Discovering cockroaches in your home can be beyond distressing. Their flattened bodies, quick, scuttling run and long spiny legs are widely considered repulsive. Aside from their hideous appearance, roaches also have a sickening smell that only gets stronger as their numbers increase. Over time this stench can pervade every corner of your home, and even begin to affect the taste of certain foods.

Roaches can also pose a serious health threat for anyone living nearby. Their antennae, feces, and skin cases are all sources of allergens, which can exacerbate asthma symptoms in sufferers. They also carry a whole host harmful bacteria as a result of hanging out in sewers and drains. As they walk around your home they leave traces bacteria everywhere they go, contaminating food, cooking utensils and preparation areas. Cockroaches have been found to transmit a plethora of diseases to humans, including E.coli, salmonella, and pneumonia.

Unsurprisingly, most people want to get rid of their cockroaches immediately. Acting quickly is the best thing to do, as roaches breed incredibly quickly. Just a few roaches can multiply into thousands within a few months, making them very difficult to get rid of!

If you’re dealing with a full-blown infestation of cockroaches, removing them completely from your home can be a long and difficult process. In cases of severe infestation, it may be best to call in a pest control expert to spray your home.

But how can you prepare for a pest control spray, and what should you do afterward?

How do pest control sprays work?

Pest control sprays are usually sold in the form of aerosol canisters which release insecticide when activated. The fumes then settle over exposed surfaces in the home. Cockroaches will come into contact with the insecticide as they run across these surfaces and will usually die shortly after.

What to do before a pest control spray for roaches

If you’ve decided to go for a pest control spray as your preferred method of roach removal, there are several things you need to do before and after. These steps are vital for the effectiveness of the treatment and for ensuring the health and safety of those in your household

1. Thoroughly clean all areas that will be sprayed

Dust, dirt, and grime can all reduce the effectiveness of sprays, as they create a film that stops the insecticide making full contact with the surface. Make sure to properly wipe down all areas before spraying.

2. Clear your kitchen countertops & cover and store any food

Insecticides and pesticides can be highly toxic if swallowed, so make sure you put plates and cooking utensils away before you perform a pest control spray. It’s also important to properly cover and store food to prevent potentially dangerous contamination.

3. Put away all children’s toys and possessions

Carefully store all clothes, books, and toys belonging to children in your home. Objects that come into contact with the insecticidal spray can present a significant health hazard to kids.

4. Pull movable furniture away from the wall

Roaches tend to hang out in cracks and crevices and love the gaps behind furniture. Movable furniture (such as refrigerators, washing machines, and dishwashers) should be pulled away from the wall before you spray. This will allow the fumes to settle on these surfaces, so areas with high levels of cockroach activity can be treated thoroughly.

5. Open cupboard doors

Closets and cupboards are popular cockroach habitats. Make sure you open the doors prior to spraying to allow the fumes to permeate these areas.

6. Evacuate the house

You will probably have to leave your house for several hours after the spray has been released. Make sure there is no-one left inside before you leave your home, taking care to remove all people and pets.

What to do after pest control sprays for roaches

1. Wait until it’s safe to return

You must stay out of your house for 2 – 4 hours after spraying to avoid inhaling the fumes. The sprayed surfaces should be completely dry before you re-enter your home. Speak with your pest control expert to find out how long you should wait before going back inside.

2. Open all doors and windows

It is important to properly ventilate your house after spraying to allow the fumes to dissipate. Open all doors and windows and leave them open for a few hours. Again, you should speak with the exterminator to establish how long you should ventilate the house for.

3. Cleaning after roach extermination

You should avoid cleaning your house immediately after it has been sprayed for cockroaches. Doing so will remove the residual insecticide and render the treatment ineffective. It is advisable to only wipe down surfaces that will come into direct contact with food, i.e. cutting boards and preparation areas.

However, keeping your house clean and tidy over the following weeks will help to eliminate your roach problem. Make sure there is no food left out, clean up all crumbs immediately and clean ovens and stovetops regularly to prevent build up of grease and grime.

Spraying your home for cockroaches can help to eliminate infestations, but only if they are performed correctly. It is important to clean your house and remove all toys and food before spraying. Afterward, you should ventilate your house thoroughly but avoid cleaning away the insecticide residue, as this will reduce the effectiveness of the treatment.

Once your house has been sprayed, you must maintain a high level of hygiene for the roaches to be completely eliminated. Never leave food out and stay on top of grease and grime, especially around the oven, stovetop, and refrigerator.