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Does Rubbing Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs?

does rubbing alcohol kill bed bugs

Bed bugs are one of the most known pests to infest your home. These vampire-like pests are attracted to the heat radiated by their hosts (i.e., humans).

They hide in the darkest crevices and cracks of your walls, furniture, and cloth linings before coming out at night to feed by sucking your blood.

Unfortunately, these little nuisances become a more complex issue since adult female bed bugs can lay a dozen eggs a day if not treated quickly.

In the hope of early intervention, most homeowners resort to the most accessible option: DIY treatments or remedies with ingredients readily available in markets.

One of the most common methods is buying rubbing alcohol, which sounds like a tempting and effective remedy since it is known for its antibacterial properties.

In this article, the question we aim to answer is: Does rubbing alcohol kill bed bugs?

What is Isopropyl Alcohol?

Isopropyl AlcoholIsopropyl alcohol is synthetic alcohol made of propene-containing water or sulphuric acids. It's typically used as solvents and disinfectants, but nobody knows what makes this stuff disinfect. Confront, not liquor - it's a lot stronger.

Even if you buy alcohol, you won't get much of this without buying extras. Get a glass to go out a toast after the other guests leave him.

You can't drown a bed bug just by spraying it with water or it disinfecting.

Negative Effects of Alcohol Use

Rubbing alcohol and Isopropyl is excellent for reducing paint and varnish. Witchhazel is safe on this surface but much less effective for exclusion purposes.

As products from this category have high concentrations of alcohol, they become more fire retardant.

It's best to avoid having such a fire in the room so long as the vapor remains, so it's best. The smoke can also darken fabric, but witch hazel is not safe.

Does Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs?

Short of saying, the answer is yes. Alcohol can kill bed bugs, but this depends on the amount of concentration of the rubbing alcohol since a solution at 70% and 91% isopropyl concentration can do the trick. This solvent dissolves their outer cells and dries them until they die.

On the other hand, using alcohol requires you to spray it on the bedbugs directly. Regardless, it is hard to determine if you have hit every single bug since they are pros at hiding in hard-to-reach areas.

This can be difficult for you because there may be eggs in deeper regions of your walls or furniture that you may not be able to spray on.

Since alcohol can kill bugs, it is also effective at killing their eggs through direct contact. Therefore, it is a temporary home remedy for exterminating the whole infestation, which is the problem we’re looking to solve instead of individual bed bugs. Alcohol also poses a risk to your health and safety because of its flammability.

Moreover, you need to continually spray heavy amounts of alcohol to rid the problem entirely if you decide only to use alcohol.

As a result, it can take days or weeks for you to ensure that your home is free of any bed bugs running around or hiding.

Does Rubbing Alcohol Repel Bed Bugs?

Rubbing alcohol is a user-favorite remedy for repelling bed bugs because of its scent, causing them to run away and hide in other locations. Furthermore, it helps to prevent them from laying eggs or crawling on surfaces where it is applied.

But while rubbing alcohol can repel bed bugs, it can also result in them spreading to farther hidden spaces in your home.

Because of this, other treatments have to be used together with alcohol. The downside is that once you start using rubbing alcohol, it can reduce the effectiveness of professional treatments that you may use later on.

Rutgers University conducted a study on testing different home remedies for bed bugs and their effects. According to their results, alcohol is one of the least effective treatments to use for this purpose.

Ways To Use Rubbing Alcohol As A Repellent

Compared to a lower concentration of alcohol, with a 91% solution, you have a higher efficacy rate in killing the annoying crawlers in your home.

In addition, they’re effective at keeping them at bay while you sleep, although they have limited effect without an accurate assessment of the whole infestation.

As a simple solution, you can try out these methods to get a night of good sleep for once.

Spraying Directly On Infested Surfaces

Spray your furniture and every inch of the area to keep the bloodsuckers at bay. Find the dark corners, holes, and cracks of your room and spray them with rubbing alcohol to prevent bugs.

On furniture, you can opt to spray alcohol in limited spots like the box springs, legs of the bed, and braiding of mattresses, since alcohol can destroy the varnish and material itself.

Similarly, on walls, choose a specific area you wish to treat as alcohol causes damage to paint. Using other techniques to trap bed bugs before reaching you is also a great way to get rid of them partially.

Using Rubbing Alcohol For Bed Bug Bites

One way to prevent bed bugs from getting to you while you sleep is by spraying the top of your mattress and letting the alcohol dry before you tuck yourself into bed.

This way, you can prevent them from walking on the bed and reaching you. You can also spray your body with rubbing alcohol before going to sleep, but this may jeopardize your health if done in excess.

Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Rubbing Alcohol

Ineffective For A Bed Bug Infestation

Although alcohol works in killing bed bugs, it is not adequate for infestations. True, alcohol can dissolve a pest’s exoskeleton or outer shell, then dry them out and kill them, but this only applies to individual bed bugs.

Moreover, when using alcohol, it needs to be in direct contact with the bed bugs to eliminate them.

This makes it challenging to find and kill every bed bug in the infestation that may be hiding in the tiny spaces in your home.

Moreover, it’s nearly impossible to spray the alcohol to reach every area they may be in, such as cracks in walls or furniture, electric outlets, between items at home, or seams of cloth or sheets.

Dangerous For The Home And Its Inhabitants

Alcohol quickly evaporates into the air. This means it doesn’t last as long as you would think once it dries on sheets or furniture.

Because of its fast evaporation rate, this means it turns into fumes instantly. This makes it highly flammable and dangerous in the presence of a flame or combustible material.

Other than this, inhaling large amounts of alcohol can be detrimental to the health of humans and pets.

