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DIY Vinegar Bed Bug Killer

Updated on March 13, 2017
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Melody has volunteered with the CDC and is a member of the Medical Reserve Corps. She brings awareness to public health concerns.

Vinegar kills bedbugs, but does not kill eggs. It also needs to be reapplied, as it simply kills on contact and does not linger.
Vinegar kills bedbugs, but does not kill eggs. It also needs to be reapplied, as it simply kills on contact and does not linger. | Source

Does vinegar kill bedbugs? Yes. Does it cure them? No.

Vinegar is a contact killer. This means that spraying it directly on bedbugs will kill them. Old home remedies are safe, but won't eradicate bed bugs in most cases. Read the comments section below to see results other readers have seen.

You can not cure bedbugs with one solution. Vinegar is a natural way to get rid of bed bugs, or at least until you can come up with a long-lasting solution. If you are waiting for a pest control professional to come treat your home, or for bug spray to arrive in the mail, vinegar will buy you some time.

How to Make and use Homeade Bed Bug Spray

Homemade remedies for bed bugs with vinegar is not an equal pesticide. It is much safer and might work during early infestation. Let's learn how to make homemade bed bug spray made with vinegar.


  1. Purchase white vinegar and an empty spray bottle.
  2. Fill the bottle halfway with vinegar and halfway with water.Use a 1:1 ratio.
  3. Tighten lid and shake well.
  4. Spray directly onto bed bugs.
  5. Holding bottle a few inches from the mattress, spray corners and underside.
  6. Wash sheets and blankets with vinegar.


Use an empty spray bottle to make homemade bed bug vinegar cleaner.
Use an empty spray bottle to make homemade bed bug vinegar cleaner. | Source

Inexpensive First Steps After Finding Bed Bugs

Step
• Use caulk to seal cracks. This way the bugs don't have an easy place to hide.
• Soak the perimeter around the infested furniture, remove curtains, and spray all items including window sills, walls, and other hard-surfaces.
• Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar. Soak all infested surfaces, including cracks and crevices.

Arguments for and Against

This scale represents the pros and cons of homemade bed bug killer.
This scale represents the pros and cons of homemade bed bug killer. | Source

Disadvantages of Using Vinegar

  • The smell is terrible and long lasting. Use a high percentage of alcohol to get a similar result without the smell.Over 80% of readers can stand the smell of vinegar.
  • You might only push bed bugs into hiding.
  • Some furniture could be damaged due to the high PH of Vinegar.
  • This approach will have little effect in major infestations.
  • Mixing vinegar with baking soda causes an explosive effect.
  • Mixing bleach with vinegar causes dangerous gas.
  • May have a toxic effect on some reptilian pets.

Advantages of Using Vinegar

  • Can be used for short term relief. The acidic content of vinegar is enough to disrupt the nervous system of bed bugs.
  • Vinegar is also known as acetic acid, it has a high PH, and is cheap.
  • It can be purchased almost anywhere.
  • This method is very safe. You can spray as much as you need and no one is going to be exposed to toxic chemicals.
  • Bed bugs don't like vinegar.
  • Can be used in homes with children.
  • Is safe to use near cats and dogs.
  • When hot water is used instead of cold water, bugs die faster.
  • Promotes a healthy lifestyle.

Your Thoughts Please

Can you stand the smell of vinegar

See results

An Experiment with Vinegar

I obtained a couch from someone with a bed bug problem. A man with a barn was kind enough to let me do this experiment there. Thanks, Mr. B!

  • We used a 100% solution of pure white vinegar. We filled spray bottles and used paper towels and butter knives to soak every inch of the couch. This won't work if you can't get out in every crack, crevice, and surface.
  • This took three people four hours, but the results were promising. We observed only one small bed bug in a week. We missed the eggs, however. Vinegar has nearly no residual effect and does not work on eggs.
  • The lesson is, in order for this to work as the sole treatment, you would need to use gallons of vinegar and reapply every five days. Um, did I mention the smell?
  • We also observed bed bugs running away from the couch. One way to kill these bugs too is to soak the perimeter of the object you are about to spray with vinegar. Then use a spray bottle to spray around baseboards and windows. Take down curtains and wash them. Spray your TV stand and bookcases. Finally, spray the infested item last. This way, when bed bugs try to run, all they are going to run into is more vinegar.
  • The conclusion is that using vinegar is not a good solution to bedbugs. I understand that some people have no other choice but to use this method, but I recommend you do whatever it takes to come up with the funds for a real solution. Remember, you are not alone. Seek help. Do not be ashamed or hide an infestation. Face it, and do whatever it takes to eliminate the bed bugs.

