How To Make Homemade Bed Bug Spray With Essential Oils

Bed bugs are microscopic insects that leech on human beings for their blood. This makes them extra dangerous because you do not even know that they are attached to your clothes or beddings already.

When infestation becomes inevitable, it would be best to have a layer of safety when it comes to bed bugs. 

If you want non-abrasive and natural solutions to bed bugs, you should turn to essential oils as they are very potent deterrents. As is the case, in this post, we shall teach you how to make homemade bed bug sprays with essential oils. 

What smells do bed bugs hate?

Like all other pesky insects, bed bugs particularly hate strong smells. Once they are inhaled, they become confused as to where the food is, or in this case, the human host. If you are wondering about the particular smells which bed bugs hate, you should check out the following: 

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Tea tree oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Diatomaceous earth
  • Blood orange oil
  • Lemon 
  • Cinnamon
  • Powdered pepper
  • Peppermint
  • Neem oil

What essential oil keeps bed bugs away?

And since we are focusing on essential oils as natural deterrents for bed bugs, it would also be important to know which specific essential oils we are talking about. Hence, the following are considered to be the most potent essential oils which keep bed bugs away. 

  • Tea tree oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Lemon and lemongrass oil
  • Citronella
  • Peppermint
  • Eucalyptus
  • Clove
  • Thyme oil
  • Neem oil
  • Frankincense 

Related: How Big is a Bed Bug? (Sizes At Different Life Stages)

Does essential oil kill bed bugs?

Yes. And this claim has been proven by scientific research. In one study from Purdue University, it was found that plant-based essential oils can offer the best solution for deterring bed bugs. There are at least 15 compounds found in specific plants where essential oils could be extracted from which prove to be the most powerful substances for killing bed bugs. 

In their findings, all said compounds are potent when directly applied to bed bugs but in varying amounts. The most potent ones with less amount would be carvacrol from oregano and thyme, thymol from thyme, eugenol from clove, linalool from basil, camphor from camphor tree and citronella from lemongrass. 

Using essential oil on bed bugs (pros and cons)

While natural and non-abrasive, the use of essential oils on bed bugs may have its share of pros and cons. These do not necessarily apply on the level of bed bug infestation or their potency as deterrents but also on the household with people and kids who might be ingesting a large amount of essential oils. 

ProsCons
It can reach even the smallest crevices of the room where bed bugs might be niching. Essential oil combinations can be tricky and the smell might get strong for humans too. 
It is a deterrent to other common pesky insects like mosquitoes, fruit flies, and more. They are expensive and synthetic fragrances are hard to distinguish from the real ones. 
While deterring bed bugs, it also improves air quality and improves mood. Some essential oils have allergic effects to people with respiratory illnesses. 
Natural, non-abrasive and soothing to smell. They can be dangerous when inhaled by kids and pregnant women. 

How to make homemade bed bug spray with essential oils

Now that we have laid down the essentials when it comes to homemade bed bug sprays, it is time to look at how to make your own bed bug spray using essential oils. In this section, the ingredients, tools and step-by-step instructions in making one are outlined.

  • Total time: 7-10mins
  • Tools and ingredients
    • Spray bottle
    • 1 cup of water
    • 5 drops of lavender oil
    • 5 drops of bergamot (essential oil)
    • 5 drops of cedarwood oil
    • 1 tbsp of witch hazel
  • Instructions
  1. Prepare all the ingredients. Make sure that all the right measurements are observed. 
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a bottle spray. 
  3. Allow the mixture to sit for at least three minutes. 
  4. Shake the bottle spray thoroughly and then let the shaken ingredients settle for another three minutes. 
  5. Start spraying the mixture in the corners where your beddings are and in suspected niches and crevices around the home where the bed bugs can enter. 
  • Note: 

You can always stick to your preferred essential oil but mixing it with other essential oils is also recommended to come up with a more potent solution. 

Related: What Do Bed Bug Eggs Look Like? and How To Kill Them

Other natural ways to kill bed bugs

By natural ways to kill bed bugs, we mean some of the best ways to deter them from infesting without having to resort to harmful chemicals and pesticides. As such, we shall be featuring some of the best home remedies that will surely keep off those bed bugs at an instant. 

1. Vacuum

With a high-power vacuum and hose attachment, it is very easy to suck up those bed bug eggs and adult bed bugs from clothes and beddings.

Be thorough in vacuuming not just the common niches of bed bugs but also furniture, cushions, and even corners of the home that are hard to reach. 

2. Steam cleaning

For harder to reach areas, steam cleaning is a formidable choice. Note that bed bugs cannot survive in temperatures of more than 140F. Always follow the instructions from the steam cleaner’s manual so as not to damage the furniture. 

