Updated: October 17, 2021

If you happen to spot bed bugs in your home, it’s natural to be scared.

Bed bugs can disrupt your life if they’re not identified and dealt with appropriately.

Infestations can also be a major financial burden

(Not to discount the physical injury and emotional trauma that bed bugs cause).

While you may need to hire a pest control service in many cases to completely eradicate an infestation.

This isn’t always the case.

Pest control is expensive – So if you can’t afford it don’t feel like you’re out of options.

there are ways to kill bed bugs quickly using household items.

The following are some common chemicals and household solutions to kill bed bugs yourself.

Here’s What Kills Bed Bugs Fast

There are certain solutions that you can use to successfully mitigate a bed bug infestation:

(Results will vary)

Alcohol To Kill Bed Bugs

One of the most effective DIY solutions for killing bed bugs instantly is diluted rubbing alcohol.

Alcohol kills bed bugs as soon as it makes contact with them.

It also evaporates quickly, which makes it safer to use than other forms of alcohol.

Keep in mind that while alcohol is effective at killing bed bugs quickly…

It’s not a full proof method.

You may run into the following 2 obstacles:

  1. Bed Bugs Hide

When it comes to hiding, bed bugs are outstanding. So spraying them with alcohol may be difficult when in hard to reach places.

Recent studies found that 99 percent of alcohol concentrations only managed to kill 40 to 60 percent of bed bug adults sprayed.

2. Alcohol Doesn’t Affect Bed Bugs in ALL Life Stages

Nymphs.

(baby bed bugs)

Are smaller and harder to spot. Therefore it’s more likely you don’t see them when spaying alcohol.

Alcohol also doesn’t affect bed bug eggs either.

As it quickly evaporates following the initial application.

So Can Rubbing Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs?

On contact, alcohol will kill bed bugs.

The tricky part is making sure EVERY bug in an infestation is identified and sprayed.

Even if you leave one bed bug alive..

It could easily result in a second infestation in a matter of months.

Ultimately…

You’re better off hiring professionals who can fully eliminate the infestation using contact spray, which is a professional-grade insecticide for which rubbing alcohol is a poor substitute.

Combined with residual sprays, contact spray can permanently remove an infestation.

A relatively newer treatment method is the heat treatment.

This is typically more expensive, but can eradicate an entire infestation in just ONE treatment.

Diffusing Essential Oils for Bed Bugs

Essential oils and combinations of them have been employed to kill bed bugs for hundreds of years….

Along with DDT, these methods of killing bed bugs almost eradicated infestations entirely in the 1950s.

Although since then bed bugs have made a comeback.

However, some are still ideal for use in the home as an effective means of killing bed bugs instantly.

Oils work by suffocating bed bugs.

A recent 2018 study on oregano essential oil and others have found these oils to be reliable when used to kill bed bugs in the home.

Although the fact is…

That these tests took place in controlled settings where bed bugs didn’t have the opportunity to thrive and feed.

If an essential oil solution doesn’t make contact with each bed bug in an infestation.

(similar to alcohol)

The chances are that they will survive and spread fast.

The main appeal of essential oils is their chemical-free nature that makes them more favorable over perceivably harmful insecticides.

Using essential oils may be a more “natural” way to get rid of bed bugs, but today’s professional-grade chemicals aren’t as damaging as they used to be.

With EPA regulations in place to ensure they’re safe to use.

What Chemical Kills Bed Bugs?

The EPA has over 300 chemicals that are safe to use against bed bugs.

These include:

Still, if you prefer homemade solutions…

Essential oils could work in conjunction with rubbing alcohol as safe alternatives to kill bed bugs on contact.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in Your Mattress

You’re not going to want to spray toxic chemicals or rub alcohol all over your mattress…

because that could be damaging to your health.

You will want to be extra careful with the home remedies that you use to remove bed bugs from your mattress, or any furniture that’s close to where you sleep.

Here are a 3 ways to remove these pests from your mattress:

1. Laundry:

Wrap all of your sheets/blankets into a sealed bag and then properly clean your bedding.

