Does Rubbing Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs?

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Bed bugs are one of the most difficult pests to get rid of. They are small, hard to see, and can live for several months without eating. And once they get into your home, they’re very difficult to get rid of. One of the questions we get asked most often is “does rubbing alcohol kill bed bugs?” The answer is yes, but it’s not the most effective method.

What Is Rubbing Alcohol, and How Is It Different From Alcohol?

does rubbing alcohol kill bed bugs

Ethanol alcohol is a common beverage that people consume. It can be ingested in modest amounts and will cause intoxication. While drinking too much ethanol alcohol can make people sick or even kill them, it is not harmful.

On the other hand, Isopropyl alcohol, the major constituent in rubbing alcohol, is extremely hazardous. It is inedible to humans. Because of the potency of its principal constituent, rubbing alcohol is employed as a disinfectant.

This distinction influences the effectiveness of each type of alcohol against bed bugs. Isopropyl alcohol for bed bugs is comparatively more effective. 

Despite that, those who use rubbing alcohol as a pesticide frequently mix a stronger version than what is available in stores.

For instance, a standard bottle has about 71 percent alcohol, whereas a bed bug remedy often contains 91 percent alcohol.

Because alcohol can brashly slap many surfaces, especially cloth, it should always be used with extreme caution.

Does Rubbing Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs?

Yes, rubbing alcohol can kill bed bugs.

Bed bugs are a common trouble in homes. Alcohol can be sprayed directly onto eggs to kill them, and it can also be used to destroy the bug’s hiding places.

In fact, it is amongst the most common methods used to get rid of bed bugs.

However, it would help to acknowledge a few things before trying this method.

  • First, you need to make sure that you use high-percentage Isopropyl alcohol.
  • Second, you need to ensure that you apply the alcohol correctly.
  • And third, you need to be patient; it may take a few applications for the alcohol to kill all bed bugs.

Although using rubbing alcohol may help get rid of bed bugs in the short term, it is not a long-term solution. This method can take days or weeks to entirely rid a home of bed bugs.

Additionally, it is important to note that rubbing alcohol will not work on all bed bug species.

Does Alcohol Kill Bed bugs?

Now you know that rubbing alcohol kill bedbugs but can alcohol kill bed bugs? Yes, alcohol does kill bed bugs. However, it is important to note that bed bugs are extremely resilient and can quickly develop a resistance to any type of treatment, including alcohol.

This means that while alcohol may kill some bed bugs, it is unlikely to completely eliminate an infestation. Bed bugs are also difficult to target with alcohol because they often hide in cracks and crevices.

For these reasons, it is important to consult with a professional exterminator if you have a bed bug problem.

How to Effectively Use Rubbing Alcohol as a Bed Bug Repellent

kill bed bugs

Rubbing alcohol can be an effective bed bug repellent when used correctly. A 91% alcohol solution is most effective in killing and repelling bed bugs.

You can use rubbing alcohol in the following ways:

Spraying Directly On Infested Surfaces

To get rid of bed bugs, you need to use a holistic and multi-faceted approach.

One part of this approach is spraying directly on infested surfaces; this will help keep the bed bugs from spreading and hopefully kill off some population.

If you are trying to treat a specific area, target that spot with the alcohol before spraying it elsewhere. Allow the alcohol to dry.

That way, you can ensure that you get the most out of your treatment. Remember, it is most effective when you spray alcohol directly on bed bugs.

Ensure to follow all safety precautions when using rubbing alcohol, as it is a flammable substance.

Using Rubbing Alcohol For Bed Bug Bites

One way to stop the itch contracted from a bug bite is to spray the affected area with rubbing alcohol; this will disinfect the wound and help stop the itching.

Before going to bed, spray the surface of your bed with rubbing alcohol and let it dry; this keeps the pests off the bed’s surface and provides you more room to sleep.

Do not spray rubbing alcohol on yourself before bedtime, as frequent use can lead to several health issues.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Rid of Bed Bugs with Rubbing Alcohol

Senior woman placing clothes in a luggage using plastic bags to prevent bed bug infestation.

Enlisted below are measures you may undertake to improve the effectiveness of your alcohol treatment for bed bugs:  

  • Vacuum the entire house completely, ensuring there are no untouched or unclean areas.  
  • Consider purchasing isopropyl alcohol in high concentrations by the gallon as much as possible to ensure you can cover the entire house.
  • Remove all bed sheets, pillowcases, and other items from the bed; fill a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol and liberally spray the objects before sealing them in garbage bags.  
  • Place everything in plastic bags, spray them with rubbing alcohol spray, and seal them properly during the treatment if you have a huge infestation.
  • Use wet wipes soaked in alcohol to wipe down furniture, headboard, and box springs. Even in tight quarters, this will assist in eliminating bed bugs, larvae, and their eggs.
  • You can also use alcohol in combination with steam cleaning to boost the overall effects of the procedure.

It may appear that the treatment is working at first. However, after two weeks, you must repeat the entire process to ensure that you do not have any new eggs or larvae running around your home.

Listed below are certain factors to consider if you intend to use alcohol to get rid of bed bugs:

  • It will only provide brief relief; thus, the therapy must be repeated.
  • It can also be used to get rid of lice and ticks.
  • For a significant infestation, rubbing alcohol treatment might not be enough.
  • Because alcohol is flammable, you should take precautions before initiating treatment.

How Long Does It Take For Rubbing Alcohol To Kill Bed Bugs?

Bed bug infestations

Alcohol is a common way to kill bed bugs. It works by dehydrating them, which causes them to die.

The procedure usually takes a few days, but it can vary depending on the strength of the alcohol and the size of the infestation.

However, Repeated treatment is key when getting rid of bed bugs. It is important to apply it repeatedly until all the bugs are gone.

