Does Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs?

Waking up to bed bug bites not only frightens you, but it also makes you so uncomfortable that you cannot wait to get rid of these blood-sucking nuisances.

Eradicating bed bugs from your home can be pretty daunting. Firstly, they are nocturnal, you would hardly notice them but for the blood bites on your skin, and they are fast becoming resistant to insecticides. As you consider these factors, it makes you think of other ways to get rid of them.

You wonder if alcohol will do the trick. Does alcohol kill bed bugs? 

Technically, alcohol could be an efficient solution for getting rid of bed bugs. It kills bed bugs and their eggs. We all know bed bugs possess a waxy tough exoskeleton but alcohol is strong enough to penetrate. It destroys their outer shell and dries them out. Isopropyl alcohol is good for killing bed bugs but before trying it in your home, there are certain facts you should know. 

Does alcohol kill bed bugs instantly? 

Talisker bottle beside drinking glass

Alcohol can be used for getting rid of bed bugs and can kill them instantly. When it comes in contact with bed bugs, the alcohol immediately destroys their shell and dries them up.

One most effective DIY solution is diluted rubbing alcohol. It evaporates quickly and kills bed bugs instantly, on contact. So rubbing alcohol is efficient for getting rid of bed bugs.

It is safer and less flammable than other kinds of alcohol. One such rubbing alcohol is diluted Isopropyl alcohol. Though alcohol kills bed bugs, some are capable of leading to some disasters in homes. Also, bed bugs feed only on human and animal blood and would hardly ingest other substances.

They would not be attracted to alcohol but will instead avoid coming in contact with it. When alcohol is sprayed around the infested area, it may not get to all its hideout spots too. This means you would only have succeeded in killing a few bugs, leaving others to multiply. These nocturnals are fast breeders. In a matter of weeks, more bugs would be roaming your bed. 

READ MORE: Does Salt Kill Bed Bugs?

Does rubbing alcohol kill bed bug eggs?

Rubbing alcohol can kill bed bug eggs and even bed bug nymphs. But due to its fast evaporating nature and the fact that most bed bug eggs are hidden, you may miss them when spraying this alcohol on the infested area. When these eggs mature, they hatch out bed bug nymphs that will quickly grow into bed bugs, leaving your home infested again.

How long does it take for alcohol to kill bed bugs?

When bed bugs come in contact with alcohol, they can kill them instantly. However, these insects are very good at hiding their tracks and they are nocturnal. You would hardly see them when spraying rubbing alcohol.

Also, once they smell alcohol, they would try their best to avoid it. That being said, alcohol can serve as a repellent to these bugs. In situations where alcohol cannot come in direct contact with bed bugs, it repels them.

These insects will stay away from your bed and they would avoid places where alcohol was sprinkled or sprayed. The question is for how long? Rubbing alcohol dries out almost immediately it is poured and the scent can last for a few hours. Bed bugs would avoid it for a while but will come back to feed on you in no time.

Does rubbing alcohol repel bed bugs?

The scent of alcohol repels bed bugs. It acts as a solvent and desiccant which makes it repugnant to them. The smell is strong enough to hold them off of your bed. So yes, rubbing alcohol repels bed bugs.

Though they do not possess a nose like humans, these insects are capable of detecting scents. Because bed bugs can detect the scent, they couldn’t easily run away from being affected by it or avoid direct contact with it. When you spray rubbing alcohol, these insects detect the smell and can easily hide out in cracked walls or beneath your mattress. 

How to kill bed bugs with alcohol?

If you are bent on trying out the alcohol solution to get rid of bed bugs, there are ways you can use this solution to get a near-effective result. 

  • Since alcohol only kills bed bugs when it comes in contact with it, you could check out for their hideout spots, preferably at night.
  • Dilute the rubbing alcohol with water in a spritz bottle, mix it in equal ratios, say 50/50. 
  • Sprinkle on your mattress. Make sure you sprinkle on the sides, edges, under your mattress, so it is damp. This will enable the solution to kill bed bugs and other bed bug eggs. 

This process of getting rid of bed bugs is however not a recommendable solution as bed bugs are very clever and would avoid anything that will cause them harm. This makes it hard for alcohol to function as a killing agent.

Is alcohol a good home remedy for bed bugs?

Using rubbing alcohol to kill bed bugs can be effective.

However, it may not be your best bet for getting rid of these critters as it is not efficient. Alcohol contains a chemical that makes it flammable if it comes in contact with fire. In the US there are cases of fire outbreaks caused by spraying rubbing alcohol to get rid of these pests. Instead of killing bed bugs, you could lose your property. Apart from this, other factors make alcohol an inefficient remedy for bed bugs in your home.

Bed bugs can smell their environment, they can also smell their fellow bed bugs. Usually, when Bed bugs are scared, they emit a certain odor that when other bed bugs detect, they run for safety.

Studies have also shown that only 40 to 60 percent of bed bugs die when sprayed with alcohol. Not all bed bug stages get affected by alcohol. Some of these insects like the bed bug nymphs are harder to spot. 

Other ways to get rid of bed bugs

Knowing that alcohol may not be your best bet in getting rid of bed bugs, there are other home remedies you can apply to do a much better job. 

  • Having a clean home does not exactly keep these bugs away, but it is a step in the right direction. So ensure you dry out your bed in the sun once you notice an infestation, spread change the sheets, and wash them up immediately and also your bed covers.
  • Use diatomaceous earth – Diatomaceous earth is a powder-like substance and it is an efficient method for eliminating many household insects, including bed bugs. It cracks the exoskeleton of these bugs just like alcohol but it is better because it does not pose a threat to your home. It is not flammable! 

How to use

Apply a considerable amount around the infested area. Be sure to apply in a way that these insects will be unable to run away from it or avoid it. Bed bugs can be a handful, they are pretty clever and will crawl around anything that seems harmful to them. Spread diatomaceous earth properly to get rid of these critters.

  • Use Acetone nail polish remover – Acetone nail polish remover can be used to kill bed bugs. Like alcohol, it will kill them on contact. The good thing is it is not flammable. Acetone nail polish is a solvent so it would crack the hard exoskeleton of these bugs. Just pour acetone on crawling bed bugs and these bed bugs will dry up. 
  • Use a dryer – Using a dryer is efficient for killing bed bugs. Just take out the infested mattress and use a dryer to dry it out. With the heat of about 120 degrees Fahrenheit, Bed bugs will be out of your bed in no time. Put your curtains, bed sheets, and clothes in your drying machine and heat them properly.


  • Try steam mopping your room – to ensure a more efficient decluttering, use steam mop after taking out your beds to the sun or after using diatomaceous earth. The hotness of a steam mop can kill bed bugs. You can try this method to ensure that bugs are not lurking around. Try using a steam mop, it will make your clean-up come out nicely.  It is also good for treating your bed frames and couches if it is infested. it is not as restricted as the dryer.

When you are done using any of these methods to kill bed bugs, proceed to put bed bug remains in the trash can to avoid other insects like ants and cockroaches.


Since bed bugs are pretty much a nuisance to you, attempting to use alcohol might be an easy way out but you should know that it is an even harder method to try. It is advised that you contact a pest control team. If you are considering cost, you can try out other methods. 


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