You should wash/dry everything on high heat to ensure it kills all bed bugs that are attached.

2. Vacuum:

Separate your mattress from your box spring, and then run a vacuum over both of them.

Make sure to vacuum around all viewable areas where these insects could be living.

For best results use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.

3. Mattress Cover:

You can purchase a special bed bug proof mattress encasement that covers both your mattress AND box spring.

This provides 2 benefits….

All bed bugs that were on your mattress will be trapped inside and eventually will starve.

All bed bugs that were outside your mattress can no long get into your mattress to hide.

Therefore…

They’re easier to spot and be dealt with.

Other Proven Bed Bug Treatments

Bed bugs are known to be elusive with an incredible ability to survive under adverse circumstances.

For this reason, you may need to try a few different treatment methods until you find the one that works.

If you’re experiencing a particularly nasty infestation…

You can try a combination of some additional treatment methods like:

Diatomaceous Earth:

This is a chemical you can buy from your local hardware store that can kill bed bugs within a few days of contact. This powdery substance will slowly dehydrate bed bugs over time as it damages their exoskeletons.

The beauty of this method is that bed bugs spread it themselves as they contact other bed bugs. It’s also safe for indoor use and safe for humans which is a big plus.

Pheromone Traps:  

Bed bugs communicate with each other through the use of pheromones, one of which is called Histamine.

A biologist at Simon Fraser University has let bed bugs bite her thousands of times to support her research on an effective bed bug trap.

They came up with combinations of chemicals that successfully lure bed bugs into a trap that contains, and eventually kills them.

Click here for our complete guide to bed bug traps.

What Bed Bug Treatments Don’t Work?

Rubbing alcohol and essential oils are potentially effective at killing bed bugs instantly.

Albeit not as effective as professional treatments…

But the following 3 methods are far less likely to give you the results you want.

1. Vaseline or Adhesive Tape:

Using double-sided tape or Vaseline is a frequent recommendation among homeowners because of their perceived ability to keep bed bugs from climbing legs of the bed:

Trapping them in place like fly paper.

In spite of this widespread myth…

Tape, Vaseline, and other types of traps:

Will almost NEVER work.

Bed bugs are too smart to fall for this.

In lieu of adhesive traps, you may want to try traps such as pitfalls with a smooth surface that bed bugs can’t climb up.

While this won’t immediately kill bed bugs on contact, these traps can help keep bed bugs from feeding on you at night.

2. Hair Dryers:

Killing bed bugs with heat is a method that many homeowners are likely to consider.

And hair dryers may seem like a relatively safe tool.

The truth is that while they can kill a bed bug or two, hairdryers don’t ordinarily exceed temperatures of…

150 degrees Fahrenheit.

Which isn’t sufficient for killing bed bugs instantly.

For this method to be effective, you would need to aim the hairdryer at bed bugs for minutes at a time, which can make for a time-consuming process.

To kill bed bugs with heat, they have to be exposed to temperatures well above 120 degrees Fahrenheit for multiple hours.

3. Clothing Irons:

Another tool that some might try to instantly kill bed bugs is a clothing iron.

Like the hair dryer, the thought process is it can apply heat directly to bed bugs.

Irons might be able to reach hotter temperatures than hair dryers, but you won’t be able to reach deep into the cracks/crevices where bed bugs might hide…

Especially hard surfaces on which you can’t safely use clothing irons.

If you want to use heat to kill bed bugs with efficiency…

Industrial grade portable heaters and steamers can give you better results.

Regardless of the household items you choose to quickly get rid of a bed bug infestation…

None are more effective than professional extermination services.

If your goal is to completely eliminate an existing infestation and prevent bed bugs from returning in the future:

Consider hiring a pest control team with the training and equipment needed to get the job done right.

Click here more information on the Do’s and Don’ts of DIY methods for bed bug treatments.

