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National Pesticide Information Center

npic@ace.orst.edu

1.800.858.7378

Safe Use Practices for Pesticides

woman readin pesticide label

Using pesticides safely depends on many things. Some of the most important factors include selecting the appropriate product, and using that product according to the label directions. The label directions are written to minimize the risk of problems and to define the legal uses for the product.

In addition to reading and following the label directions, consider these tips when using pesticides:

  • Make sure kids, pets, and anyone non-essential to the application is out of the area before mixing and applying pesticides.
  • Be sure to wear clothing that will protect you when using pesticides. Consider wearing a long sleeve shirt, long pants, and closed-toe shoes in addition to any other protective clothing or equipment required by the label.
  • Mix pesticides outdoors or in well-ventilated areas.
  • Mix only what you need to use in the short term to avoid storing or disposing of excess pesticide.
  • Be prepared for a pesticide spill. Have paper towels, sawdust or kitty litter, garbage bags, and non-absorbent gloves on hand to contain the spill. Avoid using excessive amounts of water, as this may only spread the pesticide and could be harmful to the environment.
  • Read the first aid instructions on the label before using the product. Have the telephone number for the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) available in case you have additional questions.
  • Remove personal items, such as toys, clothing, or tools from the spray area to avoid contamination.
  • When spraying pesticides indoors, make sure the area is well ventilated.
  • When applying pesticides as a spray or dust outside, avoid windy conditions and close the doors and windows to your home.
  • After using pesticides, wash your hands before smoking or eating.

To learn more about the safe use of pesticides, choose from the following topics:

If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email us at npic@ace.orst.edu.

Additional Resources:

Last updated February 22, 2013