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Can You Flea Bomb An Apartment? Does It Work?

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Flea bombs are rather effective against fleas and come at an affordable price. That’s why these pest control products are so popular in the US. Easy to use, they are a strong remedy against a long list of insects (fleas included, of course). Can you use a flea bomb in an apartment, though? The answer is yes, you can, but only if you follow safety precautions and get permission from everyone in the household and the landlord.

But how safe is it to use a flea fogger? Is it a good idea to stay in the apartment while using this chemical product? And should you solely rely on it, or maybe there are some extra tools to use? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and more!

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What Is A Flea Bomb?

This term is widely used to describe chemical products (pesticides) that were specifically designed and formulated to kill fleas. Usually, they come in aerosol canisters and, once activated, release a mist (fog) into the room—that’s how flea foggers deal with pests. All you have to do is activate the bomb, leave it alone for a couple of hours, and it will get rid of the fleas.

How Much Does It Cost?

Don’t worry: you won’t have to empty your bank account to get a flea bomb. A standard package will cost $10, or even less, depending on where you live. Or, better yet, you could get a bigger package for $15–20. These are available at retail stores and include three 5-ounce cans for a total of 15 ounces of flea foggers. This should be more than enough to treat the apartment and kill all the nasty insects.

What Kinds Of Permissions Do You Need?

First, you’ll have to run this by other folks that live in the apartment. Don’t buy a flea bomb unless you’ve got their “blessing” on it. Next, get in contact with your landlord and get their permission. Even if you own the apartment, we still recommend reaching out to the person/company that owns the building to avoid any legal issues in the future.

The trickiest part here is to find a day on the calendar when all your roommates/housemates can leave the apartment for at least 2–4 hours (preferably, 5–6 hours). Once you work this out and get the green light, all that will be left to do is prepare the apartment and make sure you’re following all the necessary safety precautions.

Are Flea Bombs Toxic to Humans?

Yes, insecticide—the active ingredient in a bomb that terminates fleas—is highly dangerous to humans. It’s not nearly as strong to kill someone, of course, but the insecticide can cause severe consequences like nose irritation, headaches, dizziness, and many allergic symptoms. Even if it only comes in contact with your skin, the chemical will still be harmful.

Man headache
Image Credit: Pixabay

What About the Pets?

Flea bombs are just as bad for pets as they are for people. That’s why you have to double-check that no cat, dog, or other domestic animal is left in the house/room before activating the bomb. Once the aerosol canister starts spraying the toxic fog, it can immediately hurt your four-legged friend.

divider 4Preparing The Apartment for Safe Bombing

Now that the apartment is empty, it’s time to get it ready for the bomb. Be very thorough! If you skip one of the following steps, the bombing won’t be nearly as effective. Besides, you’ll run the risk of ruining your hardware and appliances, not to mention putting the room(s) on fire. Alright, here’s what you should do:

Start By Vacuuming the Room

Before you yell “fire in the hole!” and activate the flea bomb, it would be best to give the apartment proper vacuuming. It’s no secret that fleas like to set up base in carpets, rugs, doormats, and, of course, upholstery. So, grab that vacuum and go over these areas a couple of times. While that won’t eliminate every single flea in the area, a powerful vacuum cleaner will, indeed, be quite effective.

If you’ve got a steam cleaner, use it instead. Fleas are rather resistant to heat, that’s true. Fortunately, a steam cleaner will be able to deal with them effectively. Remember: over time, fleas develop resistance to chemical products, but they can’t do the same with heat. Adult fleas die in rather mild temperatures (95ºF), and steam cleaners do go as high.

cropped man vacuuming the carpet
Image Credit: Andrey_Popov, Shutterstock

Cover Your Furniture, Hardware, and Utensils

Make sure the bomb is placed as far from power outlets, light switches, and appliances that run on electricity as possible. If the room is too small, use blankets and towels for coverage. Do the same with your bed, chairs, clothes, and hardware. Don’t leave any food or utensils out in the open. This applies to your pet’s bowl and food, too.

Towels, newspaper, and even pieces of plastic—use whatever you’ve got to protect your stuff from the mist. Again, it can be very harmful, especially if you use more than one canister to flea bomb the apartment. Don’t forget to cover all electronic devices as well, along with children’s toys, houseplants, and toiletries.

