What kind of Alcohol Kills Bed Bugs?

can isopropyl kills bed bugs

Getting rid of bed bugs could be a daunting task. They are not easy to spot, and can multiply in numbers in just a few days.

 If you’re not sure that you have bed bugs or if you want to consider professional help just yet. 

It is a good idea to start off with home remedies as they can prove to be a cheap and easy temporary fix. 

Alcohol is one of the most popular home remedies when it comes to bed bugs. It’s acidic properties can repel bed bugs and even kill them if they get in contact. 

But not every alcohol is lethal for bed bugs. So what kind of alcohol should you use to kill bed bugs? 

More importantly, just because alcohol is capable of eliminating bed bugs. Is it an efficient way to deal with bed bugs? And you should only use it after considering all the dangers associated with spraying alcohol in your home. 

Possible Hazards of Spraying Alcohol:  

Alcohol is capable of killing bed bugs. It is cheap and readily available in local stores across the US. So after all these perks what should make you cautious in using alcohol to deal with bed bugs?

Alcohol is a liquid that has many unique qualities. Some of which help it kill bed bugs, and a few other chemical properties make it highly flammable. Which is why you might not want it to be sprayed all over your rooms. 

Even though it dries up quickly, spraying alcohol on mattresses, carpets on upholstered furniture will create a fire hazard. Even vapors from alcohol are highly flammable, and they linger in the air long after drying up. 

In the event of fire, any object you have sprayed alcohol on would most definitely catch fire and can make the situation worse. 

There have been cases reported where a woman drenched her furniture in alcohol in hopes of getting rid of bed bugs. A huge fire erupted in her house that supposedly started with a candle, and ended up burning 10 houses in her neighborhood. 

What Kind of Alcohol Kills Bed Bugs?

what kind of alcohol kills bed bugs

Before you go to your local store to pick up a few bottles of alcohol. You need to make sure the alcohol you are buying for bed bugs has the right amount of concentration and is also safe for use. 

Please note that regular alcohol for human consumption would not be enough to kill bed bugs. 

The more concentrated the alcohol is, the more effective it will be in killing bed bugs. The higher concentration of alcohol dissolves the outer shells of bed bugs quickly and then dries them out from the inside. Ultimately, killing them.

It is important that the alcohol gets in direct contact with bed bugs. The best time to look for bed bugs is during the day light.

Alcohol concentration of 70% to 100% is more than enough to kill bed bugs. These kinds of solutions are also referred to as rubbing solutions. 

Some common isomers of  alcohol with this concentration are Isopropyl alcohol and wintergreen alcohol

The most commonly used rubbing solutions used in a household are made of Isopropyl alcohol. These can be mixed in water in concentration of 70% to 90%. 

If you are planning to use a rubbing solution. The most commonly found and recommended alcohol is Isopropyl. 

How Effective is Alcohol in Killing Bed Bugs

Even if you decide to spray your household with rubbing alcohol. It will never be nearly as effective in killing bed bugs as a professional exterminator. 

Just like in every treatment method, there are a lot of factors involved that alter the success rate of the treatment. And for alcohol, the reasons are as follows.: 

It has to get in direct contact

It does not matter how concentrated an alcohol solution you use. Alcohol needs to get in direct contact with bed bugs. Either you spray on them directly, which is highly unlikely to happen. Or they have to pass through the area which had alcohol rubbed on. 

Spraying on bed bugs directly is a difficult task. Most of them only come out at night and stay in their hiding places for the day. 

Bed bugs hide in cracks in furniture, walls and behind electric sockets. Getting alcohol in these places is not always possible. Killing bed bugs you see out in the open, would not kill the ones hiding in these cracks and crevices. 

It’s not 100 percent effective on direct contact

A research at Rutgers University, tested the efficacy of alcohol in killing bed bugs. The researchers tested 2 different concentrations of alcohol (70% and 90%) on bed bugs. 

Neither of them managed to get rid of more than 50 percent of the bed bugs. The 90% concentrated solution managed to kill more bed bugs. 