3. Regular laundry of clothes and beddings

It is also important to regularly wash your clothes and beddings. It is also noteworthy to invest in fabrics that can tolerate steam washing or tumble dry for them to become more invulnerable to bed bugs. Also, after home treatment of bed bugs, steam wash all those that were exposed to bed bugs. 

4. Silica gel

We always see this stuff in the boxes of new pairs of shoes and oftentimes, we take them for granted. But you can save these silica gel packets and then grind the beads up until they become powdery. Spread them on suspected niching areas and see the result. 

5. Rubbing alcohol

While this is always contested, it is said that spritzing rubbing alcohol on bed bugs shall kill them on instant contact. If you are looking for a non-harmful and instant intervention for bed bugs, it would be through rubbing alcohol. 

6. Scented dryer sheets

While this one is more of a temporary fix, it still helps to know that there is another instant intervention to bed bugs. For some reasons, bed bugs and mosquitoes hate the smell of scented dryer sheets.

On a more unfortunate end, the pesky insects shall only look for spaces where the scent from the dryer sheets cannot be smelled. 

There are also herbal remedies for bed bugs if you are more on the organic side of things. Aside from the essential oils which we mentioned here, it is also notable to look at other herbal remedies which you can use as bed bug intervention if you have a supply of these around. 

  • Lavender: Even if you do not turn lavender into essential oil, the mere scent of the plant in the home would repel bed bugs at an instant. Spreading crushed lavender leaves in crevices or washing clothes and beddings with lavender scented soap would be effective against bed bugs. 
  • Peppermint leaves: This one works like lavender. Crushed peppermint leaves can be left in suspected bed bug niches. Just do not forget to vacuum them off the next day so as to maintain the cleanliness of the home. 
  • Black walnut tea: This one is truly considered as an insect repellant. You can crush the leaves and put them in tea bags and then strategically place them in bed bug infested areas. 
  • Sweet flag: This one is a rare plant, found in wetlands. But when it comes to effectiveness against bed bugs, they are one of the most potent. They can be mixed in essential oil solutions or just depend on the crushed leaves of the sweet flag plant. 
  • Bean leaves, Indian lilac leaves, mint leaves: These three are the other herbal remedies which work like lavender and peppermint. They are better deterrents with their crushed leaves but of course, you could also always extract off their oils to make an essential oil solution. 
  • Thyme: Aside from the leaves, it is said that thyme sticks could be wrapped around the cabinet where you keep your clothes and bedding. Some even go to more extreme ends like burning thyme leaves or sticks with cloth and then have the smoke penetrate the home for a moment to ward them off permanently. 
  • Beauveria Bassiana: This one is a parasitic fungus which particularly feeds on insects like bed bugs. When the bed bugs are trapped in this fungus, they shall be immobile, infertile, and shall be unable to feed. 
  • Citrus: The acidity of citrus fruits and plants do not just repel bed bugs but actually kill them in the process. If you want a bed bug egg level intervention, using citrusy scents would be the most perfect natural intervention. 

Related: Bed Bugs Vs. Ticks Side By Side: Differences and Similarities

FAQs

Of course, there are more to bed bug intervention than just the use of homemade sprays with essential oils. To give you a more comprehensive view of what you can consider when it comes to home remedies for bed bugs, let us look into some of the FAQs for bed bug solutions. 

Can you get rid of bed bugs with apple cider vinegar?

Yes. Apple cider vinegar and ordinary vinegars alike work like rubbing alcohol. Diluting 70% of apple cider vinegars on 30% water would kill bed bugs instantly upon contact. If you are looking for an easy and affordable solution for your bed bug problem, apple cider vinegar is a fine choice. 

What is the ratio of rubbing alcohol to water to kill bed bugs?

If you are more comfortable with rubbing alcohol as your go-to bed bug spray, you should know the right ratio that would kill bed bugs at an instant. As is the case, 70-99% alcohol content in rubbing alcohols would be the best ratio to kill bed bugs instantly. 

What does peppermint oil do to bed bugs?

Being one of the most potent essential oils against bed bugs, you might wonder about the effect of peppermint oil to bed bugs. Aside from the overwhelming scent of peppermint oil, thanks to its high menthol content, it also creates a very painful burning sensation to bed bugs which kills them at an instant. 

What can I spray on my mattress to kill bed bugs?

Aside from essential oil sprays, there are also known commercial bed bug sprays which you can buy for your mattresses to kill the bed bugs latching on them. Here are some bed bug spray recommendations which you can check out. 

Is bed bug spray toxic?

