Can bleach kill bed bugs?

Yes. Bleach can kill bed bugs. But only if its being sprayed directly onto the bed bugs. Like all living beings bed bugs are made up of proteins. The chemicals in bleach have the ability to damage these proteins leading to the tiny pesters death.

Keep in mind it’s almost impossible to spray each and every one of the tiny pests individually. The bleach has to touch the body of the bed bug to kill it. So even though bleach kills bed bugs it may not be able to terminate them from your homes permanently.

How bleach kills bed bugs ?

The outer protective shell of bed bugs is made up of a protein called Hsp33. The active ingredients in bleach react with the amino acid molecules of Hsp33, leading to its unfolding and rupturing.

Disintegration of the three dimensional protein structure leads to a bed bug’s death.

Now chlorine based bleach is the most widely used and commercially available bleach in the US.

For example, ‘Clorox’ one of the top bleach brands is a chlorine based bleach.

What are the ingredients of Chlorine based bleach?

As the name suggests the active ingredient is Chlorine or a derivative; Hypochlorite or Chloramine.

For instance Sodium Hypochlorite is usually found in commercial bleach.

Applying Bleach on Furniture

Bed bugs are so tiny they can easily fill up the cracks and crevices in furniture. When using bleach to kill a bed bug infestation, care needs to be taken as to not damage the furniture in the process.

Unlike marble and concrete, wood is a porous material and using heavy chemicals on it can lead to damage. Bleach containing peroxides and chlorine not only change the color of the wood itself by lighting it, but also weakens it by destroying its microfibers.

damaged wooden table by bleach
Damaged wooden table

How to safely use bleach to treat bed bugs?

Although bleach is able to kill bed bugs, you have to be very careful while using it in a household due to its adverse effects to health. It is a widely known fact inhaling bleach can lead to respiratory problems, headaches, vomiting in humans. In the same way if pets are present bleach can be poisonous to them, so particular care needs to be taken.

Before using bleach to kill bed bugs take some safety precautions such as:

  • Wearing proper latex gloves and using a face mask to avoid inhaling the toxic fumes while spraying.
  • It’s better to remove all clutter from the area to be cleaned. Stuff such as books and papers or any absorbable material needs to be removed.
  • Remove furniture not infested from the room and avoid spraying in its vicinity so it does not discolor due to the presence of peroxides and chlorine.
  • All washable items which require cleaning from a bug infestation should be soaked in bleach and then washed in hot water. After drying the cloth items should be placed in direct sunlight so any lingering bugs might die off.
  • After spraying room with bleach seal it for a few days. Do not allow any children or pets into the room, to prevent them from soaking the bleach even via skin contact. Afterwards ventilate and vacuum the room a few times before living in it again.

More about bedbugs

Bed bug (Cimex lectularius) is an apple seed sized pest which loves to feed on human blood.

The tiny brownish pest is well-known for leaving behind itchy bites on a person’s skin while they’re asleep. The bites are like little red spots which cause irritation lasting several days. Even though the balloon shaped insects don’t spread diseases, in the US all major health agencies namely; the EPA, the CDC and the USDA have all declared them a public health pest.

Bed bugs infest houses, rooms, furniture and even the beds where we sleep. Bed bug infestations can be minor or major

Findings smaller infestations of bed bugs can be a real challenge.

Although mostly found in areas relative to beds, the pest can dwell within the cracks of other furniture in their vicinity.

Other than mattresses, springs, and frames, bed bugs can be found in between cushions, seams of chairs and couches, folds of curtains, inside electrical appliances, beneath wallpapers and hangings, junctions of wall and ceiling and many more similar spots.

Final Thoughts

Although you can use bleach to kill bedbugs, the risk far outweighs the benefit. When spraying bleach, you risk damaging your property or inhaling the toxic vapor. Bedbugs in cracks will also b hard to target.

We are recommending heat treatment over-bleach to get rid of bedbugs. A steamer is an effective way to get rid of bedbugs.