Bed Bug Treatment Summary

Here is a breakdown of the popular bed bug treatments we went over in this article (in order of effectiveness).
Treatment MethodEffective?
Professional Chemical or Heat TreatmentsYes
Diatomaceous Earth

Yes
Rubbing AlcoholYes
Pheromone TrapsYes
Essential OilsYes
VacuumYes
Mattress CoversYes
Adhesive TapeNo
Hair DryerNo
Clothing IronNo

You Could be Eligible for Compensation

Professional bed bug treatments are extremely expensive, so if you’re suffering from an infestation…

You may have some options.

If you’re a renter:

And currently have an active bed bug infestation, you may be able eligible to sue your landlord and get financial compensation.

If you’re in a temporary residence:

Like a hotel, motel, or Airbnb, and suffered bed bug bites, you may have a case against hotel management.

For more information – Learn about how you can sue a hotel for your bed bug injuries.

Get in touch with a lawyer today to discuss your unique situation, and help determine whether you have a case to receive compensation for your losses.

Get a free consultation and call (855) 733 9217 to get in touch with a specialist.

No fees unless you win your case.

Bed Bug Lawyer Logo

Date Published: 2020-01-27

Written By Robert Brown

I'm a seasoned pest control veteran. I focus my time on writing educational content about the industry and helping people learn about indoor insects. When I'm not thinking about bed bugs I am spending time with my daughters or walking the dog.

This Post Has 38 Comments

  1. Lisa Davidson

    Not sure what they are bat there are a lot

  2. informal. Greene II

    The information that was given about the termination of bedbugs was very informable.

  3. Maquita Shaw

    Okay my friend had bed bugs in her apartment and I like to know that what kind of chemicals I can use at home to get rid of them because that is coming in daytime and I have a pet also so what can I use right now to get rid of these bed bugs

  4. Mary

    I would liked too kno what I can get for bed bugs

    1. Jacob

      Hi Mary, I’m sorry to hear that you have bed bugs. I feel your pain and frustration. We just discovered them this past Friday and have so far used hotshot bed bug foggers 1 per room with door closed. We vaccumed and steam cleaned everything. Washed our bedding in hot water and dried on high heat. Then we got Terro spider killer which also will kill bed bugs because it contains pyrethrins . Pyrethrin is the biggest thing to kill them efficiently. Spray all the cracks and seems in your bed spray the top sides and bottoms of both mattress and box spring. Spray all base boards and molding. And the follow up by vacuuming and steam cleaning. Make sure you also get a residual spray and powder to keep the killing process going. Don’t give up and the best of luck. It’s not cheap to get rid of them but better than hiring a exterminator. Exterminatora are the last resort because they are crazy expensive.

  5. Katherine M Iodice

    My apartment has been infected with bedbugs from the landlord’ s workers. It’s been a month & he still hasn’t done anything. I have bites all over. My bed and chair will have to be tossed.

    1. Shana P

      Use 99% rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle. It really works. Look in all the crevices, and the folds of the mattress and pillows. If you have, carpet spray that as well. Wash with hot water. Look for clusters of black dots (bedbug fecal matter)

  6. Nivedita

    I recently moved to a new apartment and the apartment has bugs all over it. What can I do ?

  7. Endurance

    Thanks for the advice but i have a question how can u get rid of bedbugs from your furniture like chair and does bedbugs have any sickness to the body

  8. Carol Kelly

    We live in a duplex. In the last month or 2, the bedbugs have migrated from the downstairs apartment to ours. We had already paid for exterminators for both units to combat the roach problem on a monthly basis. Our animals are treated professionally monthly for fleas but I feel they too are now being affected by the bedbugs. We are in the process of moving out and almost afraid to take anything with us including our clothing! We fear carrying the bedbugs ANYWHERE we go and can no longer have anyone come in for fear of them picking up the bedbugs. Is there any legal recourse we can take?

