Written by

David Floyd

David Floyd

Reviewed by

Brett Ehlert

Brett Ehlert

Does Vinegar Kill Bed Bugs? – Vinegar Spray For Bed Bugs Efficacy Tested

Controlling bed bugs can be a real hassle. Their small size, hiding behavior, and high reproductive rate have kept them from extinction for thousands of years. Bed bugs are smart and are well-equipped to elude you. What’s worse? They’ve been evolving so fast that they’ve become resistant to many insecticides that should kill them. This is why it seems like your methods of control do not seem to be working to eliminate bed bugs.

Does Vinegar Kill Bed Bugs?

Yes, vinegar does kill bed bugs, but it has to be a strong solution of vinegar. Vinegar contains an acid called acetic acid. This acid is made from the complete fermentation of alcohol. The acetic acid in vinegar can cause damage to a bed bug’s nervous system on contact, and will eventually kill them.

does vinegar kill bed bugs

Does White Vinegar Kill Bed Bugs?

Yes, white vinegar can kill bed bugs. There are various types of vinegar, depending on what is used to make it. But the best and cheapest for bed bugs is white vinegar. Vinegar may kill bed bugs on contact, but it may not be the most effective to control an infestation. So you may need stronger and more effective treatment if you have an infestation.  

Does Vinegar Repel Bed Bugs?

Many people claim that vinegar can serve as a bed bug repellent. But there is very little scientific proof of this. Nevertheless, vinegar has a characteristic pungent smell which may serve to keep the bed bugs away for the time. 

To put it simply, vinegar is a scent that bed bugs don’t like, which makes them less likely to hang around areas that contain this smell.

How to Use Vinegar to Repel Bed Bugs

Here are a few tips on how to use vinegar for bed bugs:

  1. Get a mist bottle and fill it up with strong white vinegar. You can also mix it with lemon juice to increase the effectiveness. 
  1. Identify areas you’ve seen bed bugs hide. Carry out a preliminary inspection by using a flashlight to check around your room. Look out for cracks and crevices on walls and gals in furniture. Also, check your mattress and bed frame.
  1. Once you find places with bed bugs hiding, spray the vinegar solution in the areas thoroughly. 
  1. Repeat spraying for a few weeks and monitor the areas for any sign of their presence. 

How Effective is Vinegar in Getting Rid of Bed Bugs?

The problem with organic repellents like vinegar is that they do not last long. They require you to consistently apply them. Because once they dry up, they lose their effectiveness. 

Also, a problem with using vinegar as a repellent when experiencing infestations is that bed bugs may just move to another area. So while you’re trying to prevent them from coming to your bedroom, they may just move to your living room. 

Cons of Using Vinegar On Bed Bugs

While vinegar can technically kill bed bugs, using it may not be the best option. Here’s why:

  • Vinegar does not work to control infestations.
  • It does not last long.
  • Vinegar also leaves an unpleasant odor on any surface it’s used on. 
  • It leaves a bad color on fabrics. So you may end up with nasty stains on your bedding.
  • The acid in vinegar may also damage furniture when applied over time.
  • When mixed with bleach, vinegar can give off toxic chlorine gas. It’s best not to try this. 

Other Organic Alternatives to Getting Rid of Bed Bugs

Many other alternative insecticidal substances can help to kill bed bugs. These include:

Heat Treatment

Heating is one of the most effective and safe methods to get rid of bed bugs. It is even more effective if carried out by trained personnel. Bed bugs may seem tough but they can only tolerate temperatures less than 47°C (118°F). Anything above this will kill them. Usually, the house is covered with a tent and treated with high temperatures (about 60°C) for several hours. This causes the bed bugs to come out and die. Heat treatment is oftentimes combined with fumigation in cases of high infestation.

DIY heat treatment may not be as effective as a professionally done one, but it can work to remove bed bugs from hiding. You can turn on the heat in the infested room for hours. Before doing this, ensure to clear out clutter and close up every opening that can lead to other rooms. If you own a steam cleaner, you can use it on your belongings to get rid of existing bed bugs. 

Essential Oils

If you’re looking for an all-natural method to get rid of bed bugs then you should look into essential oils! It’s been proven that tea tree oil kills bed bugs! Along with this we’ve tested out using neem oil for bed bugs and had decent success with this as well! You can also try using lysol for bed bugs, I personally haven’t had good results, but I’ve heard others say it was effective.

That being said, essential oils are best for small infestations since they aren’t as effective as commercial treatments.

Vacuum Cleaner

Vacuuming can help to reduce a bedbug infestation. Using a vacuum cleaner on cracks and crevices can suck up bed bugs from the deepest openings. Clear out your clutter while doing this to reach deeper infested regions. Ensure to concentrate on prone areas of infestation, like the seams of your mattress, and gaps in furniture and walls. Do not waste time sealing the vacuum bag in a bigger Ziploc bag to prevent the bugs from crawling back into your house when you’re done. 

Diatomaceous Earth

This is good insecticidal dust that can instantly kill bed bugs on contact. It works by drying out the big from the inside out. Diatomaceous earth is also non-toxic, so you have to worry about your pets or kids. The con here is that you need to see the bed bugs to use diatomaceous earth on them. It is preferable to confirm their hideouts before applying the dust to the area. 


This is a strong insecticidal substance that is obtained from a type of chrysanthemum flower.  Just like other insecticides, pyrethrum can be used to control bed bugs on contact. It is available in various forms, whether as dust, liquid, or aerosol cans. 

Final Thoughts On Using Vinegar on Bed Bugs

I hope with this article we’ve finally provided clarity on the question of does vinegar kill bed bugs!

Many pesticides are toxic to humans, pets, and the environment. Homeowners now turn to cheaper alternatives among which you’ll find vinegar. This substance contains acetic acid that can kill bed bugs on contact. But they do not work for infestations. Instead, they can only help to repel bed bugs in infested-free places. 

On the flip side, vinegar may not be pleasant, as it leaves a nasty odor and color on surfaces. Other organic alternatives to vinegar include heat treatment, vacuuming, diatomaceous earth, and pyrethrins.



David Floyd:

David Floyd has 20 years of experience working as a pest control technician as well as running his own pest control company. David is Quality Pro certified and is a certified Structural Pest Control Operator in the state of North Carolina, and the owner of NCPestControlExperts pest control company.

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