In their quest to get rid of bed bugs quickly, homeowners are always on the lookout for safe do-it-yourself remedies and pest control solutions. Important among these is the use of rubbing alcohol, ethanol or Isopropyl alcohol for bed bug treatment. Many sprays containing alcohol are available commercially to help get rid of bed bugs for good. Naturally, the question foremost on most homeowners’ minds is whether alcohol indeed kills bed bugs?
In this guide, we will consider the safety and efficacy of use of Isopropyl rubbing alcohol for eradicating bed bugs permanently.
Bed Bugs and alcohol: does alcohol kill bed bugs?
Rubbing alcohol, 70% Isopropyl alcohol as well as 91% alcohol based sprays can be used effectively to get rid of large bed bug infestations. While most of these sprays can do the trick, expert entomologists recommend the use of Isopropyl alcohol in higher concentrations when dealing with bed bugs. This means that 91% rubbing alcohol sprays will help get rid of bed bugs faster than the 70% isopropyl alcohol sprays would. As far as the safety of rubbing alcohol is concerned, one has to take into account the flammability of these sprays. Alcohol is highly flammable and it is best to inform all residents of the building where such a bed bug treatment is in progress. Additionally, alcohol can be highly abrasive on certain surfaces and fabrics, so you must ensure avoiding its use on them.
70% alcohol vs. 91% rubbing alcohol for killing bed bugs
Salient features of 70% alcohol for bed bugs– Less expensive, readily available, safer flammability levels. On the downside, they are more prone to evaporation if the bottle is left uncapped.
Salient features of 91% isopropyl alcohol– This dries faster on account of their lower water content, and the rate of evaporation will not change the concentration of alcohol in the sprays. Also, they are known to be a lot kinder on certain surfaces and materials.
Where to buy 91% rubbing alcohol to kill bed bugs?
Unfortunately, it is harder to find a store carrying the 91% Isopropyl alcohol than it is to find the ones that carry the 70% bed bug rubbing alcohol sprays. That being said, a bit of online research can help you obtain these higher concentration bed bug sprays. Do note that products containing 91% alcohol are usually more expensive than those available at lower concentrations.
How to get rid of bed bugs using alcohol
- Vacuum the house completely. Make sure you cover all areas under the beds, behind the furniture etc. Take care to include curtains, upholstered living room furniture etc. Dispose off the vacuum bags far from home.
- Purchase large sized bottles of rubbing alcohol or ethanol bed bug sprays. Many stores sell rubbing alcohol by the gallons. You can use empty spray bottles to fill up with rubbing alcohol to conveniently use throughout the house.
- Remove all bed clothing, sheets, pillow cases etc and seal them inside plastic trash bags. Before sealing, liberally spray these items with rubbing alcohol sprays. This will kill eggs, larvae and adult bed bugs and also deter new bed bug eggs.
- For very large infestations, bag all items, clothing and linen from every room and spray them with the bed bugs rubbing alcohol spray. Seal these items during the process of treatment.
- Wipe down the furniture including the box springs and headboards as well as electronic goods with wipes pre-treated with rubbing alcohol. You can also liberally spray 91% rubbing alcohol all over. This will get rid of eggs and larvae hiding in cracks and crevices of each room.
- To keep bed bugs from biting you when following the bed bug rubbing alcohol treatment, you can even spray yourself from head to toe with the alcohol before sleeping at night. This will protect you from new bed bug bites. In the meantime, the isopropyl rubbing alcohol sprayed around the house will repel bed bugs on contact. Make sure you avoid smoking or using fires around the sprayed regions.
- Experts recommend combining the rubbing alcohol bed bug treatment with steam cleaning as this can greatly improve one’s chances of getting rid of bed bugs completely.
When using the rubbing alcohol bed bug treatment, make sure that the bugs actually come in contact with the spray. Also, it might seem that the treatment is working but it is still better to repeat it every 14 days. This will ensure getting rid of newly hatched bed bug eggs and kill all the pests once and for all.
Word of warning, please read the safety instructions on the bottle. If you’re spraying your bed and linens, you should do so in a well-ventilated area – outside would be better. Rubbing alcohol contains poison and shouldn’t be inhaled. If you experience breathing difficulty after cleaning, be sure to consult your medical practitioner immediately.