Do I Need to Wash my Clothes After a Flea Bomb?
Fleas can be a tormenting vermin when left to inhabit the house. However, with a well-carried-out flea bombing exercise, these insects can be exterminated.
Meanwhile, you should know that flea bombs pose more trouble than the problems raised by fleas. But we at some point in time would do anything to rid these vile creatures. So the job would not be done yet after introducing the highly-potent aerosol!
First, you have to ensure that there aren’t any of these insects remaining – whether dead or alive – in the property or on your pets. And also, you have to clean the sprayed environment. In this regard, many people often ask the question: do I need to wash my clothes after a flea bomb, do I have to vacate my home during and after spraying, among other questions.
For the safety of the inhabitants (humans and pets) in the newly flea-bombed house, we, hereby, offer tips, recommendations and step-by-step guides on how to wash clothes and make general cleanings after using a flea bomb.
First, what are flea bombs?
Flea bombs are a type of bug bomb, nebulizer or fogger, as we call them. So we can say they are bug bombs used to exterminate fleas. And what are bug bombs? Well, bug bombs are aerosol-based insecticides that contain propellants that release their entire contents at once to fumigate an area. These products with total discharge valves are often used in homes or nearby to kill cockroaches, fleas and other pests.
Do I have to vacate my home during and after spraying?
First, it is recommended that all people vacate the place at the time of activation. But, following the instructions of the staff, you may be observing from a distance the work of your professional exterminator.
Taking into account that the application of the products is carried out by means of equipment that generates a very fine breeze, we advise that all humans and pets should evacuate a treated property for at least 2 hours.
What to do before activating a bug bomb in your house or company?
We recommend that if you plan to paint or wash the walls, you should do that before the application of a bug bomb. If done after the service the long-term effectiveness of the insecticide may be neutralized.
Outdoors, you should prune the green areas and make sure they are free of garbage or debris.
The dishes and kitchen utensils must be inside a cabinet or cupboard. However, if you have a severe problem, you must vacate the cabinets and place the dishes on a table or in the Patio, then cover them with a tablecloth or sheet, which you must wash after the aerosols dissipate.
Also, the kitchen must be free of prepared food. If there are foods, they must be in the refrigerator or sealed containers, so as not to take risks with the products applied.
You do not need to empty the closet. The clothes can remain in place since the bomb aerosols do not stain or smell.
In bathrooms, personal items must be in plastic bags.
When the property is an office or company, generally, you need no additional preparation unless it is a special case. And in the case of the industrial dining room with a severe problem of insect plague, put the food in cold chambers and take out all utensils and crockery at the dining tables, leaving the cupboards as accessible as possible.
What do I do with my pets?
In the case of having pets, be it dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, they should not be present. However, in the case of fishes, turtles, snakes or any small fish animal, it is recommended to cover it very well so that the insecticide does not enter.
Read more: best flea prevention for small dogs
How to choose a pest control company?
First, you have to ensure that the services being offered suits your budget. Also, you have to ensure that the company has a healthy license. In this way, you will know whether it is a well-established and experienced company. They must give you a report with the type of pests, the product used, dose, the amount used, emergency number, recommendations and the contact information of the technician who performed the service. Also, they must issue invoices or receipts for future clarifications. Finally, you have to find out if it has civil liability insurance.
How long is the fumigation going to last?
The duration depends on the degree of infestation and the conditions of the place. We recommend that you carry out 2 sprays in a year in houses. And in the case of grocery stores, food stores or restaurants, the duration of application should be shorter. Everything depends on the state of order and cleanliness maintained.
Do the flea bombs smell or stain?
Generally, insecticides have a characteristic smell. You can find flea bomb products with a very low odor that is developed by recognized special laboratories for urban use. Also, when you apply them according to the manufacturer’s instructions, they should not stain or cause bad odors. However, you shouldn’t have the “if it doesn’t smell, it doesn’t kill” perception.
Recommendations to follow after using a flea bomb
First after activating bed bug or flea bomb, wash all kinds of clothes or fabrics (bedding, carpets, curtains, sofa covers, etc.) in minimum temperatures of 65ºC and incomplete cycles in the washing machine. In the case of the mattress, you can cover it with a certified anti-bed bug encasement after disinfection with the chemical. However, you can throw away the mattress (if it’s an infected material) and replace it with a new one (recommended option). This is simply because fleas, as well as their eggs, can survive in just anything. Meanwhile, remember that fleas don’t live outside of a host for long.
