When it comes to repelling insects, it’s hard to find a product that’s more effective than Raid. But is it safe to sleep in a room you’ve sprayed just moments before? Is there a set amount of time you should wait before you can enter the room? These are some of the questions we’re about to answer.
Keep in mind that the science behind each Raid product was developed over the course of sixty years. So if I had to give you an answer right off the bat, I’d say that you should trust the instructions the brand has printed on the spray can. Still, just to be sure, we’re going to try to reach our own conclusions. With that in mind, let’s just get into it!
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Is Raid Harmful to Humans?
According to Johnson & Son, the company behind Raid, the insecticide is relatively safe if you use it according to the instructions provided on the packaging. However, as some people have proven in the past couple of years, you can’t always count on that being the case.
Since 2018, there’s been an uptick of intentional insecticide poisonings. Namely, some people have taken to huffing, smoking, and even injecting Raid for the purposes of getting high. Even though death is a possible outcome of doing this, other symptoms of insecticide poisoning can be just as dangerous.
So, in that sense, Raid and other insecticides like it can indeed be harmful to humans. I’ll take a moment to explain exactly what could happen if you breathe it in later. For now, you should just know that you won’t have to worry about any potential side effects if you follow the instructions to the letter.
Naturally, Johnson & Son has taken every precaution to protect itself against lawsuits. Most importantly, the company has printed precise instructions right on the spray can. The very first sentence of the directions states that using the product in “a manner inconsistent with” its label is a Federal law violation. That should tell you exactly how volatile those chemicals are.
For example, the Raid Multi Insect Killer contains a total of .2% of the two main active ingredients of the spray, d-phenothrin and prallethrin. The rest of the spray content is more or less a mystery, though the ingredient list does indicate that sodium nitrite and petroleum distillates are a part of it.
Suffice it to say, none of those things are beneficial to the human body. But let’s see what happens when you breathe them in, anyway.
What Happens If You Breathe Raid In?
Most people who’ve used Raid in the past know exactly what happens when you accidentally breathe it in. You have a coughing fit, run for the sink to splash some water on your face, and gurgle some for good measure. Afterward, you may experience some shortness of breath and congestion — but these symptoms usually go away after a while.
And it doesn’t always stop at that. There are other potential side effects of inhaling or ingesting insecticides, such as irritation, headaches, sneezing, and dizziness. As we have established, some people have willingly inhaled Raid to get high. Aside from death, which was the ultimate consequence of many of these cases, those people also experienced:
- Erratic behavior
- Throat irritation
- Redness in the extremities
- Inflammation and paralysis of the respiratory system
- Cardiac arrest
Recurrent, prolonged, and intentional exposure to insecticide can eventually result in neurological damage and loss of consciousness. Still, it’s safe to say that these more serious consequences of insecticide poisoning can only occur if you neglect to read the directions. So let’s see what the product label has to say about the main question of the day.
How Long After Spraying Raid Can You Enter the Room?
Spraying Bugs Directly
Some Raid sprays are only used for spraying the bug that you want to get rid of. After eliminating the insect, you should wait for 15 minutes but there’s no need to leave the product’s residue in the room.
So, in case you’re using this kind of product, you should spray it directly on the bug that you want to eliminate. After you’re done, you’ll need to wipe away what’s left of it with some soap and water. That way, you’ll get rid of your problem without having to inhale Raid overnight.
Raid Products That Release Mist
Other Raid products need to sit in a closed room for several hours, at least according to the directions. So if you were going by the book, you’d only get to enter the room two to four hours after application. And even that will only be for the purposes of opening all the windows. After letting the vapors air out for half an hour to an hour, you’ll be able to go in as usual.
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- Won’t leave a wet, messy residue
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There are two main types of Raid products that release a mist of insecticide into the air:
- Aerosol sprays come in pressurized cans that you have to point and spray yourself
- Foggers that release a cloud of insecticide that’s meant to penetrate every nook and cranny in a room and get rid of serious infestations
The preparation for using either of these insecticides is pretty much the same. You’ll need to close all doors and windows to make sure the product doesn’t evaporate before it has a chance to do its thing. Then, after application, you’ll want to let regular aerosol sit for about two hours.
Meanwhile, foggers are designed to get into every corner of a room, so you’d also open every closet and cabinet after closing all doors and windows. After you activate the device as per the instructions, you’ll have to leave the room for about four hours.
After the allotted time for the product you’re using has passed, you’ll need to go into the room. But don’t stay any longer than it takes to open all the windows and doors. You’ll know that the room is properly aired out if you can no longer smell the Raid in the air.
You may also like: The Pros and Cons of Leaving Windows Open at Night
Can You Sleep in a Room After Spraying Raid In It?
