How Long After Fumigation Is It Safe for Pets and Babies?

how long to wait after fumigation

While there are several methods that can be employed to get rid of pests in the home, fumigation is arguably the most practical and effective.

Fumigating a room or a home not only rids the immediate area of pests, it also penetrates through the cracks and openings to the interior to destroy the nests as well.

The downside is that the products used for fumigation can be harmful to adults and especially babies and pets.

Depending on the type of fumigation used, it can take from 24 to 72 hours before the home is safe for you, your family, and your pets to return.

But there is much more to know like what is fumigation, what are the various types, and how does it work, and what are the risks involved if you return home early?

Let’s cover some of these details below…

What is Fumigation – How Does It Work?

Fumigation is considered the last resort when trying to eliminate pests from the home, office, or building.

Think of it as the nuclear weapon used in a war.

Powerful enough to do the job, but is harmful to pests, humans, and pets.

It is why evacuating the home to employ fumigation is necessary.

Depending on the type of fumigation used, the process basically fills the interior with a product that is poisonous to the pests.

What it does not kill forces the remaining pests to leave.

Plus, most fumigation processes leave a residue behind that destroys any returning pests until it fades.

Because of the toxicity of the fumigation process, there are definite risks involved.

What are the Risks Involved?

The most dangerous risk is inhaling the toxins that were used.

Because the most common type of fumigation is that of a gaseous state, it means that concentrations of the toxins are still in the air until they are ventilated away.

When in their concentrated form, they can cause damage to the lungs.

All humans and pets are vulnerable, but babies and young pets are the most susceptible.

In addition to the lungs, symptoms of exposure may include the following.

  • Irritation of the Eyes and Throat
  • Nausea and Vomiting

In rare cases, it is possible to die from full exposure to the toxins and lack of oxygen.

But it is far more common that a person will feel the ill effects for a short period.

For pets and babies who are more vulnerable, exposure may lead to long-term health issues.

What are the Various Types?

There are three basic types of fumigation used to get rid of pests, gas, solid, and liquid.

All three types have advantages and disadvantages in ridding the property of pests.

Understanding how each type works will help you know what is best to use and how to avoid its complications.

a) Gas:

This is the most familiar of all types of fumigation methods. The toxins are released in a gaseous state and fill the area.

Gas is also the most dangerous of all three fumigation methods, requiring special protection to be used.

In addition, the area where the fumigation is to happen must be fully enclosed to keep the gas from escaping.

Gas fumigation can eliminate different types of pests from insects to rodents to weeds and more.

It is mostly used inside the home to get rid of termites, mice, and mold that is often located behind walls, above ceilings, or in other places that standard eradication methods cannot reach.

This form of fumigation requires the evacuation of the area until the toxins fade.

b) Liquid:

This type of fumigation is used mostly to target insects and particularly mold.

The toxins used in this form of fumigation are mixed with water, so they can spread more easily across the surface.

Liquid fumigation uses a sprayer to cover surfaces and is most effective both indoors and outdoors.

In fact, it is arguably the most common practice to use liquid fumigation outdoors because of the danger it presents, but also its effectiveness in sticking to surfaces.

There are several products used for this type of fumigation which include carbon disulfide, ethyl acetate, chloroform, and carbon tetrachloride to name a few.

In addition, many of these products are flammable even when mixed with water, so care must be taken to avoid open flame.

This may require the services of a professional pest control expert to use liquid fumigation as they have the gear and training for the job.

c) Solid:

As the name implies, this is a type of fumigation that uses solid products such as pellets, tablets, or powders.

Solid fumigation is arguably safer compared to liquid or gas.

In addition, the products used tend to be more environmentally friendly in nature.

In most cases, solid fumigation is used outdoors to protect crops such as tea, cotton, grain, and others.

The pests consume the solid fumigation and then die as a result while leaving the crops intact.

Aluminum phosphide and calcium cyanide are two common examples of solid fumigants. There are others which can be used as well.

How Long After Fumigation is It Safe to Return Home?

As mentioned before, depending on the type of fumigation used it takes from 24 to 72 hours for the product to dissipate to the point where it is safe to enter the property.

The same is true for liquid fumigation used outdoors.

Fumigation consists of three stages, preparation, application, and post-fumigation.

Understanding how all three work will help in preparing for the fumigation process.


This involves covering the area for gas fumigation and keeping the toxins inside.

An inspection is conducted to ensure that all people, pets, and items that might be harmed by the fumigation are removed.


Chloropicrin is released inside to warn anyone or anything to leave as it causes mild irritation of the eyes, throat, and nose.

After a pre-set time, the gas fumigation is then released.


After the recommended time has passed, the tent or covering is removed.

All surfaces are measured for their toxicity levels and return is then granted once it is deemed safe.

For all fumigation, it is recommended that you use the services of a professional pest control expert.

You can maximize the results while protecting you, your family, and pets from this process with an expert doing the work.  

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