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How To Make An Apple Cider Vinegar Bed Bug Spray

Do you want to get rid of bed bugs without having to resort to harsh chemical sprays? I’m going to show you how to make an apple cider vinegar bed bug spray, as a natural alternative to chemicals, which is non-toxic and not harmful to pets and the environment, for getting rid of bed bugs in your home.  

how to make a homemade apple cider vinegar bed bug spray that works

Why Is It Important To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs Quickly?

Swift action against bed bugs is imperative, for several reasons. Firstly, bed bugs are adept at reproducing quickly, with females laying one to five eggs each day. This can lead to a significant infestation if not tackled promptly.

Health concerns are also a reason for urgency. Although bed bugs are not known to transmit diseases, their bites can cause itching and discomfort. In some cases, they may lead to allergic reactions, which can be severe.

Preventing an infestation can also spare you from extensive and often costly measures down the line.

If left unattended, bed bugs can spread to other areas of your home, making eradication more difficult. The key is to address the problem before bed bugs have a chance to lay eggs and multiply.

When you consider treatment options, acetic acid—found in products like vinegar—can offer short-term relief by killing bed bugs on contact.

While vinegar kills bed bugs, understand that it’s not a fail-proof solution. Acetic acid doesn’t always eradicate the eggs, meaning new bed bugs can hatch and re-establish the population.

As for items like bedding and clothes, laundering them in hot water and bleach if suitable, is an effective measure. High temperatures can kill bed bugs and their eggs, providing a complementary approach to your overall bed bug control strategy.

bottle of DIY homemade apple cider vinegar bug spray next to three apples

Why Do Bed Bugs Hate Vinegar?

Bed bugs are notorious for their resilience and ability to thrive in various environments, but like many pests, they exhibit a strong aversion to certain substances, notably vinegar.

This aversion is rooted in the unique properties of vinegar that make it repellent to bed bugs.

Vinegar, primarily composed of acetic acid, emits a strong, pungent odor that bed bugs find extremely unappealing.

This odor is not just offensive to their olfactory senses, but it also disrupts their ability to navigate and locate hosts, as bed bugs rely heavily on their sense of smell for survival and reproduction.

Vinegar’s acidic nature can be harmful to bed bugs upon direct contact. It can cause dehydration and damage to their exoskeleton, leading to their eventual demise. 

This makes vinegar a practical, albeit temporary, deterrent in repelling these pests.

When sprayed in areas where bed bugs are suspected to reside, vinegar creates an inhospitable environment for them, forcing them to vacate the premises.

bottle of DIY homemade apple cider vinegar bed bug spray mixed with essential oils

How To Make An Apple Cider Vinegar Bed Bug Spray

Making an apple cider vinegar bed bug spray is a simple and natural way to deter bed bugs. This DIY homemade solution utilizes the repelling properties of vinegar against these pests.

The spray is easy to prepare and requires only a few ingredients. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Step Instructions Ingredients/Items Needed
1 Fill a spray bottle Empty spray bottle
2 Mix apple cider vinegar and water Equal parts apple cider vinegar and water
3 Add optional essential oils A few drops of essential oils like lavender or peppermint (optional)
4 Shake well N/A
5 Test the spray A small, inconspicuous area of fabric or surface
6 Apply to affected areas Bed frames, mattresses, and other suspected bed bug locations
7 Reapply as needed N/A
  • Gather Supplies: You’ll need apple cider vinegar, water, a spray bottle, and an optional essential oil for scent.
  • Create the Mixture: Mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water in the spray bottle. For a stronger solution, increase the vinegar ratio.
  • Add Essential Oils: Add a few drops of essential oil like lavender or peppermint for additional repellent effects and a pleasant smell.
  • Test on a Small Area: Spray a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t stain or damage fabrics or surfaces.
  • Target Key Spots: Focus on spraying areas where bed bugs are commonly found, such as mattress seams, bed frames, baseboards, and furniture crevices.
  • Direct Contact: For best results, spray directly onto bed bugs to kill them through the acetic acid in the vinegar.
  • Regular Application: Apply the spray regularly, as it only kills on contact and doesn’t have a residual effect.
  • Comprehensive Approach: Combine this method with other bed bug control measures, like cleaning and vacuuming, for more effective results.
  • Safety Precautions: Use the spray in well-ventilated areas and avoid direct inhalation or contact with eyes.

how to make a homemade apple cider vinegar bed bug spray that works

Best Vinegar To Kill Bed Bugs – White Vinegar Vs Apple Cider Vinegar

When choosing the best vinegar for treating bed bugs, you have two primary options: white vinegar and apple cider vinegar. Both are widely available and can be used to make an effective bed bug spray.

White Vinegar: White vinegar contains a higher percentage of acetic acid, typically between 5 and 10 percent.

This concentration makes it more potent and often a preferred choice for pest control. 

Its clear appearance and more robust acidic properties contribute to its effectiveness in killing bed bugs on contact.

Apple Cider Vinegar: In contrast, apple cider vinegar usually has an acetic acid concentration of about 5 to 6 percent.

It’s darker in color, due to being made with apple must, and has a distinct smell that some find more agreeable.

However, its lower acidity might make it slightly less effective for killing bed bugs compared to white vinegar.

Preparation and Application: To create your homemade bed bug spray, mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Regardless of which type you choose, the application process is similar:

  • Locate bed bugs, larvae, and eggs.
  • Spray the solution directly onto them.