  9. Jason barr

    How u get rid of bed bugs on your body

    1. Debbie johnson

      i have used Diatomaceous Earth and it did not work so I’m going to be being say bye bugs I heard that it really works and I have watched videos

  10. Wesley

    I buy food grade diatomaceous earth, and surround the entire perimeter of the room with a thick amount of it, so it makes it nearly impossible for them to climb the walls. Then make a box of it around your bed frame and bed legs. Even if they find a way to climb on top of your ceiling to drop on you while you sleep, they’ll have absolutely nowhere to go after they finish eating. They drop down to the floor and get torn apart by the sharp powder. It’s animal safe as well, so it won’t hurt your pets. It mostly kills things with exoskeletons because it dries them out. This is the only way I’ve found to effectively end the cycle of bed bugs. Even their eggs get f*** after they hatch, because the powder is still there. I leave the powder down for at least six weeks, and then sweep it up. If you start getting bit again, all you have to do is do a second treatment, and then keep it down for a long time. They’ll eventually starve to death, or meet their powdery end.

    1. Sandra L Romano

      Bedbugs can live up to a year without eating and can travel up to 100 feet.They can also escape a vacuum cleaner

    2. cliff

      hi where is an economical place to get diacotemous earth thanks

    3. Jennifer

      Where can you buy this ?

    4. Ashley

      What is the one you have that’s safe for animals/kids? The one I found at Walmart online says it’s not safe for animals or humans

  11. Bruce Leipold

    I have had them twice, both times they were brought in by a guest who had been at a motel. There is a very effective means to kill them dead in their tracks and the eggs as well. I bought an industrial steamer like they use for drapes. It had a base unit and then a wand to deliver the steam. Don’t be afraid to crank it up and blast away with the steam. I also steamed my clothes before washing them and I steamed my dressers, the carpets around the bed, the headboard, anything and everything that might have been infested along the way. Both times, just after one shot of through steaming (took my whole Saturday) they were gone and not to return. Steam is your friend, and steam is non toxic or flammable. Not only that, packed away in the closet, if I ever see them again I don’t need to go get a refill, steam is right there right now! Plus your drapes will love you too!!

  12. Bruce Leipold

    BTW I got my steamer at Home Depot

    1. Jessica

      What was the steamer called

  13. Jeannine

    I visit someone who has them but don’t go in the home at all can you bring them home from a chair you sit on or hugging/holding The kids

    1. Yo MOMMA

      Although yes your being safe YOUR also a snobby ASS person and I if I had THEM and your supposed to be a friend IT IS highly unlikely to transport them like that but I wouldn’t let you in my house if you were supposed to be a friend and have judgement issues I WOULD be ecstatic to get rid of YOU and the bugs CAUSE a judgy FRIEND OR a bedbug IDK WHICH ONE WOULD be WORSE SOMEONE supposed to be YOUR friend talking shit behind your bad or the bloodsukr.. You both are an infestation if ya ask me.. Grimmy to GOOD cunt..

  14. Gail

    You can get diatomaceous earth at Wal-Mart or a building supply store like lowes or menards.

    1. Jim Polichak from Long Island

      And Amazon

    2. Alison

      Is that harmless to animals and children and how long do you leave the powder down for before vacuuming up and also do you use it on your mattress or furniture?

  15. Innocentia Adikah

    Please I have bedbugs in my room. It found in the cabinets and the book shelf. How do I get the powder and other chemicals to get rid of it completely. Am in Ghana.

  16. Wanda Ellis

    I worked at a place that has bedbugs and brought them home.. can i sue the emplorer for compensation

  17. Lungy

    Hi I’m so stressed about bed bugs and can’t afford. Which alcohol is used?

    1. bob

      It MUST be at least 91% isopropyl alcohol and 99% is better.

  18. James Smith

    Yes what you explained to absolutely correct Alcohol, vacuum and laundry can not keep bedbugs away . We can try with DDT Powder or Pungent Bed Bug Sprays to control bedbugs. I came to know this this fact from the blog How Safe Is Natural Bed Bug Repellent For Children for more information please go through the blog Natural Bed Bug Spray

  19. Dannie

    Most people are not aware that shampoos that grow your hair faster and longer (obviously with no sulfates, no parabens and no DEA) are even a thing. Individuals now may attain longer hair and enjoy more alternatives. Definitely worth searching. When you’re studying hair loss, damaged hair, preventing scalp disorders, hair growth, hair care generally, almost the same ideas come to mind. Generally, you have to stay away from hair products and treatments that include chemicals like parabens, DEA or sulfates. What is beneficial for your hair is healthy for your skin as well. It goes without saying your content above hits the nail in the head for various reasons. It steers away from the accustomed errors and pitfalls most fall into- getting defective alternatives. Thank you!

