You will find many DIY bed bug treatment methods on the internet that claim to work wonders. Most of them are not practical for use, and many simply don’t even work.
However, alcohol is one of the few remedies that is cheap and easily available to every household.
Alcohol found in drinks for human consumption cannot be used against bed bugs. It has to be strong enough to dissolve bed bug shells to do considerable damage.
One such form of alcohol is Isopropyl also known as rubbing-Alcohol.
What is Rubbing-Alcohol – Is Isopropyl a Good Rubbing Alcohol ?
You might not be familiar with the term rubbing-alcohol, but it is surprisingly common in our households because of its versatile qualities.
Here are some of the most common uses of rubbing alcohol
Antiseptic: Rubbing-alcohol is most commonly used as an antiseptic in the medical industry. An antiseptic is a chemical that kills bacteria, but does not usually prevent its growth. Antiseptics usually have alcohol concentration of higher than 50%, any lower concentration used is not effective in killing bacteria. Antiseptic solutions can also be used to kill fungi.
Surface Disinfectant: You can also use rubbing-alcohol as a surface disinfectant for thermometers, scissors or any other surfaces that might get in contact with babies. However, the acidic properties of alcohol can sometimes damage that coating or surface of some elements like plastic or glass lenses.
Cleaning Sinks: Alcohol can also clear stains on your sink. It can leave the surface neat and shiny. Just soak a soft cloth in rubbing alcohol and rinse it on top. You don’t even have to worry about following up with water afterwards. Because alcohol will evaporate on its own.
Cleaning Jewelry: Rubbing alcohol also works great on jewelry. If your necklaces, earrings or bracelets have lost their shine and luster. You can soak them in rubbing alcohol solution to achieve maximum shine
Disinfecting Phones:If you are someone who is skeptical of the bacteria your phone catches. You can use a clean cotton pad soaked in alcohol to disinfect your phone. This gets even more important if you have children in your home that like to play with your phone.
Does Isopropyl Alcohol Kills Bed Bugs
Isopropyl is one of the most effective rubbing alcohol in killing bed bugs. A study at the Ohio University found that isopropyl alcohol increased the mortality rate of bed bugs. The efficacy of the treatment relied on the concentration of alcohol in Isopropyl. The higher the concentration, the more effective the solution was in killing bed bugs.
The study also mentions the limitations of isopropyl in practical implementation. As it would take quite a lot of Isopropyl to kill bed bugs.
Recommended : Why do bed bugs not bite everyone?
What are the common uses of Isopropyl
Isopropyl as rubbing alcohol is used for a lot of different purposes in daily life. It is found in cosmetics, after shave-lotion and even in hand sanitizers.
As it has great antibacterial properties, it is also used as a surface disinfectant and to clean electronics, shelves and sinks.
What Concentration of Alcohol Kills Bed Bugs?
Alcohol can differ in properties, depending on its concentration and grade. So what grade of alcohol kills bed bugs?
What kind of concentration should you look for?
Any Isopropyl solution that has a concentration of 70% or 90% is enough to kill bed bugs. As an exterminating agent, Isopropyl with higher concentration is more effective.
However, if you plan to use it as a disinfectant. Higher concentrations of Isopropyl would be less effective in killing pathogens and bacteria. Infact, Isopropyl 70% is a much better disinfectant than Isopropyl 99%.
These finding were published in a study by the CDC, where they found out higher concentrations of Isopropyl can coagulate the outer membrane of the bacteria. Making it difficult for alcohol to penetrate inside the bacteria cells. Thus, preventing bacteria from being killed.
How Do You Spray Alcohol to Kill Bed Bugs?
Using Alcohol to kill bed bugs is a no brainer. You can mix Isopropyl with tap water in a spray bottle. The ratio between the two should be 50 – 50. You can go with a higher ratio of isopropyl, but anything below 50% would not deliver considerable results.
Keeping this solution in a spray bottle would come in handy, because bed bugs hide in really hard to access cracks and corners. You should start off by spraying the most obvious hideouts for bed bugs.
One of which is your mattress. Try spraying the mattress enough so that it gets damp. Make sure you put the spray in every corner and zipper of the mattress.
For a better efficacy and mortality rate, try to spray the solution directly on bed bugs wherever you find them. When a bed bug gets in direct contact with alcohol, it immediately dissolves its outer shell, causing damage to it’s internal organs.
Is Wintergreen Isopropyl Alcohol Better?
Wintergreen Alcohol is also a variant of rubbing-alcohol. Both of these can be easily found in different concentrations from 50% up to 100% .
Both of them have Isopropyl as the main disinfecting agent, which is responsible for killing bed bugs.
The wintergreen component refers to wintergreen essential oil derived from wintergreen plants. Wintergreen is a natural substance with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Wintergreen oil is typically used as a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory substance.
Also, it smells great. Which is definitely a plus when you are planning on spraying it all over your home.
The efficacy of both variants in killing bed bugs is the same. Since both share the same alcohol compounds. So there is no preference between the two when it comes to efficacy.
Can bed bugs survive alcohol?
Bed bugs are stubborn insects and can’t be taken down easily. Even if you are dealing with bed bugs with professional extermination services. You are not guaranteed 100% success with no relapse.
Alcohol on the other side, is a cheap and easy fix to a bigger problem that is less effective than professional extermination.
According to some studies, alcohol along with many other substances were tested to check the efficacy in killing bed bugs. The results stated that over half of the bed bugs were still alive after 4 days, even after getting in contact with rubbing-alcohol.
Expecting alcohol to completely eradicate bed bug infestation is a naive expectation. If you are serious about living in a bed bug free home permanently, we recommend that you hire a professional exterminator for this job.
How long does it take for alcohol to kill bed bugs?
Bed bug mortality depends on a couple of factors. First, the concentration of alcohol you are using is the success ratio. The higher concentration of alcohol you use, the mortality rate for bed bugs keeps on increasing.
The second biggest factor in mortality is the amount of direct exposure to bed bugs.
This study found out that bed bugs with topical treatments had a very low mortality rate of 15% after 24 hours. The mortality rate for direct application remained the highest, with 76-100% mortality rate within the span of 1 week.
Not all bed bugs were responsive to alcohol within 24 hours, which means it can take up to 7 days for alcohol to be effective in a household.
The same pattern was observed in bed bug eggs. Eggs that were sprayed directly, had a less ratio of hatching than the ones having topical treatments.
What season do bed bugs come out?
Most insects are afraid of the summer. Since they are not built to sustain extremely cold temperatures. Which is why you might see many insects that bother you, drastically disappear in the winters.
The situation with bed bugs is not similar. Although bed bugs do have a liking for warm environments. They do not die in cold weather being an in-house insect, and can be fairly active in winter months.
Which makes them a year-around active pest. Bed bugs are most active in summer months, from June to October. The heat and humidity in these months is an ideal environment for bed bugs to thrive. Which leads them to breed more.
Summer months are the peak time for bed bugs to bite humans.
Do bed bugs hate light?
Bed bugs are nocturnal insects. Which means they do not like light. They only come out when it’s dark and safe to look for their prey.
Adult bed bugs can build quite the size, and their color turns dark brown. Which makes them easy to spot in daylight. Their dark brown skin blends well with darkness; they don’t have to worry about being squished by humans in the daylight
Because of their dislike for light, they spend the majority of their time hiding in some dark corner or crevice in your home. They like to choose hideouts that are close to humans. Most of the times, bed bugs end up hiding in mattresses or bed frames to get easy access to blood while we sleep.