Does Rubbing Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs? How To Remove Bed Bugs With Rubbing Alcohol

by Author
Does Rubbing Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs

Bed bugs and other insect or pest infestations are detrimental to the health of humans, hence they must be eliminated once discovered. Bites from bedbugs can become itchy, thus causing the urge to keep scratching your skin until you get bruises and redness. With bed bugs, you may become allergic to bug bites. Allergic reactions can be fatal when not treated, it can lead to soreness and appearance of spots and painful feelings all around the body. Stress and sleep deprivation are some other common issues associated with bed bug bites.

So, Can Rubbing Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs?

Yes, the application of rubbing alcohol on bed bug-infested sites can help kill the parasites.

While rubbing alcohol, also known as Isopropyl alcohol can kill bed bugs along with their eggs, it is often not recommended as the best option for treating the situation. Since alcohol has to be directly applied to the bed bugs, it can be difficult to achieve this because bed bugs are known to hide in cracks and crevices.

Are There Different Kinds Of Bed Bugs?

There are more than 90 species of bed bugs but three categories are broadly identified. It can be difficult for many people to identify separate bed bugs but fortunately, they can be eliminated through the same modes of treatment.

The three major types of bed bugs are; C. Lectularius, C. Hemipterius, and L. Boueti. The first two species are mostly found in Europe and North America,   they like to feed on humans and can be found nesting in and around household items like sofas, mattresses, carpets, and behind wallpapers.

The L Boueti is predominantly located in West Africa and South America. These species prefer the tropical temperatures of South America and Africa, and they can easily find their way into household materials too.

All bed bug species do have easy access to human pieces of stuff, and most especially clothing. They can remain attached to the surface of clothing without suspecting them for a long time until they multiply and become more active.

While the L. Lectularius and Hemipterius species will prefer feeding on humans, the L. Boueti species prefer feeding on bats. Unless you live in a region where bat populations are high or in an unhygienic environment, you will probably not come in contact with these species of a bed bug.

Hygienic practices will often deter bed bugs from infesting your home. If you keep pets like cats and dogs, you should groom their coat or fur properly to eliminate bug attacks.

How To Kill Bed Bugs With Rubbing Alcohol

The first step you must take before applying rubbing alcohol on bed bugs is to ensure your safety. This is important because rubbing alcohol is highly flammable until it dries up. Make sure you keep the substance away from heat and heat sources. Secondly, alcohol comes with a strong, unpleasant smell, you must apply rubbing alcohol on affected areas only and avoid going overboard to apply it in places where bed bugs are not found.

Thirdly, you must keep in mind that rubbing alcohol can stain fabrics, though it doesn’t matter if you are only spraying the solution on mattresses, or any covered material. Make sure you cover your curtains, carpets, and other materials that may come in contact with the rubbing alcohol before spraying. Make sure you wear a face mask and wear gloves while spraying the solution.

Your next step after taking safety precautions is to locate the position of bed bugs and mark them. You have to locate the position of the bugs because you can only kill them when rubbing alcohol comes in contact with them. Mattresses and linens are not the only places you will find bed bugs, you can also find them in box springs, furniture, carpets, drawers, cabinets, curtains, laundry, and shelves, just to name a few.

You must pay attention to the appearance of the bed bugs before spraying them with rubbing alcohol. For instance, adult bed bugs can be small and reddish-brown. Adult bed bugs can attain the size of a grain of rice. Bed bugs prefer laying eggs in tight and dark places that are rarely accessed and disturbed. All cracks, folds, and crevices are often the most preferred places for bed bugs to remain active because humans rarely look at such places.

Adult bed bugs usually have flat and oval-shaped bodies and can appear longer in body size when they have just fed. Bed bugs have six legs and two antennae just like many other insects, but they can’t fly and that is why they can be easily handled.

Though they have no wings, bed bugs may have wing buds that resemble some tiny wings when you look at them closely. The eggs of beg bugs should be almost the same size as pinheads, they usually have white or off-white colors, and they can be hard to brush off the surface of any material where they are found.

Bed bugs can maintain their flat attachments to surfaces because of the sticky glue=like residue that the female bugs produce and use in securing their eggs in place.

Now that you have identified the position and type of bed bugs, you should consider the type of rubbing alcohol to use. Keep in mind that some rubbing alcohol products have been greatly diluted hence they may not have many lethal effects on the bugs. The higher the alcohol content, the more effective the solution is.

The 99% Isopropyl alcohol products are some of the best and most efficient options you should consider. Though this product is not intended for use on the skin, it provides guaranteed satisfaction.

Due to its high concentration, you must wash your face, hands, and any other part of the body exposed while handling it on your bed bugs. You should also avoid drinking, eating, or smoking while using this product, and you must wear protective gloves and an eye shield while applying it.

Simply spray the identified infected areas with your rubbing alcohol. The solution should come in a spray bottle that has a nozzle or simply pour the solution inside a bottle that comes with a spray nozzle and spray directly at the bug. You want to ensure that every bed bug along the eggs is sprayed with this solution, therefore you must stay as close as possible to the bugs before applying the spray.

You must avoid missing out on any bed bug-infested area of your home, if you do, you will discover how the infestation will return quickly and spread even to new places. Make sure you mark all affected areas before you commence spraying that will help you prevent missing out places.

How Long Does It Take To Kill Bed Bugs And Their Eggs?

Once you spray bed bugs and their eggs directly, the solution will start working immediately. The issue here is that you may hardly get them all at the same time, which is why it is advisable not only to mark the infested areas but to also spray them at least in 24 hours, to achieve the best possible results.

The effectiveness of the spray of bed bugs will largely depend on the concentration of the solution, and the way the spraying is handled. If you use the maximum concentration and make the spray as close as possible, you should achieve 100% success in killing the bugs and their eggs.

For the highest concentration of rubbing alcohol, bed bugs should be eliminated after few hours. If the concentration is not high enough, you may have to continue the application for several days until the bugs can no longer survive the solution in their system.

Rubbing alcohol works by damaging the respiratory and nervous systems of bed bugs. It is also advisable that you spread the infested area outside of the home by exposing them to the sun, to help remove the odor and other stains that might be left by the bugs.

Unfortunately, the eggs of bugs are usually more resistant to rubbing alcohol than the grown adult. The reason being that the outer egg protection doesn’t allow maximum penetration of the rubbing alcohol but the daily application of the solution for several days will eventually break the outer barrier and destroy the eggs.


The use of rubbing alcohol to remove bed bugs is very efficient but preventing methods of eliminating bed bugs are also recommended. If you have pets that constantly go outdoors, you must keep an eye on them because pets often bring bed bugs into the home, and you should wash your pet’s skin or fur with pet shampoo and you should also consider changing and washing your beddings with a strong detergent. Vacuuming the surface of carpets, and furniture can also help you reduce the risks of bed bugs especially when heat vacuum is applied. Practicing general hygiene is one of the best possible ways of avoiding bug infestation.

Related Posts