The fight to keep your home free of pests is a major undertaking for homeowners. From buzzing flies to scurrying mice and everything in between. These invaders are not just unpleasant, they can be a health risk or cause serious damage to your home.
This is where the use of pesticides comes into play. Pesticides are substances used to eliminate, repel, or control any form of plant or animal life that is considered a pest. Pesticides can be very effective but the logical question to ask is are they safe to use in your home?
The bottom line is yes, there are many effective pesticides that are safe to use in your home. Depending on the specific product you can typically use them almost anywhere in the home. However, the introduction of pesticides into your household isn’t something to be taken lightly. There are many factors to consider including where to spray, how to do it safely, and do you need to wait to go back into the home.
In this guide, we are going to Discuss the different types of pesticides that can be sprayed in the home. We will also look at the benefits, risks, and safety procedures to follow.
How do I know if a pesticide is safe to spray in my home?
When trying to determine if a pesticide is safe to spray in your home, the first thing you need to look at is the label of the pesticide. The label will provide specific instructions and guidelines for where and how to use the pesticide.
A pesticide label is considered to be the law. It is a violation to use the product in a way inconsistent with the instructions on the label. A pesticide label is required to include certain information about the product including but not limited to the trade name of the product, ingredient statement, percentage of active ingredient(s), net contents of the container, and the name and address of the manufacturer, a use classification statement, directions for use, and a re-entry statement if necessary.
Pesticide language is important. If you read statements such as “must” or “do not”, you must follow these instructions. Other instructions may be more general and suggest the best practice.
Personal Situation & Preferences
Ultimately the label is the law, but If a label states that a product can be used indoors around people and pets, you might wish to avoid it anyway. For example, some products may be unpleasant in smell, or require frequent application that is not conducive to your personal preference.
Pesticide labels are invaluable to find information that will guide your decision on whether to use a specific product in your home. For example, if you or someone in your home has allergies, the label will let you know the contents so you can determine if it contains something that you or your loved ones are allergic to.
Pesticides Safe for Use in Homes
Most people hear the word pesticide and associate it with toxic chemicals. However, this is not always the case. A pesticide is defined as any substance or combination of substances that is used to control, repel, or eliminate pests. Many pesticides are not toxic harmful chemicals, in fact, many are substances that are fairly common in everyday life.
Things as simple as orange oil, garlic & pepper sprays, essential oils, etc. can be used to repel insects or other pests. If you are leery about using non-organic, synthetic pesticide products such as Bifenthrin (Ortho Home Defense) or Cypermethrin (Hot Shot Fogger), you can try some of the more natural options first and see if that works.
Pesticides For Indoor Use
|Pesticide Name||Active Ingredient||Safety Precautions|
|Raid||Pyrethroids or Pyrethrins||Ensure adequate ventilation. Keep away from children and pets.|
|Ortho Home Defense||Bifenthrin and Zeta-Cypermethrin||Do not inhale spray mist. Keep out of reach of children and pets.|
|Hot Shot||Lambda-Cyhalothrin||Use in well-ventilated areas. Store away from food and pets.|
|Terro Liquid Ant Baits||Borax (Sodium borate)||Place baits out of reach of children and pets. Do not consume.|
|Advion Cockroach Gel Bait||Indoxacarb||Apply in areas not easily accessible to children and pets.|
|Combat Roach Killing Bait||Fipronil||Keep away from food. Place where children and pets can’t access.|
|Diatomaceous Earth (Food Grade)||N/A||Do not inhale powder. Keep out of reach of children and pets.|
|Neem Oil||N/A||Use in moderation. Store in a cool, dry place.|
|BT (Bacillus thuringiensis)||N/A||Follow application instructions carefully. Store away from food.|
|Spinosad||N/A||Apply as directed. Keep away from water sources.|
|Pyganic||Pyrethrins||Use with adequate ventilation. Keep away from children and pets.|
|Bonide Eight Insect Control||Permethrin||Do not inhale. Store in a secure location.|
|Safer Brand Insect Killing Soap||Potassium salts of fatty acids||Use as directed. Keep out of reach of children and pets.|
|Boric Acid||N/A||Do not ingest or inhale. Keep away from children and pets.|
|EcoSMART Organic Insect Killer||Blend of plant oils||Follow label instructions. Store away from children and pets.|
|Essentria IC3 Insecticide Concentrate||Rosemary oil, peppermint oil, geraniol||Use as directed. Store in a cool, dry place.|
|Beneficial Nematodes||N/A||Follow application guidelines. Store as directed.|
|Bedlam Plus Bed Bug Spray||Phenothrin and Esfenvalerate||Use in well-ventilated areas. Keep out of reach of children and pets.|
|Nuvan ProStrips||Dichlorvos (DDVP)||Use only in confined spaces. Avoid continuous human presence in treated areas.|
|Cedarwood Essential Oil||N/A||Use in moderate quantities. Keep away from open flames.|
Benefits of Using Pesticides in the Home
Using pesticides in your home can be quite effective. I have personally used different pesticides as a way to manage flies, ants, spiders, and mice. One of the benefits of the types of pesticides I have used is that they can be applied in isolated areas or used as bait. This means that the entire house is not coated or sprayed with a chemical.
