What you need to know about using essential oils/rubbing alcohol for bed bugs.

I will list some of the natural bed bug repellents people use

  • Essential oils – Tea tree oil, cedar oil, lavender oil, and orange oil
  • Black walnut tea
  • Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
  • Vinegar

Bed bug freakout

Bed bugs came for a sleepover, only to end up squatting in your home. So now you have come here looking for ways to treat bed bugs naturally.

You may be looking to treat naturally because you don’t want to expose your family or yourself to pesticides. All these items I have listed will kill and repel bed bugs.

The nature of bed bugs is to hide in cracks and wait till you are sleeping so they can come and feed off of your body. So naturally, upon finding out you have bed bugs, you’re probably going to want to keep them from biting you.

But, read on because natural treatments like the ones listed above will not work. Bed bugs don’t care if you are trying to be organic or just pesticide free. If you bear with me a little bit more I will explain as to why.

Bed bug storytime

I’m going to lay out a possible scenario for you. It’s one I have seen numerous times in my pest control career. This scenario will hopefully convince you to not use natural repellents or any repellents for that matter.

So you research online and find all these great natural items for use with bed bugs. You go to the store, buy the items, spray alcohol on your sheets, wash them with the oils, shower with essential oils. All to keep your body from being a host to bed bugs. And you know what, it WORKS! No more bed bug bites.

However what those sites are neglecting to tell you is that by using all these repellents, you are pushing them deep into cracks. Remember when I said bed bugs naturally hide in cracks? Well, bed bugs don’t normally go for the deepest tightest crevice to hide in, they like to have easy access to food. So by using these “natural” repellents, you are pushing them deeper into cracks, places that you didn’t even think you had in your bed.

What happens then, is a week goes by. The repellent starts to wear off as there isn’t a long residual. Bed bugs will start to find a way to get on you. In the meantime you keep spraying yourself, sheets, bed, just about anywhere. But what has happened is now they are deeper in cracks, places you can’t spray.

During this time, the bed bugs are multiplying. They start growing in number rapidly. A month goes by now, and you are still spraying your heart out! You get bit maybe a couple times a night now. This will continue, you will keep fighting them for months. By now, thousands of bed bugs could be hiding all around.

Time for professional treatment!

Getting treatment

You break down, time to hire a professional and fork over a ton of money for heat treatment.

The average cost to heat treat a room is 1500 – 2000 for a 2000 sqft home. Depending on the company and a few other factors, this number can go much higher.

The pest company will give you a checklist to prepare – so you spend a couple days getting ready. Meanwhile, you still may be spraying bed bugs with natural repellents. The day finally arrives, you are exhausted from preparing and lack of sleep.

The company is at your home for most of the day, all the while putting you out of your home. You go out to a place you frequent perhaps, maybe a Starbucks or a library and wait. You may be excited and hopeful that this is the beginning of the end.

Heat treatment was completed, and now a month maybe two go by. You feel good and start to feel normal again. You’ve stopped spraying the natural repellents. Then one day you see a brand new bed bug, and it starts all over again. This time with more bedbugs that are hidden still in the cracks and voids of your home.

How did this happen!

You may feel like the company did a shitty job (it’s possible) however, they may have had an almost unwinnable fight. They could have done a great job (also possible) but heat treatments will not protect you once it’s done.

You may have gone back to that Starbucks or library that you like to frequent, and picked up a bed bug again. Though, most likely they are inside your walls now.

I see this play out all the time. Heat treatments can work on a brand new infestation, but there is no residual protection after using heat treatment. As soon as the heat is gone, if any bed bug survived, which the odds go up the longer the infestation went on, the bed bugs will come back. Perhaps worse than ever!

I’m not being hyperbolic when I say repellents can turn what would have been a simple easy treatment into a life-destroying nightmare.

What you should do?

Follow the steps I’ve listed in my other articles to learn the proper way to get rid of bed bugs before your life gets turned upside down.

Quickest way to get rid of bed bugs


What causes bed bugs to come back