Can You Flush Cockroaches Down the Toilet Safely?

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Cockroaches are one of the dirtiest pests, so removing them is challenging. You may often see cockroaches in your toilet and near your trash cans. Throwing them in garbage cans may allow them to crawl back. Alternatively, flushing them down the toilet is a more effective way. The question then arises: can you flush cockroaches down the toilet?

Yes, you can flush cockroaches down the toilet, but it’s not an effective way to do so. Because cockroaches can hold their breath for up to 40 minutes, you can’t kill them by flushing. It will arrive in your sewage alive. It can then enter your home or property.

Curious about safely disposing of cockroaches down the toilet? Explore the following guidelines to learn the proper steps.

Will a Cockroach Return after Flushing?


Flushing a cockroach prevents it from returning. It is because the water pressure will drive it down the pipes. Even if this fails, the water trap in your toilet prevents the cockroach from returning up the pipes to your toilet. However, it doesn’t mean that cockroaches will not return. Below are the two main reasons for their return.

Flush Badly

The main reason for cockroach return is the bad flush. If you can’t flush properly, cockroaches are unable to pass down the toilet pipes. As a result, they will stay near your water trap. Thus, they won’t think twice about returning anytime they get the chance.

Sewer Escape

Cockroaches can travel through sewer systems and return to your home. They can fit through drains and pipes. Aside from the direct approach, the cockroach may survive the confrontation and return via various routes. If it gets out of the sewer and into the wild, it may try to get into your house through the windows, holes in your walls, pipes, and drains.

What Happens When the Cockroaches Are Flushed Down?

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When you flush a cockroach, it travels through your plumbing and into the sewage. That’s no different than flushing anything else down the toilet. However, this method will not kill the cockroaches. That’s because cockroaches are difficult to drown.

Spiracles are slots on their bodies that can open and close. Cockroaches utilize them to breathe. They may readily close these holes, effectively holding their breath. It also gives them buoyancy, which aids in their ability to float. Consequently, a flushed roach will be pushed through the pipes without causing any harm.

The cockroach can search for an exit from its new habitat in the septic tank or sewer. Even worse, additional cockroaches may join their colony and begin reproducing in the sewer. If you flush one or more cockroaches for several days or weeks, you may find a new colony. They will eventually be able to multiply, eat waste, and have access to plenty of water.

Signs of Cockroach Survival after Being Flushed Down

It is well known that cockroaches are hardy and can endure a wide range of environments. Although it might seem like a good idea to flush a cockroach down the toilet to get rid of it, there’s a chance that the insect might survive the process. The type of cockroach you have will mostly determine whether or not it survives being flushed down the toilet.

Certain cockroach species—like the American cockroach can withstand higher humidity levels, making them more suitable for life in water. Conversely, certain species like the oriental cockroach don’t adapt well to water settings.

Additionally, flushing cockroaches won’t kill them because they can hold their breath for a long time. As cockroaches are highly adaptable, they can withstand extreme conditions. They are fast movers and can quickly navigate their way out of water.

Are Cockroaches Able to Swim Up Toilets?

Cockroaches Able to Swim Up Toilets

Yes, cockroaches can swim up the toilets, but it’s not very common. Cockroaches have other ways of moving through the water despite not being able to swim or breathe underwater. They can hold their breath for extended periods while floating. Therefore, they are ideal for passing through pipes.

However, a cockroach would find it extremely difficult to make its way up through your toilet. This is due to the water tarp at the base of the modern toilets. The trap is used to be full of water and prevents sewer gasses from entering your home. A roach can climb the pipe, but it will have to tread water for some distance to get through the trap.

Additionally, keep in mind that roaches are incapable of floating. It is, therefore, unlikely that the roach would successfully swim up your toilet, making this an extremely challenging task.

Is It Possible to Flush Live Cockroaches?

Yes, you can flush a live cockroach in the toilet, but it may not kill it. Cockroaches are resilient creatures, so they may survive the plumbing issues. Although they can’t swim, they can hold their breath for 40 minutes.

It implies that the cockroach has an easy time getting into your sewer system, where it might live and establish a nest, or it might use the drains to get back up into your house or the house of one of your neighbors.

