How to kill bedbugs effectively using rubbing alcohol

Bedbugs are a common and persistent problem in many households, capable of causing discomfort and stress.

File photo: Bedbug

While professional extermination is often recommended for severe infestations, some home remedies can be effective for minor outbreaks.

One such remedy is the use of rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol), known for its insecticidal properties.

This article provides a detailed guide on how to use rubbing alcohol to combat bedbugs safely and effectively.


Rubbing alcohol is believed to kill bedbugs on contact by dissolving their outer shell, leading to dehydration and death.

However, it's important to note that while it can kill bedbugs on contact, it does not have a residual effect, meaning it only kills the bugs it directly touches.

Before diving into the application process, it's crucial to understand the safety precautions:

  • Rubbing alcohol is highly flammable. Avoid using it near open flames or heat sources.
  • Ensure the room is well-ventilated to prevent inhalation of fumes.
  • Wear protective gloves to avoid skin irritation.

Step-by-step guide to using rubbing alcohol against bedbugs:

1. Preparation:

  • Start by cleaning and decluttering the affected area to reduce hiding spots for bedbugs.
  • Vacuum thoroughly to remove any visible bedbugs, eggs, and droppings. Dispose of the vacuum bag or contents in a sealed plastic bag immediately after.

2. Choosing the right alcohol:

  • Use a rubbing alcohol solution that is at least 70% isopropyl alcohol for effectiveness. Higher concentrations can be more effective but also increase flammability risks.

3. Application:

  • Fill a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol. Do not dilute it, as water will reduce its effectiveness.
  • Spray directly onto bedbugs if visible, as well as on potential hiding places, including mattress seams, bed frames, box springs, and furniture joints. Be thorough but avoid saturating the surfaces to prevent damage.

4. Repeating the process:

  • Because rubbing alcohol does not kill bedbug eggs, it's necessary to repeat the application every few days for at least two weeks. This cycle helps catch new bedbugs as they hatch and prevents reinfestation.

5. Monitoring:

  • After treatment, closely monitor the area for signs of bedbug activity. Consider using bedbug interceptors under bed legs to catch and monitor for bedbugs.

6. Complementary measures:

  • Combine the use of rubbing alcohol with other methods, such as laundering bedding and clothing at high temperatures, using bedbug-proof mattress encasements, and sealing cracks and crevices where bedbugs can hide.

While rubbing alcohol can be an effective tool in the battle against bedbugs, it's best used as part of a comprehensive pest control strategy.

Remember, severe infestations likely require professional extermination services to fully eradicate the problem.


Always prioritize safety when using chemical treatments at home, and consider the environmental and health implications of your chosen methods.

By following this guide, you can utilize rubbing alcohol as a potent ally in maintaining a bedbug-free home, ensuring peace of mind and a good night's sleep.

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