Does Baking Soda Kill Bed Bugs? – A Myth-Busting Guide

It comes to our mind when we think about home remedies to get rid of bed bugs permanently. So, if you are wondering too, you are not alone.

But does baking soda kill bed bugs?

Thousands of people grappling with bed bugs ask this question each month. Sadly, no professional pest controllers believe it works! 

And I will explain why it’s not effective and what you should do instead. Stay with me!

Baking Soda On Bed Bug 

does baking soda kill bed bugs

Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is a miracle household chemical. And not just cleaning various stuff in your home, many people believe it works to prevent notorious tiny bed bugs too.

Usually, you will find lots of guides on how to apply baking soda to eliminate bed bugs. That’s how they recommend applying it:

First, you have to identify all the hotspot areas where bed bugs inhabit like your mattress and around your bed. Then, you will sprinkle baking soda around those hotspots.

After a few days, you will vacuum it and repeat the same process until the bed bugs are gone.

But does it work?

Unfortunately, no!

Yes, baking soda can get rid of ants but not bed bugs. Let me explain why.

I understand why many DIYers believe and recommend that. Being a gentle desiccant, baking soda slowly absorbs water. 

Now, think about it. Yes, a bed bug in a container box filled with baking soda will dry up in a few days and die. But do you think it’s a viable solution for a problem of this magnitude?

If this is what you think should try to eliminate the bed bugs problem from your house, then you can try flour, salt, even sugar to kill bed bugs too! All of them slowly absorb water just like the baking soda!

Why You Should NOT Use Baking Soda To Kill Bed Bugs?

bedbugs hiding in mattress

Let’s bust some popular myths first. Then you will understand why baking soda is not a good home remedy to deal with your bed bug problem.

  • Not So Abrasive

Because of the slow absorption capacity, many home remedies advocate baking soda to deter bed bugs. As it can absorb moisture, they believe it can damage the exoskeletons of bed bugs.

With damaged exoskeletons, they will die from dehydration. Sadly, there is a fault in this wishful thinking.

Yes, baking soda is absorptive but when it comes in contact with moisture, it dissolves quickly. 

So, it will come in contact with the moisture of the bed bug’s exoskeleton, it will dissolve and become completely useless! 

  • Consumes Nothing But Blood

Another popular belief by DIYers is that when ingested, baking soda being dangerous for insects will kill the bed bugs. 

The reason why it’s so popular idea is that baking soda has some abrasive compound. So, when bed bugs digest it, it will rupture or damage the internal organs and kill them.

The only problem with that wishful thinking is that bed bugs suck nothing but blood. So, how are you gonna force them to digest baking soda?

Let’s say you have devised a way to make them digest it somehow. Again, the problem is the mouthparts of the bed bugs are not big enough to swallow even a single grain of baking soda!

  • Baking Soda Is Not DE

Being abrasive, baking soda is believed to kill bed bugs causing injuries to their bodies. 

Many DIYers believe that because of the abrasiveness, baking soda is sharp enough to cut into the body of the bed bugs and kill them from the injuries.

The idea is it acts like diatomaceous earth to kill pesky insects like hookworms.

But the truth is it’s simply not abrasive enough to cause such injury! Yes, baking soda will stick to their bodies but it won’t cause much damage to their bodies.

Does The Scent Of Baking Soda Repel Bed Bugs?

myth of baking soda to kill bed bugs

Still not, but I need to discuss it in more detail because there is a little truth to it. Many DIYers believe that the scent of baking soda can repel bed bugs from the home.

They have a strong logic to this belief.

As we exhale, we release carbon dioxide. Bed bugs follow that scent of carbon dioxide to find us and suck blood. Now, when mixed with vinegar, baking soda can release carbon dioxide too!

That’s where it gets interesting…

If you set a trap, you can theoretically attract some bed bugs and catch them. But the problem is, bed bugs also use heat and other signals to find their hosts!

So, the mere scent of carbon dioxide won’t be able to eliminate them from your home. That’s the reason no pest controller advises applying baking soda for large-scale treatment.

Here are some other reasons why you should not use baking soda to deal with bed bugs:

  • No scientific evidence to back that baking soda kills or repels bed bugs.
  • For a full-scale bed bug infestation, you will need a massive amount of baking soda to treat your entire home, which is just not a wise thing to do.
  • Even if you decide to use large-scale baking soda treatment, it may lead to skin irritation and respiratory problems!

Alternative Home Remedies

adult bed bug

Not just me, anyone with a little bit of logical thinking won’t recommend applying baking soda to treat bed bug infestation.

So, what are the alternatives to baking soda?

Luckily, there are plenty of options available you can use to eliminate bed bugs. Let’s check a few of them:

  1. Have A Thorough Wash

Bed bugs hide and lay eggs on your loose fabric like bedsheets, clothes, and other linens. So, wash them all at a high temperature with plenty of detergent or soap. 

The soap and hot water will kill those pesky little bed bugs for sure! You should wash everything you can even if it was just in the storage.

  • Vacuum Cleaning

Every household in the U.S. has a vacuum with an agitator brush. Being bed bugs very light, you can use the vacuum to such them up easily. 

But you need to be wise when it comes to the disposal of trash.

First, place the vacuum bag inside a larger plastic bag when you are done vacuuming. 

It will seal the bag and bed bugs won’t have any way to escape and re-infest your home. You have to make sure the plastic bag is properly sealed before you throw it into the garbage. 

  • Boil Them!

The idea is to ensure their demise before you through the trash bag into the garbage can. They have a very low tolerance for heat. So, you can put the bed bugs in a plastic bag and boil them at 212° F at least.

Alternative to that, you can use a handheld steamer to kill them!

Mistakes To Avoid

No matter what type of home remedies you apply to get rid of bed bugs permanently, there are certain mistakes to avoid. This will prevent the bed bugs to infest your home again:

  • Flushing Bed Bugs

I know some people do this and that’s why I have included this in my article. No matter what you use to flush them like sink or toilet, that’s a bad idea!

Bed bugs can float and they will crawl out of the toilet or drain to infest your home again if you don’t kill them first before flushing.

  • Not Using Sealable Bags

For people who decide to deal with bed bugs with vacuum cleaning, not using a sealable bag is simply foolish. 

If you don’t use a sealable bag and throw the vacuum bag into the trash can, they will crawl out of the trash can and the plastic bag. And guess what happens next!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does it take for baking soda to kill bed bugs?

If you put bed bugs inside a container box filled with baking soda, it will kill them within days. But this is a highly ineffective method to get rid of bed bugs.

What happens when you put baking soda on your bed?

It will remove the odors from the bed. But if you plan to get rid of bed bugs, it won’t work.

Does baking soda kill bed bugs and eggs?

It’s just a myth. There is no scientific evidence that baking soda kills bed bugs and their eggs.

How do you use baking soda to kill bed bugs?

Since baking soda does not actually kill bed bugs, so I would not use them in the first place.

What home remedy will kill bed bugs?

Other than baking soda, you can try the following home remedies to kill or repel bed bugs:
1. Cayenne pepper
2. Diatomaceous earth (DE)
3. Vacuum
4. Tea tree oil.
5. Steam cleaner.
6. Black walnut tea
7. Washing clothes with hot water and soap.

Closing Remarks

I believe you have no confusion regarding whether baking soda does kill bed bugs or doesn’t. Don’t waste baking soda. I would recommend it if the end result was even decent.

But it’s not ☹

Instead, try to use the alternatives to baking soda as I have discussed above to get rid of bed bugs. You will find a much better result!

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