Bed bugs are some of the worst pests you can have in your home. They are not just dirty and unsightly. They can also be a risk to your health — primarily because of their bites. If you want to use natural remedies and not go down the pest control professionals and commercial pesticides route, here are some ways to get rid of bed bugs naturally.
Why you shouldn’t rely on bed bug natural remedies
First things first — bed bug home remedies are not super effective. Sure, they can kill bed bugs here and there. And they have ingredients that can repel the bloodsuckers. But many times, the potency of these natural remedies is just not enough to completely get rid of entire bed bug infestations.
The only real advantage of natural remedies is that they are often safer to use compared to commercial pesticides. And they are also very accessible, unlike some pesticides that are only available for licensed pest control professionals.
With that said, there is no harm in trying some of these remedies, especially if you think the bed bug infestation in your home is just a minor problem.
How to use the natural remedies
Using natural remedies is simple. Just spread them on areas with bed bug activity, including the places where you think they nest and hide and the areas where you think they go to get their blood meals.
Generally speaking, the hotspot should be your bed — the mattress itself and its hidden cracks and folds, the corners of the bed frames, and the legs. But you can also see bed bugs beyond your bed. The first areas you should look for are those around the bed, such as bedside furniture, carpets, curtains, walls, and even stuffed animals that may have stayed on your bed.
Bed bugs can go beyond your bed area. They can get into cabinets and undisturbed piles of clothing. And they can spread from room to room as they follow the source of their blood meals — you and your family.
How to get rid of bed bugs naturally
1. Use rubbing alcohol
Rubbing alcohol is great. You can use it not just to disinfect your body, but also to get rid of bed bugs naturally. It works because it dries out the bodies of bed bugs, dehydrating and eventually killing them.
Bed bugs also don’t like particular scents, including that of rubbing alcohol. You can say that rubbing alcohol is a bed bug repellent because bed bugs will avoid areas where you have spread the rubbing alcohol.
Be careful in using this natural remedy. It’s considered a fire hazard.
2. Explore different kinds of essential oils
Essential oils have always been used as natural remedies for pests. You can use essential oils for ants, cockroaches, mosquitoes, and other common household pests. And of course, you can use them for bed bugs too.
The idea is that bed bugs will stay away from areas where you have spread essential oils because they don’t like the smell. Lavender, peppermint, and tea tree oil are some of the most common essential oils people use. Make sure to dilute them on water first before spraying them around your home.
Also, be careful of essential oil poisoning.
3. Peppermint leaves are a great way to get rid of bed bugs naturally
You can use peppermint essential oil, but you can also try real peppermint leaves. They will have the same effect. Their presence will repel bed bugs. To use peppermint leaves as a natural bed bug repellent, crush them and spread them on areas with apparent bed bug activity.
Another good thing about peppermint is its smell. Bed bugs may hate it, but it’s pleasant for humans. There are some natural remedies out there that involve garlic and vinegar, ingredients that are not exactly known for their pleasant smell.
4. Try cinnamon
Cinnamon is another home remedy you can try. Like the others in this list so far, its smell is what repels bed bugs. And like peppermint, at least cinnamon smells pleasant for humans.
All forms of cinnamon may work, including essential oil, powder, and even stick. The downside of cinnamon as a natural solution is that it’s not really well-researched, unlike peppermint.
5. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth
No natural pest control list is complete without diatomaceous earth. It’s such an effective home remedy because of its abrasive properties. It can also dry out and dehydrate bed bugs upon contact, eventually killing them.
At least diatomaceous earth can actually kill bed bugs, unlike most of the entries in this list that can only repel the pests. But many people often skip this ingredient because they are not familiar with it. After all, the likes of rubbing alcohol and essential oils are more well-known.
6. Smear petroleum jelly
Bed bugs can get stuck on thick petroleum jelly. This is why many people use petroleum jelly like some kind of wall against bed bugs. They smear petroleum jelly on the edges of their beds to prevent bed bugs from reaching them.
The problem with this method is that bed bugs are often more spread out than you think. A wall of petroleum jelly isn’t enough to completely keep them out. Even if you do, you are still not getting rid of the bed bugs. You are merely keeping them away from you momentarily.
7. Cleaning and decluttering is a good way to get rid of bed bugs
Natural bed bug control is not just about applying natural products to get rid of bed bugs. It’s also about cleaning and decluttering your home to give these pests less room to hide and thrive.
Cleaning is a great way to disturb areas of your home that may be starting to become too peaceful for bed bugs to thrive in, such as the pile of old clothes in a cabinet you haven’t opened in a long time. Decluttering is a great way to give fewer opportunities for bed bugs to hide and run.
Vacuum cleaners and steam cleaners are your best friends.
8. Wash linens
Soap and heat are great bed bug home remedies. They can effectively kill bed bugs, and they are safe for the areas many bed bugs hide — linens for example. Wash bed bug-infested clothes, bed sheets, curtains, and everything else in between. Use a high-temperature setting in your washer and dryer.
If the bed bugs don’t die from drowning, they will die from heat exposure. They will die when exposed to at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can get rid of bed bugs naturally
Yes, you can repel and kill bed bugs with accessible, cheap, and natural products like rubbing alcohol, essential oils, and peppermint leaves. But take note that they are not completely effective. Sure, you may be able to see some results, but the best results can only be seen with pest control professionals.
If you feel like your bed bug problem is already beyond your amateur control, don’t hesitate to get professional help.