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PMPs: Keep calm and wash your hands

|  April 1, 2020


Pest management professionals (PMPs) have had the opportunity to learn many new lessons as the industry settles into the “new normal” that is the result of the coronavirus pandemic. One of these lessons was something we first learned in kindergarten: Wash your hands.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after being in public places, blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or using the restroom. This message should not be new to PMPs, since handling and applying pest management products necessitates frequent handwashing, including:

  • After pesticide applications.
  • After wearing/removing personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • After getting a pest control product on your skin.
  • After petting the customer’s dog or cat, as pet smells can make rodent baits and traps repellent.
  • Before and after using the restroom.
  • Before eating meals or snacks during the workday.


Finding sources of clean water and soap on a daily route can be challenging. Most technicians know the location of every clean public restroom in their territory, but visiting these destinations after every service isn’t realistic.

On-site public restrooms at a commercial client’s location makes handwashing convenient, but what about residential customers or outside-only services? If a customer is present, always ask permission before washing your hands. Make sure to clean up drips, and don’t leave a mess behind.

If the client refuses your request or isn’t home, keep a few gallons of clean water on your vehicle, along with soap, to wash up when needed. In theory, PMPs should have some of the cleanest hands around. Let’s keep it that way.

Read more COVID-19 coverage here:

Dr. Jim Fredericks

About the Author:

You can reach Dr. Fredericks, VP of technical and regulatory affairs for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), at

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