Does Salt Kill Bed Bugs?

Does Salt Kill Bed Bugs?

No, salt does not kill bed bugs. Their exoskeleton protects their internal organs from coming into contact with salt, so they are protected from getting dehydrated. Unlike slugs and snails that have vulnerable body parts, so coming into physical contact with salt kills them.

Bed bugs also do not consume anything other than blood, so you cannot poison them with salt either.

Proven bed bug control methods are still advisable instead of homemade treatments that will not be as effective.

Why do some people believe that salt can kill bed bugs?

People are always willing to give household items a chance when killing pests. Why go out and spend money on pesticide when salt is cheaper and readily available?

Salt is proven effective against some pests, like snails and slugs. This is common knowledge, so people probably assumed that it would work on any pest.

Diatomaceous earth is a natural way to kill bed bugs. It is in powder form, so people think it looks a lot like salt that they can be interchangeable.

Salt is often used to dehydrate food in the kitchen. One of the most effective ways to kill bed bugs is to dehydrate them. People probably made this connection thinking simply spraying bed bugs with salt water will kill them.

Does salt kill bed bugs?

No, salt does not kill bed bugs. There has been no irrefutable proof regarding this particular topic.

Bed bugs do not ingest poisons because they will only ingest blood. Covering them with a dehydrating substance also proves ineffective.

Salt is not going to kill bed bugs because they do not like to walk on and through things that they find unpleasant to walk on. If you leave a ring of salt near where they live, they will figure out a way to avoid walking through it.

If bed bugs notice you treating one area of the room, they will move to a different area of the room to actively avoid it.

Bed bug sprays spread out and are slowly emitted from the points where they are sprayed from, unlike salt that just stays in place.

Will table salt kill bed bugs?

No, table salt will not kill bed bugs. Although it is effective against other pests, it will not do anything to bed bugs.

As mentioned above, some people believe salt will dry out the bed bugs. Diatomaceous earth, which looks a lot like table salt, works by scratching on the bed bug exoskeleton’s coating until it peels and rubs away. Because the exoskeleton is compromised, the bed bug will eventually dry out.

You would think salt works the same, but diatomaceous earth is very rough on a molecular level. This roughness is what helps strip away the exoskeleton’s coating.

Will salt water kill bed bugs?

No, salt water will not kill bed bugs. Even if you place it in a spray bottle, it will not be any more effective than table salt.

If you trap a bed bug in a container and spray a generous amount of salt water on it, you probably think it died because of the salt, when it actually drowned in the water.

Spraying salt water on your mattress will only cause the bed bugs to run away and scatter, they will end up finding even more secluded areas in your room to hide in, and they will most probably reinfest your mattress the following night.

Basically, it will not do anything except wet your mattress and inconvenience the bed bugs for a few hours.

Will a baking soda and salt mixture kill bed bugs? 

No, just like salt, baking soda cannot really do much against a bed bug’s shell. Adding salt and baking soda together might be a great homemade all-purpose cleaner, but even that combination will deal no damage to bed bugs.

Will borax and salt kill bed bugs?

Borax is also used as an all-purpose household cleaning agent. Boric acid dust kills roaches and even wipes out infestations in a matter of days. Borax works when a bug walks through it getting it on its legs. The bug will instinctively clean itself up, ingesting borax in the process. Borax does not kill the bug immediately because it is a slow-acting poison.

Unfortunately, despite being effective in killing roaches and other bugs, borax is not effective against bed bugs. Bed bugs do not have the same mouth parts most insects do that allow them to eat and swallow solids. Even if the bed bugs walked through the borax, they are incapable of cleaning themselves, so they would not ingest the poison.

A mixture of salt and borax is just doubly ineffective to bed bugs.

Will epsom salt kill bed bugs?

No, there have been no studies done that show epsom salt to be effective in killing bed bugs. It will neither dry them out nor poison them. Mixing epsom salt with borax or baking soda will not result in any kind of magical bed bug killer.

Will saltwater help soothe bed bug bites?

Salt has antiseptic properties, but there is no data backing whether it is helpful in soothing bug bite inflammation in general.

Bed bug bites inflame because their saliva contains both anesthetic and anticoagulant qualities. This makes the bite area numb for a few minutes while keeping the blood in the bite from clotting. When the numbness wears off, the bite will start to itch because of the body’s natural histamine response. The inflammation is due to the influx of more white blood cells into the area to combat the foreign material.

Salt water cannot relieve the itch and you are better off purchasing anti-itch cream from your local drugstore.


No, salt does not kill bed bugs. Salt on its own or in a combination with either baking soda, borax, or both, is completely useless and ineffective against bed bugs.

The bed bug shell’s outer layer protects it from the drying properties of salt. You are better off using diatomaceous earth if you want a natural method in killing bed bugs.

Image: / Detry26