One of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to how to get rid of bedbugs is does rubbing alcohol repel bed bugs?
Today, we have the answers for you!
How to Kill Bed Bugs with Rubbing Alcohol and Is It Efficient?
A bed bug infestation can turn your home from a comfortable sanctuary into a place of misery. Worse yet, bed bugs are becoming increasingly resistant to common pesticides. This makes homemade DIY treatments, such as rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol), all the more tempting.
Your best bet for maintaining a bed bug-free home is prevention or, failing that, early intervention.
While rubbing alcohol can help repel bed bugs and prevent or control infestations, it provides only temporary relief. If you have an infestation, it’s time to call an exterminator.
Does Rubbing Alcohol Repel Bed Bugs? Partially. Here is How!
Rubbing alcohol is a solvent and can kill insects by dissolving their outer cells. Rubbing alcohol is also a desiccant, or drying agent. Therefore, it can destroy bed bug eggs and adults by drying them out.
Nevertheless, there are more things to know about rubbing alcohol in relationship with bed bugs’ extermination.
- Rubbing alcohol repels the bugs, discouraging them from crawling or laying eggs on a surface treated with the substance.
- Because of this, spraying bedding and furniture with rubbing alcohol has gained a reputation as an effective tactic in the battle against bed bugs.
On the other hand, some studies showed different results.
In 2013, a Rutgers University research team lead by Changlu Wang tested several substances against bed bugs.
They discovered that half the bed bugs sprayed with rubbing alcohol where still alive after four days. The conclusion was that the substance was one of the least effective weapons against these insects.
Nonetheless, Wang recommends non-insecticidal treatments like these for controlling infestations.
How to Use Rubbing Alcohol as an Efficient Bed Bug Repellent
When dealing with bed bugs, a 91% solution will give you the best results.
- If you can’t find this, a weaker solution is an acceptable alternative.
- To kill or repel bed bugs, you’ll need to spray infested surfaces directly.
Rubbing alcohol may leave marks or stains on your mattress, bedding, and furniture that’s been lacquered, varnished or painted.
- To avoid damaging your furniture, fill a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol and spray a small, inconspicuous area of the surface you want to treat.
If only one bed is infested, take steps to keep the bed bugs there.
- Apply a strip of double-sided tape (carpet tape) or a coating of petroleum jelly to the legs of the bed.
- Alternatively, place the legs in glass or smooth metal containers. Sticky and slick surfaces like these are difficult for bed bugs to cross. This prevents them from escaping to other parts of your home.
To kill bed bugs already present or discourage them from coming, start by spraying the braiding of the mattress where the bugs gather during the day. Then spray the box springs and the headboard.
Rubbing Alcohol’s Uses in the Case of Bed Bug Bites
Here is what you should do if you’re being bitten while you sleep.
- Spray the top of your mattress with rubbing alcohol and allow it to dry before you go to bed. This repels the bugs from the bed’s surface, giving you some space to sleep in.
- Bed bugs move slowly, so putting on fresh sheets every night will help keep the bugs away from you.
- Spraying down your body with rubbing alcohol before bedtime also reduces the risk of bedbugs bites.
- When possible, though, avoid sleeping in the bed to not only protect your health, but also to deprive the bed bugs of a food source.
The Risk of Using Rubbing Alcohol as Bed Bugs’ Repellent
Keep in mind that, like other alcohol products, rubbing alcohol is highly flammable. That’s why you should avoid smoking around treated areas and keep open flames away from them.
The Washington Post reported a handful of cases where people tried to get rid of bedbugs by infusing their furniture with rubbing alcohol and setting their houses on fire by accident.
Because rubbing alcohol evaporates quickly, you’ll need multiple treatments to have any real chance of controlling an infestation.
- Bed bug eggs take up to 14 days to hatch, so spray infested surfaces every two to three days for two weeks to kill newly hatched insects.
Have a Long-Term Plan Besides Rubbing Alcohol to Kill Bed Bugs
Rubbing alcohol alone isn’t enough to completely rid your furniture and home of your blood-sucking guests.
In fact, getting too enthusiastic with rubbing alcohol or any other highly repellent substance will drive the bugs off on the infested piece of furniture. They might go on to spread the infestation around the room or into other parts of the house. This makes it harder for an exterminator to pinpoint and eliminate the infestation.
- What’s more, a large amount of rubbing alcohol on the mattress could react with the insecticide applied by an exterminator. Consequently, it can make it less effective at killing the bugs.
In Conclusion: Does Rubbing Alcohol Repel Bed Bugs?
Rubbing alcohol repels bed bugs effectively enough to keep them away from you while you sleep. It can also reduce the risk of an infestation spreading. The solution is handy for preventing the bugs from multiplying. Even so, rubbing alcohol’s helpfulness is limited.
To reclaim your home from bed bugs in the shortest possible time, your best option is to call an exterminator.
The EPA’s Integrated Pest Management Approach for Bed Bugs
Before we finish our discussion today, we find it important to mention that the EPA has a set of recommendations when it comes to how to get rid of bed bugs.
The agency’s Integrated Pest Management approach includes a combination of chemical and non-chemical methods. The chemical methods involve the use of pesticides and professional extermination.
Now let’s take a look over the non-chemical ones, maybe you find more useful tips to contain and kill bed bugs.
|* Dry your clothes and bedding at high temperatures for at least 30 minutes.|
|* Ask your bed bugs exterminators to expose infested areas or items in the house to temperatures of at least 49 F degrees to kill bed bugs eggs.|
|* Freeze below 0 F the items you cannot heat-dry (jewelry, shoes, new books, etc.).|
|* Use bug-proof covers to encase pillows, mattresses, clothes, duvets, etc.|
|* Get some monitoring devices (bed bugs interceptors) to make sure you eradicated the infestation.|
- Control and treatment of bed bugs
- Mothballs, rubbing alcohol score poorly in tests of DIY bedbug control
- Bed Bug Brochure
Yes, but only with partial and temporary results. If you have an infestation on your hands, you should call an exterminator.
A combination of methods: bed bugs spray, heat drying of clothes and bedding, freezing of items you cannot heat, professional home steam & clean interventions, bed bug barriers, etc.
Among the usual home remedies against bed bugs, it seems that lavender (oil, dry flowers, etc.) and vinegar have some rates of success. However, if your home is severely infested, you need the professional services of an exterminator.