Nevertheless, you can try the mattress replacement when you have double insect infestation (fleas and bedbugs). You will need to replace the foam on the sofas with new foams if they are heavily infested.
Also, do not put clothes in closets until the treatment finishes. In addition, do not mix washed clothes with unwashed clothes after a flea bombing exercise.
Avoid direct contact with the treated surfaces. It is advisable to keep pets in ventilated places trying to avoid contact with the treated surfaces.
Answering the frequently-asked question: do I need to wash my clothes after a flea bomb?
Should I cover my clothes if I use a bug bomb? Well, the answer to these famous question is a definite yes! You have to wash all the clothes which the vapor or gas of the flea bomb into contact with during the course of spraying.
Although many experts and flea bomb manufacturers often advise that you cover household materials, equipment, and facilities such as electronics, kitchen items, indoor aquariums, etc with cover materials such as leathers or fabrics. However, the chemical will not come into contact with your fabrics is almost inevitable. So, you have to find a way to clean the sprayed environment meticulously and wash all clothes affected by the flea bomb. Meanwhile, upon entering the property for the first time after the activation of the flea bomb, you have to, first and foremost, carry ensure adequate ventilation.
In addition to the fact that you have to wash all the clothes that may have been in contact with the flea bomb, you have to clear your cabinets in order to clear out the chemical treatment inside them. During this period, avoid using disinfectant products such as bleach or ammonia.
Suggestions on how to wash clothes contaminated by a flea bomb or any pesticide
After the use of the pesticide, remove all clothing materials and put them in a plastic bag. However, ensure you keep the bag closed until it is time to wash it. When removing clothes from the bag, treat the bag in the same way as if it were an empty pesticide container.
First, you have to wear impervious gloves while handling pesticide-contaminated clothing. You have to carry out washes on affected fabrics every time and immediately after you activate these pesticides. Doing it this way, the pesticide residue will be easier to remove and will prevent the accumulation of this in the clothes.
How to wash clothes contaminated by a flea bomb: The Pre-rinse step
Use one of these three methods:
- Rinse clothes separately in a tub or any suitable wash equipment. Then discard the water in the sewer.
- You can dry the clothes outside the house. But avoid areas where children or pets play.
- Pre-wash contaminated clothing in the washing machine with detergent.
Rinse items twice before washing. Rinsing before washing is especially effective for removing pesticide particles from clothing, especially when you use powder-based insecticide.
Tips on how to wash clothes affected by a flea bomb
Wash the garments separately from the rest of the family’s clothes
Wash clothes contaminated with the same pesticide together
Do not wash many items at once.
Use the highest level in the washing machine. Basically, this allows the water to rinse or completely remove the pesticide from the fabric. So, no more pesticide residues will accumulate on the clothes.
- Use the hot cycle water in the washing machine – at least 60º Celsius
- Use the warm water rinse cycle.
- Avoid using cold water because it is not effective in removing pesticides from clothing
The cycle for washing
Use the normal 12-minute cycle in the washer
- Use a strong detergent. However, use the amount recommended in the package instructions
- Meanwhile, you should choose the type of detergent depending on the type of pesticide that contaminated the clothing material. Granular detergents are effective in removing pesticides such as gas-based aerosols that are soluble in water.
Neither bleach nor ammonia removes pesticides. While you can use them as an aid in washing or as a disinfectant, you can’t use them together.
Wash heavily contaminated clothing at least twice.
To prevent dryer contamination, dry clothes by hanging them outside in the yard if possible. Also, sunlight can break down many pesticides.
Rinse the washer
To rinse the empty washing machine, first of all, run it for another total cycle with hot water and detergent. Also, clean the material you use to pre-rinse. These precautions prevent contamination of the family’s clothing with pesticide residues.
Washing of other items
After use, thoroughly clean everything that is washable inside and out including boots, gloves, hats, goggles, and aprons. Use hot water and detergent.
Other tips to wash clothes affected by flea bomb
As many pesticides vary in physical and chemical composition, the recommendations are given here and which have been based on research, are widespread. However, for information on specific pesticides, contact your local County Extension office.
It has been found that the application of starch on the cloth surface acts as a pesticide trap. Conversely, research studies also indicate that the use of starch can optimize pesticide removal when contaminated clothing is washed.
Be aware of when and what types of pesticides are used
Also, always wear waterproof gloves to avoid exposing the skin to the pesticide while handling contaminated clothing.
