Does Bleach Kill Bed Bugs?

Does Bleach Kill Bed Bugs?

Yes, bleach will kill bed bugs and their eggs by oxidizing their exoskeleton through the ingredient sodium hypochlorite. This will only work if you spray the bleach directly on the bug.

Bleach is very potent and heavy usage inside the house may lead to skin irritation or severe respiratory problems. So even though it can be used to kill bed bugs, it is risky to use and you are better off using pesticide specific to bed bugs or hiring professional help to get rid of the pest.

What is liquid bleach?

Often called just bleach, it is a common household product that is a dilution of some secondary ingredient plus sodium hypochlorite. It is a chlorine releasing bleaching agent used to remove stains and whiten clothes. It is also often used as a disinfectant to kill bacteria and viruses on surfaces.

How does bleach work?

Most brands of bleach contain the ingredients sodium chloride, sodium hypochlorite, sodium chlorate, sodium carbonate, sodium polyacrylate, sodium hydroxide, and water.

Sodium chloride, or table salt, is used as a stabilizer in a lot of soaps and cleaners in the market.

Sodium hypochlorite is bleach’s active ingredient that kills germs and whitens your clothes.

Sodium chlorate is the breakdown of sodium hypochlorite.

Sodium carbonate helps to soften water and remove hard to remove stains.

Sodium polyacrylate helps keep dirt from getting reabsorbed by the material that is being washed.

Are bed bugs attracted to bleach?

No, bed bugs are not attracted to bleach. Once you start spraying them with bleach, they will scatter and run back to their hiding spots. If bed bugs sense danger, they will find other hiding spots such as burrowing into your mattress. This will make eradicating them more difficult since they will become harder to find, hence harder to kill.

Does bleach kill bed bugs and their eggs?

Yes, concentrated bleach is able to kill bed bugs when sprayed directly on them. 

Bleach kills bed bugs and their eggs by oxidizing the bed bug exoskeleton’s outer layer and then oxidizing the bodies of the adult and baby bed bugs, or nymphs.

Bleach is potent and spraying too much on your mattress may destroy it, so use it sparingly. Spraying it on the mattress’ surface may not reach the bed bugs and bed bug eggs already inside it.

Diluted bleach may be less effective than undiluted bleach but it is safer to use around the house. Too much bleach usage inside your home can lead to headaches, vomiting, skin irritation, and respiratory problems. It is advisable to wear a mask and gloves when handling bleach.

Although bleach can technically kill bed bugs, bed bug-specific pesticide and professional treatment methods are still more effective and safer options.

How to use bleach to kill bed bugs

As mentioned above, applying undiluted bleach on bed bugs may kill them, but prolonged contact is ideal. Unfortunately, this is also irrational. Isolating bed bugs just so you can kill them one by one with bleach is impractical, but there are other ways you can use bleach to eliminate bed bugs.

The first thing you should do is to remove all of the clutter from the infested room. Everything should be set aside including wall hangings, carpets, paper, books, and boxes. This could also be a good time to throw away the things in your room that you do not really need anymore.

If you have furniture in your room, especially ones with compartments, remove all of the items from them. Check every wardrobe and drawer. Put items that cannot be washed inside a sealed plastic bag or a large airtight plastic container. You can inspect and vacuum each item later to make sure they do not have bed bugs.

Take all of your washable items and put them in your washing machine. Put the laundry through a hot wash cycle with detergent. The water, soap, and heat will kill the bed bugs and their eggs. For best results, dry the washed items on the highest temperature setting for at least 30 minutes. Any bed bugs or eggs that survived the wash will be killed by the heat from the dryer.

Make sure that you place the clean clothes in sealed plastic bags so they are no longer exposed to bed bugs.

Make a solution of equal parts water and bleach. Wear gloves while handling the bleach. Soak a washcloth in the solution and wipe down all washable surfaces in the infested room.

Put some of the solution in a spray bottle and spray the mattress and box spring. Do not use the mattress for a couple of weeks.

Spray the bleach solution in the bed bugs’ other hiding places, such as your headboard or bed frame, cracks in the walls, behind peeling wallpaper, behind baseboards, and between floorboards.

Leave the room empty and advise all family members to not use the room for a couple of days. If you are able to carry it, bring your mattress outside so it can be exposed to sunlight. Vacuum the room everyday and empty it in the garbage outside the house. Vacuum any carpet as well as all of the furniture in the room. Concentrate on the joint and gaps as these are where bed bugs like to squeeze into and lay their eggs. 

Once all of this is done and your mattress has been cleaned sufficiently, place it inside a bed bug-proof plastic mattress encasement. This cover will keep bed bugs from infesting your mattress, while the bed bugs already in your mattress will not be able to leave the encasement resulting in their starvation and death.


Yes, bleach can kill bed bugs because its active ingredient, sodium hypochlorite, oxidizes the bed bug exoskeleton’s outer layer as well as their delicate insides. Bleach can only work if it is applied directly on the bed bug so it is not going to work on bed bugs that are hidden in the cracks and crevices of your room. But if you use a bleach and water solution to clean your room along with other methods of keeping your bedroom bed bug free, it can be useful.

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