Does Hot Water Kill Bed Bugs? – Using Boiling Water

Updated on by Jared Belson | Please note that there may be affiliate links on this page.

Just the thought of bed bugs makes everyone squirm and shudder! These hardy pests are notoriously difficult to eradicate. Don’t panic, though! We’ll find out if boiling water will kill off a bed bug problem and explore other solutions as well.

What Are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are small insects that feed on blood. They get their name due to their usual location – in your bed. They typically feed at night while you sleep.

Unfortunately, these biting pests are extremely tough to kill. They are fairly heat and cold resistant and are excellent at hiding.

Bed Bugs and Water

Do Bed Bugs Need Water?

Bed bugs are unusual because they do not require water to live. They will never be attracted to a water source. They meet all their hydration needs through the blood they drink. And, they only need to feed about once a week.

Can Bed Bugs Drown?

Bed bugs can eventually drown. However, these tough bugs can live for up to 24 hours in the water before they drown.

Attempting to drown bed bugs is not a good method of pest control. First, you have to catch each, individual bed bug, and drop it into a bucket of water. Second, you have to wait 24 hours for it to drown. This just is not practical.

Do Bed Bugs Swim?

Bed bugs do not swim. They sink in the water and do eventually drown.

Bed Bugs and Hot Water

Bed bugs are pretty tolerant of high and low temperatures. Water needs to be really hot – at least 120-140 degrees Fahrenheit (around 50 to 60 degree Celsius) to kill bed bugs. If the temperature is high enough, hot water will kill bed bugs almost instantly.

Is Boiling Water an Effective Way to Kill Bed Bugs?

While boiling water will kill bed bugs, it is not a very practical solution. It is nearly impossible to safely douse every bed bug hiding spot with boiling water. Plus, boiling water may damage your furniture and home. You do not want to trade a bed bug problem for water damage!

How to Use Hot Water to Kill Bed Bugs

There are several ways to use hot or boiling water to eliminate bed bugs.

Washing Machine

All bedding, clothing, curtains, and slipcovers that may be infested with bed bugs should be washed in hot water.

  • Transfer all infested bedding and clothing to your washing machine in a plastic bag so you don’t scatter bed bugs all over your home.
  • Put your washing machine on the hottest setting. The temperature needs to be at least 120-140 degrees Fahrenheit to kill the bed bugs. Add detergent as desired.
  • Repeat the wash cycle, if desired.
  • Place all the laundry in the dryer on the hottest setting for at least 20 minutes. This should heat up any bed bugs that survived the washing machine!

Boiling Water

Please use this method with caution! (See the warning below.) Boiling water has a risk of burns. Boiling water may also damage your home and furnishings.

  1. Boil water on your stovetop.
  2. Carefully pour the water into a glass or jar.
  3. Pour the boiling water on the infested area.

A Word of Warning

A burn from boiling water is called a scald. Hot water scalding is extremely painful and dangerous. Cells and tissues can be destroyed by the heat from boiling water and steam. In some cases, hot water scalding can be deadly.

If you get scalded, apply cool water to the burn for at least 20 minutes. Dress the burn in a clean dressing. If the burn is widespread, you go into shock or have any signs of infection, contact a medical professional immediately.

Bed Bug Detection

Watch for these signs if you suspect your home may have bed bugs.


Bed bugs typically feed during the night. If you have small, red bites in the morning, look closer! They will leave bites on the arms, shoulders, waist, and ankles in a straight line.


Check your mattress for stains. Small blood droplets may appear from where the bugs bit in the night. Small, dark brown spots are from the bed bug feces.


Many people say that bed bugs have a distinct odor. It is described as musty and slightly sweet.


Bed bugs are wingless insects. They have small, flat, reddish-brown bodies. They’re about the size of an apple seed, but get bigger after a meal. They are excellent hiders. Check along the seams of mattresses, furniture, and rugs, as well as along baseboards and in outlets and vents.

Other Methods of Getting Rid of Bed Bugs


We already know that bed bugs cannot survive high temperatures. Steam is an ideal way to deliver heat and kill bed bugs. A steam cleaner with different nozzles and high heat capability will effectively kill bed bugs in your home. To know more about this, check out our article titled – Does Steam Kill Bed Bugs? – How to Use It Effectively!

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a great solution to pest problems! It is made from crushed diatoms or fossilized sea creatures. It feels soft to the touch but has microscopic jagged edges that will permeate a bed bug’s outer shell.

I recommend this brand. A powder duster is a great way to apply the diatomaceous earth around your home. Read our article on using DE for killing bed bugs for a complete guide.


A bed bug fog bomb like this one will permeate the area with a fog that poisons the bed bugs. This method should be used with caution. Always read, understand, and follow any package instructions when using a pesticide.

Call a Professional

If your bed bug infestation is not manageable with any of these methods, it may be time to call a trusted exterminator.

Final Thoughts

The facts are clear: hot or boiling water will kill bed bugs. However, this method of bed bug control is not the most effective, or the safest, way to deal with a bed bug infestation. I recommend you try one of the other methods listed, instead.

Leave a Comment