Vinegar often crept up as a potential remedy for killing bed bugs. It is available in almost every household, cheap and great for a handful of applications other than cooking. 

Still, is vinegar an effective and good solution in killing bed bugs? 

What Is Vinegar?

It helps to understand what gives vinegar the bug-killing property. As a household ingredient, vinegar is a mixture that contains acetic acid in different concentrations. White vinegar has 5%-10% acetic acid while apple cider has about 5%-6%. 

The acidity of vinegar measures around PH 2 -PH 3. It is almost on par with lemon, which has PH2. Water usually measures PH 7, which indicates its neutral state. 

Can Vinegar Kill Bed Bugs?

The short answer is yes, vinegar can kill bed bugs. The acidity in vinegar is too much for bed bugs. Vinegar disrupts and damages the nervous system of bed bugs, which lead to their death. 

However, the key to doing so is that the bed bugs must come into contact with the vinegar. If you spray vinegar randomly on suspicious bed bug hiding spots, the effort may not be effective. 

Does It Repel Bed Bugs?

Vinegar, particularly white vinegar, produces a strong pungent smell. There are theories that suggest the scent of vinegar can repel bed bugs.

However, no studies have suggested that bed bugs are turned off by vinegar’s scent. So, you shouldn’t bank on spraying vinegar with the hope of bed bugs running helter-skelter from your home. 

Chances are, the scent of vinegar permeating the air is more unbearable for the tenants. 

Does Vinegar Kill Bed Bug Eggs?

No studies have confirmed that that vinegar can kill or deactivate bed bug eggs. Some opinions from pest experts suggest that the egg’s exterior is too hard to be damaged by vinegar.

Until proven otherwise, it is safe to assume that vinegar does to kill bed bug eggs. 

Even if it does, it will be hard to use vinegar to kill bed bug eggs. Bed bug eggs are very small and are barely visible.

You’ll have a tough time hunting for the eggs and pouring vinegar onto them. 

How To Use Vinegar To Kill Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are nocturnal creatures that may not breed and feed on the same spot. So, it will be a game of hunt and kill with vinegar.

Here’s how to do it.

  1. Get a bottle of white vinegar or apple cider
  2. Pour the vinegar into a spray bottle.
  3. Check your bed, particularly crevices on the bed frame for signs of bed bugs. They are brownish, oval-shaped creatures that measure about ¼”. If you can’t spot bed bugs, their excretion, which is dark spots, can be a giveaway. 
  4. If you spot the bed bugs, spray the vinegar on them.

Just be mindful that the vinegar’s scent will linger for a while. If you’re not fond of a vinegar-filled room, you’ll want to think twice before using this method.

Vinegar Alternatives For Killing Bed Bugs

Using vinegar is easy and economical, but the cons of doing so outweigh the cons. Bed bugs are highly-mobile creature, and it isn’t easy to hunt and spray vinegar onto them. Besides, the scent that vinegar gives off can be overwhelming even if you’re using apple cider.

Vinegar, regardless of which brands or types, is acidic. Some furniture may be damaged when exposed to acids. 

If you’re intent on killing bed bugs, consider these alternatives:

  • Steamer – The hot vapor from a steam cleaner not only kill bed bugs but also destroy their eggs. With the right nozzle, you can channel the steam into crevices and potential hiding spots of bed bugs.
  • Diatomaceous earth (DE) – The white powder made of fossilized aquatic lifeform is proven to be an effective bed bug killer. DE powder has sharp edges that could puncture the body of bed bugs before dehydrating the moisture from the creature.  
  • Vacuum – No, it probably won’t kill off the bed bugs hiding there. But a powerful vacuum can remove bed bugs and their eggs where you can dispose of later. 

Final Thoughts

I wouldn’t dismiss the idea of pouring apple cider on a bed bug. But catching one is not easy. Also, I’m not a fan of having my home reeking with vinegar. 

Still, yes. Vinegar does kill bed bugs, but I don’t think it’s the perfect or best solution out there.