Best DIY Homemade Vinegar Bed Bug Killer

Updated on January 10, 2018
Bedbugabscond profile image

Melody is a volunteer for the CDC and enjoys sharing her personal experience to give insight to others.

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. Vinegar is no Hot Shot, Bed Bug Bully, or JT Eaton. Its a natrual but slow way to kill bed bugs over time.

You can not cure bed bugs with one solution. Vinegar is a natural way to get rid of them, 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 a Homemade Bed Bug Spray

Homemade vinegar remedies for bed bugs are not pesticides, but they are much safer and might work during early infestation. Here's how to make one:

  1. Purchase white vinegar such as Heinz Distilled, Walmart or Kroger Brand.
  2. Purchase an empty stray bottole such as ULINE, UPC Bottles or something from your local Dollar Tree.
  3. Fill the bottle halfway with vinegar and halfway with water. Use a 1:1 ratio.
  4. Tighten the lid and shake well.
  5. Spray directly onto bed bugs.
  6. Holding bottle a few inches from the mattress, spray the corners and underside.
  7. 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

• 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.

Disadvantages of Using Vinegar

  • The smell is terrible and long lasting. Use a ratio 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 low 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 their nervous systems.
  • Vinegar is also known as acetic acid, it has a low 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 they 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.

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

Apple Cider Vinegar For Bed Bug Bites

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

  • Apple Cider Vinegar To Treat Bites
  • Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Walmart Great Value Apple Cider Vinegar
  • VitaCoast Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

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 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, you can give it a try. Just remember that heavy infestations will need a professional. This solution works best for infestations caught early.

Questions & Answers

  • You mentioned alcohol to get rid of bed bugs. Are you speaking of white rubbing alcohol? I was told bed bugs hate the green, but it makes them run and doesn't kill them.

    Yes. I recommend using the strongest clear rubbing alcohol. While some people report success with the 70% variety, I think the best results come when using the 90% + type.

    The green rubbing alcohol has menthol or wintergreen additives. This might make them run but usually indicates less alcohol. This makes it less effective than the clear.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • I noticed you mentioned Hot Shot to get rid of bed bugs. I tried spraying everything then setting off three bombs then spraying again. In my opinion, it does not work. Did it work for you or does it not do as advertised?

    It does work for many people. However, if the main ingredient in Hot Shot has been used a lot where you live, it is likely that the bed bugs have grown immune to it. Hot Shot would need to change their formula or offer other bed bug products with other active ingredients to solve this problem. If Hot Shot doesn't work for you then you need a pesticide that uses a different active ingredient to kill your bed bugs. Bed bugs can grow immunities to pesticides quickly, this causes a lot of problems for consumers. It isn't easy knowing what pesticides your bed bugs might be immune to.

© 2014 Melody Trent


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    • profile image


      6 months ago

      Katie, that's because they are small and require very little air, they will die eventually but that's because of the lack of blood and not air. If it was, say a rat, then it would die in almost a day as it uses up way more air than the bedbugs.

    • profile image


      6 months ago

      I caught some bedbugs put them in a sealed

      jar they have been there 6 days with no air and they are not

      dead yet.

    • profile image


      7 months ago

      Thank you for sharing this informative blog with us. People who opt of getting rid of bed bugs on their own, this would be more helpful for them. Bed Bugs hitch rides with unsuspecting individuals by hiding in clothing, books, luggage even used furniture. They then disembark at their next breeding location and the whole process can begin again. There are some people who take help of some professionals to get rid of them. One should not let the infestation start. One should consult a Professional pest controller like Pest Control Ridgefield CT from Yale Termite & Pest Elimination Corp or similar which could be found Online for Help. They offer very less amount. One can also check Online and Compare prices and go with what prefers them the Best.

    • profile image

      That guy 

      10 months ago

      Also using alcohol works very well it kill on contact plus kills eggs and it is non toxic to animals you can go to the dollar tree and get 15 bottles of isopropyl alcohol and a spray bottle for 16 dollars do not mix with water the stronger the better and soak every nook and cranny also kills roaches spiders ants and all their eggs

    • profile image

      Scott stockigt 

      12 months ago

      Can vinegar kill bed bugs what step too take

    • Bedbugabscond profile imageAUTHOR

      Melody Trent 

      12 months ago from United States

      Hulk: While some people have claimed to have success with it. More and more people are complaining about the effectiveness of the product. The problem is that bed bugs can grow immune to chemicals. So the overuse of this product could be its own downfall. Honestly, If I were a Hot Shot executive, I would modify the formula to something the bed bugs are not immune of. In the mean time, I am recommending Temprid SC as an alternative bed bug removal product.

    • profile image

      Hulk Hogan 

      13 months ago

      HOTSHOT doesn't kill them.

    • profile image


      16 months ago

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

    • profile image


      20 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.

    • profile image

      So Over This 

      22 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.

    • profile image

      Freda summars 

      2 years 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

    • profile image


      2 years 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.

    • profile image


      2 years 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!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      3 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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