Does Rubbing Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs?

A bed bug infestation can immediately change your home from a place of comfort to a miserable place filled with creepy crawlies that can bite you anytime.

Bed bug aerial view one

Over the course of their existence, bed bugs have become quite resistant to common pesticides, and as a result, their population has grown, resulting in frequent bed bugs infestation.

As homeowners are desperate to kill every little bed bug, they are constantly in search of DIY remedies. One of the most common pest control solutions that homeowners use is rubbing alcohol or Isopropyl alcohol. In fact, there are numerous sprays available on the market for killing bed bugs that contain alcohol.

Thus, the question that arises here is, does rubbing alcohol kill bed bugs?

Does Rubbing Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs?

It is important to note that rubbing alcohol can indeed kill, repel bed bugs and control a bed bug infestation; however, the relief should be seen as temporary. In minor infestations, alcohol can be used to eradicate a bed bug infestation. In addition, like bed bugs, rubbing alcohol can be used to kill ticks and also disinfect the infected area.
However, please note in case of a major infestation, it is important that you get in touch with a professional exterminator.

How does alcohol kill bed bugs?

Rubbing alcohol has a few properties that make it effective for killing bed bugs. Since it is a solvent, rubbing alcohol can kill the insects by dissolving the cells. Moreover, rubbing alcohol is a drying agent which means that it can destroy the eggs of the bed bugs by drying them.

Image of 91 Isopropyl rubbing alcohol bed bugs

While bed bugs may seem quite tough, their skin is actually highly sensitive. So, when they are exposed to alcohol, they often die immediately. Moreover, alcohol is fairly dangerous for most of the bed bugs’ organs. When alcohol makes contact with the organs inside, it burns them, thus messing with the physiology of the bug. Furthermore, alcohol also destabilizes the bed bug’s pH which causes a disruption in their internal fluid flow.

Try Alcohol Treatment Solution

Alcohol also repels the bugs, thus discouraging them from laying eggs or crawling on such surfaces that have been treated with it. As a result, spraying the furniture and bedding with alcohol has become a common and cheap solution for terminating bed bugs.

Furthermore, the reason behind their quick multiplication is their ability to lay hundreds of eggs at a time. By learning how to attack the bed bug’s eggs, you can help prevent the multiplication of these pests. Remember that by getting rid of the eggs way before they hatch, there is a high chance of completely eradicating these bugs from spreading throughout your house.

When using alcohol for killing bed bugs, make sure that you use a spray bottle. Not only is this the easiest way, but is also the safest considering the toxic properties of alcohol.

Types of alcohol

There are three kinds of Isopropyl alcohols that can be used for killing bed bugs.

70% Isopropyl alcohol91% Isopropyl alcohol99% Isopropyl alcohol
Compared to the other two kinds, 70% isopropyl alcohol is less expensive, has safer flammability levels and is more readily available. On the other hand, 70% alcohol has a high chance of evaporating if the spray bottle is left uncapped.
How does 91% Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs?

Since the water content of this alcohol is much lower, it dries out pretty quickly. However, the rate of evaporation doesn’t change the alcohol concentration present in the spray. Moreover, 91% alcohol is also more suitable and kinder on various materials and surfaces.
This is a highly concentrated alcohol and is mostly used by extermination companies because of how strong it is.

How to use rubbing alcohol to kill bed bugs

Getting rid of bed bugs using alcohol is fairly easy and only involves a few steps which are:

1. Vacuum the house
The entire house must be vacuumed including the areas behind the furniture and under the bed. You must also include the upholstered furniture and curtains present around the house in your vacuum session. Then, after you are done, you need to dispose the vacuum bag away from your house.

2. Get large sized alcohol bottles
The majority of stores sell the alcohol you need for this process by gallons. If you have any empty spray bottles lying around the house, you can fill them up with alcohol and then use it around the house. It is recommended you go for large spraying bottles.

3. Remove all sheets and covers
Remove all of the pillowcases, sheets, and bed clothing, etc. and seal them in plastic bags. However, before you seal them, spray the items with alcohol so that it kills any present bed bugs, larvae, and eggs. In case of a large infestation, bag all of the linen, clothing, and other items from each room and spray alcohol on it.

