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Does Bleach Kill Bed Bugs? Let’s Find Out! (2022 Updated)

Bleach is a multi-purpose chemical solution widely used to clean clothes, remove stains, disinfection, and sanitize swimming pools. 

But does bleach kill bed bugs?

Scroll down to determine if this chemical solution can help you with your bed bug infestation.  

Can Bleach Kill Bed Bugs? 

Can Bleach Kill Bed Bugs? 

Bleach is a harsh chemical that you can use to kill bed bugs. Bleach kills bed bugs because the strong scent interferes with their respiratory system, suffocating them. However, if you use bleach to kill bed bugs, it should be in direct contact with the insect and not on its hiding spots. 

Bleach can effectively kill bed bugs and their eggs. Ensure that you apply bleach directly to the bed bugs and their eggs and not just expose them. It may take a while for household bleach to kill bed bugs completely, but bleach treatment can help eliminate bed bug problems. 

Why Do People Use Bleach?

People use bleach as bed bug treatment for different reasons, but the three main reasons are (1) cheap, (2) easily available, and (3) it works on direct contact. 

People find bleach cheaper than other treatments because a large bottle only costs around $4. Clorox bleach and liquid bleach are easily available, and you can find them in most grocery stores and drug stores, unlike other pest control products. 

Bleach works effectively when in direct contact though it can be tricky for bed bugs in crevices and cracks. You can use a spray bottle, chlorine bleach, and other bleach solutions (color-safe bleach is better) and spray it on the infected areas. 

Does Bleach Kill Bed Bugs Effectively? 

Does Bleach Kill Bed Bugs Effectively? 

Bleach solutions can effectively kill bugs and greatly help in bed bug infestations. Its effectiveness can be defined by two things: scent and chemical composition. 

The scent of harsh chemicals like bleach can effectively kill the bed bugs because it attacks the internals of the insect and suffocates it. As the bleach evaporates, it lingers in the air and seeps through hiding spots of bed bugs, but it works much better if you directly spray it on the bed bugs. 

The chemical composition found in bleach gives deadly potency and can help solve the bed bug problem. Bleach contains sodium hypochlorite, an active ingredient that eats protective proteins and compromises bed bugs’ immune systems. But what chemicals do exterminators use?

Bleach Ingredients 

  • Sodium Hypochlorite – It is an active ingredient in bleach that can remove stains, whiten clothes and kill germs [1]. It can denature the protein member of the bed bug and compromise their immune system, leading to death. 
  • Sodium Chloride – Also known as table salt, it acts as a stabilizer and is commonly used in laundry detergent. 
  • Water  – It is used to dilute Sodium Hypochlorite and makes bleach a corrosive solution. 
  • Hydrogen Peroxide – It is a bleaching agent that you can use to help get rid of bed bugs by oxidizing the shell’s outer layer. 
  • Sodium Hydroxide – It helps remove stains but works greatly in bed bugs because it contains chemicals that can burn the protective layer of bed bugs. It works like a heat treatment which is proven effective in removing bed bugs in an infested room. 
  • Calcium Hypochlorite – Calcium Hypochlorite or bleaching powder is widely used for disinfection, and it works great for adult bugs. The fumes help suffocate bed bugs and have enough potential to kill all the bugs directly exposed to them.

Is Using Bleach Safe? 

Is Using Bleach Safe? 

Bleach is a toxic chemical solution that can be harmful if swallowed and inhaled, so if you are planning to use it to kill bed bugs, you have to take precautions. 

Bleach solution has a harsh odor, so when you are exposed for a longer period, it may induce allergies and respiratory problems. Moreso, use gloves in handling bleach because it is a toxic chemical with a strong smell.

In addition, bleach can alter dyed fabric, so you have to work carefully; it can discolor your mattress, mattress covers, and bedsheets. If the bleach is not properly diluted, it may cause health risks like skin irritation and burns. 

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How Long Will It Take For Bleach To Kill Bed Bugs?

Normally, bleach treatment can kill all exposed bed bugs within two days. If the bug is directly exposed to the bleach, it can die immediately, but since bed bugs tend to hide on crevices and folds, it may take longer for other bugs to die. 

When applied, bleach will dry after a day before it slowly settles in the air, and that is where it will slowly suffocate bugs. After the second day, you can see the successful result of the bed bug treatment but avoid using it for a few weeks to be on the safe side. 

If you use bleach as one of the home remedies for killing bed bugs, you should vacate the entire room. Prolonged contact may result in a burning sensation on the skin, breathing problems, and eye irritation. 

FAQs

Can bleach also kill bed bug eggs?

Yes, bleach can kill bed bug eggs. Bleach is more effective on the eggs because, unlike nymph and adults, they are immobile and does not have resistance to any toxic chemical. However, it would be hard to look for eggs on other furniture, especially those with crevices. 

In addition, unfiltered bleach works faster than diluted bleach, but both work effectively and can kill the eggs of bed bugs.

Will bleach kill bed bugs permanently?

No, unfortunately, bleach cannot kill bed bugs permanently. Bleach can kill bugs, but it may not work on serious pest problems. It can kill bugs, but it cannot eliminate bugs hiding in box springs, bed corners, folds, and crevices. 

Try it with other home remedies like direct sunlight, hot water, vacuum cleaner, and laundry with maximum possible heat. 

Final Thoughts 

If you’ve been waking up with bed bug bites, bleach is a home remedy that can be effective and budget-friendly. Bleach can kill bed bugs and their eggs because it can suffocate and dissolve the protective exoskeleton of a bed bug. 

Bleach is more effective when applied to exposed beg bugs, but it cannot be a permanent solution to get rid of bed bugs. If you have to deal with a massive pest problem, consider calling pest control to deal with it promptly. 

Reference:

  1. https://www.britannica.com/technology/bleach-chemistry#ref127102

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