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Can Hand Sanitizer Kill Bed Bugs?

Hand sanitizer is a harsh-smelling concoction that stings something awful when it gets in open cuts, so many people wonder if it’s powerful enough to kill insects. 

Hand sanitizer can kill bed bugs if you directly expose them to it. Yet, you will need to use a rather strong hand sanitizer that has at least a 60% concentration of isopropyl alcohol. Hand sanitizer will not prevent or deter bed bugs, though. 

Will Hand Sanitizer Kill Bed Bugs? 

A person in black long sleeves holding a hand sanitizer.

It is possible to kill bed bugs with hand sanitizer, but it depends on the strength and amount. 

What Kind of Hand Sanitizer Do I Need to Kill Bed Bugs?

To kill bed bugs, you will need to use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% isopropyl alcohol

However, it is best to use one that is more than 70%. 

Many hand sanitizers do not reach these percentages, though, so you may be better off using rubbing alcohol instead. 

How Can I Use Hand Sanitizer to Kill Bed Bugs?

Really, the only way to use hand sanitizer to kill bed bugs is to either apply the solution directly onto the bug or drop the insect into it. 

You can not just rub hand sanitizer onto areas where bed bugs live or hide and expect it to kill them. 

Hand sanitizer dries pretty quickly, so it will only last on surfaces for a few minutes. 

After drying, it will do nothing to kill, harm, or deter bed bugs. 

Should I Use Hand Sanitizer to Kill Bed Bugs? 

There really isn’t much of a point in using hand sanitizer to kill bed bugs. 

Since the liquid only works if the concentration is potent and you use large amounts, you will have a hard time killing bed bugs this way. 

You should also be aware that dousing furniture or other items in hand sanitizer increases your risk of fire

And, of course, hand sanitizer doesn’t smell that great. 

So, you would be stinking up your house for almost no reward.  

If I Use Hand Sanitizer, Will Bed Bugs Stay Away From Me?

Putting hand sanitizer on your body will not deter bed bugs. 

Since you can’t keep a thick enough layer on your whole body to kill any bed bugs, it will do nothing to them when they crawl on you to feed. 

It also will not stop them from going near you. 

They will bite you the same as if you didn’t have any hand sanitizer on your skin. 

Will Rubbing Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs? 

A bottle of isopropyl alcohol between two tissue rolls on a brown wooden table.

Since it is the isopropyl alcohol in hand sanitizer that kills bed bugs, you may think rubbing alcohol could be a better alternative. 

Unfortunately, though, it probably isn’t. 

I mean, since rubbing alcohol does often have a higher percentage of isopropyl alcohol, it will be more likely to kill bed bugs on contact. 

However, just like hand sanitizer, it will evaporate quickly, so it won’t do anything to kill bed bugs if they walk in it. 

It also won’t deter bed bugs and is a fire hazard. 

Will Lysol Kill Bed Bugs?

Lysol will kill bed bugs if you spray it directly on them. 

But, spraying your home or mattress with Lysol will not kill or deter the bugs because it won’t be potent enough by the time the insects walk through it. 

Will Vinegar Kill Bed Bugs?

A close-up of a saucer with vinegar and a bottle of vinegar in the back.

Yes, vinegar will kill bed bugs. 

Vinegar is very acidic, and that acid will disrupt the bed bug’s nervous system and kill it. 

However, vinegar is another remedy that only kills bed bugs if you directly apply it to them. 

If you want to use vinegar on bed bugs, it’s best to choose the white distilled variety. 

Will Baking Soda Kill Bed Bugs?

Baking soda is a popular choice in the fight against bed bugs. 

But how well does it work?

Overall, baking soda may kill bed bugs since it dries out their exoskeleton. 

Yet, there is limited proof that baking soda dries out the insects enough to kill them. 

How Can I Use Baking Soda to Kill Bed Bugs?

If you want to try to use baking soda to kill bed bugs, you should sprinkle it on places where bed bugs live, such as the sides of your mattress, bed frame, and the surrounding walls. 

Then, every day or two, you should vacuum up the baking soda and re-apply. 

What Scents Do Bed Bugs Hate?

Flat lay photo of different essential oils on a white table.

If you’re trying to keep bed bugs away from you at night, you should be aware that certain people have had some luck using aromas. 

Generally, bed bugs do not really like the scent of cinnamon, lavender, pepper, or lemon. 

Thus, you could try applying these scents to yourself before you go to bed to keep the insects away from you. 

You should know, though, that these aromas will not deter a bed bug if it is hungry enough. 

Additionally, applying perfumes or oils with these scents to your body or other objects will not kill bed bugs. 

What Is the Best Way to Get Rid of Bed Bugs?

The best way to get rid of bed bugs is to have a professional exterminator perform a heat treatment. 

During a heat treatment, an exterminator will raise the temperature in your house above 120°F (49°C) for several hours. 

These extreme temperatures should kill off all the bed bugs in your home. 

Can I Perform a Heat Treatment Myself?

A professional should perform the heat treatment for you. 

They know how to heat every inch of your home to a high temperature to ensure no bed bugs can hide out in cooler spots and survive. 

How Much Is a Heat Treatment for Bed Bugs?

In the United States, you can expect to pay between $1 and $3 per square foot for a heat treatment. 


You can kill bed bugs with hand sanitizer as long as it has a high isopropyl alcohol content and you apply it directly to the insect.