Efficacy: Both vinegars will disrupt the bed bugs’ nervous system when applied directly. However, neither will eliminate eggs, and repeated application is necessary to address new hatchlings and missed bugs.

how to make a homemade apple cider vinegar bed bug spray that works

Why Is Apple Cider Vinegar Better For The Environment Over Bed Bug Chemicals?

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is gaining recognition as a natural bug repellent and as an eco-friendly alternative to traditional pesticides used for the eradication of bed bugs. Here’s why:

  • Chemical-Free: ACV is a natural substance that doesn’t contain the synthetic chemicals found in many bed bug treatments. The absence of these chemicals means less environmental pollution and reduced risk of harming non-targeted species.
  • Biodegradability: Unlike many chemical pesticides that can persist in the environment, ACV is biodegradable. It breaks down naturally, minimizing its ecological footprint.
  • EPA Consideration: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates pesticides and provides information on their environmental impact. Natural solutions like ACV don’t usually face the same scrutiny due to their lower toxicity levels.
Attribute Apple Cider Vinegar Chemical Treatments
Base Composition Natural Synthetic
Environmental Impact Lower Higher
Toxicity Low Variable, often higher
Biodegradability High Lower

When you opt for ACV, you make a choice that aligns with an environmentally friendly approach to pest control.

While it may not be a complete solution for bed bug infestations, its use contributes to a reduced reliance on harsher chemicals, aligning with a greener lifestyle. 

bed bug infestation under a floorboard with bed bug eggs

How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar For Killing Bed Bugs And Their Eggs

Despite not being a scientifically proven method for complete eradication, many people find it a helpful natural bug spray with repellent qualities, making a homemade bed bug spray.

Preparing the ACV Spray:

  1. Ensure you have a clean, empty spray bottle at the ready.
  2. Mix one part apple cider vinegar with one part water in the spray bottle. This dilution is essential to create a spray that can be liberally used without damaging fabrics or surfaces.
  3. Securely tighten the spray bottle lid and shake well to ensure the solution is thoroughly mixed.

Application:

  • Direct Contact: Carefully apply the ACV mixture directly onto any visible bed bugs and their eggs. Take special care to target crevices and hidden areas where these pests are likely to hide.
  • Infested Surfaces: Thoroughly spray all infested surfaces, like mattresses, frames, carpets, and furniture.
  • Regular Use: Repeat the application consistently over several days to a week, especially in areas where bed bug activity is noticeable.

Spraying Tips:

  • Cracks and Crevices: Focus on spraying in cracks, crevices, and any potential entry points to deter bed bugs.
  • Dry Time: Allow the sprayed surfaces to dry completely. Bed bugs may avoid wet areas, so a higher chance of contact occurs as it dries.
  • Egg Targeting: Bed bug eggs are resilient, so thorough coverage is key. Pay extra attention to spraying any areas where eggs are likely to be laid.

bed bug sitting on the top of a white bed sheet on a bed

How Often Should You Use Vinegar Spray As Treatment For Bed Bug Infestations?

Vinegar spray can be an effective treatment for bed bug infestations, as long as it is used correctly.

If you are using a DIY apple cider vinegar spray, then the spraying should take place every 5-7 days until the infestation has been eliminated.

It is best to apply this natural solution in any areas where you suspect there may be activity. For example, along baseboards and around beds and furniture.

To maximize its effectiveness, thoroughly spray each area with the vinegar mixture and allow it to air dry before reapplying every few days.

If you detect a new outbreak of bed bugs or notice that existing ones have become resistant to the vinegar spray, then consider using other forms of pest control such as insecticides or heat treatments to supplement your DIY solution. 

Summary

Bed bugs are resilient and difficult to eradicate. Their fast reproduction rate and ability to quickly colonize new areas make prompt action essential for containing an infestation.

Vinegar can be a useful tool in controlling bed bug populations, but it isn’t always a foolproof solution.

It won’t eliminate eggs, so you may need complementary measures like laundering or using insecticides on items that can be washed without damage.

If you opt for vinegar as a natural treatment alternative, consider adding apple cider vinegar to the water for added efficacy because of its strong odor and higher concentration of acetic acid.

Plus, this type of vinegar is perceived as more environmentally friendly due to its biodegradability.

When applying an ACV mixture onto affected surfaces, do so regularly over several days or weeks until you notice decreased activity levels from bed bugs.

To maximize its effectiveness, pay particular attention when treating cracks and crevices where they tend to hide their eggs.

Alecia

Thursday 30th of November 2023

Rubbing alcohol kills all life stages of bed bugs on contact. I have tried it personally and it was provided to us at work to use.

Michelle

Tuesday 12th of December 2023

@Kimberly, I'm sorry Kimberly but I know first hand that 70% Alcohol kills 50% BUT 91% Alcohol kill at a 100% them and the eggs. Did you know that when a bedbug is dying the back of it butt goes in the air of course you can think it's telling you to kiss it's ass but that is not the case it is letting other bedbugs know there is danger and then they die

Kimberly

Friday 1st of December 2023

@Alecia, rubbing alcohol only kills about 50%

Andrew

Wednesday 29th of November 2023

Though I have not yet tried the method, thank you for the info shared.

Gemma Daniels

Wednesday 29th of November 2023

Thanks so much for commenting, Andrew. I really hope you have some success with this DIY bed bug spray tutorial :)

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