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Lisa writes,

When can I wash off pyrethrin spray used on kitchen counter tops and floor?

the exterminator told me i couldn't wash the countertops or floor for 3 weeks in order to retain the insecticide's power to take down roaches. but it is so dirty and gross looking with the insecticide residue splattered over everything--i don't know if i can wait another 2 weeks before i am able to clean again. for now i have been using the stove top for food prep--which is very limiting also. so is it true--i really can't clean anything yet??


While we will not comment on your exterminator's work, we will advise you on how pyrethrin sprays are usually used for roach control. Most pyrethrin sprays have wording like this on the product label "Remove or cover exposed food and cover foodhandling surfaces in edible product areas of food handling areas" or "Cover or remove all food processing surfaces. Thoroughly wash all food processing surfaces before reuse".  Roach control sprays are usally applied directly into crack and crevices where roaches spend most of their time, not on surfaces where the roaches are unlikely to make direct contact. Also, while pyrethrin may irritate roaches for a couple of days after it has been applied, it is only likely to kill the roaches while it is wet.

Answer last updated on: 06/20/2010

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