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Can You Bug Bomb One Room and Stay in the House?

Our guide to bug bombs explains what a bug bomb is, safety precautions to take when deploying the device, and if you need to vacate your house while the bug bomb is working.

A close up shot of several ants crawling on a tile floor. Adobe

Can you bug bomb one room and stay in your house? According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), taking this action is not recommended. In this article, we explain what a bug bomb is and why you should leave your house while using one, and discuss other safety precautions you should take when using this pest control method.

What Is a Bug Bomb?

A bug bomb, also known as a total release fogger, is a pesticide product that contains aerosol propellants and insecticides. This pest control method is commonly used to kill fleas, bed bugs, cockroaches, and other insects in large areas or single rooms of your home.

Should I Stay in My House While Using a Bug Bomb?

While it may seem reasonable to stay in a different room of your house while using a bug bomb, we don’t recommend taking this action. If the insecticides from the bomb seep into the room you’re in, you could experience asthma, conjunctivitis, contact dermatitis, and other serious health conditions.

The EPA recommends leaving your home for the duration of time indicated on the label of your bug bomb. On average, people and pets should stay out of the home for two to four hours.

Safety Precautions to Consider When Using a Bug Bomb

In addition to vacating your home during treatment, there are a few other safety precautions you should consider:

  1. Read the label carefully—The label on your product will give you important safety precautions and instructions on how to safely and effectively use it.
  2. Remove toys and uncovered food—Removing toys and uncovered food from the area you’re going to treat helps prevent the bug bomb from contaminating these items.
  3. Close the doors—If you’re treating just one area of your home, close any doors to seal off the space.
  4. Don’t use more bug bombs than needed—Read the label on your bug bomb to determine how much of the product you should release into your home. Releasing too much product, or using more than one bug bomb, can lead to a buildup of flammable vapors or cause illness.
  5. Don’t use the product in small, enclosed spaces—Using a bug bomb in small, enclosed spaces like closets and cabinets can cause the product to explode.
  6. Keep bug bombs away from ignition sources and pilot lights—You should always keep bug bombs at least six feet away from gas or electrical appliances, like your refrigerator or air conditioner, so that they don’t accidentally explode and start a fire.
  7. Notify others to not enter your home—If you use a bug bomb while a family member or roommate is away, notify them not to enter your home by texting them, calling them, and placing a visible note on the front door.
  8. Air out your home—When you return to your house, open your doors and windows so that any remaining fumes are safely ventilated. You can also place fans in doorways and on windows to air out the space.

Best Pest Control Companies

Bug bombs can be useful in killing some pests, but they may not be able to penetrate cracks and crevices in your home or prevent future pests from invading your home. For a more integrated pest management approach, consider hiring a professional pest management company to target your pest infestation.

To save our readers time, the This Old House Reviews Team examined every major pest control company in the United States, comparing factors like cost and plan details, and compiled a list of the best pest control companies.

We recommend getting a free quote from the companies listed below to determine which pest control service is right for you.

Pest Control Provider Comparison Chart

Provider Terminix Orkin Aptive
Provider Terminix Orkin Aptive
Get a free quote Visit Site Visit Site Visit Site
Our overall score out of 100 98.5 94 91
Best for Best Overall Best for Urgent Service Most Customizable
Annual cost for general pest control $550–$700 $575 $560–$620
State availability 47 47 23
BBB rating C+ A+ A-
Online chat Yes No Yes

Frequently Asked Questions About Bug Bombs

How long should you stay out of the house after using a bug bomb?

Read the label on your product to see how long you should stay out of the house. Typically, you should stay out of your house for two to four hours.

Do I have to wash everything after using a bug bomb?

Read the instructions on your bug bomb for cleaning instructions after using the product. Consider washing your clothes and gently cleaning any fabrics or furniture that came into contact with the gases released by the bomb.

Can you bug bomb your apartment?

Yes, you can bug bomb an apartment, but check with your landlord to ensure this treatment is allowed.

Can you set off a flea bomb with cats in the house?

No, the insecticides in a flea bomb are harmful to cats and other pets, so remove them from your home before setting off the device.

Do I need to wash my clothes after a flea bomb?

Yes, you should wash any clothes that came into contact with the gases released from the flea bomb.

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