Does baking soda really kill bed bugs? – find out the truth

Bed bugs are pretty much a modern plague. They have been a pesky nightmare for many people, literally giving them sleepless nights and making them consider all possible ways of getting rid of them. One of the most popular bed bug home remedies is baking soda.

But the question is, does baking soda kill bed bugs? The truth is that many of the claimed home remedies for bed bugs, for instance salt, vinegar, essential oils, and so forth, don’t work well, if at all. So, let’s see if baking soda is an option you should consider as a measure against bed bugs.

Does Baking Soda Kill Bed Bugs?

Baking soda or baking powder, is a common term for the chemical called sodium bicarbonate. It is a very common household chemical, and it has applications in cooking, cleaning, and even medicine. Below are some claims made about baking soda and how it can kill bed bugs.

1. By causing Dehydration
The reason some people argue that baking powder can kill bed bugs is that it has strong absorbing powers. And that’s true, which is why the product is used to get rid of bad smells in old books and refrigerators.

Bed bugs have a layer of oil protecting them from dehydration, which can be eliminated using baking soda. Removal of this layer leads to dehydration in these bugs, and ultimately causes their death.

2. It Can Make the Bed Bugs Explode
Some argue, that as in cockroaches, baking powder, when consumed by bed bugs, can cause them to explode. The chemical reacts in the insect’s body and a lot of gas is generated that builds up and makes the pests blow up and die.

3. Baking Soda Can Open Up Fatal Wounds on the Bed Bugs
Another explanation on how baking soda kills bed bugs is that it is abrasive enough to open up fatal wounds on the underbellies of these insects. From there, bleeding, infection, and the aforesaid dehydration can them bring about their death.


What Science Says about Killing Bed Bugs with Baking Powder

Science does not back some of the above explanations on how baking soda kills bed bugs. Good science says that baking soda is can absorb, but only odors and some select chemicals. Fluids like the oil layer found on bed bug’s body are not easily absorbed by baking soda, if at all.

Also, as far as science goes, the idea that baking soda is abrasive enough to open wounds on a bed bug’s belly is quite a reach. Similarly, the theory about bed bugs eating the powder and exploding is also quite questionable. For one thing, these insects don’t have a taste for baking powder. In fact, even their digestive anatomy does not make it possible for them to consume substances like baking powder. Read more about effective bed bug treatments.

bicarb soda

So, Where does The Truth Lie?

There may be all these arguments and counterarguments about using baking soda to kill bed bugs, but at the end of the day, what matters is whether the intervention works or not. And if so, to what extent.

Luckily, science does admit that the baking powder adheres to the soft underbellies of these pests; and that this does not bond well for them. So yes, bed bugs can succumb from exposure to this household chemical, but maybe not in the way most people think.

How Effective Is Baking Soda at Killing Bed Bugs?

While some theories suggest that it is not possible to kill bed bugs with baking soda at all, the truth is that people have reported some level of effectiveness when using this chemical. But this is largely a question of how well the product is used, and the level of patience you have with the method.

Those who say baking soda works recommend that you apply it effectively to witness any noticeable results. Otherwise, you will be convinced that baking soda cannot kill a bed bug.

It is also recommended that you exercise a bit of patience when using baking powder to get rid of bed bugs. In other words, if you are looking for instant results, baking powder might not be the solution you are looking for.

The household chemical takes time before it can take a toll on the bed bugs crawling around your home and stuff. And finally, those who have reported some level of success when using this chemical strongly recommend that you use it in conjunction with other interventions.

Anyone who has dealt with bed bugs has an idea as to how resilient these creatures can be. They have even been known to survive very hazardous chemicals specifically designed to kill them. So, you should not expect any magical results from using baking powder to eliminate them.

Basically, a multifaceted approach is what works best. But even then, make sure you follow the right application procedure.

How to Use Baking Powder For More Effective Results

First of all, there are many ways you can use baking powder to deal with bed bugs. Firstly, you can mix the baking soda with water in a bowl to make a paste. You can then paint this paste in areas where the bugs might hide using a toothbrush such as on cracks, holes, chairs, mattresses, and so forth.

Basically, you should put the paste on all the places the bed bugs might walk through. Secondly, you can pile up a ring of baking powder around the legs of your bed. The bed bugs that pass through the powder will succumb to its deadly effects and die.

You can also sprinkle the baking powder on the said areas of concern, or even on the carpet. But as mentioned earlier, patience is key. You have to keep reapplying the baking powder as the bugs will not all die in one go. In other words, this is a long-term process.

Also remember, as mentioned earlier, that throwing in two or three other bed bug control methods can magnify the results. This way, the bugs that fail to die from the baking powder for some reason or another can die from any of the other interventions you are using. This will help you get faster and more effective results.


Generally speaking, baking powder is something you can use to kill bed bugs. But you have to be realistic about what it can actually accomplish. Additionally, you have to apply it diligently to get the expected results. To find out about some other effective methods, click here to my other article