Some bed bugs are very toxic. One of those that you should really go away from would be bed bug bombs. It contains a lot of harmful chemicals including permethrins, pyrethroids, and pyrethrins. 

A few minutes of ingesting bed bug bombs would really give you distressed breathing. Long exposures to it would lead to respiratory diseases. The mentioned chemicals are also deadly to pets especially to cats, dogs, and even pet fish. 

Does bed bug spray kill bed bug eggs? 

Not necessarily. Bed bugs are killed on contact and not through ingestion since they directly feed on human blood. Hence, the only way to kill bed bugs would be through coming in contact with a repellant or ingesting them. 

Related: 10 Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs But Aren’t

Does Vicks vapor rub stop bed bugs from biting you?

Since it has a high level of menthol and eucalyptus scent, yes, Vicks can stop bed bugs from biting you. However, always keep in mind that you have to apply a generous amount of Vicks every now and then. Some note the negative effects of Vicks, it being a synthetic menthol so it might not be the best solution in the long run. 

Does baby oil repel bed bugs? 

They do not necessarily repel bed bugs because they do not have very strong scents. But it is said that putting an inch of baby oil in plastic containers and then setting these containers as stands for the bed’s legs would keep bed bugs away from the beddings because bed bugs are not climbers. They shall be trapped in the baby oil before they could ever reach the beddings. 

What type of fabric do bed bugs like? 

Bed bugs love the fabrics used for seams, clothes, and upholstery because they are cozy and warm. They also prefer dark colored fabrics where they can easily attach themselves without being exposed. 

What can I put on my skin to keep bed bugs from biting me? 

While you look for ways to permanently exterminate bed bugs from your home, you can temporarily put the following on your skin to keep these pesky insects from biting you: 

  • Peppermint oil
  • Other essential oils
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Black walnut tea
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Insect repellent lotion
  • Baby powder

How do you prevent bed bugs from biting you at night? 

If you do not have access yet to the aforementioned, here are some tips which you can take on to prevent bed bugs from biting you at night: 

  • Regular vacuuming of mattresses and the bed box. 
  • Washing beddings using warm water. 
  • Never store items under your pillows or even under mattresses. 
  • Thorough drying for clothes and beddings before use. 
  • Seek professional help if the previous ones do not help. 

Are there food items which bed bugs hate? 

Fascinatingly, there are. You can either crush their peelings to make homemade bed bug sprays but you can also whip them up as major ingredients for your food more often to ward bed bugs away. 

  • Onions
  • Bananas
  • Tomatoes
  • Yeast-based vegemite and marmite
  • Lemongrass
  • Citrus fruits
  • Garlic
  • Hot peppers
  • Beans and legumes

Are there colors which bed bugs hate? 

This is another fascinating question to confront because the answer is yes, there are colors which bed bugs hate. These colors would be yellow and green. The cited reason is that these colors resemble intensely lighted areas which they hate. The reds and blacks are their favorite colors. 

Conclusion

When it comes to bed bugs, one must be creative to evade further infestation. While insecticides and other chemicals would be the easier choice, one should not necessarily resort to harmful substances. There are a lot of natural remedies to ward off bed bugs and one of them would be making homemade bed bug sprays using essential oils. 

Bed bugs particularly hate strong scents. Fortunately, there are a lot of essential oils to choose from. Some of the most potent ones however, would be lavender, peppermint, lemongrass, thyme, and mint. With everything that we have covered here, plus the ten-minute preparation of bed bug sprays with essential oils, there should be no limit to what solution you can come up with.

Homemade Bed Bug Spray With Essential Oils

Homemade Bed Bug Spray With Essential Oils

Now that we have laid down the essentials when it comes to homemade bed bug sprays, it is time to look at how to make your own bed bug spray using essential oils. In this section, the ingredients, tools and step-by-step instructions in making one are outlined

Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 7 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes
Difficulty Easy

Materials

  • 1 cup of water
  • 5 drops of lavender oil
  • 5 drops of bergamot (essential oil)
  • 5 drops of cedarwood oil
  • 1 tbsp of witch hazel

Tools

  • Spray bottle

Instructions

    1. Prepare all the ingredients. Make sure that all the right measurements are observed. 
    2. Mix all the ingredients in a bottle spray. 
    3. Allow the mixture to sit for at least three minutes. 
    4. Shake the bottle spray thoroughly and then let the shaken ingredients settle for another three minutes. 
    5. Start spraying the mixture in the corners where your beddings are and in suspected niches and crevices around the home where the bed bugs can enter.

    Notes

    You can always stick to your preferred essential oil but mixing it with other essential oils is also recommended to come up with a more potent solution.