Therefore, if you are trying to kill cockroaches, it’s best to use other ways. And if you are going to flush a cockroach, first, ensure that it’s dead.

Is It Possible to Flush Cockroach Eggs Down the Toilet?

Flush Cockroach Eggs

Yes, it’s possible to flush cockroach eggs down the toilet, but it’s not an effective way to eliminate them. Cockroach eggs are frequently water-resistant and can survive in harsh environments. Furthermore, because the eggs are small and light, they may float rather than be flushed away.

Moreover, cockroaches’ eggs are encased in a thick, protective sheath that protects them from external harm. However, you should ensure to destroy eggs before flushing because they may hatch in your pipes, giving birth to more cockroaches. You can squish the eggs with a shoe or another heavy object. The key is to rupture the sac’s tough outer layer, which holds them together.

Above all, remember that this can be unsanitary, so make sure to clean any surfaces that come into contact with the eggs afterward.

Other Ways to Discard Cockroaches

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According to the Bangladesh Journal of Medical Science, cockroaches play a vital role in bacterial contamination and pose a threat to human health. Therefore, it’s better to discard them by the following means.


The first thing you can do to remove cockroaches is to kill them. You shouldn’t dispose of cockroaches until they die. You can kill cockroaches either by squishing them with your hand or by smashing them with your shoes. Moreover, you can use any insecticide to kill them.

You can also set a trap to remove them. For this, you may use peppermint oil and make its solution with water. Add a few drops of peppermint oil to a spray bottle and sprinkle it along the way of cockroaches to ward them off. As the cockroaches pass through it’s way, they’ll die.

Immediate Removal

After killing the cockroaches, the next step is to remove them immediately. If you don’t want to flush the cockroaches, you can use your trash bags to discard them. However, you should immediately remove the bag from your house. You should place the trash bag near the garbage services, especially, on the street far from your house.

Flushing and Cleaning

Flushing a dead cockroach is also a good way to remove them. However, you should make sure that it’s dead because sometimes they are posing to be dead. If you are unsure, use a trash bag and remove it from your home. It’s no longer your problem once your garbage service has collected it. If the cockroach survives and regenerates from injuries sustained in your sewer, it will remain in your neighborhood.

What Is the Best Way to Flush Out the Cockroaches?

Although flushing a cockroach is a challenging task, you can follow the below steps to make it easy.

Rebalance the Water

Rebalance the Water

If you find it hard to flush the cockroaches, you can rebalance the water pressure in your flush. The reason behind this is that your toilet may be old and disrepair. For this, you should drain the water from your toilet as much as you can. Avoid touching the cockroach if it bubbles up again. Just give it another flush to see if the cockroach disappears.

If it doesn’t work, fill your toilet with two cups of regular water. It would be better still if the water was boiling. Pour in a few sprays of dish soap and flush the toilet to make it clean. It will reset the water levels and break up any clogs, making the toilet flush more efficiently.

Trap Primer

You may have a problem with your water trap if your cockroach did not flush properly the first time. If the water level in the trap drops too low, insects or gases may be able to enter your pipes. It can allow a live cockroach, or one that is already in the sewer, to crawl right up into your toilet.

You can install a trap primer with the help of a plumber. The primer can identify the low water in your toilet. It will then attract more water, restoring the balance. This will aid in maintaining the pressure required to flush a roach on the first attempt. So, if the cockroaches are alive, the water trap will not allow them to swim back up the water pipes.

How Can You Stop the Flushed Cockroaches from Coming Back?

If you are unsure whether the cockroach is dead, you can take additional steps to make your bathroom less appealing. To prevent cockroaches from coming back to the toilet, you should remove all the organic matter, like hair and soap from your toilet. 

Regularly inspect all the pipes for any cracks or holes. If you find any hole in your pipes, seal it immediately with the help of caulk. Moreover, if you are concerned about a cockroach infestation in your sewer, contact a professional exterminator. They will have a solution to the problem. Remember that combining multiple pest control strategies is often more effective. Furthermore, depending on the type of cockroach and the severity of the infestation, the specific methods may differ.

How Do You Keep Cockroaches from Entering the Toilet?

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You may be tired of cockroaches in your toilet, but the below ways will surely help you in getting rid of cockroaches from the toilet.

