The Horrifying Reason You Shouldn’t Use Contact Paper in Your Kitchen Cabinets

published Nov 21, 2018
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(Image credit: Melanie Rieders)

An $8 roll of contact paper can do wonders for your home. You can use it to upgrade old furniture, modernize shelves, elevate countertops, or even forge a backsplash. For the budget-conscious, it’s almost too good to be true. And, as it turns out, some people say it just might be.

Why? Apparently cockroaches love contact paper.

“Cockroaches will eat almost anything, far beyond what we think of as food sources,” says Howard Bright, the owner of Anti-Pesto Bug Killers. “We think of crumbs and left out food as their food source, but when that goes away, roaches have no problem finding other things to eat.” Roaches can digest things that humans and other animals cannot, like clothing, leather, decaying wood, human waste, and yes, contact paper, he says.

Cockroaches love both paper and glue, adds Ben Sciortino, owner of Tri-S Pest Control. “Contact paper is the equivalent to an all-you-can-eat cruise buffet.”

“To add insult to the situation, once they’ve enjoyed a full meal of contact paper, they often will use the now-glue-free area to breed,” says Sciortino. “Like humans and animals, insects like cockroaches enjoy a sense of security — you really can’t beat a nice taut section of contact paper that’s no longer sticky to breed under (the area between the sheet and the shelf).”

But don’t freak out just yet. Contact paper isn’t likely to cause an infestation, says Alexander Crawley, an entomology consultant at Fantastic Pest Control. “If you already have cockroach problems, it definitely won’t help. It’s actually much more likely to make matters worse.

So what can you do to prevent cockroaches from feasting on your newly revamped contact paper shelves? “Correct installation of contact paper is a critical first step,” says Dr. Angela Tucker, manager of technical services at Terminix. “Make sure you measure the contact paper for the surface you will cover and ensure that there are no wrinkles or other imperfections. Once it is installed, keep the surface clean of food debris and quickly remove liquid spills. You also want to periodically check the edges of the contact paper to make sure that is still securely attached to the surface you placed it on. ”

And if you do happen to find yourself sharing your space with cockroaches, skip the DIY solutions, says Bright. “Although some DIY solutions may temporarily work, roaches that are resistant to the chemicals will continue to multiply. A professional pest control exterminator will be needed to eliminate the current infestation, as well as prevent future infestations from taking hold.”

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: The Frightening Reason You Shouldn’t Use Contact Paper in Your Kitchen Cabinets