Does Bleach Kill Bed Bugs? Yes…How effective?

For years, bleach has been a product of choice for sanitizing and cleaning for most people. Due to its corrosive nature, homeowners have often considered it for killing bed bugs.

Does Bleach Kill Bed Bugs

Just like cockroaches, bed bugs are difficult to control and will multiply fast. Therefore, in this article, I’ve outlined my thorough response to this question – Does Bleach Kill Bed Bugs? Yes…How effective?

Summary: Technically, bleach will kill bed bugs by making the sodium hypochlorite to oxidize the bug’s body or outer shell.

However, humans or pets could inhale their toxic fumes or it might damage your clothes and fabrics. In addition, you must spray the bleach mixture directly on the bed bug. In fact, bed bug sprays would be more effective and faster alternative.

What’s this bleach? 

According to research by Michigan, Hsp33 (a protein) tends to react with the bleach and thus killed the bacteria under test. Therefore, a similar reaction with bleach would also kill bed bugs.

Bleach (with chlorine as its active ingredient) is a chemical compound used in most homes to color-lighten and whitens fabrics and clothes. As noted above, the chemical application is mainly as a disinfectant or cleaner. Its mainly loved for its great ability to kill various kinds of algae, mildews, and bacteria. 

Its basic function – bleaching- happens through chlorine-initiated reduction or oxidation. Chemically, scientists say that Chlorine breaks down chromophore, which makes the compound to become non-reactive to all visible light. 

Also, bleach can will disinfectant against various microbes through denaturing the bacterial proteins and hence rendering them harmless when they clump together – the same way you cannot uncook a boiled or fried egg. 

Why bleach isn’t effective for bed bugs

Do away with bleach (Sodium hypochlorite – NaOCl) and consider safer and effective solutions like rubbing alcoholLysol, and Ammonia, bed bug steamers to Kill adult bed bugs and baby bed bug nymphs

Below, I’ve outlined the reasons why you should avoid bleach as a bed bug control solution. Always, ensure you carefully read the product label instructions.

1. Requires direct contact with bed bugs

Bleach will only kill bed bugs through direct contact and thus will be less effective for the bugs that are still in some of their odd hiding places.

Bleach cannot poison bed bugs that fall near it. Therefore, the homeowner would require to spray the chemical directly on the body of the bed bug – if not you’ll have missed the train.

Therefore, in case the bed bugs will be hiding on fabrics and clothes, you might end up unintentionally damaging them.

2. Bleach can poison pets and humans

Bleach may also poison your pets, adult human beings, and kids. But how? If you kid or dogs/ cars accidentally ingest the bleaching liquid, they might get poisoned. 

When used in combination with HCl, bleach may result in a number of conditions such as acute lung injury, (ALI), adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) or death. This may come in the form of chloramine, or chlorine dioxide. 

Also, bleach may react with human skin leading to chemical burns.

3. Bed bug’s pheromones sense bleach from far

These C. hemipterus bugs use their pheromones to determine the type and concentration of chemicals or poisons in their environment and thus can escape if you’ve sprayed any bleach. Therefore, after detecting some bleach in their environment, they’ll run into hiding cabinets, dresses or cracks and crevices. 

Scientifically, C. hemipterus were previously considered to be odorless but various chemical compounds can signal to them and hence described like alarm pheromones. Therefore, bleach will not be a great bed bug control solution since the bugs will simply detect the chemical and go into hiding. 

4. Heat treatment is a better alternative

For this you’ll do over 2 hours of heat treatment of your rooms at 140 degrees F. Such a treatment will allow you to kill bed bugs that are visible and those hiding inside cracks and crevices. Luckily, this heat treatment method even kills bed bugs that are insecticide-resistant. 

Heat treatment for bed bugs is Eco-friendly, produces no toxic gases and will leave no residual like the bleach method we discussed above. Equally, with this method, you’d not mainly require to undertake follow-up treatments as technique will kill even the bed bug nymphs and eggs.


So, does Bleach Kill Bed Bugs? Yes…How effective? Well, we’ve covered reasons why you definitely shouldn’t use bleach to try and kill bed bugs.

Therefore, my conclusion is that you must avoid bleach and result in other roach solutions options such as heat treatment, roach bombs or roach killers.


1. Bed Bugs – Entomology 

2. Rutgers study Bleach controlling bed bugs


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