Baking Soda to Kill Bed Bugs: Does It Work?

Apr 15, 2023 | Bed Bugs

Baking Soda to Kill Bed Bugs: Does It Work

The old saying says, “Don’t let the bed bugs bite,” and no homeowner wants to learn they have bed bugs. These pests feed on human blood, leaving you with bites that some can be allergic to, causing them to experience discomfort.

Unfortunately, bed bugs can be one of the most difficult pests to eradicate, quickly spreading throughout the country. As these bugs infest homes, many are turning to DIY solutions, such as baking soda to try and eliminate the problem. While you may experience a couple of dead bugs, baking soda, as well as many other DIY options, are ineffective at eliminating an infestation. In most cases, a bed bug problem requires professional pest control.

Key takeaways

  • Baking soda is not an effective solution to eliminating bed bug infestations.
  • Effective DIY and professional options to eliminate bed bugs include steaming, washing bedding, using insecticides, and seeking professional pest control services.
  • Pyrethroid insecticides used to be the most effective treatment for bed bugs, but many bed bugs have become resistant to them.
  • Homeowners should take action quickly when they suspect a bed bug problem to prevent it from becoming a full-blown infestation.

How to use baking soda to kill bed bugs?

One common DIY bed bug solution that is often promoted is the use of baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, in order to eliminate bed bugs in a safe and more natural manner. To do this, DIYers recommend following these steps.

1. Sprinkle baking soda in areas where bed bugs are common, such as on mattresses, in cracks and spaces between your mattress and frame, and in bedding Leave the baking soda in place for a few days.
2. Vacuum up the baking soda and dead bed bugs and empty your vacuum cleaner outside after use.
3. Repeat as needed.

While this method may eliminate a bug or two out of plain luck, chances are you will just have a fresher-smelling mattress for all your effort but still have bed bugs.

Does baking soda kill bed bugs?

Unfortunately, baking soda and many other DIY bed bug solutions rarely work at eliminating a bed bug problem and, in fact, often allow the bed bug problem to get bigger.

Why do people think it works and why it really doesn’t

The idea behind using baking soda to kill bed bugs does make some sense. However, despite that, it is unlikely to address a serious bed bug infestation. Baking soda has very absorptive properties, and many believe it will dehydrate the bed bug’s exoskeleton. Unfortunately, it just simply can’t absorb it quickly enough before it dissolves.

Another theory is that baking soda is abrasive in nature and, similar to diatomaceous earth, will cause injury to the bed bug’s waxy outer layer, known as the insect cuticle, which helps prevent moisture loss. Unfortunately, baking soda isn’t as abrasive as diatomaceous earth and does not injure the bed bug at all.

Effective ways to get rid of bed bugs

While baking soda does not provide an effective bed bug treatment option, there are other DIY and professional options available.


Bed bugs cannot survive under extreme heat. Bed bugs will die within 20 minutes when exposed to temperatures of at least 118°F, but eggs will take up to 90 minutes to die. Higher temperatures, such as with a professional steamer, can reach temperatures over 150°F and will kill bed bugs and their eggs much quicker. Steam is applied to every surface of your bed and in the infested room, but it is a very slow process. You must ensure that the steam gets into every crevice, along the bed frames, and any other potential hiding places. This is one method often used by professional pest control experts.

Boiling and drying

For items that can be washed, such as toys, shoes, and pillows can be washed and dried in order to kill any bed bugs that they may be hiding. Wash bedding on a hot wash that lasts at least 30 minutes and then place in a dryer at the hottest setting for at least 30 minutes. For items like toys or shoes, place them in boiling water for at least 30 minutes to ensure any bed bugs are dead.

Washing bedding

Similar to other items, bedding, such as sheets and blankets, can be washed on a hot setting in the washer and then transferred to the dryer. Loosely fill the dryer and run for at least 30 minutes on the hottest setting.

Insecticide or Pesticide

Your local hardware store may carry a selection of insecticides and pesticides designed to treat bed bugs. When looking for a product, make sure that it is designed for bed bugs and follow the directions. The most effective products will be direct sprays that you use directly on the bugs and their hiding places. While bug bombs or foggers may seem tempting, they are not recommended as they tend to be very ineffective against bed bugs. Pyrethroid pesticide sprays can be very effective and long-lasting. However, many bed bugs have developed a resistance to these sprays. When spraying anything, it is important to avoid electrical outlets and only spray when children and pets are not present.

Professional bed bug control

While you may find some success treating bed bugs alone, oftentimes, professional bed bug control is necessary to address the infestation. Pest control companies utilize many different treatment methods to effectively kill and eliminate adult bed bugs and eggs, helping to ensure all the bed bugs are eliminated.

Letters spelled as FAQ inside small boxes

Frequently asked questions

When it comes to bed bugs, homeowners want to find a fast and effective solution. Here we address some of the common questions we receive from homeowners when they suspect a bed bug problem.

Is baking soda good for killing bed bugs?

Unfortunately, while you may kill a bug or two with the application of baking soda, it is not an effective solution to a bed bug infestation. While you wait for the baking soda to try and work, you are allowing time for reproduction and an increase in the bed bugs you have.

How long does it take for baking soda to kill bed bugs?

Directions for a baking soda treatment say to leave the baking soda in place for a few days. Unfortunately, in most cases, baking soda will never kill the bed bug.

What will instantly kill bed bugs?

While pyrethroid insecticide was the most effective bed bug treatment available, many bed bugs are now resistant to the chemical. In cases of a bed bug infestation, you are likely to require a combination of treatment options, such as insecticides and heat treatment. Professional pest control companies have the special tools and training to efficiently apply multiple treatment methods and provide a much quick bed bug resolution.

Finding effective bed bug treatment solutions

When you hear someone say bed bugs, it is likely to make your skin crawl. No homeowner wants to find these pests in their home, but unfortunately, they are becoming a common problem around the country. As more people travel, bed bugs can quickly be picked up from a hotel stay and brought home. Learning and understanding these effective treatment options can help you catch a bed bug problem before it becomes a full-blown infestation. At that point, your most cost-effective option is likely to be a professional pest management company.

Click here to learn about Arrest A Pest’s bed bug solutions.

You don’t have to let the bed bugs bite!

If you have been fighting a bed bug infestation and are still feeling like a bug buffet every time you go to bed, the team at Arrest A Pest is here to help. We understand how frustrating and difficult it can be to deal with bed bug infestations. Our expert technicians understand the bed bug behavior and will utilize a range of treatment options to ensure these bugs are eliminated from every hiding space throughout your home. Contact us to get a free estimate!



Adam Judnich

Adam Judnich

Owner @ Arrest A Pest

Serving the entire Coachella Valley

Arrest A Pest is your top-rated pest and bug control solution in the Coachella Valley! As a family-owned and operated business, our technicians grew up in the Coachella Valley and have a deep understanding of the pests in our area.

We understand that every pest infestation is an emergency, and we offer quick, safe, and thorough pest solutions and preventions for your home or business. No matter what pests are invading your space, our technicians are armed with state-of-the-art technology designed to rid your home or business of pests and help you stay pest-free long into the future.

Contact us today to schedule your FREE evaluation and let our team send the pests packing!

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