Bed bug infestations have seen an increase in the use of natural bed bug remedies like essential oil for bed bugs. Among those in common use is vinegar. But, does vinegar really kill bed bugs?
Simple answer is – YES. A highly-concentrated solution of white vinegar will kill bed bugs on contact. Acetic acid in vinegar kills bed bugs by interfering with the PH levels in their internal fluids. In addition, vinegar has a pungent smell which repels bed bugs.
Details: Does Vinegar Kill Bed Bugs?
However, research has shown that vinegar can be used as a pesticide because of its acidic properties. Also the antibacterial properties of vinegar makes it an ideal substance for dissipating unwanted smells.
Vinegar kills bed bugs by contact. So, you might have to spray directly on them to achieve good results. When sprayed on bed bugs, the acid in vinegar shocks the nervous system and disrupts the PH level causing the insect to die.
If you want good results, use undiluted vinegar for eradicating bed bugs. When spraying, be sure to saturate the surfaces with vinegar. You are also required to spray frequently to be able to control bed bug infestation.
Note that vinegar has little or no effect on the bed bug eggs. Their egg-shells act as an effective barrier to vinegar. Thus, you will have to use another treatment to prevent them from hatching.
Vinegar is basically a mild acid composed of acetic acid and water. Normally, vinegar is used in cleaning and food preparation to increase acidity in food. Vinegar is an aqueous solution made through fermentation of various types of fruits.
Does Vinegar Repel Bed Bugs?
Now you know it’s possible to kill bed bugs using vinegar. A highly concentrated vinegar will certainly kill bed bugs on contact. But does it also repel bed bugs and prevent them from coming back?
A simple answer to this question is yes. As an acid, vinegar has a pungent smell which quickly diffuses to the surrounding area. Bed bugs hate the pungent smell emitted. When you spray on an infested area, bed bugs will start running away from the smell.
While this can be good news, it might create another problem. Well, you might successfully repel bed bugs from your bed and mattress. But these pesky creatures will find their way into other places inside the house where there’s less repellent smell.
When the smell subsides, these bed bugs will come back to look for you. Thus, it’s advisable to use vinegar regularly to kill bed bugs that keep coming back.
Which Type Of Vinegar Kills Bed Bugs?
The most common types of vinegar are white vinegar (corn), apple cider vinegar (apples), red vinegar (grapes), rice vinegar (rice) and malt vinegar (barley).
They vary in their concentration of acetic acid and other elements. Thus, they will have varying level of effectiveness against bed bugs. White vinegar tends to have the highest concentration of acetic.
That means, white vinegar will have quick and effective damage on bed bugs. It is also cheap and readily available in your local shop. So, compared to other types of vinegar, white vinegar proves to be the best for bed bug treatment.
Apple cider vinegar is usually kept in households due to its use in cleaning purposes. However, white vinegar can do cleaning as well in addition to bed bug treatment. Apple cider vinegar won’t help you eradicate bed bugs.
However, you can use it to treat bed bug bites. It is mild on the skin. When applied on bed bug bites, it can reduce the irritation and help in the healing process.
Does Vinegar Treat Bed Bug Bites?
If you have a bed bug infestation, vinegar will help you in the control and also in the treatment of the bites. Normally, bed bug bites are pain and itchy to the touch.
However, it is possible to ease the itchiness with the help of apple cider vinegar. Its low PH level causes a mild soothing sensation on the bites.
In addition, apple cider will reduce the inflammation usually associated with bed bug bites.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Using Vinegar
Below is a step by step guide for getting rid of bed bugs using vinegar.
Bed bugs prefer hiding in certain areas in your house. So, the first thing to do is to identify the infested areas. Use a flashlight to inspect along the baseboard, floorboard and any crevices in the house.
Check for bed bugs in the drawers and under your mattress.
2. Vacuuming and Steaming
A vacuum cleaner can help you pick bed bugs, nymphs and eggs that are near the surface. Places to vacuum can include, carpets, floor, sofa set, bed, curtains among others.
Once you are done with vacuuming, empty the contents of the canister in a plastic bag and dispose it carefully. Use one of these best bed bug steamers.
3. Prepare the Vinegar Solution
I recommend buying white vinegar for bed bug eradication. You also require a spray bottle. Buy one that will not spill stuff on your hands. Here’s the procedure;
- Mix equal parts of vinegar and water. The amounts will depend on the area you want to spray
- Pour the mixture in a spray bottle.
- Shake thoroughly
Spray an all your infested areas – with any of the suitable bed bug sprays. Start with your mattress and bed because these are the most affected places.
Vinegar works best when saturated on a surface. So, you can drench your mattress, pillow and cushions with vinegar and take them out for drying.
Spray the house again after a few days to kill bed bugs that might have survived. This will also kill bed bugs that might have hatched from the eggs.
You can wash your bedding, clothing and other clothes with a solution on vinegar to kill bed bugs and their eggs. When used regularly, vinegar can help reduce the bed bug population.
Limitations of Using Vinegar to Kill Bed Bugs
Although vinegar can help you control a bed bug infestation, it has some limitations or downsides. Let’s look at some of the limitations.
1. It Won’t Kill Bed Bug Eggs
It is easier to kill bed bugs with vinegar than it is to kill bed bug eggs. In fact bed bug eggs tend to be resilient to even the most effective insecticides.
The outer shell shields and prevents vinegar from penetrating into the egg. Thus, it cannot deter the eggs from hatching.
2. It Has a Pungent Smell
Vinegar is a strong acid with an offensive pungent smell. Of course a few drops of vinegar cannot be very offensive. Since you will have to soak your room and other items with vinegar, the smell can become quite unbearable.
The smell is also persistent. Thus, it will take a long time before it can go out completely.
3. Vinegar Can Damage Furniture
You will be using a highly concentrated vinegar to kill bed bugs. The acidic properties of vinegar can substantially damage your furniture especially wood and surfaces such as ceramics and granite.
You are required to soak surfaces with vinegar. But these surfaces tend to be susceptible to the scouring effects of acetic acid.
Undiluted vinegar can also damage your exposed skin. So, you’ll have to use gloves to prevent such injuries. However, vinegar won’t affect your couches, beds and other fabrics.
4. Won’t clear Large Bed Bug Infestations
Vinegar kills bed bugs on contact, leaving no residual activity. So, it won’t have any effect on bed bugs once the surface has dried.
If you don’t manage to kill all bed bugs, they will emerge once more and continue breeding.
For this reason, it’s advisable to spray vinegar frequently to kill bed bugs that escape previous treatments.
How to treat bed bug bites using apple seed vinegar:
Requirement: Apple cider vinegar and A soft cloth or cotton ball
- Soak a cotton ball or a soft cloth in apple cider vinegar
- Rub the affected area gently until it’s soaked with vinegar
- Allow sometime for the vinegar to dry before rinsing
- For quick relieve you can reapply the vinegar two or three times a day.
When used properly, vinegar can provide a natural solution to bed bug infestation. However, like many other non-chemical bed bug treatments, it cannot provide a long term solution.
Thus, it is necessary to combine it with other effective treatments such as chemical sprays and bed bug powders.
If you have a persistent bed bug infestation, you need to seek help from a professional pest exterminator.