Does Rubbing Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs?

Can rubbing alcohol kill bed bugs?

That’s what this article aims to find out.

Pesticides can be expensive and dangerous to have around homes.

Sometimes due to the cost or associated risks, many people turn to common household products like cleaning supplies like (Lysol or bleach) to kill bed bugs.

Is it possible for household alcohol to kill bed bugs?

Continue to learn more!

Reviewed By:
Ed Spicer

Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management. He manages Pest Strategies now helping homeowners around the world!

Table of Contents

    Does Rubbing Alcohol Work Like Pesticides?

    Alcohol has similar properties to some pesticides.

    It is a desiccant, which is one of the main types of pesticides used against bed bugs. Desiccants are agents which suck moisture out of the materials they touch.

    They kill bed bugs by disintegrating the waxy exoskeleton, which protects the pests, exposing them to the elements and leaving them to die.

    In a nutshell, rubbing alcohol can dry out bed bugs similar to bed bug powders like CimeXa or Diatomaceous Earth.

    Alcohols also come with a strong scent which serves as a repellent for bed bugs. Pests that encounter the smell refuse to cross areas where it originates, helping individuals keep bed bugs away from certain areas, such as bedrooms.

    Although we wouldn’t recommend covering your house with alcohol, it could deter bed bugs.

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    What’s the Difference between Alcohol and Rubbing Alcohol?

    The alcohol that people drink is called ethanol alcohol. It can be consumed in moderate qualities and will create drunkenness. While too much can make people sick or even result in death, ethanol alcohol is not toxic.

    Rubbing alcohol’s main component is isopropyl alcohol, which is highly toxic. People cannot consume it.  Rubbing alcohol is used as a disinfectant because of its main ingredient’s strength.

    This difference between the two types of alcohol factors into each one’s effectiveness against bed bugs. Ethanol alcohol is not as effective as isopropyl. Even then, people who do use rubbing alcohol as a pesticide usually mix a stronger variation than what can be purchased from a store. A typical bottle is roughly 71% alcohol, while a solution to use against bed bugs is usually a 91% mixture.

    Should You Use Rubbing Alcohol For Bed Bugs?

    No. Although it’s tempting to believe household products can be as effective as store bought pesticides, it’s almost never the case.

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    Does Rubbing Alcohol Actually Kill Bed Bugs?

    It can, but household alcohol is not effective as other options.

    In scientific studies, bed bug populations sprayed directly with rubbing alcohol only had a mortality rate of 50%. Bed bugs were also only slightly discouraged from entering areas that had been covered with a layer of alcohol.

    So, rubbing alcohol can be used to lower a bed bug population, but will not eliminate every pest.

    And the key thing to remember is that you need to spray the bed bug DIRECTLY for it work. This is critical to remember because if you spray alcohol around your house, you’ll end up making your bed bug problem worse.


    Because the bed bugs will end up leaving their nest to find somewhere else to settle. The larger issue is that not all of those bed bugs will migrate to the same place! Some might migrate to your end table while others might move to you living room.

    This is why exterminators HATE when homeowners attempt to remove bed bugs on their own. They problem almost always gets worse.

    Here’s what could happen if you end up taking the wrong steps…

    So Should You Use Rubbing Alcohol For Bed Bugs?


    Although it’s tempting to believe household products can be as effective as store bought pesticides, it’s almost never the case.

    People worried about spending extra money on pesticides can turn to rubbing alcohol, but should know that it will not kill the entire population. It will likely make your problem much worse!

    Instead, we recommend following reviewing our bed bug removal guide. Go through each detail, THEN contact a couple exterminators to get a quote for pest removal.

    That should set you up for bed bug removal success.

    Don’t use rubbing alcohol.

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