Using Alcohol To Kill Bed Bugs – Our Pest Control Guide

If you are suffering from a bed bug infestation, you don’t need me to tell you how frustrating and upsetting it can be!

For a start, they attach themselves to you, to your loved ones, and even to your pets, leading to additional stress, unhappiness, and a general feeling of dirtiness in an otherwise clean home.

It doesn’t have to be that way! We have already looked at getting rid of bed bugs using eucalyptus, steam, and even Borax on this DIY Pest Control site.

In this post, we will increase your arsenal and give you instructions for using alcohol to kill bed bugs!

If you use a product with the right amount of alcohol, it can eliminate bed bugs. Products that contain a higher percentage of alcohol evaporate very quickly, along with dissolving anything organic that comes in contact with it.

Alcohol kills the bed bugs by drying them out. Although alcohol can eliminate bed bugs, the ones made for human consumption will not be effective in killing them because of the low alcohol content.

The ones that are best suited for killing bed bugs are called rubbing alcohols. Rubbing alcohols are also used as disinfectants.

You will find 70% to 99% alcohol content in these products, and that is exactly what you want.

Along with eliminating a bed bug infestation, these products are also known to prevent more infestations in the future.

Using Alcohol To Kill Bed Bugs

Know your enemy – are they bed bugs?

Bed bugs are very tiny, and it is easy to confuse them with other pests you may find in your home.

They are reddish-brown in color and feature a flat oval body. The adult bed bugs may appear a little longer, especially if they have recently fed.

You will also spot two wing-like structures referred to as the wing buds; however, these insects don’t fly. Since they are very tiny, you need to look closely to know what you are dealing with.

Here is a close up of a bed bug:

a bed bug close up

When it comes to the eggs, these are the size of a pinhead. They are white to off-white in color and are hard to remove from the surface where you find them due to their stickiness.

The stickiness is caused due to a glue-like substance the female bed bugs leave on the eggs to secure them in place.

How does alcohol kill bed bugs?

When the bed bugs come in contact with alcohol, their cells begin to disintegrate and dissolve. Bed bugs have callous outer shell and skin, but it is not tough enough to withstand pure alcohol. The alcohol sweeps through the exterior and damages the bugs’ internal organs.

Since alcohol is a highly drying agent, it dries out the bugs entirely without leaving any residue.

What kind of alcohol kills bed bugs?

rubbing alcohol being applied to cotton pads

As mentioned above, not all alcohol can kill bed bugs; the concentration needs to be high. Otherwise, you will be wasting your time and money.

Make sure that any product that you use to remove bed bugs contains at least 70% alcohol. However, an alcohol content of more than 90% is recommended.

There are several alcohol-containing products readily available in the market. As long you get the percentage right, it will be an effective solution to put an end to bed bugs.

How to Kill Bed Bugs with Alcohol – Step by Step Instructions


1. Preparations and precautions

  • Alcohol is highly flammable, and the ones that are used on bed bugs are highly concentrated. Therefore you need to take the necessary precautions to protect the items in your home. Although alcohol dries up rather quickly and after that, it is no longer flammable, it is better to take precautions to be on the safer side. Remove any sources of heat away from the space where you will be spraying the alcohol.
  • Concentrated alcohol has a strong and unpleasant odor, so make sure to apply in small quantities instead of spraying the stuff generously all over the house. Spot the areas in your home where you detect bed bugs and their eggs and apply only to these areas.
  • Alcohol can stain fabrics. If you spray the solution only on the mattress, it will not be a problem since you will be covering it with a bedspread later on. But this will be a problem if you are thinking about spraying the solution on your carpets, curtains, or couch.

2. Look for bed bug infestations and find their hideouts

Bed bugs don’t build nests only under the linens or your mattress. You need to check the box spring, furniture, carpet, laundry, inside cupboards, and even the curtains.

Bed bugs prefer dark and tight places to hide and lay their eggs since they will not be discovered or disturbed in these places. Look into the folds, crevices, and cracks as these locations often house these unwanted guests.

It is essential to find the bugs before applying the spray because the bugs will die only if they come into contact with the solution.

If you miss any bugs or their nests, they will continue to reproduce, leading to further bed bug infestations.

When using rubbing alcohol to kill bed bugs, you must apply in all areas where you have noticed bed bug activity.

3. Choose the alcohol you want to use on the infestation

You will find different types of alcohols in the market that are effective in killing bed bugs. However, the most commonly used type is rubbing alcohol; it is a household term for a solution that contains a concentrated amount of isopropyl alcohol.

It doesn’t matter what type or brand of solution you are using as long as it includes more than 70% of alcohol; anything less will not be as effective.

Once you have the product, spray it in the affected areas of your home.

If the solution does not come in a spray bottle, you can pour it into one and spray it. Make sure to apply it in every infected area.

Alcohol is a good ingredient for any homemade bed bug spray.

If you miss a spot, the infestation will continue to grow despite all your hard work and effort.

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

sand timer

It will start working as soon as you spray the alcohol on them, but don’t expect to get all of them right away; they are sure to run and hide.

It is common to see them again after the application of the solution.

You might have to repeat the treatment a few more times to eradicate a bed bug infestation.


Does alcohol kill bed bugs? Yes – When used correctly, alcohol is an effective, cheap, and safe way to get rid of them.

All you need to do is take the necessary precautions while using alcohol not to harm you.

Good luck!


About the author

DIY Pest Control Enthusiast Since 1996

After spending the entire night lying awake in a cockroach-infested hotel, I have driven myself to build knowledge on all things pest control. Since then, I've tested pest control techniques to see what works and what doesn't. Now, here I am giving you all the info I have learned!

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