4. Wipe the furniture
Wipe all of the furniture including the headboards and box springs as well as all of the electronic goods with alcohol treated wipes. By spraying 91% alcohol, you can get rid of the larvae and eggs that are hiding in the crevices and cracks of every room.

5. Spray alcohol on suspected bed bug hideouts

Image of electric fuse box

Now, this doesn’t mean to go drench your house with alcohol, don’t forget alcohol is highly flammable!
Isopropyl alcohol can be sprayed around your home, this will repel the bed bugs from finding a new home in your house.
You MUST make sure that you avoid electrical sockets, (switch off the fuse box if available). Further, avoid using fires or smoking in areas where you have sprayed.

6. Pair it up with other treatments
We suggest combining the alcohol treatment with other bed bug removal techniques such as bed bug sprays or steam cleaning since this greatly improves the chances of terminating bed bugs completely.

Is Alcohol an Effective Bed Bug Killer?

Image of 99 Isopropyl Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol as well as 70% and 91% Isopropyl alcohols can be effectively used to temporarily get rid of bed bug infestations. While a majority of the sprays can get rid of the bugs, expert entomologists suggest using alcohol with higher concentrations to get rid of bugs.

Take note that bed bugs that are sprayed with the regular Isopropyl alcohol aren’t too affected by it. In fact, they can live up to 4 days after being initially exposed. Therefore, alcohol isn’t an ideal solution for permanent termination of bed bugs.

Moreover, rubbing alcohol can evaporate quite quickly. So, you will need to go through with numerous treatments so that you can get control over the bug infestation. It can take up to around two weeks for the bed bugs to hatch. So, you will have to spray the infested area with alcohol after every two or three days to kill these critters and stop eggs from hatching.

Effects of using isopropyl alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol must be used carefully as it can cause a number of problems.
Firstly, it combusts easily, making it a dangerous substance that can lead to severe burns to a person affected by an explosion. Moreover, acute exposure to the isopropyl alcohol can irritate the skin and eyes. Furthermore, it can also cause internal irritation and can affect the mucous membranes which include the throat and nose.

Exposure to such alcohol can also lead to dizziness and poor sensory coordination. In fact, it can also lead to a condition called Narcosis which temporarily distorts consciousness.

Should I use alcohol to kill bed bugs?

We Hope haven’t scared you too much.

Now that you have the answer to the question ‘does rubbing alcohol kill bed bugs?’ the next question is whether you should use it or not?

If you are well aware of all the places where the bed bugs are hiding around the house, then using alcohol may be a good idea, but not an ideal one.
On the other side, other reports have stated alcohol as not a good solution for bed bugs. We would like to give our input and say, although alcohol can kill bed bugs as previously stated, it is not an ideal solution.

Remember that using alcohol alone won’t make your house free of bed bugs. In fact, excess use of the alcohol or any other repellant for that matter will only drive the bed bugs away from the infested space and make them spread into other areas around the house.

Moreover, a large amount of alcohol, if used around the house can react with the chemicals used by the exterminator, making it less effective at terminating the bugs.

When it comes to the question ‘does rubbing alcohol kill bed bugs?’

Short answer:
Alcohol can eradicate bed bugs in early infestations. But it isn’t an ideal solution.

Long Answer:
It is important to know that rubbing alcohol only kills and repels the bed bugs so that you can sleep soundly. Despite being helpful for preventing the multiplication of bugs, the effects of alcohol on serious infestations are limited.

Does Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs – Conclusion

So, does rubbing alcohol kill bed bugs?
Recent studies show that using alcohol to kill bed bugs may be ineffective in the long-run. And therefore should be seen as a temporary solution. However, you must keep in mind the limited effectiveness of alcohol as well as the side effects it can have.

Bed Bug Hiding Spots

It might be quite difficult to control the infestations with only alcohol. As soon as you spot a bedbug’s hiding spot or an egg in your house, you must immediately work on bed bug termination methods.

In worse case scenarios, since alcohol might take longer to produce results, call your local exterminator. While you wait for your quite late exterminator appointment, you can spray alcohol around the infected area to prevent bed bugs from multiplying.