Seal the Apartment Shut

Every single door and window in the apartment should be tightly closed. If the mist finds a way to escape into the outside world, you’ll be very disappointed by the results. Furthermore, if you’re only bombing one of the rooms, the mist can leak into a different room, and that’s bad news. So, do your best to cover all the “exits”, including the tiny gap underneath the door(s).

Just put an old rag or towel under there, and it should block the way. Last, tag the room. Yes, we did just talk about notifying everyone in the apartment and coordinating with them, but you can never be too safe. Most flea bombs include a tag in the package. Go ahead and stick it to the door.

folding closet doors
Image Credit: Quality Stock Arts, Shutterstock

Air The Room Out

As mentioned, flea foggers take 4 hours tops to complete the process. So, don’t enter the room any sooner. In fact, give it an extra hour or two just to be sure. After that, enter the apartment and open all the doors and windows to air the chemicals out. Again, wait for around an hour, and then you’re free to move back in. Don’t clean the carpets, though; let the residue stay for 14 days to kill the fleas for sure.

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Can You Bomb One Room And Stay In The Apartment?

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) recommends against that. Even if you followed our guide and locked all the doors, windows, and tiniest cracks, the fog can still find its way out. You probably won’t feel that right away, but conjunctivitis, trouble breathing, and other serious side effects will follow.

If you have a respiratory condition, you’ll be at more risk. Bug bombs are known to cause respiratory reactions and cause asthma. In a severe case, you’ll need emergency medical aid. To avoid all this, vacate the apartment for five hours. That should be more than enough time even for the strongest flea fogger.

pest control
Image Credit: Elnur, Shutterstock

How to Flea Bomb an Apartment: A Quick Guide

  • Calculate the size (square footage) of the area you want to treat. Generally, one bomb is enough for one single room. But sometimes, you’ll need more.
  • Read the instructions on the label. Yes, most bombs work the same way. But, we still encourage you to read the directions thoroughly.
  • Stay out of the apartment for as long as the instructions suggest.
  • If you’re bombing the kitchen, make sure all drawers and cabinet doors are open.
  • Remove or cover any utensils and appliances from the area.
  • Turn off all electric devices in the apartment, like an air conditioner, heater, or fan. Next, extinguish the pilot lights.
  • Close the windows and doors; make sure the toxic fog won’t escape.
  • Shake the flea bomb aerosol canister and place it in the middle of the room. Put it on a piece of plastic. Otherwise, the chemicals will damage the floor.
  • Activate the bomb and leave the house.

Just How Effective Is a Flea Bomb?

This largely depends on the size of the room. The smaller the enclosed space, the easier it will be for the fog to reach the nooks and crannies and kill the fleas. Again, don’t forget to check the instructions, as they’ll tell you how big of a room the bomb is intended to handle. Now, even if it does a decent job of killing the fleas, most of the eggs will survive the “attack”. That’s right: foggers are not that great at eradicating an infestation.

However, if you use them in combination with a steam cleaner like we discussed earlier, the results will be quite impressive. And one more thing: It’s no secret that pet fur is home to pests. So, you’ll have to visit a veterinarian and have them remove all the fleas and their eggs from your dogs and cats. Otherwise, all your efforts will be in vain.

What Are the Alternatives?

If you want to use some folk remedies, clean the carpets and furniture upholstery with vinegar. Do this right after you vacuum or clean the apartment. It’s a strong cleaning agent, effective against fleas. Soapy water also works. Now, fleas are attracted to light. Therefore, it might be a good idea to light a candle and put it right next to (or inside) a bowl full of vinegar and dish soap to invite the insects to their own funeral.

And what about baking soda? Can it kill fleas, or not? Yes, it most certainly can, but you should be very careful when using it on carpets. The reason: soda includes chemical components that might damage the fibers. As for essential oil, it’s not at all effective. Debris and litter are natural breeding sites for fleas. Remove them first, and you’ll see a dramatic drop in the flea population.

cleaning carpet at home
Image Credit: Syda Productions, Shutterstock

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Flea bombing is the first thing that comes to mind when we find an infestation in the apartment. This product is widely available (you can get it at any local store) and does a decent job of handling the problem. But, certain rules and safety measures are necessary to take before using a flea fogger. Otherwise, you might end up hurting yourself or other folks in the apartment.

Yes, you’ll have to take some time to prepare the room, get every single person and animal out, and make sure you’re using the bomb properly. If you’re not 100% clear on everything, go back to our detailed guide and follow the instructions closely. Happy bombing, and good luck with killing the fleas!

Featured Image Credit: triocean, Shutterstock

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