Burn or bury garments saturated with concentrated insecticides or pesticides that are very toxic. Take off your clothes and put it immediately in a plastic bag. Then close the bag tightly. Meanwhile, after washing the clothes, discard the empty bag and empty pesticide cans.
Remove contaminated clothing in outside areas or at the entrance of the building. If you have used a granular pesticide, shake your clothes outside. Next, empty the pockets, cuffs, and hems.
Researches show that pesticide residue can pass from contaminated garments to other garments if washed and stored together. So keep contaminated clothing away from the rest of the family’s clothing.
Also, always wear the same clothing when handling insecticides. Furthermore, remember to keep contaminated clothing away from other clothing, before, during and after washing.
After activating the product, take off contaminated clothing, including underwear, as soon as possible. Take a shower and wash your hair before putting on clean clothes.
CAUTION! The use of some products may be illegal in your state or country. Of course, ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS ON THE SAFE USE LABEL OF ANY PESTICIDE.
Safety precautions for the use of aerosol insecticides with total discharge valve
First and foremost, improper use of these spray insecticides can cause a fire or explosion, as they are generally flammable. In addition to this risk, there is a risk of disease if you don’t leave the site during the activation. Also, the same can occur if you enter the site without properly venting the site.
Preventing pests comes first
You should not use aerosol insecticides as a single method to fight fleas or bed bugs. The most effective way to reduce or eliminate the problem of pests and the risks of pesticide use is, first of all, to prevent them from entering your home. In this regard, the measures you should take in your home and surroundings are the following:
- eliminate food and water sources (such as leaking pipes) and
- destroy shelters and sites where pests reproduce (such as trash and plant remains)
When non-chemical pesticide prevention methods are not effective for pest control, you can choose to use a chemical pesticide. One type of product is aerosol insecticide with a total discharge valve (nebulizer). These products are usually effective if used properly. However, they can present real risks to your home and family if used improperly. So, before using an aerosol insecticide with a total discharge valve in your home or building, read and follow these safety tips and common-sense precautions.
Do not use more aerosol insecticides than necessary
Oftentimes, accidents due to the use of aerosol insecticide with a total discharge valve (nebulizer type) occur in cases where the user releases too much mist, thus causing the accumulation of flammable vapors. Meanwhile, aerosols come in different sizes. So, read the label carefully to determine the appropriate measure for your space.
To calculate the volume of the habitable area, multiply the weight, width, and length of each room. Then add all the volumes. For example, a 10-foot-by-10-foot room with a standard 8-foot ceiling has a volume of 800 cubic feet.
You should not apply aerosol insecticides in small, enclosed places, such as dressing rooms, cabinets or under countertops or tables. However, the use of an aerosol insecticide in an enclosed space may cause the product to explode and cause personal injury or property damage.
Keep aerosol insecticides away from sources of ignition
Secondly, accidents are more likely to occur if large quantities of aerosol insecticide make direct contact with an ignition source. For instance, a flame, pilot lights or a spark from an electrical appliance that cycles on and off (by example, a refrigerator or an air conditioner). The United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends placing the aerosol insecticide at a distance of six feet or more from any source of ignition. If you need help extinguishing the pilot lights, contact the public gas company or the local management company.
Notify family members, neighbors and any other person who may enter the property
In addition to notifying everyone that they should not enter the area, be sure to place the labels that come with the product on the doors. Also, you can make danger signs yourself if they do not come with the product. This will reduce the risk of another person entering the house or room and accidentally coming into contact with the released gas.
Leave the house, apartment or other building to be treated immediately
Breathing spray vapor can be harmful. Thus, the safe use of these products requires that all people and pets leave the place and close the doors after unloading the spray insecticide. However, do not re-enter until the indicated time elapses. Normally, this time is between two and four hours, as said earlier. However, note that returning to the property earlier than this may cause illness or even poisoning.
Ventilate the area once you return
When you have returned to the treated area, open the doors and windows to ventilate the remaining gases. Placing fans on the doors could help ventilate the area and remove the gases.
Take other common-sense precautions
Do not use more than one spray insecticide per room, as a common 6 oz. The spray is sufficient to treat up to 25 by 25 feet of clear space.
Be sure to remove all children, pets, toys and uncovered food from the area to be treated.
Also, read the label and follow the instructions carefully.
Keep the product out of the reach of children, for example, in a locked cabinet or shed.
Finally, teach children not to touch pesticide products and other household chemicals.