Does Vinegar Kill Bed Bugs? [3 Reasons it Won’t Work]

Vinegar may kill bed bugs if you spray the bugs directly with vinegar. Vinegar can even help to kill bed bug eggs if you thoroughly soak the eggs. However, vinegar is not an effective way to stop a bed bug infestation. Bed bugs are small and their eggs are tiny, so it can be hard to find and spray every insect. Plus, bed bugs hide inside walls, in clothing, and inside box springs. They also lay their eggs in these hidden places. Since you won’t be able to spray every bed bug and egg with vinegar, the infestation will continue. Instead of relying on vinegar, it’s best to call a professional exterminator to kill off bed bugs in your home.

Does vinegar kill bed bugs?

3 Reasons Why Vinegar Won’t End Your Bed Bug Infestation

Vinegar can kill bed bugs on contact, so it’s a great bed bug treatment, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t true. While spraying vinegar directly onto a bed bug can kill it, using vinegar spray won’t put an end to the bed bug infestation in your home. Here’s why:

It Requires Direct Spray

Killing bed bugs with vinegar requires direct contact. This means you have to spray each and every bed bug in your home with a vinegar solution in a spray bottle. Some bed bugs are as small as the numbers on an American penny. This makes them very hard to find. Unless you find and spray every bed bug, they’ll continue to bite you and lay eggs in your home.

  • To kill bed bugs, you have to spray them directly with vinegar—unless you spray a bug, it won’t be killed.
  • Bed bugs are very small, so it’s difficult to find and spray each one.
  • You may have bed bugs hiding in your walls—finding and spraying them is impossible.

You’re extremely unlikely to find every bed bug in your home so you can spray it with vinegar. Not only are bed bugs small, but they are also adept at hiding. Bed bugs can enter your walls through electrical sockets or the gap under your baseboard. They can also hide in clothing, inside box springs, and in the carpet. Unless everything in your home is soaked with vinegar, you can’t be sure all the bed bugs are dead.

Bed Bugs Eggs May Be Hidden

Bed bug eggs are even smaller than the bugs themselves. The tiny white eggs can be laid inside your walls, in your box spring, in folds of clothing, or in dark corners of closets. They may even be laid inside closed luggage stored in your home. Finding bed bug eggs to spray them with vinegar is even harder than finding adult bugs.

  • You can only kill bed bug eggs with vinegar if you find them and spray them directly.
  • Bed bug eggs are extremely hard to find since they can be laid anywhere—even in your walls.
  • Bed bug eggs that are not soaked with vinegar will hatch and continue the infestation.

Unless you find every single bed bug egg in your home and soak it thoroughly with vinegar, you won’t kill all the eggs. Once the eggs you didn’t find hatch, they’ll repopulate your home and continue to pester you. So, using white vinegar or any other type of vinegar to kill bed bug eggs is not reliable.

Bed Bugs Can Survive Vinegar Exposure

Although the acetic acid in vinegar can be deadly to bed bugs, it is not guaranteed to kill them. Bed bugs have a tough outer shell that resists many bug sprays. The commercial pesticides exterminators use are far more effective at killing bed bugs than vinegar. Heat treatment is also a great bed bug killer, so you can wash and dry your clothes to kill bed bugs.

  • Vinegar is not guaranteed to kill bed bugs or their eggs on contact—some bugs and eggs can survive vinegar exposure.
  • Professional extermination products and heat are far more effective at killing bed bugs than vinegar.
  • There is no way to tell if a vinegar spray has succeeded in killing bed bug eggs.

Bed bug eggs are perhaps even tougher than adult bugs. If you spray a bed bug with vinegar, you can confirm it is dead when it stops moving. However, you can’t be sure that vinegar has killed the eggs because there is no outward sign that the acetic acid has penetrated the egg and killed the bed bug larva inside.

What is the Best Way to Use Vinegar to Kill Bed Bugs?

The best way to use vinegar to kill bed bugs is to use it alongside other bed bug killers. Contact a professional exterminator to treat your home for bed bugs, then use a vinegar spray to kill any bed bugs you spot with the naked eye. It’s also a good idea to use diatomaceous earth to kill bed bugs. By combining vinegar with other bed bug control methods, you won’t have to spend your day hunting for bed bugs in your home and spraying them with vinegar.

What Type of Vinegar Kills Bed Bugs?

White vinegar and apple cider vinegar are both good choices for killing bed bugs. Both of these products contain acetic acid that can kill insects on contact. White vinegar is more common and has a less pungent smell, so it’s usually a good choice. However, any vinegar with 4% or more acetic acid is capable of killing bed bugs.

How Long Does it Take Vinegar to Kill Bed Bugs?

Vinegar kills bed bugs within 10–60 seconds on contact. So, if you spray a bed bug with a healthy dose of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, it will be killed quickly. However, some bed bugs are very hardy and can survive a vinegar spray. Professional-strength pesticides and heat treatment are more reliable ways of killing bed bugs.

Will Vinegar Kill Bed Bug Eggs?

Vinegar is capable of killing bed bug eggs, but it requires a large dose of vinegar to do so. Even then, some eggs may survive the vinegar spray. So, vinegar is not a reliable way to kill bed bug eggs. Even if you find every egg in your home and spray it with vinegar, some of the eggs may still hatch.

Do Bed Bugs Hate the Smell of Vinegar?

While bed bugs dislike the smell of vinegar, it’s not enough to drive them out of your home. Heavy vinegar smells are unpleasant for anyone. Spraying a lot of vinegar in your home is more likely to irritate your sense of smell than it is to drive away the bed bugs. So, don’t count on the smell of vinegar to send bed bugs running.

Will Vinegar Kill Bed Bugs and their Eggs?

Although vinegar is capable of killing bed bugs and bed bug eggs, it is not an effective treatment for bed bugs. Here are the reasons vinegar won’t end an entire infestation:

  • To kill bed bugs with vinegar, you must spray them directly until they die.
  • Bed bugs are very small, so it is almost impossible to find and spray every bed bug in your home.
  • Because bed bugs can hide in your walls and other impossible-to-reach places, you won’t be able to spray every bug with vinegar.
  • Bed bugs can lay eggs in walls, in your box spring, or in upholstered furniture, making it very difficult to find and spray them all.
  • Vinegar is not the strongest bug killer spray, so bed bugs can survive a vinegar spray.
  • It’s hard to know if bed bug eggs sprayed with vinegar have been fully killed.

Although vinegar in a spray bottle may seem like a promising solution to bed bug infestation, it won’t rid your home of these pests. To reclaim your home and prevent future bed bug bites, call a professional exterminator to get rid of bed bugs as fast as possible.

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