  20. Kinzua Environmental

    There are some newer products on the market that are safe and do work to destroy bed bugs.

    It is non-toxic to mammals and EPA 25B Exempt. It was developed as a safe product to use in schools, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities, and any other facility where exposure to humans and pets is a concern.

    1. Becki

      What is this amazing thing called and where do I buy it?

  21. Ava Thomas

    bed bugs are honestly so creepy. I have started using bed bug spray and it has now become my favorite. effective from first use, economical and obviously eco-friendly. do check it out.

  22. Benjamin F.

    Folks (Bug Doc in WA State, USA here) — DO have a rigorous, methodical plan of attack for bed bugs. DO encase your mattress ($20-$50 via Wal-Mart, Amazon, etc) and box springs. Insure the encasements you buy have a zipper with a velcro flap that seals it shut. Bed bugs are as thin as your credit cards — Anywhere you can slide a credit card in, a bed bug can hide and wait. Do *NOT* spray your mattress and bed (and your body!) with insecticides. Do *NOT* use “home foggers” — they only cause bed bugs to hunker down inside their “harborages” in your walls and baseboards, or worse, move to other rooms where you’ve not fogged…and then return later. Bed bugs can live up to a year (some studies indicate longer) without a blood meal. Do use diatomaceous earth (sparingly! You don’t want to breath D.E. such as when you vacuum) via a duster (bulb-like device) around the edges of your room where carpet meets walls — *DO* clean and vacuum your room religiously, clean and dry your beddings religiously on hot/hot, and consider a “more natural” contact and residual killer like “EcoRaider” or “Bed Bug Patrol” if you’re unable to afford the financial hit of (ideally) a full professional exterminator heat treatment, or (less ideally) a professional exterminator chemical (dust and spray) treatment. These things have been with homo sapiens since we lived in caves 10,000 years ago — but they CAN be defeated. Also important — After cleaning and encasing your mattress and box springs, insure you put something like a “ClimbUp” (or any brand that has slick, smooth sides) ‘insect interceptor’ on EVERY leg of your bed that touches the floor. Insure zero bedding / sheets hangs off, touching the floor, or that the bed touches any walls, or that any cords nearby (ANYTHING they can climb) is touching the bed or sheets. You can do this. Treat it like a war, and make the battlefield as clean and regularly-attended-to a part of your life until you’re bug-free. Good luck! -Bug Doc.

    1. Barbara

      Thanks for your help! I’m on a limited income and along with that, my house is over 100 years old… and not in the best shape. A relative lived here for awhile and brought bedbugs home from his work place… although his work place did send an exterminator in to treat, these little critters are still making their presence known… so I reckon that $2000 wasn’t real effective.
      From that point, we used diatamaceous earth, rubbing alcohol, hot shot, Bleach treatment, vacuum and steam, many other sprays and essential oil solutions…2 years later, we still find a few nymphs and occasionally a feeder but the infestation seems to be dwindling to a few left behind.
      No matter what method you find that works best, the effectiveness truly boils down to time and diligence!! Several times I have actually been so frustrated that the thought of moving from my home has been a serious consideration but not a true desire or financially-wise decision. There are places that I literally check every day for any signs…progress is apparent! The battle will be won!

  23. Barbara

    Yes!

  24. Barbara

    Be particular in the type of mattress and box spring protectors! Some of them have edged seams and bedbugs absolutely love to hide and procreate there! And those types are no less expensive! Found a mattress protector for about $80 that seems to be working really well!

    What's Your Case Worth?
    Get a Free Case Review







    By submitting this request, I confirm I have read and agree to the Consent to Receive Email, Phone, Text Messages, and Privacy Policy. Information sent is not privileged or confidential.
    (855) 733-9217

    Leave a Reply