Safety Issues After an Exterminator Sprays Cabinets

Roaches and other types of creepy crawlies take up residence in hidden areas of your home, including kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Spraying the cabinets is just one way to control the problem and depending on the severity, you may need to hire a professional exterminator. The pesticides used by the exterminator pose potential safety issues to you and your family.

Your cabinets are a haven for bugs.

Contaminated Foods

The pesticides used by professional exterminators are commercial grade and much harsher than the ones available to the general public. Prior to the first visit, the exterminator might recommend that you remove any items from the cabinets, but he might let you leave items behind. Any type of open container left behind in the cabinets is susceptible to contamination from the pesticides. The pesticides can even seep inside open bags inside sealed boxes, such as boxes of cereal or crackers. Your best bet is to throw away any food items that were sprayed by, or came into contact with the pesticides.

Pesticide Dish Residue

Before the exterminator visits, you should cover your dishes and other cookware left inside the cabinets, or remove those items from the room. The pesticide will leave behind a thin coating on each piece that may not be visible to the naked eye. If you decide to leave any type of dishes, silverware, or cookware inside the cabinets, then you will need to wash each piece in warm water with dish soap before using for cooking.

Cabinet Remnants

Just as it leaves a residue behind on food and dishes, the pesticide will also leave residue or a thin film on the cabinets. If the exterminator uses pesticides on the cabinets and countertops, then you risk cross-contamination. Even if you thoroughly clean all cooking items, you still risk contaminating food from the residue left on the counters. The Victoria Department of Health recommends cleaning the counters and other areas before cooking in the room.


Discuss the extermination process with your licensed professional and ask about the number of treatments. Often it will take multiple visits and sprayings before the bug problem disappears, but it depends on the severity of your problem. If the exterminator needs to spray the cabinets more than once, then you will need to clean the surfaces thoroughly after each visit. You may find it helpful to store food and cookware in large plastic storage bins with lids in-between visits.

Jennifer Eblin

Jennifer Eblin has been a full-time freelance writer since 2006. Her work has appeared on several websites, including Tool Box Tales and Zonder. Eblin received a master's degree in historic preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design.