cleaning.
Everything should be sprayed or wiped to remove possible food sources. If you plan to use a natural roach repellent, such as borax, DE, or sodium bicarbonate, now is the time to spray the backside of the unit with it.
Disinfect, sanitize, then clean everything on the outside, backside, and inside. You can bleach it or use stronger cleaners since it’s now outside of your kitchen.
Some people put a layer of sticky tape on the backside of it. This will prevent roaches from easily nesting in it since the roach adhesive will grab any loose ones that try to sneak behind the appliance.
Roaches can hide inside it while you clean.
So you’ll want to leave the unit outside for some time (in a weather-safe place) so they can disperse. Do NOT put the microwave in wet or hot environments, or somewhere that MORE roaches can find their way into it.
If you have a roach killer, you can spray down the microwave and let it sit. The aerosol will make its way into all the vent ports and kill roaches that are living inside it. Shut the door after you spray to trap the poison.
Let it sit for a few hours to kill the roaches. Roaches will run out and die.
Clean up dead roaches when the poison has completely dissipated. Clean it once again with a cleaning solution, then let it sit. After a few hours, do one more complete cleaning with a food-safe cleaning agent. Dry it off.
Take the entire microwave and put it somewhere safe with good emulation outside. Let it sit for a few days to air out. Get a shallow bowl and pour some wine into it.
Put it inside the microwave and shut the door. Leftover roaches will try to drink it, but it’s lethal to them.
You can also put a ring of borax around the bowl. If the roach touches the borax, it’ll cling to their body and kill them slowly.
Check the wine trap after a few days to see if you caught any cockroaches.
- If there are a lot, you may want to repeat the cleaning process to flush the rest of them out.
- If not, then clean up the traps and then remount the microwave after you’ve ensured that all harmful ingredients are completely removed and there’s no sign of roach poison remaining.
Note: if you’ve cleaned your microwave multiple times but the roaches are still present, it can mean they’re hiding behind it and you just happen to catch them inside now and then. There may be a roach nest behind the unit.
Can you put vinegar in the microwave for roaches?
Vinegar can be a smelly ingredient for roaches.
If you think vinegar stinks, wait until you heat it. Roaches that are hiding inside your appliance or even in the microwave door will quickly scurry out once they get a hit of the vinegar.
Prepare a microwave-safe bowl with 1 cup water, 1 cup white vinegar, and a dash of lemon juice. Then, do these steps:
- Gently stir the mixture.
- Put the vinegar solution inside the microwave.
- Heat for 5-7 minutes.
- Keep the microwave door shut when it’s done heating. Let it sit for half an hour until it cools.
- Open the microwave door and remove the bowl when it’s completely cooled.
- Wipe the inside of the microwave with a clean cloth.
Roaches may exit when the vinegar is being heated.
Be ready to catch or smush them when they run out! The scent will stink up the kitchen so have your windows or doors ajar.
This won’t kill roaches, but it should repel any that are hiding inside your unit.
Can I spray raid in my microwave?
Raid is poisonous and the compounds should never be mixed with food.
Not to mention it can damage your microwave from the harsh synthetics it contains. Never use bug spray, foggers, or other pest killers inside your microwave.
This can pose a hazard on many levels.
How do I get rid of cockroaches inside the microwave door?
Roaches that hide inside your microwave door can be tough to get rid of. They’re hiding in the void between the plastic or steel housing that makes the door.
Since the door is usually not removable, you’ll have to use some kind of cleaner to eradicate them. Aerosols or sprays may work since they disperse into the door of the unit.
People often don’t know what that bug is inside their microwave door until they find out it’s a roach. They think it’s a gnat or beetle, but then it’s a huge roach!
Here’s one way to get roaches out of your microwave door:
- Prepare a solution of vinegar with water in equal parts
- Get 1 cup of baking soda
- Get a non-abrasive scrubber
- Place the sponge into the vinegar solution and fully soak up a good amount
- Sprinkle the entire microwave’s inside with baking soda
- Dip the wet sponge into the baking soda
- Start scrubbing the microwave door thoroughly with the solution
- It’ll remove food bits, disinfect, plus make it smell good at the same time
- Clean the door on both sides. Make sure you wipe down the sides, seals, and gaskets
- Use a clean sponge for the see-thru window so you don’t streak it
- For roaches hiding inside the door, they can be gassed out by heating a dish of vinegar
What about cockroaches in the microwave display or clock?
Even though you think it’s rare to spot a roach inside the clock, LED display, or screen of your microwave, it’s not.
Some owners have come across this unpleasant surprise when trying to figure out why their display isn’t working. Maybe the microwave oven isn’t broken after all, huh?
Cockroaches that have found their way into the machine can crawl around in that maze of wiring, boards, and plastic until they get to the display. They can ruin the LED lights or you may see them crawling around inside.
To clear them out, you’ll have to remove the screen cover.
- First, unplug and completely shut off the microwave.
- Find how the screen cover is secured. Most microwaves will have a few screws on each side of the display. Unscrew them and put the screws somewhere safe so they don’t go missing.
- Remove the screen cover carefully. There are hundreds of microwave models out there. Yours may be something as simple as sliding it off while others are snapped on. Consult your owner’s manual for instruction or contact the manufacturer.
- Clean up the area under the cover. You may see roach poop, skin, or even roaches. Use a cotton swab with isopropyl alcohol or a small vacuum. Be careful not to damage any of the internal components or else you can end up with a damaged display clock.