I have used pyrethrin and Terro ant bait (the active ingredient is borax) with great success. These are both intended for indoor use but they are applied in different ways.
How to Spray Pesticides In Your Home
When you think about pesticides in the home, things like “bug bombs” and “tented” houses come to mind. These are methods used to eliminate pests and they do require people to vacate the home in order to use them. This is pretty invasive and the broad application of pesticides in the entire home is undesirable to most. However, there are less invasive ways to spray pesticides that won’t require you to leave and don’t involve chemical fumes throughout your entire home.
There are many pesticide application methods that can be utilized to limit the exposure of these chemicals to members of your home. With liquid products, you can use a sprayer to apply them in a barrier around the outside of your home and then starting in the basement or crawlspace, spray in areas where pests are most likely to reside.
If you are interested in more information about safe pesticide application, take a look at this article I wrote on how to apply pesticides. It will walk through the process and areas to treat in much more detail.
When you choose to apply pesticides in your home you need the proper equipment. This means a sprayer that is compatible with the product you spray and won’t leak. In addition to this, the right spray nozzle is vital for safe and effective results. For more information, be sure to read this pesticide sprayer guide to make sure you are using the right equipment.
Understanding the Risks of Indoor Pesticide Use
Just because a pesticide is considered okay for indoor use, it does not mean there are no risks. After all, if a product is designed to kill a pest, it could potentially cause harm to people or pets. Some products can cause irritation to the skin, eyes, etc. Some might even be dangerous if inhaled or swallowed. These obviously need to be handled with care.
Although many products are not considered toxic or harmful, you might still not like the idea of a pesticide in your home or around children or pets. However, If you identify a pest in your home that can carry a disease, contaminate food, or cause damage (termites), you must weigh that against the harm these pests can do.
Safety Precautions When Using Household Pesticides
Pesticides can be very effective, but they should be used with caution to best protect the safety of your family, pets, and property. Here are some essential safety guidelines to follow when using pesticides in your home:
Follow Label Instructions
Always follow the instructions on the pesticide label. As mentioned earlier, this is the law. The label provides information for safety and instructions for effective use.
Some pesticides can be harmful. Effects vary from Skin and Eye irritation to burns. Some Can be harmful if ingested or swallowed. The pesticide label information on the appropriate gear needed to handle pesticide
Always wear appropriate protective clothing including gloves, long-sleeves, long pants, and closed-toe shoes to minimize skin contact. Goggles are also a good idea regardless of the product you are going to spray.
Keep Children and Pets Away
I know that this one is fairly obvious, but I think it should be included due to its importance. Keep kids and pets away when handling and spraying pesticides. Not just because it can be dangerous for them, but I kids and pets tend to be unpredictable. You don’t know what they are going to do and they could knock over your sprayer, bump you while mixing, or get in the way. It is safer for everyone if they are kept clear.
Remember that the label will provide guidelines for safe use, but it doesn’t hurt to always make sure you have good ventilation wherever you are applying the pesticide.
Store Pesticides Safely
Keeping pesticides in the proper container and out of reach of children is pretty obvious, but it is also important to make sure you store the pesticide in a place where it won’t freeze or be in direct sunlight. Changes in temperature, moisture, and freezing can lead to degradation and potentially leave pesticides ineffective over time.
One of the best ways to limit exposure to pesticides is to apply them sparingly and only where they will be most effective. Again, the label will provide guidance on where to apply.
Ultimately, the decision to use pesticides within your home is up to you. You must take into account the benefits and the risks. Remember that not all pesticides are the same. Many are more than safe around humans, while some can pose more risk. I use pesticides in my home. I always limit the amount I use and try to use natural methods when possible.