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How to Self-Fumigate Your Home

Home-Fumigation

At one point or another, every home gets unwanted visitors to be it bugs or roaches or even ants. No matter how much you try to keep these pests away from your kitchen cabinets or bathroom drains, they tend to raise their heads sooner or later. So what do you do when your house seems to be on the verge of being overrun by these nasty little critters? The one-word answer to your pest problems is fumigation. However, professional fumigation can be a very expensive deal. Apart from being heavy in your pocket, it may also make use of certain strong chemicals that you do not want anywhere near yourself and your family. This article will shed light on the ways and means of fumigating your house yourself with self-made fumigant and without any outside help.

What is Fumigation?

Fumigation is a method of pest control. It employs various chemicals known as fumigants to destroy pests and other insects from your house, buildings, and goods. The chemicals used are hazardous to human health to some degree or another. It is, therefore, imperative to exercise as much caution as possible while undertaking fumigation.  Now fumigants can be chemical or natural. There are three types of commercial chemical fumigation:

Liquid Fumigation

This type of fumigation is the most common. It employs a chemical solution or liquid fumigants. The solution is put in a spraying device; then, it is sprayed in quantities throughout the intended area. Most of these liquid fumigants are:

    • Toxic
    • Highly inflammable
    • Volatile

Liquid fumigation is best for outdoor spaces or within specific enclosed fumigation spaces. They are more effective than solid fumigation in controlling pests. They are generally used on crops to control the infestation. Some examples of liquid fumigation are:

    • Carbon Disulfide
    • Ethyl Acetate
    • Chloroform
    • Carbon Tetrachloride

Gas Fumigation

Alternatively, fumigation can be done with fumigants in their gaseous state. For this, you will have to enclose the area and seal all the crevices in it. This is imperative to keep the gas locked in the area without allowing it to escape. Then the compressed poisonous gases can be released as in the case of bug bombs in the specified area, thereby suffocating the pests within. Gaseous fumigants are also highly toxic, and you need to be in protective gear with masks on for this to limit and restrict any accidental breathing of the poisonous fumes. Generally, two types of gases are used for gas fumigation. They are:

  • Methyl Bromide: Used for controlling rodents, insects, termites, weeds, and nematodes.
  • Sulfuryl Fluoride: This is used for controlling pest infestation in tree nuts, dry fruits, and cereal grains.

Solid Fumigation

As the name suggests, solid fumigation makes use of solid fumigants for insect management. These fumigants in the shape of tablets, pellets, or powders are sprinkled or strewn in the desired areas, in the corners of your house, and identified places in measured quantity. Solid fumigants have certain advantages over liquid and gas fumigants. These advantages are:

    • Less toxic
    • Easily managed
    • Minimum before and after fumigation care
    • No protective gear required
    • Minimal effect on the environment

However, solid fumigation only works within the household or other storage areas. For open fields and bid areas, liquid and gas fumigation is required, especially if the infestation is severe. The types of solid fumigants are:

    • Aluminum phosphide: This takes care of pests in all their life stages right from larvae to adults. It is used primarily for tea, flour, cotton, and grain.
    • Calcium cyanide: This reacts with the water vapor to form hydrogen cyanide and is used for controlling a wide variety of pests.

All of these fumigants require chemicals. A much safer and healthier option than these chemical fumigants is natural organic fumigants. These natural and organic fumigants can be made easily with ingredients readily available in your kitchen. Not only are they safer and less toxic, but they are also very effective in keeping those pests at bay.

Home Fumigation Steps

Fumigation is a tedious process. Chemical fumigation is much more so than organic fumigation. It requires a lot of preparation and careful execution. For this reason, most of the people prefer outsourcing chemical fumigation. However, if you don’t mind the extra work or are not very comfortable letting strangers into your personal space, then self-fumigating your house is a good option. Once you sit down to it, fumigation is not very complicated.

All two types of indoor fumigation, namely liquid and gaseous, require the same generic steps. Solid fumigation differs a bit in after-fumigation care. The general procedural steps to get you started on fumigating your home yourself are:

Equipment

This is an essential step. Before you start preparing your house for fumigation, you need to procure all the equipment needed for fumigation. They are listed below for your convenience:

    • Plastic Sheets: You will require a good amount of plastic sheets to cover and wrap your clothing, furniture, paintings, toys, and other belongings. This is required to protect them from harmful chemical exposure.
    • Storage Box: In case you need to store certain appliances and other items and run out of cupboard or shelf space. It is always better to plan rather than find yourself stranded on the day of fumigation.
    • Protective Gear: All types of fumigation except the solid fumigation require protective gear. These include:
      • Gloves
      • Masks
      • Eye goggles
    • Fumigant Tools: Sprayer in case of liquid fumigation. Tablets or pellets in case of solid fumigant and gas fumigant spray bottles in case of gaseous fumigants.
    • First Aid Kit: In case of any accidents, be sure to keep your first aid kit handy. These should include soothing anti-allergy or rash creams, antiseptic cream or lotion, band-aids, Dettol, cotton, and gauze.
    • Fumigant: If you are preparing your fumigant, then do so before you start any of the procedures for fumigation. Alternatively, you can buy your fumigant from the nearest pesticide shop. Either way, ensure you have enough fumigant to cover the desired area efficiently.