Vinegar for Bed Bug Bites

White vinegar is better for homemade bed bug spray, but apple cider vinegar is better to treat bites.
White vinegar is better for homemade bed bug spray, but apple cider vinegar is better to treat bites. | Source

While white vinegar is good for bed bug repellant, apple cider vinegar is what you should use to treat bed bug bites. Most people report intense itching after being bitten. The high PH in white vinegar is too abrasive to treat itching.

Apple cider vinegar is made from the fruit off the vine. An apple a day will keep the doctor away, and applying this type of vinegar will keep the itching away.

The best way to use this anti-itching treatment is to apply the apple cider vinegar to a cotton ball and apply directly to the bed bug bite.

Other natural remedies for bites are:

  • Witch hazel
  • Juniper berries
  • Oatmeal paste
  • Used green tea bags

Now that you know how to use white and apple cider vinegar for bed bugs you can give it a try. Just remember that heavy infestations will need a professional. This solution works best for infestations caught early.

© 2014 Melody Trent

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      Cheri 10 days ago

      REVOLUTION I recommend for pet problems FreeBrrd. It works really well on ear mites.

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      firsttimer 4 months ago

      the best way to get rid of bedbugs is high and i mean extremely high heat. i bought a propane heater put it on for 11 hrs and everything in my bedroom got extremely hot. i used a thermometer and the room reached 180 degrees. i left it on for 11 hrs while i was home to monitor it. the bedbugs were only in my bedroom and i was determined to keep and kill them in here before they spread though out my home. this inexpensive method worked and i can use this heater to continue to heat my home in the winter. the heater cost $100 and the propane $12. If you had to call in a pro quadruple this amount. I cant afford a pro and after much reading on the net on how to rid my home of these unwelcome invaders,, i found this inexpensive yet effective method to work.

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      So Over This 6 months ago

      My family and I had a small(compared to what I've read) but very annoying problem with the bed bugs. After taking all of the clothing, and curtains out of the house and washing them and having a professional company to come and do a treatment. By tge time night fall we got bit worse than we ever had. That is when we tried the vinegar and that is the first time I can honestly we were in control. We've found only 1 cluster of about 5 eggs, 1 bed bug when it first hatched, and 1 fully grown bed bug, and not traces of feces any where. However we could feel them if we did not use the vinegar every 4 or 5 days. We've been dealing with this for about 1 month. I don't see them getting worse....but they aren't getting better. Hot shot bug spray has a flea and bed bug spray. I find that it helps to keep the problem under control. The bed bugs hate the vinegar thats how we actually saw the first hatched bed bug. It couldn't take the vinegar so it landed on the table. That is when we came up with the idea, one will spray the beds with vinegar and some one would spray the floor with the Hot Shot. I'm not sure if it actually works or if it's safe or not, we've decided to fight back.

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      Freda summars 10 months ago

      Honestly have to say the smell of vinegar does not bother me at all, I grew up eating turnip greens with vinegar maybe it's just a southern food

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      FreeBrrd 11 months ago

      The smell of vinegar does not last long. It does not smell worse than commercial cleaners. Everyone reacts differently to pretty much everything. Vinegar is one of the safest and most effective things you can use for many things. It is edible. It is even a cure for several things.

      I can't use most commercial cleaning or sanitizing products. Most now have some sort of ethanol in them. Ethanol is a neurotoxin. I am disabled by it. Currently looking for a treatment for a kitten's ear mites. The "safe natural" one that I ordered on Amazon is mostly denatured alcohol which is another name for ethanol. Just opening the bottle kicked my butt. With all of the names used, it is difficult to find something that I can tolerate. Reading the reviews, it seems that many of the cats can not tolerate many of these either. So ear mites are not bed bugs, but I'd bet most things that kill one are likely to kill the other. I am going to put the bedding that I can into a vinegar soak. Probably over night. Than I will wash my normal way with baking soda dissolved in boiling water to wash. Rinsing with vinegar and water. This is how I do all of my laundry. My clothes do not smell of vinegar. I have had people sniff them. I also use vinegar to rinse my hair. I can use conditioner, but many people can not tolerate the scents in most so I use vinegar for them.

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      jkc133 12 months ago

      Hi, I think vinegar is a wonderful household tool. But please be advised to provide adequate ventilation while spraying with vinegar. I believe I accidentally suffered lung burn from using vinegar in a closed bathroom. I then had a nasty episode of Bronchitis that took weeks to heal!

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      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      I am glad I do not have this problem but its good to know what works should one run across it. Funny how vinegar works so well for almost anything, except for this.

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