Does Bleach Kill Bed Bugs?
A liquid chemical used for a wide range of cleaning purposes, bleach is a multi-purpose solvent that can whiten clothes, remove stains, and even lighten your hair colour. It is also used for sanitizing swimming pools and even used for gardening tasks such as killing weeds and increasing the lifespan of freshly cut flowers. It can also be used for removing mildew or treating wood pulp.
Chlorine is the active ingredient in bleach and is the common base for almost any bleaches. However, there are other bleaches that are sodium hypochloride solutions, while bleaching powders commonly have calcium hypochloride as its active compound.
On the other hand, some oxidizing bleach solutions have no chlorine in them. Usually, the agents used are sodium percarbonate, hydrogen peroxide, and sodium perborate. While bleaches are generally utilized for oxidizing purposes, some are utilized as reducing agents.
As mentioned, bleach can be used for killing weeds in gardening. You might ask if there is a certain connection between bed bugs and bleach and if bleach can be used for killing pests like bed bugs. Read through to get the answer.
Does Bleach Kill Bed Bugs and Their Eggs?
If you are one of those people who love DIY-ing, it might have crossed your mind to use whatever harsh chemicals you have in your home to get rid of pests. In this case, you might want to consider using bleach to kill bed bugs.
Can bleach kill bed bugs and their eggs? The answer is yes. Whether it’s a bleach made of chlorine or hydrogen peroxide, it can work to kill bed bugs. However, it is essential that you apply it directly on the insects and not only apply it to the bed bugs’ hiding areas. Prolonged contact is what makes bleach so effective at killing bed bugs.
It is also effective at killing not only visible adult bed bugs but also their eggs. However, since their eggs are difficult to find, treating potential hiding areas by applying bleach may not be enough to kill the eggs. This is the same case with larvae in different stages. Yes, bleach can kill them only if they get in contact with it, not just exposing them to the chemical.
The Risks of Using Bleach for Killing Bed Bugs
Though bleach can be a part of your bed bug treatment, keep in mind that there are risks associated with using bleach inside your home. Some of the risks of using bleach include the following:
- It may damage your products/belongings
Given that bleach is a harsh chemical, it is no wonder why it can also do damage to any of your belongings. It can damage mattresses, as they aren’t made to handle such chemicals. Unlike clothing, mattress covers are not made to withstand heavy-duty washing, stains, and drying.
If your mattress is infested, it is highly recommended that you use a powerful HEPA vacuum or a bed bug steam cleaner to capture any visible bed bugs and kill those remaining and hiding. Also, it is best that you use high-quality mattress covers to prevent these pests from reaching you.
- Skin irritation
As harsh and as harmful bleach is for bed bugs, it can also be as harsh and as harmful to human skin. Thus, you need to wear gloves during treatment or immediately wash your hands after using it.
- It gives off an unpleasant smell that may harm children and pets
When using bleach, it may give off an unpleasant smell that may harm children and pets that are around the area being treated. Aside from the smell, children and pets may accidentally come in contact with the chemical, which may also harm them. This is why you should keep the area well-ventilated and as much as possible, keep your children and pets away from the area while using the chemical. Also, use a face mask to avoid inhaling the scent of bleach directly.
Though bleach is a handy chemical that you can use for getting rid of bed bugs, it may not work completely unless you use it in combination with other treatments. It also poses health risks which may not only harm you, but everyone that comes in contact with it. Alternatively, you can use other high-quality bed bug products to effectively kill bed bugs that are still safe for your home.
Tips to Kill Bed Bugs Using Bleach
It is a bit tricky to use bleach for killing bed bugs, but it is possible. You can isolate the bed bugs and then kill them using bleach. To ensure that bed bugs are killed by bleach, do the following:
- Prior to preparing your bleach, make sure that you have already decluttered and cleaned the affected area. Also, if there are items that you no longer need, you might as well put them in garbage bags, seal them, and throw them away.
- Empty your wardrobes, drawers, and nightstands. Separate items that are washable and items that are not. For items that are not washable, vacuum them completely, put all your belongings in garbage bags and seal them. This will suffocate the remaining bed bugs.
- Put all washable items in the washing machine and use colour-safe bleach and detergent. Make sure to use hot water when washing them. While drying, set the dryer at the hottest temperature to kill all remaining bed bugs and their eggs. Run them in the dryer for at least half an hour, then store them directly in clean and sealable plastic bags.
- Create a solution using household bleach and an equal amount of hot water. Take a washcloth and soak it in the solution. Use it for wiping the washable surfaces. For the mattress and box spring, spray the mixture on the seams and stitches where bed bugs may hide. Avoid using the treated box spring and mattress for a few weeks. Make sure that you use gloves when handling bleach.
You can also use this solution on other hiding areas such cracks and crevices and on your headboard. Diatomaceous earth can also be used for areas where you are unable to apply the solution.
- After treating a room, avoid using it for a couple of days. With the mattress, expose it to direct sunlight if possible. Also, make it a daily routine to vacuum the entire room. Prior to using the room again, seal or caulk all cracks and crevices.
- Prior to putting back the items you isolated, vacuum all containers, wardrobes, drawers, nightstands and carpets. You can also expose these to direct sunlight to get rid of all bed bugs and their eggs.
- Use a mattress encasement and a box spring cover prior to assembling your bed again to prevent remaining bed bugs from reaching and biting you.