Close the Toilet Lid After Being Used

Close the Toilet Lid

The simplest way to prevent cockroaches from crawling up your toilet is to simply close the lid after using it. It prevents them from exiting the bathroom, even if they manage to swim upwards through the toilet water trap. Cockroaches tend to stay indoors during the night to avoid being killed, so it is vital to do this during the day.

They only forage for food using their senses at night. Therefore, you should just close the toilet lid to block their entryway into the bathroom. Furthermore, the Journal of Medical Entomology states that cockroaches are the major source of food-borne pathogens, therefore, you should take every possible step to remove them.

Use Baking Soda and Warm Water

Baking Soda

Cockroaches have a keen sense of smell, and they will leave an area if they detect something that bothers them. One such odor that cockroaches find irritating is the smell of baking soda. So, you should take some baking soda in a cup and add warm water to it. Warm water activates the baking soda, causing it to bubble in the water.

After preparing the solution, pour it in your flush and keep it there for some time. If a cockroach happens to be swimming upwards, the odor released will repel it and it will not dare to come again.

Regular Cleaning

Cockroaches are attracted to filth, so the more filthy a place is, the more likely it is to see a cockroach there. As a result, make sure to flush thoroughly after using the toilet. Using germicides on the toilet, such as phenyl, will keep cockroaches away while also making your bathroom smell fresh and clean. If you dislike the strong odor of raw phenyl, use the scented varieties.

Moreover, spraying the insides of your toilet with insecticide is also a good way to prevent roach infestations. However, insecticides are made with toxic chemicals, and using them regularly may wear down the toilet surface.

Citrus Scents


Most citrus fruits have a fresh aroma, but cockroaches find the smell offensive and overpowering. Such strong odors cause them to close their spiracles and stop taking in oxygen-rich air. If the cockroaches detect a citrus smell in your bathroom or toilet, they will flee.

Put some citrus-scented bathroom freshener tablets on the inner side of the toilet. Every time you flush, some of the tablets will dissolve and release a pleasant citrus aroma. Additionally, you can fill the toilet’s water tank with a citrus-scented germicide solution. However, be careful that it doesn’t contain any toxic chemicals that could corrode the internal workings of the flush system and water tank.

How Long Can a Cockroach Survive Underwater?

Although the survival rate of cockroaches under the water varies, they can survive almost two to three hours. Cockroaches have a free-flowing circulatory system. This means they do not breathe through a specific organ such as the nose or mouth. Instead, a cockroach’s entire body is filled with valvular openings known as Spiracles. Cockroaches, in essence, breathe through their skin.

When drowned or submerged in water, cockroaches simply close these spiracles, preventing airflow from their bodies and slowing metabolism, preserving reserve oxygen. This is why cockroaches don’t swim in water but rather float effortlessly. Since swimming consumes oxygen, which they cannot afford unless they exit the water.

Therefore, cockroaches must wait until they can exit the water to breathe because, unlike other insects, they are unable to filter out oxygen from the water.

Bottom Line

Cockroaches are one of the most irritating and abundant household insects that you can often find in your toilets and kitchen. You may use various ways to kill them, including flushing them. Flushing cockroaches is an effective way to remove them until they are dead. Because flushing a live cockroach might cause them to come back.

Therefore, you should always first kill the cockroach kill before flushing it. Moreover, to remove cockroaches from your toilet, you may pour baking soda and water in the flush. However, if there is a large cockroach infestation, it’s better to ask for help from an expert pest control company.


Yes, cockroaches can come up through the toilet, but it’s not very common. Cockroaches are famous for their ability to squeeze through small spaces and navigate plumbing pipes. In some cases, they may make their way up the sewer system and into toilets.

Cockroaches hate various scents, including peppermint, eucalyptus, mint, yarrow, oregano, and rosemary. You can mix the oil of any of these plants with water and pour it along the way of cockroaches in your toilet to remove them.

Yes, you can flush the dead cockroach down the toilet. Most toilets have plumbing and water systems that can handle waste, even tiny objects like insects. A quick and clean way to get rid of cockroaches is to flush them.


 Bangladesh Journal of Medical Science . Jul2019, Vol. 18 Issue 3, p540-545. 6p