Your home can easily turn from a sanctuary away from your busy life to a miserable place, just because of bed bugs. What makes matters worse is that these pests are becoming more resistant to common household pesticides. This is the reason why many resort to the use of DIY treatments just like alcohol. Many assume that bed bugs and alcohol don’t go well with each other, which makes many people use alcohol to deal with these pests.
Bed Bugs and Rubbing Alcohol – How Does Alcohol Beat Bed Bugs?
If you’re considering using alcohol - especially rubbing alcohol - to repel and kill insects, it is best that you know how it’s going to work on bed bugs. Essentially, alcohol is a solvent that kills insects by dissolving their cells. With bed bugs, it can act as a desiccant or a drying agent that can kill bed bug eggs as it dries them out. Furthermore, rubbing alcohol can also repel them by discouraging them from laying eggs or crawling near you. This is what makes an alcohol spray effective in repelling these pests when used on furniture and bedding.
Though alcohol can kill bed bugs on contact, a study at Rutgers University in 2013 shows that the bed bugs sprayed with alcohol remained alive for four days after the treatment. This goes to show that it is among the least effective treatments against these pests, and can only be used to control infestations.
Does 91% Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs and Their Eggs Better than 70% Alcohol?
Isopropyl alcohol with 70% and 91% concentrations are the ones recommended to use for dealing with bed bug infestations. Alcohol with higher concentrations makes killing bed bugs faster than lower concentrations. This only proves that using 91% isopropyl alcohol will work better than a 79% concentration.
Though it can work as a treatment, one should know that it is highly flammable. During the treatment process, this can put human lives, belongings, and your property at risk. Alcohol is also highly abrasive on particular fabrics and surfaces, so precautions are needed when using the solvent.
Steps to Get Rid of Bed Bugs with Alcohol
The following are steps you take to make your alcohol treatment more effective on getting rid of bed bugs:
- Vacuum the house thoroughly and make sure that you don't leave any spot untouched or uncleaned.
- As much as possible, buy isopropyl alcohol in high concentrations by the gallon to make sure you can cover the entire house.
- Remove all bedsheets, pillowcases, and other items; fill a spray bottle with alcohol and spray it liberally on the items, sealing them in garbage bags.
- If you have a large infestation, put everything in plastic bags, spray them with the rubbing alcohol spray and seal them properly during the treatment.
- For furniture, headboards, and box springs, soak wet wipes in alcohol and use them for wiping these items. This will help to get rid of bed bugs, larvae, and their eggs even in narrow spaces.
- To prevent bites at night, spray some of the alcohol all over your body. This will keep bed bugs at bay and will prevent them from getting near you. Make sure that you don’t use fire or smoke anywhere near the treated areas.
- You can also combine alcohol with steam cleaning as it can greatly improve the results you’ll get from the entire treatment.
Alcohol treatment is most effective when you spray it directly on bed bugs. At first, it may seem like the treatment has worked. However, you must repeat the entire process after two weeks to make sure that you don’t get new eggs and nymphs roaming around your home.
A Couple of Things to Remember when Using Alcohol to Treat Bed Bugs
Some important things you should remember as you resort to the use of alcohol to deal with bed bugs include:
- It will only offer temporary relief, so repeating the treatment is necessary.
- You can also use it for treating lice and ticks.
- It might not be enough for a very large infestation.
- Alcohol is flammable, so make sure you take precautionary measures prior to starting the treatment.
An alternative for alcohol is to use residual or contact sprays to deal with bed bugs. If you’ve been seeing bed bugs roaming around your home, bed bug contact sprays are the ideal solution. On the other hand, residual sprays are suitable for areas where you think bed bugs pass through when trying to reach you, as it can kill bed bugs when they come in contact to the sprayed area. If it is no longer controllable, it is highly recommended that you call an expert to deal with the infestation.