As we have established, the odor is the best indicator of how safe a room is after a Raid application. So if you can’t smell the insecticide, it should be safe to sleep in the room — provided that you have aired it out properly.
But be advised, applying insecticide in sleeping areas may not be that simple. Our bedrooms are treasure troves of items that can stubbornly hold onto toxic fumes. We have curtains, bedding, carpets, not to mention clothes lying around everywhere. So if possible, you should remove as many as those objects before applying any Raid products.
As for items that can’t be moved, like mattresses, I advise you to cover them up at least. When the Raid is done soaking in, take the covering off and wash it. Use this as an opportunity to put clean sheets on the mattress and replace your pillowcases, just to be safe.
How Long After Spraying Raid Is It Safe for Babies?
Babies and pets are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of Raid. It can cause serious respiratory problems and even damage their central nervous systems. However, if you take the time to fully air out a room and clean any residue, both children and pets should be safe in a room that’s been treated with Raid.
To elaborate, most of the danger comes from the main active ingredients in Raid — a group of compounds called pyrethroids. These are generally harmless to humans, but obviously, not all lifeforms are safe from its damaging effects. Besides, as we have established, those aren’t the only potentially harmful ingredients that go into commercial insecticides.
In any case, in addition to being able to kill bugs, Raid is also highly toxic to fish and aquatic invertebrates. That’s why you have to cover any aquariums you have in the rooms you’re treating. Larger mammals are less likely to suffer, but you should still remove any other pets you have from the room before spraying it.
But what about babies? Well, aren’t infants just as helpless as insects and pets, when you think about it? Their smaller lungs certainly couldn’t stand a chance against airborne poisons. So it’s best to keep your child away while you apply Raid and for a while afterward too — especially if they already have a respiratory condition like asthma.
Safer Insect Repelling Alternatives
If you’re still not sure about how safe it is to sleep in a room you’ve sprayed down with Raid, you may be looking for alternative solutions. Luckily, there are plenty of them to choose from — and some are even made by the same brand we’ve been discussing. So even if you’re a Raid loyalist, here are some other things you can try.
Sticky traps are incredibly effective at catching all sorts of flying insects. They’re completely non-toxic and they work both indoors and outdoors. If you go looking for these kinds of traps, you’ll find two basic kinds of products:
- Rectangular sheets, which often come with convenient stands that make it easy to stick them in the ground or keep them in a vase
- Ribbon traps, which can be attached to ceiling lighting fixtures and unrolled like a roll film
The point is to put these traps in areas that are often frequented by insects — namely, near lights.
Electric zappers are devices that first attract insects then zap them with an electric current. Most of them look like lamps, and they’re completely odorless and quiet, so you can treat them like a night light. However, they only attract flies, moths, and mosquitos — they won’t help you if you’re struggling to keep spiders at bay.
You can also get handheld electric zappers that look a bit like tennis rackets. They are wireless, battery-powered devices, and they’re often rechargeable as well.
If you have children or pets, you may not want to have an electric zapper in your home. Fortunately, plug-in products are a great way to fend off insects if you don’t want to zap them into oblivion.
Most plug-in devices either use ultrasonic soundwaves to push pests away or they release a steady stream of a non-toxic insect-repelling vapor. Both kinds of products are extremely effective and completely safe to use even while you sleep.
Natural and Homemade Insect Repellants
If you’re in a pinch, there are several homemade insect repellants you could use until you find a way to get rid of the bugs once and for all. I’ve even explained some of the more popular methods in a previous article, though it mostly concerned mosquitos.
Still, things like tea tree oil, coffee grounds, and garlic water should all be effective at chasing off most insects. On top of that, many plants give off odors that are distinctly unpleasant to bugs. Humans have used lavender, basil, lemongrass, rosemary, and mint, among other things, to protect themselves from insect invasions for centuries. Even now, you can find many of those plants as the main ingredients in some commercial repellants.
The surest way to keep insects out of your home would be to equip all your windows and doors with bug screens. Even if you spray your home down with Raid, installing these mesh screens could save you from having to do so again. The mesh will keep the bugs outside while still letting plenty of air into your home.
There are also chemical barriers you could use, such as the Raid Ant & Roach Barrier. Simply spray the solution around your doors, windows, and near the foundation of the house, and you should be bug-free for the foreseeable future.
Kill‘em Dead But Be Smart About It!
As the tagline goes, Raid Kills Bugs Dead! You just have to make sure you remain unscathed while it does that. Fortunately, that comes down to carefully reading the instructions before using the insecticide in whatever form you end up choosing.
You could also implement some additional common-sense tactics, like taking absorbent materials such as bedding out of the room before spraying it down. Alternatively, you can stick with preventative measures like insect screens, plug repellants, and sticky traps.