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How do you clean your house after using pesticides?

Using pesticides can help get rid of unwanted pests in your home, but it’s important to take the proper safety precautions afterwards. Pesticides contain toxic chemicals that can linger in your home and pose health risks if you don’t clean up properly. In this article, we’ll go over the step-by-step process for safely and thoroughly cleaning your house after pesticide use.

When Should You Clean After Pesticide Use?

You’ll want to clean your home of any pesticide residue as soon as possible after use. Don’t wait longer than a day to start the cleaning process. The sooner you can clean up the pesticides, the less exposure you’ll have in your home.

Here are some key times when cleaning should occur after pesticide use:

– Immediately after spraying or dusting pesticides in your home. Don’t wait for the recommended drying time before cleaning.

– After any foggers or bug bombs have been used indoors. Foggers release pesticides into the air so surfaces should be cleaned soon after use.

– If you’ve had any spills, leaks or back-siphoning of pesticides in the home. This can leave high levels of concentrated pesticide residue.

– After pest control companies or exterminators apply pesticides in your home. Don’t assume they will clean up properly afterwards.

– Anytime you notice pesticide dust, film, or residue remaining on surfaces after application. This means cleaning is needed.

Supplies Needed

Before you start cleaning, gather the proper supplies to safely and effectively remove pesticides. Here are the must-have items:

– Nitrile gloves, protective clothing/eyewear

– Mop and bucket, sponges, cleaning rags

– Sturdy garbage bags for waste

– Paper towels for wiping up pesticide residue

– HEPA vacuum with attachments

– All-purpose cleaner or soap and hot water

– Baking soda for absorption

– Sealable plastic containers or bags

Having the right gear will help prevent exposure and make the cleaning process easier. Don protective clothing whenever cleaning pesticide residue.

Cleaning Step-by-Step

Here is a thorough step-by-step process to follow when cleaning your home after using pesticides:

1. Remove all food items and cooking utensils

As a precaution, take any consumables like food, drinks, pet food/water bowls and cooking utensils out of the kitchen and areas treated with pesticides. Place these sealed containers or bags to prevent contamination.

2. Clean surfaces starting from the top down

Work from the highest to lowest point when cleaning treated areas. This stops pesticide dust and residue from falling onto already cleaned surfaces.

3. Wipe and scrub all surfaces

Use paper towels, rags, or sponges with an all-purpose cleaner or soap and hot water. Give extra attention to areas where pesticides were directly applied.

4. Rinse twice with clean water

Wipe and scrub surfaces again using only clean water to rinse away any pesticide residue and cleaning solution. Rinsing twice ensures you remove all traces.

5. Absorb any excess moisture

Go over all surfaces afterward with paper towels or rags to soak up any excess water. This will keep pesticide residue from spreading around.

6. Vacuum carpets, furniture, drapes

Use a HEPA filter vacuum to thoroughly clean any porous surfaces like carpets, upholstered furniture and drapes where pesticides may linger.

7. Seal and dispose of waste

Place all cleaning rags, paper towels, and disposable protective clothing in a sealed plastic bag. Throw away in outdoor garbage receptacles.

8. Ventilate the area

Open windows and use fans to circulate fresh air through the home. Continue ventilating for several hours after cleaning.

9. Mop or wet wipe floors

Floors tend to collect the most pesticide residue. Mop tile, vinyl and sealed hardwood floors with an all-purpose cleaner. For unsealed floors, use water only.

10. Follow up if needed

Check for any visible pesticide residue you may have missed after ventilating. Repeat the rinsing and absorption process on any problem areas.

Pay Special Attention to These Areas

When cleaning after pesticide use, be extra thorough in these locations where residue can easily get missed:

– Window sills and window frames

– Door handles and thresholds

– Baseboards and moldings

– Electrical outlets and light switches

– Appliances: refrigerator, stove, microwave, etc.

– Air vents and fans

– Children’s rooms and nurseries

– Pet areas: crates, bedding, food/water bowls

– Most used furniture: couches, beds, tables

Scrub, rinse and absorb moisture from these areas to remove all traces of pesticides.

Extra Tips

– Change air filters after cleaning to remove any pesticide particles trapped in the HVAC system.

– Steam clean carpets, drapes and upholstery after vacuuming for a deeper clean.

– Wash all exposed clothing worn during pesticide application separately from other laundry.

– Discard any sponges or cleaning rags used to clean pesticide residue.

– Keep pets and children out of treated areas until cleaning is complete.

– Work with windows open and fans on to ventilate while cleaning.

– Shower immediately after you finish the cleaning process.

Hire a Professional If Needed

If you used a fogger, extensively sprayed pesticides, or had any leaks/spills in your home, consider hiring a professional cleaning service. Companies that specialize in pesticide residue removal have industrial strength cleaning solutions and equipment to thoroughly decontaminate your home after heavy pesticide use.

It’s better to be safe than sorry when dealing with toxins like pesticides in your living space. The small upfront investment can prevent much larger health and safety issues down the road.

When to Call Poison Control

If you experience any symptoms of pesticide poisoning like headaches, nausea, difficulty breathing, or eye irritation while cleaning up pesticide residue, get medical assistance immediately by calling poison control at 1-800-222-1222. Have the pesticide label handy so you can provide information to the helpline.

Seeking quick treatment can make a big difference in preventing serious pesticide poisoning. Don’t wait to call if something feels off after exposure.

Prevention Tips

The safest approach is to minimize the use of toxic pesticides in your home when possible. Here are some tips:

– Use baits and traps rather than sprays.

– Apply pesticides only where pests are found, not entire rooms.

– Read labels carefully and never over apply.

– Ventilate during and after pesticide use.

– Explore boric acid and diatomaceous earth for low toxicity pest control.

– Fill cracks and openings where pests enter.

– Store food in airtight containers to discourage pests.

Prevention is the first line of defense so you can avoid using hazardous pesticides in your living space.


Cleaning up after using pesticides requires meticulous care and attention to detail. Follow all the proper safety steps to remove residue from every nook and cranny. Don’t cut corners or rush the process. Remaining pesticide traces can continue exposing you and your family to health and safety hazards.

With the right supplies and thorough cleaning methods, you can effectively decontaminate your home after pesticide use. Always wear protective clothing and ventilate the area during and after cleaning. Be prepared to repeat the process if you notice any leftover pesticide dust or film.

Take extra precautions if you heavily treated rooms with foggers, sprays or dusts. When in doubt, call in a professional cleaning service to safely remove all pesticide residue. Their industrial-strength cleaners can provide peace of mind after heavy pesticide use.

Stay diligent, work carefully, and get medical help right away if you experience any symptoms of exposure. Follow these tips and you can protect your family’s health after using pesticides while getting rid of unwanted pests in your home.