Does Rubbing Alcohol Repel Bed Bugs?

Many people use rubbing alcohol as a remedy for repelling bed bugs. The reasoning behind this is that the strong scent of the alcohol will keep the bed bugs away.

On the other hand, using rubbing alcohol to get rid of bed bugs can be tricky.

While it does kill bed bugs, it can also result in them spreading to farther hidden spaces in your home.

So if you are going to use rubbing alcohol as a means of getting rid of bed bugs, make sure that you take all necessary precautions and remedies first.

Does Rubbing Alcohol Kill Bed Bug Eggs?

As previously stated, rubbing alcohol kills bed bugs on contact and repels them if it does not kill them. 

The impact is similar on the bed bug eggs; it destroys and dries eggs, reducing their chances of hatching successfully, however, only on contact.

If bed bugs like to lay their eggs in a hidden spot, employing rubbing alcohol elsewhere won’t kill the eggs. It will only deter bed bugs from returning to that particular location. 

The bed bugs will cheerfully resume feeding after the eggs hatch, and the rubbing alcohol will not affect them. 

However, with consistent treatment, you should be able to eliminate all bed bugs. 

By destroying the adult population, you get rid of bed bugs that can breed and deposit eggs

The bed bugs will cease to multiply if you kill them shortly after they hatch. 

As a result, repeated administrations might wipe out the entire population.

Negative Effects of Using Alcohol

Incorporating the use of Rubbing alcohol for killing bed bugs comes with its disadvantages, some of which include:

Ineffective For A Bed Bug Infestation

While using rubbing alcohol may seem like a viable solution for getting rid of bed bugs, it is actually quite ineffective.

One prime reason for the same is that these pests can be difficult to access. And in order to kill bed bugs, the alcohol must be applied directly to them.

Therefore, eradicating them can be difficult without professional help.

Furthermore, alcohol is not effective in eradicating heavy bed bug infestations.

In case you are struggling with a bed bug infestation, it is best to seek professional help.

Damages To Furniture And Cloth

Although rubbing alcohol is a popular DIY method for getting rid of bed bugs, it can actually cause more damage to furniture and clothes.

Rubbing alcohol is a solvent that can dissolve many different materials, including furniture finishes and cloth fibers.

Therefore, when used in excess, it can damage these surfaces.

Time-consuming and costly

To begin with, you’d need a lot of rubbing alcohol to eliminate the infestation completely. This is particularly because early sprays may only get rid of a tiny fraction of them.

Therefore, while spraying alcohol may prove an effective way to kill bedbugs, it is also a time-consuming and costly process.

Second, though rubbing alcohol may kill bed bugs on contact, it is not a long-term solution.

In order to eradicate the infestation completely, a long-term solution must be implemented.

This usually involves hiring a professional exterminator who will use more effective methods and equipment needed to detect and properly treat any bed bug infestation.

Hazardous To The Home And Its Residents

When used in an uncontrolled setting, alcohol can be highly flammable and dangerous.

If it is spilled on a flame or comes into contact with combustible material, it can cause a fire.

Thereby, it is important to take precautions when using alcohol around the home.

Furthermore, inhaling large amounts of alcohol, whether rubbing alcohol or another type, can be very harmful to humans and pets.

The fumes from the alcohol can cause nausea, dizziness, and even death.

Be sure to keep all types of alcohol away from children and pets to avoid potential health hazards.

Alternative solutions for eradicating Bed Bug Infestation

Washing Fabrics

You can get eliminate bed bugs by washing all your clothes, bedsheets, comforters, and other washable items. The hot water will eliminate the bed bugs and their eggs.

In addition, you can reduce the number of bed bugs on your clothes by steaming them. The high heat will kill the bugs and their eggs.

Dry your clothes on a high heat setting for at least 30 minutes.


Insecticides are toxic compounds used to kill insects. When used correctly, they can effectively solve bed bug infestations.

It is vital to remember, however, that there may be certain hazards linked with their use; therefore, taking professional advice before using Insecticides is highly recommended.

Heat Treatment

One of the most popular methods for exterminating bed bugs is heat treatment.

The process uses high temperatures to kill the bugs and can be used on its own or in combination with other methods, such as vacuuming and washing clothes.

Ideally, the pest control experts will come to your home, set up equipment, and heat the entire area to a temperature that will kill all the bed bugs.

This process usually only takes one visit, and you can return to your home after it’s been completed.

Do 91% Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs and Their Eggs Better than 70% Alcohol?

There is a lot of debate surrounding what percentage of alcohol is the best for killing bed bugs.

Some people believe that 91% alcohol is more effective than 70% alcohol, while others maintain that either concentration will do the job.

The truth is that both concentrations will kill bed bugs and their eggs, but the higher concentration will do so faster.

However, necessary precautions must be taken when using any form of alcohol to treat bedbugs.

For example, it is important to test an inconspicuous area for colorfastness before using any type of alcohol on the entire surface.

Is it okay to use rubbing alcohol on bed bugs?

Rubbing alcohol can be used as a safe and effective way to get rid of bed bugs.

Nevertheless, it is important to take safety precautions when using rubbing alcohol to kill bed bugs.

First, do not smoke near where you are spraying; the fumes from the cigarettes can ignite the alcohol.

Second, wear gloves while handling the alcohol and make sure that it doesn’t come into contact with your skin.

Finally, be careful not to inhale the fumes from the sprayed alcohol.


Rubbing alcohol is an effective bed bug repellent that will keep them away. 

This composition can also assist in the prevention of the spread of an infestation. The solution comes in handy to prevent the spread of bugs.

However, rubbing alcohol’s utility is limited. These methods will not help you completely get rid of a bed bug infestation in your home.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.