Does Lysol kill bed bugs?

Lysol, as we generally know it, is a chemical disinfectant whose active ingredient is benzalkonium chloride – Ethanol/SD Alcohol. 

Does Lysol kill bed bugsLysol is largely used as a disinfectant to kill germs, fungi, viruses, and bacteria that are in households or public areas like common workspaces, restaurants, and public washrooms. 

But, does Lysol kill bed bugs (Cimex lectularius)?  Let’s find out! 

The short answer is YES! Lysol contains ethanol/SD Alcohol and Hydrogen Peroxide that, if sprayed on infested areas (or on the pest), kills the bed bugs in 20 minutes. Also, Lysol fumes will spread through the air, destroy the bed bug’s breathing system, and exterminate the bed bugs. However, for better outcomes, you can mix Lysol with other anti-bedbug chemicals such as drain cleaners and sprays (that has 0.0125% Zeta-Cypermethrin & 0.05% Bifenthrin).


What is Lysol? Is Lysol Toxic? 

For starters, Lysol is the bottled liquid or spray that we homeowners mainly use to clean or disinfect surfaces such as concrete or wooden floors, bathrooms, and couches.

Chemically, Lysol is composed of benzalkonium chloride (0.01 – 5%) and ‘free line’ Hydrogen peroxide, Lactic Acid, Isopropyl Alcohol. Hence, about Lysol is chemically 80% ethanol, which has high efficacy in killing and repelling bed bugs. 

Therefore, homeowners use Lysol for bed bugs: (1) As an alternative to other bed bug control plans (Ammonia and bleach) or (2) For a budget-friendly product that’s readily available.

But, is Lysol Toxic? Benzalkonium chloride (the active ingredient in Lysol) is toxic to birds, aquatic invertebrates, & fish. In fact, in the early 1900s, Lysol was used as a suicide tool. But, Lysol is not toxic to the human skin, if used as described on the product label instructions.

How does Lysol kill bed bugs? Is Lysol toxic?

First, let’s understand how bed bugs operate. Bed bugs require to take just 1 meal in a week to survive. Therefore, it’s very difficult to find the bugs moving around on different surfaces, couch, or beds.

Therefore, bed bugs might only require to come out once per week to suck blood from humans and they’ll be hiding all the rest of the time. So, under these conditions, how will Lysol kill the bed bugs? 

Lysol contains a high percentage of ethanol (80%) that’ll kill bed bugs simply on contact. But there is a small problem. The Lysol solution needs to be sprayed directly on the bed bugs to effectively kill the bugs.

Spraying Lysol on the area you think the bed bugs will frequent, like refrigerators, attic, and mattress covers, may not work efficiently. 

The chemicals in Lysol, Hydrogen Peroxide and benzalkonium chloride, will poison and kill the bed bug when ingested. Bed bugs may sadly become resistant to common insecticides and Lysol too like they do with cockroach killers

But, which type of Lysol is the best? As we’ve noted above, a high percentage of alcohol is the secret weapon against bed bugs and thus your chosen Lysol must fit this class. Specifically, we prefer Lysol that has over 80% of alcohol content as it’ll be very effective in killing bed bugs on contact. 

Further, the Lysol you selected must be safe to use on different surfaces and fabrics such as sofas. Therfere, don’t go for Lysol models that are not created for disinfecting since their alcohol percentage will be very low and thus won’t effectively kill bed bugs.

Can Lysol Kill Bed Bug Eggs? 

Short answer, NO! Lysol won’t kill bed bug eggs. But why? Well, bed bug eggs have a protective cover or exoskeleton that’ll enable them to survive most chemicals, including Lysol, until they hatch to become pupae and larvae. 

Sadly, the bed bug eggs will hatch in a few weeks and grow to adults that’ll continue reproducing. Using extreme cold or extreme heat is the best solutions to kill the nasty bed bug eggs. Thus, to effectively kill bed bug eggs, you’re better off using other bed bug control methods like rubbing alcohol or steaming

How To Use Lysol to kill Bed Bugs 

Don’t settle into having sleepless nights due to bed bug bites. Below, I’ve outlined how you can use Lyson to kill bed bugs. But, vacuum and steam your space and bed bus prior to spraying the Lysol. Steaming will ensure that the Lysol won’t vaporize easily. 

Step 1: First, clear all the dirt from the apartment, vacuum thoroughly, and get all the clutter to the waste bin outside to avoid a bed bug reinfestation.

Step 2: Inspect the areas prone to bed bug infestations. Such areas include crevices and cracks, bed frames, and beddings where bed bugs, their eggs, and larvae would find comfort. Also, encase your mattresses and the pillows.

Step 3: Now sprinkle the Lysol onto the floors and surfaces where there is a bed bug infestation. If the areas to be covered are extensive, then you might require additional Lysol bottles or cans.

Step 4: However, spray on the live bed bugs until the become motionless – practically dead. This because some of the bed bugs might pretend to be dead and if you stop spraying sooner, they’ll just rise up and continue terrorizing you and your pets.

Step 5: As noted above, to kill the fleas eggs, you’ll need to use a bed bug steamer or rubbing alcohol as this will break the egg’s protective cover.

Despite that Lysol will kill bed bugs, we’ve noted that this solution will not be as effective in killing the pest like other solutions.

The recommended methods include bed bugs sprays, baits, steamers, alcohol, and borax. These will not only kill the adult fleas but some may also act as repellents against the pesky bugs.

Related: Check snake repellents for the home and yard.

Are there Risks in Using Lysol?

So, do you or your pets face any risk just for using Lysol to kill or repel bed bugs? Well, first, Lysol might not actually kill the bed bugs if not used correctly. For example, Lysol will not kill the bed bug eggs and thus its effectiveness as an all-around bed bug solution is limited.

If you use only, and not combined with other bed bug control methods, you’ll leave the bed bug eggs intact and thus they’ll hatch and grow into pupae, larvae, and adults within a short time. Therefore, you must take serious precaution when using Lyson just like you do if you’re applying bleach or boric acid.

Finally, Lysol is flammable and take caution when spraying it around flames or sources of fire. In addition, take care because Lysol may damage some of the floors or surfaces – for this you must check the product label instructions.

Sources: 

  1. Evaluation of disinfectants to prevent mechanical transmission – NCBI
  2. Overview of Lysol scientific studies

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