bottle of rubbing alcohol with bed bug prohibited sign

When dealing with a bed bug problem, you might wonder does alcohol kill bed bugs. Rubbing alcohol, or isopropyl alcohol, is known for its disinfecting and cleaning properties, but does it actually work against bed bugs and their eggs?

Research has shown that alcohol can kill bed bugs to some extent. Its two main effects involve dissolving the bug’s shell and drying them out.

However, not all types of alcohol are effective, and concentration plays a significant role. To kill bed bugs, it is recommended to use a product containing at least 70% alcohol, with higher concentrations being more effective.

Keep in mind that while alcohol may help in controlling bed bug infestations, it is not a guaranteed solution. You must use growth regulators and insecticides to kill them or hire an exterminator.

Does Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs?

In a study conducted by Rutgers University, it was found that only 50% of bed bugs were killed when directly sprayed with rubbing alcohol.

The reason behind this limited effectiveness is that most rubbing alcohol contains around 70% to 91% of isopropyl alcohol, which is not strong enough to kill all bed bugs.

When using alcohol to kill bed bugs, keep in mind that it works primarily by drying them out.

However, the use of alcohol for treating bed bugs should be approached with caution. While it can kill a few, alcohol will not wipe out severe infestations.

When dealing with bed bugs, it is essential to utilize other treatments such as heating the home, vacuuming, insecticides, and mattress encasements to eliminate the insects.

How Alcohol Affects Bed Bugs

When you use alcohol to get rid of a bedbug problem, it can be effective in various ways. Rubbing alcohol, also known as isopropyl alcohol, acts as a solvent to dissolve the bug’s outer shell. This dissolving action might be enough to kill some of the bed bugs on its own.

Alcohol is toxic to bed bugs because it destroys their living cells with direct contact. In fact, it acts as a poison, killing them instantly when directly applied. As a result, rubbing alcohol with concentrations of at least 70% or above is recommended for effective pest control. Preferably, a solution containing over 90% alcohol should be used to ensure it will kill them when sprayed.

It’s crucial to note that while alcohol can kill adult bed bugs, it may not be as effective at eradicating eggs. In order to prevent future bed bug infestation, the chemical must be sprayed directly on the eggs to stop them from hatching.

Types of Alcohol to Use Against Bed Bugs

When considering using alcohol to combat bed bugs, it’s essential to choose the right type and concentration. The two main types you can use are rubbing alcohol and isopropyl alcohol. Let’s explore them in more detail.

1. Rubbing Alcohol: Although rubbing alcohol can be a helpful tool in the fight against bed bugs, you must be careful about the concentration level. Remember that a higher concentration is more effective in killing pests. Typically, rubbing alcohol contains around 70% or 91% isopropyl alcohol.

You need to be cautious when using rubbing alcohol in your home, as it can cause damage to certain surfaces and materials.

2. Isopropyl Alcohol: Isopropyl alcohol is the most effective choice for eliminating them. A 91% concentration works best, but a 70% isopropyl-based spray can also be effective. Keep in mind that lower concentrations may be less effective or take longer to kill the bugs, giving them more time to breed and feed.

Alcohol to kill bed bugs

We advise you not to use alcohol to kill bed bugs, there are better ways to get rid of them.

When using alcohol against these bugs, it’s crucial to apply it correctly. Here are some pointers:

  • Always use large amounts of alcohol to ensure effectiveness.
  • Be careful not to damage your belongings with highly concentrated alcohol.
  • Take safety precautions, such as wearing gloves and maintaining proper ventilation, while using alcohol to kill bed bugs.

By selecting the appropriate type and concentration of alcohol, you will be able to kill some of them.

How to Use Alcohol for Bed Bug Control

Safety Precautions

Before using alcohol to treat an infestation, it is important to prioritize safety. Remember that high-concentration alcohol is highly flammable, so avoid using it near open flames or heat sources. Additionally, ensure proper ventilation during the application process, as the fumes can be strong.

When handling alcohol, wear protective gloves, safety goggles, and a mask to minimize skin and inhalation exposure. Lastly, always store alcohol-based products out of reach of children and pets.

Application Methods

Following the safety precautions, you can use different application methods with alcohol for insect control:

  • Find bed bug Hideouts: Inspect your living space for potential bedbug hiding spots, such as mattresses, furniture, and small crevices. These are typical locations where they dwell.
  • Choose the Type of Alcohol: Opt for rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol with a concentration of 70% to 91% to be effective.
  • Using a Spray: Fill a spray bottle with the appropriate alcohol solution. Directly spray the bed bug. Just spraying areas where you think they are located will not work, you have to spray them directly.

Repeated applications will be necessary to increase your chances of killing as many as you can.

Alternative Bed Bug Control Methods

While alcohol can kill some of these bugs and may help to deter some but it is not the most effective method to kill bedbugs. Therefore, you should consider alternative pest control methods to ensure maximum effectiveness in killing bed bugs. Here are a few suggestions:

I. Non-Chemical Heat Treatment

One proven method for eliminating these nasty bugs and their eggs is heat treatment. By raising the temperature of the infested area to the thermal death point of 114-115°F, you can kill all bed bugs and their eggs.

You need a professional company with special heating machines to do this. This is very expensive to do.

II. Insecticides

Here are the products we recommend to kill these pests.

Best Insecticide

Temprid FX

Temprid bed bugs
  • Quick knockdown
  • Long-lasting control
  • Broad-spectrum insecticide
  • Kills bed bugs
  • Concentrate spray
Best IGR

Gentrol Aerosol

  • Disrupts development
  • Growth regulator
  • Stop reproduction
  • Hard-to-reach areas
  • Works on bed bugs

III. Prevention

Preventing an infestation is always better than dealing with one. Wash your bedding regularly, vacuum and steam clean your mattress, and be vigilant when traveling or acquiring second-hand furniture to ensure you do not bring them into your home.

Remember that each infestation is unique, and what works for one person may not be as effective


Using alcohol to combat bed bugs can kill some of them in certain situations, but it is not a guaranteed effective solution. Rubbing alcohol works by dissolving the insect’s outer shell and drying them out.

However, it only kills the bed bugs that are visible, leaving those hidden in your mattress and their eggs unharmed. When dealing with an insect infestation, it’s essential to take a comprehensive approach.

In conclusion, treating bed bugs strictly with alcohol is not a foolproof method. Remember to use a comprehensive approach and seek professional help if the infestation persists.


What is the best homemade bed bug killer?

There are various home remedies you can try to tackle bed bugs, but their effectiveness may vary. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Isopropyl alcohol: Although it’s not 100% effective, using a high concentration of isopropyl alcohol can kill some bed bugs on contact.
  • Diatomaceous earth: This natural powder can be used to dehydrate and kill them. Sprinkle it in areas where bed bugs are likely to hide.

Does hydrogen peroxide kill bed bugs?

Hydrogen peroxide is often used for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, but there is limited evidence to suggest that it’s effective in killing these unwanted insects.

While it may help to sanitize the surfaces and belongings affected by these nasty insects, it’s not a reliable stand-alone solution for eliminating these pests.

Will Lysol kill bed bugs?

Although Lysol is a powerful disinfectant and can kill some insects on contact, it’s not considered a reliable and proven method to eradicate bedbugs.

Does spraying the bed with vinegar kill bed bugs?

White vinegar is known for its cleaning and disinfecting properties. However, spraying vinegar on your bed is unlikely to eliminate these bugs effectively. Its acidic nature might kill some of the insects on contact, but it won’t be as reliable or efficient as professional treatments or other proven remedies.

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