Does Vinegar Kill Bed Bugs?

We all know that bed bugs are one of the most stubborn and annoying pests to deal with, and often the most difficult to eradicate. 

Since bed bug problems have become increasingly common, a variety of home remedies have been tried and tested to use against these blood-sucking pests, and one of them is vinegar.

In this article, we will learn about the effect of vinegar on bed bugs, how to use it, the pros and cons of using vinegar, and whether it can treat bug bites or not. 

In short, we will educate you about everything you need to know about using vinegar against bed bugs.

Does Vinegar Kill Bed Bugs?

Vinegar, in simple terms, is a solution of acetic acid and water. The pH level of vinegar is about 2.5, which means that it is weakly acidic. It is commonly used as a cleansing agent due to its antimicrobial properties.

Vinegar is often used as a contact insecticide, and its acidity is potent enough to disrupt an insect’s nervous system and kill it.

But does it also work on bed bugs?


Spraying vinegar directly on bed bugs can kill them. This remedy is safe, but it often only provides a short-term effect. Besides, spraying vinegar does not affect bed bug eggs, as they have a strong and hard coating that vinegar cannot penetrate.

Vinegar also has a distinct odor due to the acetic acid present in it, which can be used to repel bed bugs. So, vinegar will kill only on contact but will repel the bugs from a distance.

How to Use Vinegar against Bed Bugs?

Vinegar is a safe solution for any pest problem, especially because it is free from chemicals. Here is how you can make and use vinegar spray.

  1. Find white vinegar at your home or purchase it from a nearby store.
  2. Take an empty spray bottle and fill it with vinegar.
  3. Identify the hiding places of bed bugs. These can be furniture, mattress, sheets, clothes, cabinets, walls, cracks, crevices, or corners.
  4. Now spray the solution in all these places. Spray as much as you can and soak these places in vinegar.
  5. If bed bugs rush out of their hiding places, then spray the vinegar on them directly till they are killed.
  6. To prevent further infestation, soak all infested surfaces, mattresses, pillows, sheets, clothes, window sill, cracks in furniture, etc. with vinegar
  7. Repeat this process every week, for a few weeks, till all the signs of bed bug infestation are gone.
  8. To prevent bug bites at night, you can spray vinegar at the foot of your bed. The bed bugs are repelled by its smell, and will not pass it to crawl up your bed at night.
  9. NEVER combine bleach with vinegar while cleaning your house or clothes, as it causes chlorine gas emission which is extremely harmful to your health.

Can Vinegar Be Used to Treat Bug Bites?

Bug bites may not cause any serious effect on your physical health, but they are surely itchy and can be cosmetically displeasing. And yes! Vinegar can help.

How to Use Vinegar against Bed Bugs?

White vinegar is mostly used as a bed bug repellent and it is inadvisable to use it to treat bites because the low pH of white vinegar is too abrasive to treat the itching. In the case of bug bites, we recommend using apple cider vinegar.

Apple cider vinegar is natural and healthy. It will calm the itching or burning sensation, when applied on bites, and will fasten the process of natural treatment. You can soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar, and apply it to the bites and the area around them.

Pros and Cons of Using Vinegar on Bed Bugs

Vinegar is a cheap and readily available solution for pest control. On contact, it disrupts the nervous system of the bed bug, thus killing it. 

As it is chemical-free, it is a safe and effective solution. So, you don’t even have to be worried about your children or pets getting harmed. Vinegar is also a very good repellent and can prevent bug bites.

Using vinegar is an easy and safe method, but it does come with its own disadvantages.

The smell of vinegar is quite disturbing, even to humans, and if sprayed, it has a long-lasting effect. Using vinegar is often proven tough to kill bed bugs, as it is very difficult to spray on them directly, and it is practically impossible to kill all of them using only vinegar.

The low pH of vinegar may damage your furniture, mattress, or walls. The solution is to check by spraying a small area of the material first. Although vinegar is not harmful to pets like dogs and cats, it is toxic to reptilian pets.

Other Natural Ways to Eliminate Bed Bugs

In conclusion, using only vinegar to eradicate bed bugs is not an effective and wholesome solution to get rid of them. You may need some other method in combination with vinegar to ensure 100% eradication. Here are some methods you can use!

Diatomaceous Earth

It is a chemical-free, and effective solution against bed bugs. When a bug comes in contact with DE powder, it leads to excessive dehydration, eventually killing the bug. DE powder can be sprinkled around your house. It is not harmful to humans.

Vacuum and Steam Cleaning

Vacuuming can catch both live bed bugs and their eggs. You can vacuum your house thoroughly, including couches, mattresses, carpets, etc., and then dispose of the vacuum bag in an outside trash can. You can do this at least twice a week.

In case of a serious infestation, steam cleaning has been proven most effective. You can steam clean your house slowly and thoroughly. The high temperature of steam kills the bed bugs effectively.

Essential oils

Essential oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, tea tree oil, clove, etc. not only kill the bugs but also act as a very good repellent due to their strong smell. You can either apply them to your body to prevent bug bites or make a simple DIY spray and spray it around the house.

Final Words

We understand that having bed bugs can create panic, and getting rid of them can even be a back-breaking task, but it’s not the end of the world! We have taught you everything there is to know about using vinegar for bed bug control, and other methods you can use.

We hope this has helped you immensely! Thanks for reading.

Photo of author


Daniel White
I'm Daniel White, and I live in Jacksonville, Florida. The warm and humid climate of Florida gives an ideal habitat for many different kinds of pests. So, if I had to live in Florida, I had to learn how to deal with these pests. Now, I have 7 years of experience in Pest Control.

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