- Dry it off.
- Replace the cover.
- Replace the screws.
How do you get rid of the nasty cockroach smell in the microwave?
The scent of roaches isn’t to be mixed with your next microwave dinner.
If you notice that disgusting musk from roaches, it’s likely their poop or skin. It smells like an oily greasy fungus.
There may be roaches feasting on the food crumbs overnight which left a bunch of disgusting roach musk inside.
As you know, microwaves trap heat due to their insulation. It can trap roach smell as well.
Roaches inside the actual microwave unit hiding in the components can produce roach scent as well. The scent can come from their skin or egg sacs or frass (poop) over time.
Eventually, it’ll leak out into the food from the vents. So every time you cook something in there, it’ll mix with some roach funk.
To get rid of it, you’ll need to do a thorough cleansing. Use a cleaner, then disinfect the entire inside surface.
To clean the outside of the appliance, it’ll need to be dismantled and taken outside for a complete purge:
- Try heating a plate of vinegar to push out the odor.
- Put a small box of baking soda inside the microwave when you’re not using it. It soaks up roaches smell like a sponge.
- Let the microwave door remain open to help ventilate the scent.
- Do regular cleaning to remove food from building up.
- Spray essential oils around the microwave (not inside it) to help make it smell nice (lavender, peppermint, or eucalyptus are all excellent choices).
To clean the inside where the electronics are, you’ll need to take it apart. This should be left to a professional as it can pose a safety hazard to you or you may destroy the machine.
As with cleaning procedures, the microwave must be completely disconnected from power and discharged. You also need proper PPE to protect yourself from harm.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, let a professional take care of it. Or contact the manufacturer for assistance.
How to keep roaches out of your kitchen appliances permanently
Roach proofing your microwave is a matter of doing basic maintenance to keep it clean.
The last thing you could care to deal with is getting another roach infestation after cleaning it.
This means doing the following:
- Clean up food spills immediately after microwaving (do NOT leave it until the next day- it’ll harden and provide food for roaches overnight)
- Use a splatter guard for splatter foods
- Clean the inside of your microwave regularly even if you see no food debris
- Disinfect after you clean
- Wipe down the buttons, door, glass pane, housing, etc.
Set up roach sticky traps around your kitchen. These will catch any roaches foraging for food during the night. You can also use them as monitoring devices- if you see fewer roaches over time, you must be doing something right!
The area around your microwave is also important to maintain. Even if you remove the pests from your appliance, but have a dirty kitchen, they’re likely to just re-infest it.
- Keep your kitchen tidy by mopping weekly
- Clean up all liquid spills immediately
- Use roach proof garbage bins
- Disinfect and clean surfaces daily
- Never leave dishes out overnight
- Food should be stored securely
- Ensure that kitchen patios, windows, doors, or other entry points for pests are completely sealed
- Dirty kitchens are commonplace for roaches
Borax is the DIYer’s best friend for roach control. This substance pierces the roach’s outer hard exoskeleton, slowly draining out precious liquids.
When the roach loses so much water, it’ll perish.
Other roaches that eat it will ingest the same borax and the process repeats. This is especially handy when you don’t know where the roaches are hiding. They bring the borax back to their nest.
Borax should be lightly dusted around your kitchen, but never directly inside the microwave.
Keep pets and people away from it. Use only a fine dusting. If you put too much, the roaches will avoid it. So less is more.
If roaches eat things made from baking powder (sodium bicarbonate), they’ll explode. So even though the heat won’t kill them, the DIY roach killers you use can blow ‘em up.
Try diatomaceous earth
Food grade, organic, diatomaceous earth can be used to dry out roaches in a similar manner to borax. You can purchase it in bulk for pennies on the dollar online.
Just make sure you’re not buying the one for pools. Sprinkle it around your kitchen to catch loose roaches. Keep people and pets away. Do not sprinkle directly in your appliances.
Hire a professional exterminator
When dealing with roaches that just can’t be eliminated, call a professional.
They can pinpoint the source of the infestation and have industrial strength products not available to the public. However, opt for organic or natural solutions when possible.
Call around and read some reviews for roach control companies near you.
Get some free inspections and see what they have to offer. It’s important. You don’t want some random company to spray down your kitchen with harsh compounds!
You may find these additional resources helpful to get rid of those pesky roaches:
- The disgusting reason these microwave lights were flashing – check yours now – The SUN
- Cockroaches – UMN Extension
- Cockroaches Management Guidelines – UC IPM
Did you get rid of the roaches in your microwave?
Coming across a wild roach in your microwave may make you go on a fasting strike for a few days, but with some basic cleaning, you can effectively eliminate or at least repel them from infesting it.
The key is to remove all food bits completely, then keep it clean at all times following. If roaches are persistent, they may have built a nest nearby, behind, or inside your microwave.
This should be handled by a professional exterminator since taking apart the unit can be dangerous. However, for smaller infestations, it can be done DIY style.
Do you have a specific roach problem in your microwave? Feel free to drop a comment below and ask. I’ll try to get back to you ASAP.
What do you think of this guide? Was it helpful? Can it be improved? Please let me know your feedback below! If you found it somewhat helpful, please consider telling a friend =].
Currently an active researcher in the pest control industry for the past 8 years- with a focus on using natural and organic methods to eliminate pest problems.
I share handy DIY pest techniques I come across here to help out others (and possibly save them from a mental breakdown).
Fight nature with nature.