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What should I cover when fogging my house?

Fogging, also known as misting or spraying, is a process of applying a pesticide as a fine mist or aerosol throughout an indoor environment to control pests like fleas, bed bugs, cockroaches, spiders, ants, flies, and other crawling insects. When done properly, fogging can be an effective way to penetrate cracks, crevices, and hard-to-reach areas where pests may be hiding. However, there are some important steps you should take before, during, and after fogging to ensure safety and effectiveness. Here we will cover what you need to know to properly prepare for and carry out a house fogging treatment.

Why fog your house for pests?

Fogging allows the pesticide mist to reach places that liquid sprays may not, penetrating deep into cracks, crevices, carpet fibers, furniture stuffing, and other areas where pests live and breed. The fine particles float through the air and settle on surfaces, killing pests on contact and leaving residual activity to continue working after the initial application. Fogging is useful when you have a widespread infestation that needs a broad treatment rather than just targeted spraying of individual pests. It can treat large areas faster than other application methods.

When is fogging recommended?

Fogging is most effective when you have identified an active pest infestation through visual sightings, droppings, cast skins, odor, or other signs. It can be used to eradicate existing infestations and provide residual pest prevention. Fogging works best on crawling insects like fleas, roaches, spiders, and ants. It is not as effective on flying pests like mosquitoes or fruit flies. Fogging is usually done as a supplement to, not a substitute for, targeted liquid spraying of problem areas. It should be repeated based on the pesticide’s label instructions to maintain control.

Preparing for a house fogging treatment

Choose the right pesticide

The pesticide must be specifically labeled for fogging use. Look for ones that contain insect growth regulators (IGRs), which prevent pests from maturing and reproducing. Common active ingredients for residential fogging include pyrethrins, permethrin, cypermethrin, and tetramethrin. Avoid using broad-spectrum pesticides, which can harm beneficial insects like honeybees. Consult a professional exterminator to select the best product for your needs.

Read and follow all label directions

The pesticide label contains important safety information and application instructions that must be followed exactly. Pay attention to any protective gear needed, ventilation requirements, treatment methods, and re-entry intervals. Using too much pesticide or applying it improperly can cause health risks and will not improve results.

Prep the treatment area

Completely empty and clean closets, cabinets, drawers, and other storage areas to allow the fog to penetrate. Remove pet food, pet bowls, children’s toys and all food items. Cover fish tanks and turn off their air pumps. Take any food prep surfaces out of service. Place unwashed dishes and utensils in a closed cupboard. Remove sensitive items like medications.

Protect certain items

Cover and seal electronics, appliances, leather goods, pianos, antique furniture, art, and other items that may be damaged by the chemical residues. Remove pillows and mattresses from beds, or cover them completely.

Make plans to leave during treatment

All people and pets should vacate the building for the time specified on the pesticide label, typically 2-4 hours. Birds and reptiles should be removed as well. Turn off air circulation systems. Open cabinets, closets and interior doors to allow better circulation. Place a folded towel at the base of all doors leading outside to prevent drift.

Know re-entry requirements

Do not re-enter until the fog has settled completely and the area has been thoroughly ventilated, according to label directions. Open windows and use fans to circulate fresh air in from outside. Follow any specific re-entry guidelines on the pesticide label.

Fogging procedure

Wear proper protective gear

This includes goggles or a full face shield, a respirator mask rated for pesticide use, long sleeves and pants, chemical resistant gloves, and shoe coverings. Cover any exposed skin completely.

Use the correct fogging equipment

There are various foggers, misters, and applicators available for home use. Choose one designed for the type of chemical and location. Handheld trigger sprayers allow targeted applications. Foggers with extension wands allow treatment of higher areas. Automated fog machines can cover very large areas. Ensure the equipment is in good working order.

Apply insect growth regulators first

IGRs prevent pests from reproducing, disrupting their life cycle. Apply an IGR like NyGuard® in cracks and crevices, along baseboards, under appliances, and in infested areas. Allow it to dry completely before fogging.

Apply the pesticide as a fine mist

Work systematically from the farthest area to the door you will exit through. Hold the applicator about 2 feet from the surfaces and apply a fine mist using sweeping motions. Move slowly to saturate the air without over-wetting surfaces. Treat all affected rooms including inside cabinets and closets.

Follow all label instructions

Pay close attention to any specified restrictions on where the product can be applied. Follow all label directions regarding dwell time, cleaning requirements, protective equipment, allowable number of applications, and treatment intervals. Applying too much or too frequently can cause build-up of harmful residues.

Allow proper ventilation time after fogging

Keep the treated area closed up overnight or for the recommended time on the label. Open windows and use fans to air out the space completely before re-entering. Continue ventilation during cleaning to avoid contact with residues. Do not reoccupy until all pesticide odors have dissipated.

Post-fogging clean-up

Wash all exposed surfaces

Thoroughly clean all countertops, tables, and other exposed horizontal surfaces with an all-purpose cleaner. Avoid abrasive scrubbing. Dispose of sponges and rags used in the first cleaning to avoid spreading residues. Rinse any areas that may contact food several times.

Clean floors last

Vacuum carpets, rugs, and other flooring with a HEPA-filter vacuum. Use damp mopping on hard floors. Change mop heads frequently to avoid redistributing residues. Avoid stirring up settled residues during early cleanings. Dispose of rags, pads and cleaning solution properly.

Launder exposed fabrics

Wash all exposed clothing, linens, towels, and other fabrics in hot water cycles immediately after fogging. Avoid contact between “clean” and “dirty” laundry. Use rubber gloves when handling unfinished laundry. Run washing machines empty after contaminated loads.

Wipe down walls

Clean walls with soap and water, changing rinse water frequently. Pay special attention around light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats, doors, and windows. Rinse thoroughly. Avoid abrasive scrubbing or scouring pads.

Continue monitoring for pests

It can take days or weeks for pest populations to be fully eliminated after fogging. Continue traps, visual inspections, and targeted spraying to ensure the infestation is gone. Re-treat if pests persist, following the fogging label directions.

Safety precautions when fogging your home

– Keep all people and pets out of the building during treatment.
– Ventilate thoroughly before re-entry.
– Follow all label directions and wear protective gear.
– Remove or tightly cover any items that may absorb the pesticide.
– Do not apply where vapors may penetrate food packaging.
– Use exactly as directed – more is NOT better.
– Prevent drift indoors by sealing exterior doors and windows.
– Clean all exposed surfaces and launder fabrics after fogging.


Fogging or misting your home can provide quick knockdown of pest populations in places sprays may miss. For best results, carefully prepare the treatment area, use the right pesticide at the proper rate, fog systematically, and ventilate thoroughly afterwards. Follow all label safety precautions and cleaning requirements. Continue monitoring and spot treating to ensure the infestation has been eliminated. With the right technique, fogging can be an effective part of an integrated pest management plan for your home.