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Does 91 percent isopropyl alcohol kill bed bugs effectively?

In their question to get rid of bed bugs quickly, homeowners are always on the lookout for safe do-it-yourself remedies and pest control solutions. Obviously, the leading question on most homeowners’ minds is whether alcohol really kills bed bugs? In this article, we will discuss the safety and efficacy of use of Isopropyl rubbing alcohol for eradicating bed bugs permanently.

The answer is yes! Alcohol can kill bed bugs, because they’ve learned to avoid desiccants and other things that might kill them. This is a big part of the reason why they’ve developed immunity to many common pesticides. They avoid direct contact but can still live in the same area and absorb small amounts of the offending material. This gives them immunity over time.

There are two mechanisms by which it can work. The first is that it’s a solvent. Solvents are liquids that can dissolve something to form a solution—a mixture of the solvent and the dissolved thing. While it’s not strong enough a solvent that it can completely dissolve a bed bug, rubbing alcohol is strong enough that it destroys some of their cells; this can kill them. Not only that, but rubbing alcohol is a desiccant. It dries the bed bugs out. Because bed bugs don’t drink, and only eat very infrequently, they can very quickly dry out in the face of a desiccant. Alcohol can first destroy the thin layer of cells coating a bed bug’s shell, which helps them conserve moisture. With this gone, they dry out quickly, especially when covered in or walking through desiccant. That’s why rubbing alcohol has a double effect.

Salient features of 91% isopropyl alcohol– This dry faster on account of their lower water content, and the rate of evaporation will not change the concentration of alcohol in the sprays. Also, they are known to be a lot kinder on certain surfaces and materials.

How to Use Isopropyl Alcohol to Kill Bed Bugs:

  1. Identify the most common areas that bed bugs congregate in your home. These are likely to be underneath the mattress, and underneath any furniture near your bed. This is going to be where you primarily use the rubbing alcohol.
  2. Don’t clean the area first. By cleaning the underneath of the mattress, for example, you’ll scare away most of the bed bugs before you even get the chance to spray them. Remember, rubbing alcohol works best through direct contact.
  3. Don’t just pour the rubbing alcohol; use a spray. A spray will dispense the harmful alcohol further, and you won’t use so much of it.
  4. Allow the spray to dry, don’t wipe it off. Leave it for at least a day. Reapply the day after to assess the damage.
  5. After three days, give the underneath of your mattress a wipe down with a damp cloth. Get rid of any dead bed bugs, any shells and any feces that you find. By getting rid of these bed bug markers, you’ll make it harder for the bed bugs to find their way ‘home’ again.

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