Does Rubbing Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs?

  • Bedbugs are nothing new; they’ve been with us for centuries. Archeologists found bed bugs already in Egyptian tombs—so having them at home connects you to history in a way! Anyway, let’s find out how to shake off these bugs and their eggs from your property once forever. 
  • The last thing you want is a bed bug infestation in your bedding. Luckily, there are several home remedies to deal with these tiny monsters. Read about them in our guide, try them out, and if nothing helps, reach out to professional treatments. Today’s most effective procedure for eliminating bedbugs is high heat treatment—to be conducted only by a licensed exterminator. 
  • What is the best solution from home remedies to overcome bed bug infestations? Lemon, peppermint, essential oil, or maybe rubbing alcohol? Is it enough to clean your mattress thoroughly to make it free of infestations? Is using alcohol to kill bed bug pests any good? Read the article below to discover answers to all the burning questions in this department.

What is rubbing alcohol?

Why “rubbing alcohol”?

The term became popular in North America in the mid-20s of the nineteenth century—this product was used as an ointment for massage.

Back then, its formula was different from the one we use today. 

Currently, rubbing alcohol is referred to as surgical spirit. Before, it was perfumed and included different additives, plus a notably higher concentration of methyl salicylate.

“Rubbing” in its name also underlines that this liquid was never intended for consumption. 

Nonetheless, in 1925, it became popular surrogate alcohol.

Rubbing alcohol is mainly isopropyl alcohol. Otherwise, it can also be an ethanol-based liquid. 

It’s denatured and undrinkable even if it’s ethanol-based because of the bitterants added.

Rubbing alcohol is a topical antiseptic with multiple industrial and household uses.

The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) defines it as containing approximately 70 percent alcohol by volume of pure isopropyl alcohol.

Individual manufacturers use their own formulation standards—the ethanol content for retail bottles of rubbing alcohol ranges from 70 to 99% v/v.

What should we know about bed bugs?

As for bed bugs, we’ve got plenty of resources on House Rituals. Learn everything about bed bugs from recent posts:

Some scents keep bed bugs away. Also, there are plenty of more and less effective actions to take to kill bed bugs and rehabilitate the infected bed in your bed room. 

Choose your option and go for it! 

So do you have to call for an exterminator straight away, or are DIY home remedies effective enough to kill bed bugs?

Chemical pesticides or a natural solution? 

Let’s find out in the paragraphs below. 

Methods to get rid of bed bugs

You can handle the annoying bed bugs issue with home remedies. Get the bugs in your bed room to move out with a few simple methods.

It has been proven that bed bugs could be discouraged from inhabiting our house without the help of any strong chemical solution or highly-effective heat treatment. 

The smell of the substances we list below is pungent for bed bugs. These odors will quickly help you get rid of the pest and could also keep a scared bed bug from returning. 

To kill bed bugs or keep them away, you can use:

  • Tea Tree Oil (essential oils),
  • Lavender Oil (essential oils),
  • Blood Orange Oil (essential oils),
  • Diatomaceous Earth,
  • Powdered Pepper,
  • Lemon,
  • Cinnamon,
  • Peppermint,
  • Neem Oil (essential oils), or
  • Rubbing Alcohol;

Diatomaceous Earth is a powder made from fossilized algae. Cockroaches, bed bugs, and ants infestations fear it—it makes them get dehydrated and die. The DE solution destroys the waxy exoskeleton of pests. 

What is excellent about Diatomaceous Earth is that you can buy this powerful pest control product in stores near you or online. 

Also, its use doesn’t require any professional skills. Just spray the powder all over the place to eliminate bed bugs (even those that hide). 

Tip: Make sure to vacuum your house to get rid of dead bed bugs after killing them with Diatomaceous Earth or another solution.

Can you kill bed bugs with rubbing alcohol?

One thing for starters: killing bed bugs is complex. 

A typical bedbug multiplies quickly—to introduce effective pest control, we have to be even faster. 

Unfortunately, many people give up the battle and simply throw out their furniture, mattress and box spring instead of fighting with the pest that infested their house.  

Yet, we’ve got what it takes to win this war!

So, keep reading and try the methods listed in this article to repel bed bugs. Soon, you’ll say the last goodbye to the bed bug infestation in your bed room.

So, with all we’ve learned about bed bugs and rubbing alcohol, the question that naturally follows up is: 

Does alcohol kills bed bugs?

First off, alcohol is affordable; it’s one of its best features. 

Getting rid of bed bugs with DIY methods, like scents and other safe house products, is possible. It’s also doable with rubbing alcohol. 

However, keep in mind one study: 

Scientists sprayed rubbing alcohol directly on bed bugs in a study conducted by Rutgers University. After the experiment, they stated that this solution was only effective in killing a maximum of 50% of the insects.

How to kill bed bugs with rubbing alcohol?

Read carefully; we’re going to transform you into a highly skilled pest murderer in a minute.

Fill a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol and spray it generously over your bed: from the pillow, mattress to box springs. 

Since bed bugs lay eggs, it’s essential to repeat this process several times to get rid of them completely.

Could treatments of getting rid of bed bugs be any simpler?

Using rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) to kill bed bugs and bed bug eggs is a well-known method.

Yet, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s effective and safe. 

Some experts even suggest avoiding using alcohol to kill bedbugs.

The first reason is that isopropyl alcohol is highly flammable. 

It does dry quickly, but spraying it on upholstered furniture, carpets, fabrics, clothing, and mattresses creates a severe fire hazard for our household.

Important: Rubbing alcohol is highly flammable. Consider it when you use it for infestation control.

Does rubbing alcohol kill bed bugs? 

Another tricky fact is that rubbing alcohol kill bed bugs only on contact.

Rubbing alcohol has to be directly applied to the bugs to be able to kill them. 

Unfortunately, anyone who has ever had to deal with bedbugs knows that direct contact with these pests is rather hard to achieve—they prefer to hide from us in cracks and crevices. 

An average bed bug is smart enough o know that human is not their friend. 

If you somehow manage to spray the rubbing alcohol on bed bugs, it can kill almost half of the bed bugs in your home.

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Frequently Asked Questions

In contrast to, for example, cockroaches, bed bugs won't directly make people sick. Sometimes, the bites may develop into fluid-filled blisters. In most cases, if humans were ill after bed bug bites, the underlying cause was allergies, blood loss, or infection. These pests usually cause more emotional distress than physical.
Bedbugs can bite you anywhere they have access to. Given that the person bitten usually sleeps, bed bugs will bite exposed areas of skin: face, neck, arms, and hands.
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