Getting rid of bed bugs is a very difficult task. They are excellent at hiding, nocturnal, and quickly becoming resistant to chemical pesticides, leading many to wonder if a simple solution like rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) might be a better method of extermination. vampires.
Isopropyl alcohol kills bugs. It can kill the worms themselves and destroy their eggs. But before you start spraying, you should know that using alcohol for bed bugs is ineffective and even dangerous.
Why Alcohol Shouldn’t Be Your Best Choice?
Alcohol uses two methods to kill bugs. First, it acts as a solvent, which means it destroys the outer shell of the bug. While the dissolving action may be enough to kill some bugs, alcohol packs a one-two punch. It also acts as a humectant, a drying agent.
When the outer shell dissolves, the alcohol dries out the inside of the bug and finishes the job. It destroys the eggs in the same way: it dissolves and dries the eggs, preventing them from hatching.
Alcohol is cheap, it is available in all drugstores in the country, and it works. So why isn’t everyone solving their bedding problems with it?
It requires direct contact
The hardest part: Alcohol only kills on contact. This means that you have to spray the bugs right away, and if you have an infestation, it can be very difficult to spot bed bugs.
Bed bugs can hide in very small spaces – cracks between furniture, electrical outlets, books on shelves. It is almost impossible to bring alcohol into these spaces.
Because bed bugs often congregate away from the road (called “harbors”), killing the bugs you can see won’t kill the ones you can’t.
It is not 100% effective
Researchers at Rutgers University looked at two different products with high levels of isopropyl alcohol. One product contained 50 percent alcohol and the other contained 91 percent alcohol. Neither product eliminated more than half of the bugs.
Bed bug infestations can spread quickly – the average female lays up to 250 eggs in her lifetime, so products that kill half of the accessible population won’t solve the problem.
It is flammable
The most important reason not to use alcohol to kill bed bugs has nothing to do with bed bugs. Isopropyl alcohol is a highly flammable substance.
Although it dries quickly, upholstery can be a fire hazard if sprayed on furniture, carpets, fabrics, clothing, or mattresses. Vapors left in the air are also highly flammable.
In 2017, a Cincinnati woman tried to get rid of bed bugs by dousing her furniture with rubbing alcohol. Candles or incense were lit nearby and the fire left 10 people homeless. The Washington Post reported at least three other similar incidents.