Does Hand Sanitizer Kill Bed Bugs? Is Your Sanitizer The Answer To Infestation?

Bed bugs are a common problem for many people, they are devious hiders and incredibly resilient.  Bed bugs are a common problem for many people.

Does hand sanitizer kill bed bugs?

  • Alcohol is one of the most widely used and effective methods of killing bed bugs. 
  • Both hand sanitizer and isopropyl alcohol (commonly known as rubbing alcohol) contain sufficient amounts of alcohol in their composition to kill bed bugs. 
  • These little critters are most commonly found in luggage, sofas, old furniture, and even in folded laundry. 

Merely applying either to your mattress will not get you there, but alcohol, including hand sanitizer, can help.

This article will discuss how to use these common household items to help you get rid of the bedbugs in your home. 


Does Hand Sanitizer Kill Bed Bugs? How Does Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs?

Higher concentrations of alcohol are effective at killing germs and bacteria because it burns through the organism. Two main things happen. 

First, the alcohol solvent in hand sanitizers and rubbing alcohol is strong enough that, if applied directly to an adult bedbug, it will be able to eat through its exoskeleton. 

Second, alcohol also acts as a desiccant, meaning that it can dry things out. Therefore, once getting through the exoskeleton, it will begin to dry out the insides of the bedbug, which will naturally kill it.

Which Is More Effective At Killing Bed Bugs, Hand Sanitizer or Alcohol?

While both products may work equally well depending on the alcohol content in each, rubbing alcohol would be the recommended option for three main reasons: 

  1. Higher alcohol content – As mentioned, alcohol is the main chemical needed to kill bed bugs, and rubbing alcohol generally contains a higher overall percentage of it. 
  2. Few additional chemicals – Similar to the above, some hand sanitizers contain ingredients like moisturizer, which will be ineffective for this task. 
  3. Faster drying – Due to the higher alcohol content, rubbing alcohol evaporates very quickly, making it a little faster-acting than hand sanitizer.

The Main Difference Between Hand Sanitizer and Rubbing Alcohol 

Both products are designed for the same purpose – cleaning and sanitizing surfaces using alcohol as the primary ingredient. The difference lies in the chemical composition of each. 

1. Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizers generally contain anywhere between 50 – 75% alcohol. Since they are mainly created to be used on the skin, they will also generally contain other chemicals that make them less harmful to your skin, such as higher water content and scented chemicals. 

2. Rubbing Alcohol 

Rubbing alcohol uses synthetic alcohol made up of propylene. This chemical comprises 60 – 90% of the contents, along with water and sulphuric acid. These cleaners are a little harsher on the skin, and ongoing usage isn’t recommended. 

Before you get any bright ideas, rubbing alcohol differs significantly from your favorite spirit! The majority of drinking spirits contain 30 – 40% alcohol content which is generally only half the amount used in rubbing alcohol. 


How to Use Hand Sanitizer (Or Rubbing Alcohol) To Remove Bed Bugs

The solvent needs to be applied directly to the bedbugs to be effective, which is why alcohol or hand sanitizer isn’t a complete solution to a bed bug infestation.

But if you see bugs, that’s a different story! Use a spray bottle to ensure that you get an even layer and distribution throughout the area you are cleaning. 

The solvent needs to be applied directly to the bedbugs to be effective, which is why alcohol or hand sanitizer isn’t a complete solution to a bed bug infestation.

Pay special attention to the creases and crevices on your mattress, as these are the most common areas you’re likely to find eggs or larvae. 

Below are a few tips if you’re trying this method for the first time: 

  • When using isopropyl alcohol, be sure to wear gloves as overexposure to the skin can be dangerous
  • Make sure the room is well ventilated and avoid remaining in the same room after application
  • Keep flammable objects far away from the area you’re disinfecting

If you’re using heat tools like hair dryers or heat guns, do not use them with alcohol or hand sanitizer. You’ll burn your house down.

If you’re using heat tools like hair dryers or heat guns, do not use them with alcohol or hand sanitizer. You’ll burn your house down.

Remember, if you are confident that you have bed bugs, then you should remember that they are not just on your mattress. Check your wood furniture, the cracks where your baseboard touches your walls and floor, your sheets and pillows, blankets, carpets, etc.

Bed bugs can hide in any of those places. 


Conclusion 

Common household solvents such as hand sanitizers and rubbing alcohol can effectively kill bed bugs if applied directly to the bugs.

While these products may do direct job, they cannot be your main and only solution, as they won’t deal with an infestation.

If you’ve got a significant number of bed bugs, it’s best to call in a professional. Bed bugs are extremely difficult to deal with, and you have a long road ahead of you