baking soda kills bed bugs

Does Baking Soda Kill Bed Bugs?

Baking soda is a very useful ingredient whose uses extend far beyond cooking. Many people use it to clean, deodorize, and even unclog drains. But can baking soda also be used to get rid of bed bugs? If you have ever dealt with bed bugs before, you know they are tough little insects to get rid of. They are small enough to hide almost anywhere, making eliminating them from your home challenging. Baking soda might not seem like the first thing you’d reach for when dealing with bed bugs. However, many people are under the assumption that baking soda is a cheap and effective way to get rid of bed bugs.

Unfortunately, there is no scientific proof that baking soda can be used as a successful home remedy for bed bugs. When water comes into contact with it, baking soda breaks down, so the idea that it could absorb the thick fluids found on a bed bug shell and dehydrate them, causing them to die a horrible death, is quite improbable. Therefore, although it may seem to work in some instances, it is not a guaranteed fix to fully remove a bed bug infestation from a property.

Some people also assume that baking soda can be used in the same way diatomaceous earth is used – by disrupting the waxy shell of the bed bug and making them more prone to dehydration. However, baking soda is not abrasive enough to do much more than stick to the bed bug without causing much, if any, damage to its body.

People are also under the impression that bed bugs could ingest baking soda, damaging or rupturing the bed bug’s internal organs and killing it. It’s not possible for a bed bug to eat baking soda, and even if it were, its mouthparts wouldn’t be big enough to consume a grain of baking soda. Bed bugs only consume blood, and their mouthparts are not big enough to consume a grain of baking soda.

Even if your sprinkled baking soda across the entire floor and a bed bug walked straight through, it would not cause them any problems. Also, bed bugs are experts at hiding in cracks or crevices, so they can easily move around the baking soda barrier you have created.

If Baking Soda Doesn’t Work What Can Kill Bed Bugs Then?

The truth is, bed bugs are very hard to get rid of. However, they can be controlled and killed by steam cleaning, vacuuming, heating, freezing, washing, and throwing out items. Steam cleaning should be done before vacuuming, as the steam will flush any bedbugs not killed out of hiding. 

Steaming, washing and throwing out items
  • Bedbugs are killed when mattresses, upholstery, and plush items that can’t be washed with hot water and detergent are steamed and cleaned. A steam cleaner generates steam at a minimum temperature of 100°C, and bedbugs die at 50°C. Using a dry steam or low-vapour steam cleaner is preferable because they leave less moisture behind. Steam will only kill the bedbugs that it reaches, so move the steam cleaner slowly to maximize depth. Avoid excess moisture, which could lead to mould. Ensure you steam around the edge, between the mattress and the headboard, and between the mattress and the box springs. Steam cleaning your bed frame or any spot where two materials intersect (for example, where two pieces of wood are screwed together) is worth the effort. However, the steam can damage your glue and wood veneers, so it’s worth taking extra care during this step. 
  • Freezing temperatures are not always effective at killing bedbugs. Continuous cold temperatures must be maintained for four days at -19°C and even this may not be sufficient to eradicate all of the bedbugs (Bedbugs, n.d.).
  • Place small non-washable items and dry-clean-only items in a hot dryer for 30 minutes or more.
  • When cleaning mattress pads, bedding, bed skirts, infested garments, drapes, and other items, wash them in hot water and dry them on the highest dryer setting. Keep clean, dry goods in sealed, light-coloured heavy-duty plastic bags or plastic storage bins with secure locks to prevent infestation of other areas.
  • Discard anything that cannot be washed, heated, or steam cleaned.
Use Diatomaceous Earth

After steaming your best bed sheets, the best thing you can do is dust all cracks with diatomaceous earth using a nylon paint brush. It can take some time, up to 4 weeks, for diatomaceous earth to effectively kill bed bugs. That’s because bed bugs must come into direct contact with the powder for it to work and bed bugs don’t need to feed much to stay alive.

Diatomaceous earth kills the bed bugs in a simple but effective way. The tiny crystals have sharp edges, and those sharp edges usually help to stick the powder to the bed bugs outer shell, causing the insects to dry out and die eventually of dehydration.

The diatomaceous earth must come into contact with bugs to kill them. You want the diatomaceous earth to be in areas where the bugs are already known to congregate or in areas where you suspect they may live, travel, and so on.

Spreading diatomaceous earth all over your home isn’t going to be a very effective or efficient use of your time. Instead, attempt to use it strategically. This includes the areas around your bed for bed bugs.

Try to get it under your baseboards, around your bed’s feet, the edges of your carpets, and even behind your electrical outlets and wall crevices. You may also want to get the diatomaceous earth to dissolve into cracks of your headboard, dresser, frame, box spring, and mattress.

does baking soda kill bed bugs
Even if you have a bit of success killing one or two bed bugs with baking soda, it won’t be enough to kill off an entire infestation. Without professional bed bug treatment, it can be extremely hard to kill all bed bugs from your home.

Getting Rid of Bed Bugs Altogether

The truth is that most home remedies will not completely eliminate bed bugs. While washing bedding on high heat will take care of the bugs on your linens, you still need to tackle the bed bugs at the source of the problem to eradicate them completely.

Taking preventative measures to avoid bringing them home after travelling can also help keep them away. But the only way to thoroughly end a bed bug infestation once they have made their way into your home is to eradicate every single one of them professionally, or they will keep reproducing and biting you and your family members.


Can bed bugs crawl through baking soda?

No, baking soda will generally have no effect on bed bugs. They will not ingest it, and if they do walk through it, it will not cause them any problems. 'Bed bugs may avoid areas with baking soda, but they would just relocate to hide in cracks and crevices or find another path to get to the occupants of the bed

How do you get rid of bed bugs in one day?

Heat is the most effective way of getting rid of bed bugs. By raising the the temperature throughout the house to nearly 120 degrees, the bed bugs don't react – they simply sit by and allow themselves to be killed by the extreme heat. For this reason, a heat treatment is the only truly effective way to get rid of bed bugs

How do you tell if bedbugs are in your clothes?

Blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases. Dark or rusty spots of bedbug excrement on sheets and mattresses, bed clothes, and walls. Bedbug fecal spots, egg shells, or shed skins in areas where bedbugs hide. An offensive, musty odor from the bugs' scent glands.
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