Although you can use rubbing alcohol now and then, you must handle and utilize it moderately. The worst-case scenario would be getting alcohol in your eyes, which can cause blindness.

Damaging To Furniture And Cloth

Because of the chemical properties of rubbing alcohol, it can react with the other chemicals it comes in contact with.

In some materials, alcohol is also known to be damaging, which would be a waste of money. For example, alcohol can destroy the paint on walls and the varnish on furniture.

Therefore, it’s better to rely on safe methods proven to be effective, especially those performed by experts.

Expensive And Time-consuming

You would need excessive amounts of rubbing alcohol to exterminate the whole infestation. This is because early sprays may only get rid of a few percent of them.

However, it isn’t ideal to buy alcohol bottles and use them when the problem occurs without an effective solution.

When handling infestations, you need a long-term solution instead of one that only works for a few nights.

Therefore, it’s hard to decipher how long it could take to get rid of the infestation without proper equipment.

Alternatives to Solving Bed Bug Infestations

Heat Treatment

Heat treatment means subjecting an area to a temperature of 110 to 120°F, lethal to bed bugs.

The heat effectively kills bed bugs in the tightest spaces and any furniture or clothes. As a result, the whole room would maintain heat for an extended period.

One visit by pest control experts is enough to exterminate the whole infestation when present.

You can use this together with other methods, except alcohol, since its fumes are flammable and may cause a fire in your home.


Pesticides are something you may want to consider as they are famous for effectively killing off bed bugs. Furthermore, it is an excellent alternative that you can easily find in stores.

Regardless, some people don’t favor it because of its chemical properties, which are detrimental to one’s health when inhaled.

Unfortunately, when not applied correctly, you can pose a risk to yourself and your loved ones.

Cleaning Your Home

It’s practical to perform preventative measures to keep the nightcrawlers away, and cleaning your home is one of them.

Make sure to diligently vacuum your whole house and cover as many areas as you can. Moreover, wipe surfaces off well and regularly keep your home spick and span to rid you of this worry.

Also, dispose of the contents of your vacuum bags as far as possible from your home. This is essential to eradicate any possibility that you sucked up some critters in the vacuum.

Other proven bed bug treatments

diatomaceous earth

Bed bugs are elusive & have extraordinary capabilities to survive in low light.

Diatomaceous earth: This is a chemical you can buy in the hardware store that kills bed bugs within a few days of their contact. Pheromone traps and histamine:

Bed bugs communicate by using pheromones, one of which is called histamine. A biologist from Simon Fraser University has been let in bed bugs over 1000 times in order to test a bed bug trap.

Washing Fabrics

Wash your fabrics with hot water and soap since high temperatures can kill bed bugs.

Furthermore, make sure you clean your clothes, bedsheets, comforters, and other washable products to remove any bed bugs residing there.

Steaming your clothes can also significantly reduce bed bugs.

Though you can find numerous DIY alternatives online, they have low effectiveness compared to professional pest control methods.

Does 91% alcohol kill bed bugs and their eggs better than 70% alcohol?

Isopropyl alcohol with concentrations between 70 and 91% is recommended for use in detecting pest infestation. Alcohol of high levels kills mosquitoes better when it is in heightened concentrations than in lower concentrations.

Alcohol can abrasively slap many surfaces and especially on fabric, so the solvent should always be used with a high amount of caution.

When it is applied for treatment, it can be highly flammable, putting people's lives, belongings, or property at risk, and can also be dangerous for you. In addition, alcohol is quite aggressive.

Is alcohol effective against bed bugs?

Even directly applied, however much alcohol was involved, the kill rate never exceeded 50%. Bed bug infestations aren't all visible. Multiple application requirements are required for success.

Most bed bugs would escape death and seek safer places. It would be best if you looked at them anywhere you go; he's coming. And this is a drop in the percentage.

It's a zero chance that you will be spraying all bed bugs. If you intend to reduce a Bed Bug infestation with alcohol greatly, you will have to persist. Bed bugs often escape to death.

How long does rubbing alcohol last?

Bed bugs that haven't yet hatched will survive if there isn't spraying directly. They'll survive until the next time they can get food.

You can accelerate the process from multiple sprays with isopropyl alcohol. Bed bugs have good hideout characteristics, and the chances of their avoiding you are perfect.

You have to wait for them to hatch and to move as they get older. Remember what we talked about about bed bugs? They'll die too soon if they get to egg too soon. It will take longer than if you spray.

How safe is it for bed bugs to use rubbing alcohol?

This product is safe for use and is safe for bed bugs use. Allerdings, you cannot emphasize enough the high flammability of the substance.

With an open flame or an intense temperature source, a heater would cause the fluid to be emitted. Please spray alcohol in a well-ventilated room only.

Do not smoke anywhere near where you spray. Wear gloves while rubbing – it can dry out the skin and can cause irritation. Once dry, the alcohol evaporates very quickly.

The Final Thoughts

In all honesty, it is quite tempting to resort to readily available DIY home treatments. However, these methods are not as effective in treating your home bed bug infestation.

As a result, we recommend consulting professionals like 24H Pest Pros for help. They are experts who know precisely how to assess your situation and treat it with the proper equipment.

Moreover, these pest control experts know the best measures to prevent these bed bugs from infesting your home again.

When in doubt, it is a guaranteed effective solution to leave these things to the professionals.

About The Author:

Meet Mark Calhoun, a seasoned pest control expert in the realm our pest control company. With over 10 years of dedicated experience and Managing Editor. His primary mission is to furnish you with precise and invaluable DIY insights, ensuring your home remains pest-free while aiding you in distinguishing various household pests.
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