Home Remedies to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

Before diving into home remedies for bed bugs, it’s important to point out that bed bugs are extremely difficult to get rid of. Despite best intentions and efforts, even the tiniest misstep can be the difference between eliminating bed bugs and ongoing infestations. If you have any DIY experience, it may sound enticing to try home remedies to get rid of bed bugs. But ask yourself…is the risk worth an unguaranteed reward?

get rid of bed bugs

The truth is, while some home remedies to kill bed bugs may sound effective, it’s very unlikely they’ll eliminate the problem. These pests are determined to feed, breed and thrive, and they’ll go to great lengths to accomplish their goals. Plus, they’re extremely good hiders and prefer feeding at night, making them difficult to spot. Before turning to home remedies to get rid of bed bugs permanently, it’s important to have all the facts. To give you a clear understanding, let’s take a closer look at research from Rutgers University that shows the ineffectiveness of using home remedies for bed bugs.

Dryer Sheets

Some homeowners believe wiping down furniture and other infested items with dryer sheets will act as a repellent. However, there’s simply no research data to support that this as a proven method.


While efficient for killing or repelling insects interested in fabrics, mothballs are ineffective for combating bed bugs. In fact, after one week evaluating two popular mothball products, less than 50 percent of the bed bugs had been killed, and the mothballs had no significant effect on bed bug eggs.

Rubbing Alcohol

It sounds viable that rubbing alcohol could be a deterrent for bed bugs, but there’s little proof that it works. Rubbing alcohol products available usually contain 70% or 91% isopropyl alcohol. Laboratory studies by Rutgers University show direct spray of either of these two products killed a maximum 50% of the bed bugs. Not only do studies show it having low efficacy, but it’s also flammable. When improperly used, rubbing alcohol can be a fire hazard and should never be utilized to try getting rid of bed bugs.

Ultrasonic Pest Repellers

Despite being readily available and in abundant supply from many distributors, these so-called "pest repellers" still have a lot to prove. In fact, Northern Arizona State University examined four pest repellers on the market and not a single one affected bed bug behavior.

Essential Oils

Essential oils have flooded the market recently, with people singing their praises for everything from stress relief to weight management. However, claiming that oils eliminate bed bugs is another matter. A recent study evaluated the efficacy of nine essential oils, and it didn’t reveal any as having an impact on bed bug mortality.


Although widely used as a home remedy to get rid of bed bugs permanently, research conducted by Ohio State University indicates that foggers are completely ineffective. Plus, they leave insecticide residue on exposed surfaces and may be highly flammable. So while some consumers consider foggers a low-cost alternative to professional pest control services, they’re actually a waste of money.

Home Remedies for Bed Bugs That Really Help

Despite the ineffectiveness of the home remedies listed above, there are a few tips to help get rid of bed bugs, or at least reduce the population. Frequent laundering with hot water and drying on a high heat setting in your dryer (as directed by manufacturers' guidelines) has been shown to effectively kill bed bug eggs and eliminate bed bugs hiding in linens and clothing. Vacuuming your base boards, carpet, mattress, bed frame and furniture such as sofas and chairs can help remove live bed bugs. When finished, be sure to double-bag the vacuum bag and dispose of it in an outdoor trash bin.

Before attempting to get rid of bed bugs yourself, remember how difficult they are to control. Even if just a few survive your DIY efforts, the infestation can quickly rebound. To save yourself time, money and stress, contact a pest control professional at Terminix® to help eliminate bed bugs where they live and breed.


Bed Bug DIY How To