Fumigation Safety Tips

A home covered in a red termite fumigation tent.

Homeowners preparing to remove insects such as spiders, ants, and termites through fumigation must take precautions before introducing harmful chemicals into their homes. Take time to learn about the dangers of fumigating your home. Below, you'll find three basic fumigation safety tips, along with detailed steps you should take in preparation.

1. Prepare

Because of the dangers associated with fumigation, preparation is one of the most important factors in guarding against potential health hazards related to exposure of chemicals and gases. There are many precautionary measures that homeowners preparing to fumigate should take before the fumigating professionals arrive.

Make sure you have a place to stay for a couple of days before fumigation is set to begin so you will have plenty of time to prep the home without disturbing your daily lives. This way, almost all your tasks can be done a day or two in advance.

Remove or seal in Nylofume bags any food, medications, or dental products that might be exposed to gases; this includes candy and chewing gum and foods in refrigerators and freezers. Also remove or bag open soda bottles, alcoholic beverages with seals broken, or open cans of pet food. Empty ice in icemakers as well since this will also be contaminated.

Open all plastic bags or plastic covers containing clothes, furniture, mattresses as these will slow how quickly the fumigant aerates.

There are a lot of things you will want to remove from the home altogether. These include all potted or hanging plants, jewelry, furs, scuba wet suits, vehicles in an attached garage, and of course, all people and pets.

After sealing and removing everything you need, open drawers, cupboards, and closet doors before fumigation, as well as any locked safes, vaults, lockers, and cabinets.

The day before fumigation, do one last check of the home to be sure everything inside is set. Then, turn off all AC units and call your gas company to have them cut the supply to your house altogether. Lastly, water any dry dirt 12 inches or more from the house foundation to help protect the plants surrounding the tent from fumes.

It will not be necessary to wash dishes or bedding exposed to fumigation gases. Nor will it be necessary to remove makeup, soaps, detergents, etc. These items, even when used after exposure to fumigation gasses, are not likely to cause you harm.

2. Ventilate the Fumigated Area Upon Return

When the fumigation period has passed, usually 15 to 30 hours, you should air out your house. This means all windows and doors should be opened. Fans should be used to exhaust chemical fumes that remain after initial fumigation. You should also take steps to ensure that a qualified person measures the levels of chemical fumes that may remain inside the house.

3. Watch for Fumigation Chemical Exposure Symptoms

Watch for symptoms of over-exposure to fumigation gases during and after fumigation, such as nausea, headaches, coughing, breathing difficulties, double vision, dizziness, and fatigue. People who have been exposed to these gases and who experience any of these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.

Whether you choose to fumigate your own home or hire professionals, take all the precautions mentioned above to protect your family, pets, and plants that might otherwise be harmed.