Before Fumigation Care

You should plan your fumigation properly. Before starting the process, there are some steps you should take to ensure smooth and effective fumigation. Some of these steps are:

  • Access: Most of the pests hide in corners and under the furniture appliances and all difficult to get to areas. It will be very helpful to you to remove your furniture and any floor decors out of the way before you start spraying. Not only will this give you easy access to all the places, but it will also save your furniture from any chemical spills and sprays.
  • Carpets and Rugs: You should roll away all the carpets and rugs on the floor. This will protect your carpets from the chemical exposure of fumigation.
  • Clothes: You will have to pack away all your linen and other clothes. They will have to be wrapped up in plastic and stored in the cupboards or other storage space. Simply covering them with a sheet will not be helpful since the chemical from fumigation will penetrate through the cloth wrapping ruining your clothes.
  • Furniture and Toys: All the furniture and toys must also be wrapped in a plastic sheet. This will restrict their chemical exposure and maintain its quality. If at all your furniture or toys or any other items like paintings and decorative items do get exposed to the fumigation liquid, then you must clean their surface effectively to avoid any health implications. This is especially true for any toys since children will be much more susceptible to the harmful effects of the fumigation liquids.
  • Kitchen: The kitchen requires extra effort. Some pointers regarding kitchen are listed below:
    • Clear out the dustbin and store it away
    • Clear the countertop. Store away all the utensils, cutlery, appliances, and other equipment on your kitchen slab into your kitchen cabinets or cupboards. If you find that you are running out of space, a good tip is to simply get some cardboard storage boxes to store them away. Remember to wrap up these cardboard boxes with plastic to ensure that the fumigation gases do not enter them.
    • If at all you find that some appliance cannot be moved them, then unplug them and wrap them up with a plastic sheet. Make sure that these can easily be moved around when you are doing the fumigation so that the entire surface is evenly covered.
    • The kitchen sink is one very common entry area for the pests and roaches. You must keep the sink clear and not use it as a storage space.
    • Food items must be stored in a container. Simply wrapping them in plastic will not work. This is because most of the pests can chew through the plastic to get to the food inside or to hide in the food inside. So keep all the food in tightly sealed containers and all the perishables in the fridge.
    • One good tip is to avoid buying unnecessary food items and cooking the day unnecessarily before fumigation. This will ensure that there is minimum food wastage.
    • Pets will have to be kept away from the house while you are getting the fumigation done. Or they will have to be kept locked away so that they do not interfere or get exposed to the fumigation fumes. Their bedding, eating utensils, and any food must also be kept away or at least wrapped in a plastic sheet.
  • Bathroom: You need to clear out the bathroom. These are another hot spot for pests and roaches. All your toothbrushes, razors, tongue cleaners, and loofah must be securely stored along with the soaps and detergents. Anything left outside must be discarded.

During Fumigation

This involves releasing the fumigant. The liquid fumigant is sprayed, the gas fumigant released into the area, and the solid fumigants are strewn in measured quantities. Some points to take care of are:

    • Make sure that you cover the area appropriately with measured quantities and don’t miss out on the corners and cracks.
    • Wear your protective gear at all times.
    • Ensure minimal exposure to the fumigants before during and after the process.
    • Wash your hand, face, and feet thoroughly after fumigation to get rid of any traces on yourself.
    • Change your clothes immediately after.
    • Plan in advance to leave your house for at least a few hours post fumigation.

After Fumigation Care

This differs in point for solid fumigation. The major part of after fumigation is giving your house a thorough cleaning. The house cleaning is part and parcel of any fumigation. It is also probably the most cringe-worthy task. However, you can easily clean your house by following some simple pointers. The common things to take care of after fumigation are:

  • Patience: This is very important. You have to wait for at least a few hours for the fumigation to be effective. Also, all that chemical will have a very negative impact on your body. So wait it out and be patient.
  • Discard: If by any chance, you forgot to keep aside any food, whether packed or otherwise, then you have to discard it. The same goes for your bathroom accessories and toiletries. These items, by their very nature, cannot be risked. It is better to be safe and extra cautious than allow any careless ingestion of the chemical fumigants. Always bear in mind that fumigants are extremely toxic, and your body should not be exposed in any fashion to it.

Again in the case of solid fumigation you just have to get rid of any excess fumigant lying around after the specified period is over

  • Cleaning: This is important. But you need to wait before you give your house a thorough cleaning. The basic cleaning of brooming and mopping can be done, but not immediately. Also, deep cleaning of any kind must be avoided for at least a week post fumigation.
  • Ventilate: In the case of liquid and gaseous fumigation, after the waiting period is over, all the doors and windows are opened. This lets the poisonous gases and harmful chemicals smells escape from the house and get rid of all that lingering smell. It is very important to allow air ventilation. In the case of solid fumigation, you don’t need any air ventilation.
  • Repair: You should immediately repair any leaks and fill any cracks that you might have in the house. These are very easy entry points for the pests. These cracks and crevices also serve as their refuge area. So the sooner you get rid of them, the better for you.

