Does bleach kill bed bugs?

Dave Campbell

Whether you have a guesthouse, hotel, backpackers lodge, or at home—there is one insect you do not want to have in the house the bed bug!

If you have traveled and discovered a bed bug infestation, you need to take action now. Maybe your mind’s scrambling around thinking what you can do. Now, you wonder, will bleach kill bed bugs?

Your first reaction may be to find a potent chemical such as bleach. Undoubtedly, the toxic chemical will kill the insect biting you at night and leaving you with unrest at night.

Bleach, also known as sodium hypochlorite, is often the first thing that you may turn to when sterilizing your living space.

While bleach is a useful option, it is not the safest bug treatment. So before using it as a product to kill the bug, you need to understand why it is unsafe.

How Does Bleach Work?

Does bleach kill bed bugs? Everyone, even you, uses bleach in the house to destroy bacteria by combining it with water. Once the bleach mixes with water, it creates an acid called hypochlorous.

The acid breaks down proteins to help make it defective. So to answer the question does bleach kill bed bugs—the short answer is yes, only using bleach in director contact will kill the bugs and their eggs.

A fact is there is a big debate about using bleach to kill the bug. Even when the beg bugs come into direct contact with a mixture of water, it may fall off the bed bugs body and not become absorbed, therefore, leaving it ineffective.

On the other hand, if you spray the bleach solution on the mattress, the bed bugs start to scatter to other parts of the home.

Once these bed bugs start to move into different parts of the house, the treatment of the bed bugs and their eggs become difficult.

Neither does spraying the bleach solution in one area resolve the problem as bed bugs live in cracks, mattresses, baseboards, carpets, etc. Therefore, you need to use undiluted bleach directly onto the bed bugs to kill it.

So why should you not use bleach to kill bed bug infestation?

Bleach is highly toxic, and spraying the bleach with water everywhere in the home can put you, pets, and family at risk.

You can experience severe side effects, and there is no guarantee that the bleach kills bed bugs and their eggs. The chemical is corrosive to the skin leading to irritation in the respiratory system, skin, and mouth.

You may even find yourself with severe signs of blurred vision and tightened lungs. For this reason, spraying a mixture of bleach on the mattress is a bad idea in getting rid of bed bugs.

While some pest control sites recommend using homemade bleach bed bug spray made with hot water in equal parts—you will not be able to use that mattress for at least two weeks after spraying int.

Further, you will need to leave it standing in the sunlight, even the furniture, baseboards, and everything else washed with the bleach needs sun exposure.

On the other hand, you will not be able to sleep or use the room for a week after using the bleach. Now, you may wonder, “How long does it take for bleach to kill bed bugs?” The recommended waiting time is 24-hours after using a bleach treatment when removing bed buds.

Furthermore, the bleach works better combined with using a hair drier and only used after treating areas with the bleach solution.

Now, imagine how time-consuming this method will be. The next thing that many have considered is another homemade bed bug spray of vinegar and bleach.

Does Bleach and Vinegar Kill Bed Bugs?

Using vinegar for bed bugs is not a pesticide but is a safe solution in the early stage of the infestation. However, never mix bleach and vinegar as it causes a toxic chlorine gas that is very dangerous.

You can use white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the area around the infested bed bugs sections with the vinegar into cracks and crevices of walls.

Further, it helps if you sprayed it in tight spaces and furniture. On the other hand, you need to spray it directly onto the bed bugs. You will need to soak every part of the home with the bug spray and do it every week for a couple of weeks.

The same applies to use bleach as a bug spray; it helps to continue using the technique to get rid of the bugs. Alos it is known that bleach kills maggots and other bugs.

What Kill Bed Bugs?

So what chemical kills bed bugs? There are several chemicals available to kill bed bugs, but each one has a different mode of action as bed bugs can resist one method but not the other.

Therefore, you need to use a combination of these insecticides for significant results as it works together as an active ingredient.

Pyrethrins/Pyrethroids – the difference is that the Pyrethrins derived from chrysanthemum flowers, and the other one is synthetic. Both the chemicals interfere with the nerve system and causes paralysis leading to death. On its own, it may not be useful to specific populations of bed bugs.

Desiccants – the insecticide is a drying agent that dehydrates the insect as it attaches to the exoskeleton and works mechanically and not chemical. For this reason, the bug cannot develop resistance and safe to use around you and pets such as Cimexa Dust or Diatomaceous Earth.

Biochemical Pesticide – such as cold-pressed Neem Oil used in a spray works as a bug repellent and insecticide. The technique is an extended treatment and will not eradicate the infestation instantly.

Neonicotinoids – the insecticide used worldwide and made of different forms of nicotine to wreak havoc on the insect’s nervous system.

The products offer you an active ingredient that is more effective than using bleach to kill bed bugs.

What Kills Bed Bugs Instantly

While using bleach, kill bed bugs on contact and using pesticides, what kills bed bug when using other methods. The best solution is fumigation. You can use techniques like heat to control bed bugs, but sometimes you need to remove the community as the bed bugs breed fast.

The method is a drastic solution to fill the house with poisonous gas, but is an invasive process and used as a last resort to remove the bugs.

The best is to call in a professional bed bug fumigation service to do it for you. You will need to clear your entire items from foodstuff, linen, clothes, and seal it entirely while the gas works.

When the bed bugs infestation is severe, the whole property may need tenting, and all food, plants, and linens removed. You will need to stay somewhere else for a few days. Once the process completes, the place needs ventilation to make for safe entry.

Here is where the hard work starts to vacuum up the dead insects and remove the toxic chemicals by washing off all sections in the house and giving your bed a good cleaning to get rid of the dead bugs and their eggs.

What is the Best Method

If fumigation’s not an option, there are methods you can use similar to those used by pest control services:

Wash and contain – wash all linen, clothes, and toys in the washing machine at a high temperature, and the same applies when drying and place all items in plastic bags.

Vacuum – you need to do this frequently, preferably using a vacuum with HEPA filter and empty contents into a sealable container away from the house.

Steam clean – a home steamer works well to use it on mattresses, crevices, nooks, and couches as the heat kills any pest that hides.

Install an encasement – get a unique cover to use over your mattress to prevent or contain an infestation.

Take action – use Cimexa Dust under the baseboards, nightstands, headboards, electric outlets, cracks, and crevices in the home. Place bed bug traps at the feet of the bed to prevent the insect from crawling up to you. However, make sure to dispose of the traps and killing them on contact using an undiluted bleach solution outside.

These are the steps you can follow to remove the pesky pest from home, but you will need to keep following the steps. When you notice dead insects, make sure to vacuum everywhere, followed with steam clean.

Final Note Prevention

While bleach is not the best method to kill bed bugs, you can use the bleach in combination with the other techniques described.

Having the home fumigated is one of the fastest ways to kill, but should be your last resort. Furthermore, you can prevent bringing in the bug if you do not have an infestation of it now.

Always be careful when you travel and place your luggage in the bathtub as soon as you enter your hotel room. Pull the bed linen back to check for signs of feces or blood.

Once returning home, vacuum the luggage and wash your clothing before putting it into your wardrobe. If you do have the bed bug and decide to throw the mattress away, first seal it before transporting.

Lastly, when buying second-hand furniture, always inspects it first as you never know what is hiding in the cushions bringing it into your home.

Dave Campbell

I'm Dave Campbell and the owner of You can read more about me and my background on my About Me page.

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