How to Make a Homemade Bed Bug Killer Spray With Vinegar
Does Vinegar Kill Bed Bugs?
Yes, spraying vinegar directly on bed bugs can kill them because vinegar is a strong acetic acid that can disrupt an insect's nervous system. While this home remedy is safe and effective, it is not a standalone treatment, meaning you won't be able to eradicate a bed bug infestation with vinegar alone. Use vinegar as a natural ingredient to get rid of and even ward against bed bugs until you can come up with a long-lasting solution.
How to Make and Use a Homemade Vinegar Bed Bug Spray
Homemade vinegar remedies for bed bugs are not pesticides, but they are much safer and will work during early infestation. Here's how to make a vinegar bed bug spray:
- Purchase white vinegar such as the Heinz Distilled, Walmart, or Kroger Brand.
- Fill an empty spray bottle with vinegar. You can use ULINE bottles, UPC bottles, or something from your local Dollar Tree. Tighten the lid securely.
- Soak the perimeter around the infested area with vinegar, including cracks and crevices in the walls and tight spaces underneath and between furniture. This way, when you spray the bed bugs, they will scatter into areas soaked with vinegar and die there.
- Spray the vinegar directly onto bed bugs to kill them on contact or send them running into nearby areas you just treated with vinegar.
- To prevent further infestation, soak all infested surfaces, including window sills, walls, furnishings, mattresses, and carpets. Spray the surface as well as the corners and undersides. You would need to do this every week for several weeks to see a reduction in bed bugs.
NEVER mix vinegar with bleach. This will cause toxic chlorine gas that can harm your health.
Pros and Cons of Using Vinegar on Bed Bugs
Can be used for short-term relief. The acidic content of vinegar is strong enough to disrupt their nervous systems.
The smell is terrible and long-lasting.
It is cheap and available almost everywhere.
You might not kill bed bugs completely but only push them into hiding.
This method is very safe. You can spray as much as you need and no one will get harmed like they would with toxic chemical sprays.
Some furniture could be damaged due to the low pH of vinegar.
It is safe to use in homes with children, dogs, and cats.
It will have little effect when there is a major infestation.
May have a toxic effect on some reptilian pets.
Read the comments section below to see results other readers have seen. The majority of readers agree that vinegar isn't as powerful as Hot Shot (which I've reviewed), Bed Bug Bully, or JT Eaton, but it's an effective, albeit slow way, of killing bed bugs over time. 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.
The Results of My Experiment Using Vinegar on Bed Bugs
I obtained a couch from someone with a bed bug problem, and a man with a barn was kind enough to let me do my vinegar experiment there. Here is what I did, and these are the results of that experiment:
- We used a 100% solution of pure white vinegar. We filled spray bottles and soaked every inch of the couch. Then we used paper towels to wipe up the excess vinegar and dead bed bugs. This won't work if you can't get every crack, crevice, and surface. (Remember to wear gloves and avoid touching bed bugs because they are stinky, and they may seep blood when they're dead.)
- This took three people four hours, but the results were promising. We observed only one small bed bug a week later. We missed the eggs, however. Vinegar has nearly no residual effect and does not work on eggs.
- We learned that in order for this to work as the sole treatment, you will need to use gallons of vinegar and reapply every five days, which is not practical because it wreaks.
- We also observed bed bugs running away from the couch. One way to kill these bugs after they scatter is to soak the perimeter of the object you are about to spray with vinegar before. 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 they try to run, they are going to run into more vinegar.
Conclusion: Using vinegar is not a good long-term solution for bed bugs. 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 profession help. Remember, you are not alone. Do not be ashamed and try to hide an infestation. Face it, and do whatever it takes to eliminate the bed bugs.
Other Natural Ways to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
There are several other natural DIY ways to get rid of bed bugs without an exterminator, and below are just some of the methods that have worked for other people.
- Use caulk to seal cracks: Bed bugs live deep inside walls, so sealing with caulk denies them an easy place to hide, and it will prevent them from coming into your home via spaces in the walls.
