Does Vinegar Kill Bed Bugs? Effective Home Remedy? 

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

If you have bed bugs in your home, you’re probably looking for the quickest solution. Vinegar is frequently used for cleaning purposes. It is even used as a pesticide.

You may not want regular pesticides and chemicals in your home. Many people turn to vinegar because it is non-toxic and all-natural. But is vinegar a good solution to a bed bug problem?

Does Vinegar Kill Bed Bugs?

If vinegar makes contact with a bed bug, it will kill it. The key here is direct contact. Since bed bugs are great at hiding, it may be difficult to ensure that vinegar contacts each and every bed bug.

Vinegar may be a safe way to kill bed bugs, but it may be best to combine it with another treatment. Bed bugs reproduce at a rapid rate. It is important to completely eradicate them as quickly as possible.

Does Vinegar Kill Bed Bug Eggs?

Vinegar does not kill bed bug eggs. Bed bug eggs have a tough shell that can not be permeated by vinegar’s acidity. You will need to find another solution to get rid of the bed bug eggs.

How Does Vinegar Affect Bed Bugs?

Vinegar is highly acidic with a pH level around 2.5 for most types of vinegar. The levels of acetic acid in vinegar affect bed bugs’ nervous systems and kill them. Vinegar also has microbial properties.

While all vinegar is acidic, white distilled vinegar is usually the most acidic, and the best to use as a contact pesticide. Apple cider vinegar will work, as well, but may not be as potent. White distilled vinegar is also the least expensive vinegar available.

There are varieties of concentrated vinegar available, as well. These usually contain 20-30% vinegar, while white distilled vinegar is usually 5% vinegar. Concentrated or cleaning vinegar will have a much stronger odor, as well.

Does Vinegar Repel Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs have a sensitive sense of smell and do not like the smell of vinegar. You may use vinegar to deter the bed bugs from beds and furniture or to flush them out of hiding. Once the bugs are out in the open, it is easier to spray them with vinegar.

Remember, vinegar on its own won’t usually solve a bed bug problem. It is best to use it as a solution along with another method of bed bug control.

How to Use Vinegar to Kill Bed Bugs

  • Tidy the area you intend to treat. Remove all bedding, loose clothing, blankets, and clutter. Place bedding and clothing in double-layered trash bags.
  • Fill a spray bottle with white distilled vinegar or concentrated vinegar. If the smell bothers you, you may add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, such as peppermint oil or citrus oil.
  • Spray the entire perimeter of the infested area with vinegar. Make sure to get along carpet seams, baseboards, near outlet covers, or any other crack where a bed bug may hide. Spray enough vinegar to soak the area.
  • Spray on any live bed bugs you see.
  • Soak all furniture, rugs, and carpeting with vinegar. Spray down walls and windowsills. You may want to open windows and run a fan in order to dissipate the smell!
  • Thoroughly wash all bedding and clothing in hot water in your washing machine. You may add one cup of vinegar to your washing machine if desired. Use your dryer’s hottest setting. Bed bugs can not survive exposure at temperatures over 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Repeat this process 2-3 times a week.

How Effective is Vinegar as a Bed Bug Solution?

Vinegar is best used in conjunction with another method to get rid of bed bugs. After all, it only kills bed bugs on contact. Since bed bugs are great at hiding, it can be difficult to soak every single bed bug with vinegar. Also, vinegar will not kill bed bug eggs.

Hazards of Using Vinegar for Pest Control

Vinegar is non-toxic and safe to use around family members and pets. The main drawback is that the vinegar may not get rid of bed bugs completely.

Some people find the odor unbearable. You will need to use a lot of vinegar, and the smell can be really strong. Vinegar may discolor some fabrics. Test a small area of carpet or upholstery before you apply vinegar.

Other Methods of Bed Bug Control

It is best to combine vinegar with one of these other methods in order to completely eradicate bed bugs from your home.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is another nontoxic, all-natural bed bug solution. It is made from crushed diatoms or fossilized sea creatures. This white powder feels soft to the touch, but its microscopic, jagged edges will pierce a bed bug’s shell, and kill it.

Apply diatomaceous earth around the edges of your rooms, and around bed legs with a powder duster. For a complete guide to using diatomaceous earth to kill bed bugs, check out our blog article here.

Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning is also a pesticide-free, bed bug solution. Temperatures over 120 degrees Fahrenheit will kill bed bugs. Purchase a steam cleaner with a high-capacity water tank, a variety of nozzles, and an ability to reach a high temperature.

Thoroughly steam all surfaces, including rugs, carpet, and furniture. Check out our comprehensive guide – Does Steam Kill Bed Bugs?

Pesticides

Although there are many natural bed bug solutions available, you may be looking for something stronger. A pesticide fogger can get rid of bed bugs. Liquid pesticides to kill bed bugs are also available. Always read and follow all package instructions.

Call an Exterminator

If you have a large-scale bed bug infestation or are unable to get rid of the bed bugs with any of these methods, it may be time to call a trusted exterminator!

Final Thoughts

Vinegar does kill bed bugs! However, it is difficult to spray every single bed bug in your home. Also, vinegar doesn’t kill bed bug eggs. Vinegar is not a stand-alone solution for bed bugs. It is most effective if used in combination with another method to kill bed bugs.

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