How to Check Luggage For Cockroaches {How Did They Get There?}

Did you recently travel? Did you spot cockroaches in your hotel or at the airport?

Are you worried you might carry them home? Worry no more!

Here is all you need to know about cockroaches and luggage.

How to Check Luggage For Cockroaches

When you arrive home, check your luggage for damage to your clothes and food items as cockroaches will chew on these and feed on them.

If you find any shed skin, a strong and sweet odour, brown stains, coffee grains or pellet like material (roach feces), these may be signs of cockroaches thriving in your suitcase.

Can Cockroaches Get in Your Luggage?

The one mighty evolutionary advantage these hardy pests have is the ability to squeeze anywhere. They can slide through the smallest of spaces and enter your luggage the same way.

If you’ve left your suitcase in the hotel room wardrobe or tucked under your bed, it’s a good opportunity for cockroaches to get in unnoticed.

How to Check Luggage For Cockroaches

Cockroaches love living in dark, warm and humid habitats. Especially if it’s close to a food source or is a food source itself.

If your suitcase is close to the pantry or the bathroom, it becomes easy for them to feed and scurry back to the safety and warmth of a suitcase.

Cockroaches are nocturnal creatures. Since they only crawl around at night, it would be very difficult to spot them and so it is a shock to many tourists when they return from a holiday and suddenly spot cockroaches in their home.

Are you wondering what noises a cockroach makes? Check out this article I wrote about that.

Can Cockroaches Travel in Luggage?

Yes. Cockroaches are opportunistic travelers. They can get inside almost anything if there’s enough room for them to slide through.

Unfortunately, it’s very easy for a cockroach to fit into any type of environment that is enclosed. Carefully pack your luggage under strict supervision to make sure that nothing uninvited gets inside. This includes nasty cockroaches and other critters that you do not wish to travel with you.

Cockroaches love moist environments so make sure that your luggage remains somewhere that is dry. Always shake out your empty luggage before you begin to pack it again.

Do Cockroaches Travel in Clothes?

Yes. Cockroaches can fit comfortably inside the pockets or lining of many types of clothing. Cockroaches may find clothes to be a safe space to seek shelter or lay eggs.

If your clothes are damp and moist,  they become an inviting location for cockroaches to reside. Your clothes might be a temporary location for a cockroach to travel from one area to another.

If you want to prevent cockroaches from getting inside your clothes, drop some essential oils like peppermint oil or place one or two mothballs inside your clothing items.

How Long Can a Cockroach Live in a Suitcase?

It all depends on the type of suitcase that you are carrying. Many types of luggage have holes to expel excess moisture. If it is a hard suitcase, then a cockroach will suffocate faster.

Cockroaches have a respiratory system that is unique. They are able to efficiently process oxygen. A cockroach can survive inside a sealed suitcase for up to 3-5 days.

If there is absolutely no oxygen available in the suitcase, a cockroach may suffocate in as little as 45 minutes.

How Do I keep Roaches Out of my Luggage?

Prevention is better than treatment!

If you mindfully protect your luggage by taking a few simple steps on holiday, you will not have to worry about roaches crawling their way into a suitcase and destroying your favourite outfit.

  • Hotel Room Inspection : Once you’ve settled into the room, take a few minutes and examine the drains in the bathroom and little cracks and crevices behind/under the wardrobe. Look for any signs like brown irregularly shaped stains or pellet/coffee ground like faeces, shed skin etc. These are all indications that your room may be infested.
  • Zero Food : As tempting as it is to carry back local delicacies, make sure you do this without exposing it to cockroaches. Our number one advice is to try not to carry any food at all but if you have to, make sure it’s stored away with extra layers of safety and in an air-tight container.
  • Bag Type : Invest in a bag you can easily chuck into the washing machine after your weekend away, or a hard-shelled suitcase if you’re going away for longer. If it’s the latter, make sure it is zipped up and always stored above ground. Hard shells are basically impenetrable even for cockroaches with their strong jaws.
  • No Floor Policy : No matter what, do not store your suitcase on the floor. This doesn’t guarantee no cockroaches will enter your bag, but it makes their chances slimmer. Leave your bag on a table or luggage rack. To gain access, the roaches will have to climb which makes them easier to spot and stop.
  • Avoid Starch : Cockroaches have the unique ability to digest non-food items like tea bags and soap. This is because they are made of starch. Cockroaches devour proteins and starches. Therefore, they’re attracted to hair, fingernails or book bindings and wallpaper paste. If you’ve packed starchy items like toiletries, store them packed in a material roaches can’t chew through.

How Do I Make Sure I Don’t Bring Roaches Home?

Use the prevention methods mentioned above, but if somehow those pesky insects find their way into your suitcase, here are some methods to clear roaches:

  • Insecticides : unpack all your clothes and spray a roach killer insecticide in your bag. Leave it with the insecticide for a few hours and then pack your bag again. Alternatively, you can use diatomaceous earth. These products dehydrate roaches and kill them.
  • Sealing : After unpacking, seal your suitcase in plastic or cling film and leave it in the garage or outside your house for a day to kill any cockroaches or eggs that may remain in the bag.
  • Carefully Unpack : Inspect each item of clothing, turn it inside out and shake them vigorously to expose any pests that may be hiding inside.
  • Washing The Bag : If it’s a washable bag, wash it with hot water to kill any eggs.
  • Washing The Clothes : Wash the clothes on a high heat cycle as well or put the clean clothes through a high heat dryer cycle, again, to kill eggs if there are any. Be careful not to shrink your clothes while doing so.
  • Professional Pest Control : If you still suspect an infestation, we recommend hiring professionals to make your house 100% roach proof.

Can You Bring Cockroaches Home From a Hotel?

The answer is yes. Not just cockroaches, but you can bring other pests like fleas, bed bugs and ants home from a hotel too.

Cockroaches are scavenging organisms. They feast on any organic material available and believe it or not, your suitcase is just like a giant feast for cockroaches.

Here is a list of items your suitcase provides that make it a prime habitable spot for cockroaches:

  • Fabric : Although not their first choice of food, cockroaches can eat through fabric. Perhaps to get to a different food source or simply to navigate around the backpack.
  • Food-stained clothes : The smell of food-stained clothes is the number one reason cockroaches even thought about entering your travel bag. They will eat the stained fabric and damage your clothes.
  • Body odor and sweaty clothes : Since sweaty clothes have such a strong scent, roaches are attracted to these too. Not just sweat but any fabric stained with any bodily fluids is a food bounty for these little pests.
  • Dark, warm environment : Roaches love warmth and darkness. Stuffed with all the items mentioned above, all zipped up; your suitcase provides a home most cockroaches dream of having.


Thanks for visiting for the best information to help you to make the pest control process easy, safe & affordable.

Jason Barrett

Hello, I'm Jason. I have 11 years of experience in dealing with pests. I try to provide you the best information that'll help you to make the pest control process easy & affordable