Why Is Fumigation Necessary?

After looking at the long drawn out procedure for self fumigation, you might be thinking why you even need to fumigate? Well, the very fact that you are reading up on fumigation says a lot about the need for pest control. Fumigation is the only effective method of long term pest control. Some reasons and benefits of fumigation are:

  • Precautionary Measures: You might want to look at fumigation as a precautionary measure. Pest infestation is a stark reality. Before you know it, your house can be overrun with termites, roaches, insects, ants, and rodents. So it’s always better to put the brakes before the problem escalates and becomes unmanageable.
  • Pest Problem: This is the major reason why people get their homes fumigated. When you see pests running around in your kitchen shelves and bathroom floors, you have no option but to sanitize your homes. Apart from looking creepy, these pests also bring with them a host of diseases that are best avoided, like stomach infections, skin rashes, food poisoning, etc.
  • Economical: In the long run, fumigation is both effective and efficient than any other method of pest management. You can buy various products like hits and chalks for killing insects and roaches, but these are all temporary. You will have to continuously buy these things, and they will eventually burn a hole in your pocket. The only solution is eradication, and this eradication is only possible by fumigation.

Hence even though fumigation is an onetime heavy cost, it works out to be cheaper than other alternatives.

How to Make an Organic Fumigant

Fumigation can be done with chemicals, or you can opt for the organic variety. The methods of making your own homemade ecologically friendly fumigant are discussed below:

  • Garlic-Mint Insect Spray: Take some mint leaves and garlic cloves. Give them a whir in the blender. Add some cayenne pepper and a drop of dishwashing liquid. Bring the mixture to a boil and let it sit overnight. The next morning pour it in a spritz bottle, and you are good to go. Works best with house plants.
  • Coffee: Critters, especially ants, hate coffee. Just pour some coffee into the crack and crevices and see your kitchen ant-free. Alternatively, you can make a coffee solution by mixing coffee beans with water and spray that.
  • Vinegar and Water: You can make a liquid and spray it by mixing vinegar and water in 1:1 proportions. This will take care of ants and termites.
  • Bay Leaves: These can be crushed and strewn around the edges, or they can be boiled in water, and the mixture sprayed. They are very effective against cockroaches.
  • Neem and Eucalyptus Leaves: They are the best natural repellents. These leaves can be crushed and their juice mixed to create a strong repellent for ants, termites, and cockroaches.
  • Vinegar and Coconut oil: This mixture is very effective against spiders. Just mix them in a 1:1 ratio.

Homemade Fumigant vs. Market Fumigant

The biggest advantage that homemade organic fumigants have over the commercial fumigants is that they are non – toxic and not harmful to your body. Even if they are ingested, they will not do any more harm than maybe an upset tummy. Further, these fumigants are most suitable for those having allergies or sensitive skin. However, these fumigants are not nearly as effective as the commercial ones using pesticides and chemicals. Homemade variety cannot eradicate your pest population. At best, they can help you fight it in the early stages. Chemical fumigation has very negative effects on your body. This is because all types of fumigation use strong chemicals. And being chemicals, they will be poisonous to humans. But bear in mind that the concentration in which these chemicals are used is not lethal to humans. This is the reason it is recommended to leave your house for a few hours at the very least if not overnight after fumigation. Some health effects of fumigation are:

  • Throat Irritation
  • Skin Irritation
  • Breathing Trouble
  • Dizziness
  • Watery Eyes
  • Itchy Eyes
  • Redness or rashes on the skin

These possible side effects have led to an increasing demand for natural or organic pest control treatments. While natural and organic fumigation treatments derive their compounds from organic products, these sprays are not as effective in treating pests and have a high recurrence rate than the conventional methods.

Home Fumigation Q and A Round

Some common queries that you might have at this point are explained below:

Can You Fumigate Yourself Effectively?

Yes, you can. There are plenty of easy DIY fumigation kits available in the market to help you fumigate easily, effectively, and even conveniently. However, bear in mind that even with self fumigation, you will have to vacate your house for at least a couple of hours and take your pets with you as well.

What Do You Use to Fumigate?

The most common ingredient used for fumigation is formaldehyde vapor. It is also the most cost-effective option.

How Much Does Fumigation Cost?

Fumigation cost differs with a lot of factors. Typically, a 3 BHK basic termite plan will cost you Rs. 7200 upwards on an average.

How Do You Bug Bomb A Room?

Bug bombing is very easy to manage. You need to follow the instructions on the product manual. Generally, it involves placing the bug bomb throughout the room. Covering the areas you don’t want to be exposed to. Unplug all the electronic devices and appliances. Placing the engagement sequence and pressing the button for discharge.

Fumigation is necessary and required. Every household has a pest population. You cannot completely escape their presence. But you have to control it. Prevention is always the easiest method. However, when you find that your house is getting overrun, then don’t wait around and get started on that fumigation.

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