Even if a home is kept clean and sanitary, it is possible to pick up cockroaches outside of the home, such as at a store or at work, since the insects can travel in bags, briefcases, packages or potted plants. Roaches can also get in through pipes or open doors. Once inside of a home, roaches are very good at hiding and getting into hard to reach spaces.
Similar to bed bugs, cockroaches are adept at surreptitiously hitchhiking into a home. A roach infestation is not always a sign of dirty and/or unsanitary living conditions. However, certain conditions, such as clutter, make it easier for roaches to survive and propagate in a home. Cockroaches spotted in fastidiously cleaned homes are far less likely to be part of a sizable infestation than roaches in a cluttered, dirty environment. Roaches are attracted to paper, including paper bags, newspapers and cardboard, since they can use paper as a way to communicate with fellow cockroaches using pheromones. Roaches are also attracted to food or even tiny bits of food remnants left out in the open, as well as any drops of water or condensation. Appliances such as dishwashers or stoves not kept extremely clean also have the potential to attract cockroaches.