With an average bed bug female laying more than 250 eggs in her lifespan. Alcohol is just not effective enough to get rid of bed bugs. It can only be used to lessen the impact of bed bugs for a short timespan. This is the most important aspect to keep in mind before spraying your house with alcohol rubbing solutions.

How Alcohol Kills Bed Bugs:

Alcohol has weak acidic properties. In high concentration, these properties make alcohol a really good solvent. This dissolves the outer shell of bed bugs. Bed bugs might seem to have hard skin, but it gets easily dissolved when exposed to adequate amounts of alcohol. 

After the outer shell is dissolved, alcohol acts as a drying agent. Sucking out all the water inside bed bugs internal organs. This causes massive damage to bed bugs, and eventually they die within a few minutes.  

Can Bed Bugs Smell Repel Alcohol: 

There hasn’t been enough research done on how bed bugs react to the smell of alcohol. But it is a known fact that bed bugs can smell humans by tracing the CO2 remains in the air. They also use heat signatures to trace their prey. 

It is however known that bed bugs stay away from surfaces that have alcohol rubbed on them. There is a possibility that they associate the smell of alcohol with danger, and hence, stay away from it. However, there is not authentic study to confirm this yet. 

Is Rubbing Alcohol Recommended to Kill Bed Bugs?

can alcohol kill bed bug eggs

Bed bugs can leave you frustrated and helpless for a solution. Especially if you’re the only person bed bugs bite in your home. Many people do not want to spend a great deal of money on professional exterminator services, because they simply did not see this expense coming out of nowhere. 

Hence, they move towards DIY natural remedies that don’t require as much capital to implement. While some of these home remedies do work. 

Their efficacy and safety is always compromised when you compare it with professional extermination. 

Rubbing alcohol is also one of the remedies that most professionals do not recommend using in households. It is simply not effective in clearing bed bug infestation. Moreover, the hazards of using rubbing alcohol are much higher than the perks. 

Which is why we do not recommend using alcohol to kill bed bugs. Below are a few alternate DIY methods to kill bed bugs that are much safer to use in your home. 

Alternative DIY Methods To Kill Bed Bugs

steam cleaning

Just like other insects, bed bugs are not naturally equipped to withstand extreme temperatures. They can die of both extreme cold and warm temperatures. One of the most popular extermination methods for bed bugs is heat treatment.

When carried out properly it can deliver a kill rate of over 96%. You can use a steam cleaner as a DIY heat extermination method. Use the steam cleaner at its hottest above (140° fahrenheit ). 

You can use a steam cleaner to clear out almost every bed bug hideout. You can use it on mattresses, bed frames and on furniture.Make sure to run the steam cleaner over several times, and try to look for all the cracks and crevices in your mattress and furniture to kill bed bugs in their hideouts. 

Wash items with hot water

You can combine steam cleaning with washing items at the hottest water settings.These items can include anything that is washable and might have been in contact with bed bugs such as bed sheets, pillow cases and your clothes. 

Washing these items with hot water would most definitely kill all the bed bugs present in the items. Combining both of these methods would give you a better kill rate in your DIY treatment. 


The most underrated DIY bed bug killing method is vacuuming. In reality, a vacuum cleaner does not kill bed bugs, but it can suck all visible and hidden bed bugs along with their eggs in itself. 

You can use a vacuum cleaner in every favorite bed bug hiding spot.  Moreover, vacuuming does not take much effort as compared to other traditional DIY remedies. 

To make sure all the bed bugs do not infest your home once again. Empty the vacuum cleaner in a plastic bag and throw it outside your home immediately.  


Alcohol can be a cheap option to kill bed bugs, but the likelihood of killing bed bugs and the dangers it poses for your home have a huge imbalance. 

If you do decide to use rubbing alcohol in your household, make sure to apply all precautions before application. 

In every infestation, the best recommendation is to hire a professional exterminator to clear out the infestation. 

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