Does Baking Soda Kill Bed Bugs? (And What To Use Instead)

Financially crippling, mentally traumatizing, physical pain. These are just a few things that come to mind when I think of bed bugs.

When you’re going through this, finding an effective DIY method to help control and eliminate bed bugs is vital if you can’t call in a professional exterminator.

One of these DIY methods is baking soda.

In this guide, we’ll answer the question: Does baking soda kill bed bugs and how effective is it for controlling or exterminating bed bugs, nymphs, and eggs?

Does Baking Soda Kill Bed Bugs?

There is no study, no scientific evidence stating baking soda is an effective way to kill bed bugs.

Although there are isolated instances where people have reported success after using baking soda, the lack of science and guarantee makes it a poor choice for eliminating or controlling an infested property.

Does Baking Soda Repel Bed Bugs?

No, baking soda will not repel bed bugs because it doesn’t give off a strong scent to interfere with the bed bugs behavior.

You do much better looking into something like tea tree oil for repelling. But even then, you’ve got much better options (will discuss further down).

Why Do People Think Baking Soda Kills Bed Bugs?

Also called sodium bicarbonate, baking soda is a naturally occurring salt found as crystals or a white powder. From cleaning and making cakes rise to an indigestion cure and toothpaste, baking soda has many uses and is therefore found in most kitchens.

The method of using baking soda to get rid of bed bugs involves the following steps:

  1. Covering your whole floor/infected room in baking soda
  2. Waiting a few days
  3. Vacuuming in it up
  4. Repeating this every few days

It’s not sustainable and it’s not effective.

People seem to think baking soda will kill a bed bug via either absorbing the surface fluids on the waxy layer of skin and causing dehydration or the granules cut into the shell and cause internal bleeding.

Some suggest it can poison the bed bug if ingested.

The biggest issue with this is baking soda breaks down when it comes into contact with water. The idea it’ll dehydrate the bed bug is questionable.

Bed bugs exclusively feed on blood, so the idea you’d kill an infestation with the method is hard to understand.

You’ve also got to remember, bed bugs don’t live on the surface. You need something that can penetrate deep and is 100% effective.

And with no scientific baking, do you really want to risk the costs of infestations of a myth?

Probably not. So here’s what you can do:

Effective DIY Methods To Control Bed Bug Infestation

When it comes to using baking soda to kill bed bugs, just forget about it.

The best thing you can do is call in a professional exterminator. But they can be expensive.

So, if you want to help slow this down and control it at home you can try the following DIY methods:

  • Add bedding and clothing to a dryer at high temperatures 120ºF for 30mintues (generally washing will not kill bed bugs).
  • Heat items (furniture, luggage, anything that can’t go in your dryer) or rooms to at least 120 ºF (approx. 49 ºC) for 90 minutes to ensure that eggs are killed (higher the temperature the more effective and faster results).
  • Vacuum infested areas to trap bed bugs in the bag and dispose of
  • Steam vacuum clean carpets, curtains.
  • Cold treatments (below 0 ºF (-19 ºC) for at least 4 days) can exterminate infestations.
  • Use mattress, box spring, and pillow protection/encasements to trap and detect bed bugs.
  • Use bed bug monitors to ensure extermination is complete.
  • Use an EPA registered product to fight against bed bugs.

Heat and steam are generally going to be your best friends when it comes to battling bed bugs.

Anything you can get in the dyer (bedding, clothing, toys, shoes, backpacks) at a minimum of 120°F for 10-30minutes will effectively kill bed bugs.

Freezing items will also help. Ensure your freezer is below 0°F, wrap your item in a plastic bag and leave it in your freezer for a minimum of 4 days.

Bed bug monitors will be vital because you need to track progress. Just a few bugs, nymphs or eggs left behind can result in another outbreak.

Final Word On Killing Bed Bugs With Baking Soda

You may find some success stories online where people have killed bed bugs with baking soda.

But like we discuss in most of our bed bug guides, it’s not just about if it’ll kill a bed bug, but how effective it is and how simple it is to deploy vs other DIY methods.

Covering your room in baking soda and vacuuming every few days isn’t sustainable. And the ideas behind it are questionable to say the least.

But laundering your bedding, freezing items, steam vacuuming, and commercial insecticides are proven, effective methods of controlling a bed bug infestation.

Andrew Cunningham
Andrew Cunningham
Hello, Andrew is the co-founder and lead editor for DailyPest.

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