- Vacuum: Vacuum everything. Bed bugs tend to hide under furniture and lay their eggs on hard surfaces with crevices in them. Vacuuming up the eggs and the bed bugs themselves will significantly reduce their numbers.
- Clean your entire house!: Bed bugs are attracted to clutter, warmth, and carbon dioxide, so de-clutter the room by removing unnecessary items and putting things away neatly.
- High Heat: Bed bugs love to cozy up and hide in fabrics but will die when exposed to high heat, so throw all fabric items (i.e. sheets, pillows, rugs, curtains, stuffed animals, etc.) into the washer and wash on the highest heat setting. This will kill them immediately. Some people swear by using steamers to effectively get rid of bed bugs.
- Use diatomaceous earth: For items you can't toss into the washing machine, use D.E. Diatomaceous earth kills bed bugs by tearing through their bodies. Sprinkle your mattress, soft furniture, and carpet with diatomaceous earth, leave it for a few hours or even a day, and then vacuum it all up.
- Spray with alcohol: Like vinegar, rubbing alcohol can kill bed bugs on contact. It is a stronger chemical though and is not healthy for humans when inhaled.
How to Treat Bed Bug Bites
Use Apple Cider Vinegar
While white vinegar works better as a bed bug repellant, apple cider vinegar is what you should use to treat the bites. Most people report intense itching after being bitten, but the low pH in white vinegar is too abrasive to treat itching. ACV is milder and has antiseptic, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties.
- Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
- Walmart Great Value Apple Cider Vinegar
- VitaCoast Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
- Trader Joe's Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is all natural and healthy. 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 ACV to a cotton ball and apply directly to the bite.
Other Natural Remedies to Stop Itching:
- Witch hazel
- Juniper berries
- Oatmeal paste
- Green tea bags
- Aloe vera
- Tea tree oil
For Severe Bed Bug Infestations
Give vinegar a try, but just remember that heavy infestations will need a professional. This solution works best for infestations that are caught early.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Will Witch hazel help repel bed bugs?
Yes, Witch Hazel would have a repellent effect on bed bugs. The one issue with using it is that most of the witch hazel sold in drug stores is diluted and contains far less of its active ingredients. If you want to use it for bed bugs, you would have to find a more concentrated version than most stores sell.Helpful 75
Where does the adult bed bug hide?
Adult bed bugs can hide anywhere. The most common place to find them is around the head of your bed, under the mattress and in the frame. Even though adult bed bugs are larger than nymphs, they have the ability to become quite flat and squeeze into the smallest of places.Helpful 74
Do bed bugs just sit on your bed in the daylight and not move?
Yes. Bed bugs can sit on your bed in the day-light and sit perfectly still. Bed bugs are nocturnal by nature, but they are not limited to staying in the dark. They may be very much like vampires, but direct sunlight does not harm them.
There might be a reason the bugs are coming out in the day. Sometimes it is because of your sleeping habit. Bed bugs are attracted to the carbon dioxide we breath out. If you spend a lot of daylight hours in bed, it could influence the bed bugs feeding hours.Helpful 63
Do you leave your central air unit on when using a bed bug fogger?
In my opinion, I would turn off your central air unit while using the fogger. You don't want to risk spreading the chemical to other areas of the house that may not need it. It isn't as common for bed bugs or fleas to inhabit these systems, but if your infestation is that deep then forgo the fogger and get a professional pest control company. If your just asking for safety issues, then go ahead and turn it off.Helpful 49
Does heat get rid of bed bugs?
Heat needs to be 118 F for 20 min to kill bed bugs. While home heating might not make them dry up or run, the hotter the home, the slower they will breed. Home heat is not a solution for bed bugs. Some companies specialize in heat treatments for bed bugs. Drying items on high heat in a dryer on its highest heat for an hour is usually sufficient to kill bed bugs.Helpful 45
© 2014 Melody Collins