Getting Rid of Bed Bugs with Baking Soda

Edited by
Inga Cryton
Reading Time: 24 minutes.
Updated: .

Who wants to deal with insects in their home? You’ll find a variety of them such as ants, roaches, millipedes, and scorpions, to name a few. A bug that is especially horrible and annoying is the notorious bed bug. These creatures live in your home and can sense body heat coming from humans and animals, as well as the carbon dioxide you exhale. They’ll find you, almost always when you’re sound asleep, then bite you and feast on your blood, leaving behind irritating bumps everywhere. The good news is that it’s not impossible to get rid of them. There are several methods to get rid of bed bugs, one of which uses a natural product, baking soda.

A Natural Method

Baking soda is a salt compound known as Sodium Bicarbonate. Its formula is NHCO3, and, true to its name, is composed of sodium ions and bicarbonate ions. You’ll find it in nature in places like mineral springs. Looking like a fine powder, on the microscopic level baking soda is actually tiny crystals, individually sharp but together in a grouping, they feel soft and powdery.

Baking soda is one of the most versatile products available.

Uses for baking soda are many. People use it for cleaning their house, baking, odor control, and even medicinal purposes like healing acne. Who’d have ever thought it could be used for pest control as well?

Why Use Baking Soda?

Baking soda is one of the most benign compounds you’ll find. Not only is it safe for human consumption, but it also won’t harm your skin when it comes in contact with it. When dealing with a bed bug invasion, many products use chemical pesticides that are toxic to humans and pets and can even burn your skin or eyes. Baking soda is a good alternative since it’s basically harmless.

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There are other powders out there that can also get rid of your bug problem. One looks very similar, although it’s made of a different substance. Click here to learn more about Diatomaceous Earth for bed bugs.

How It Works

With pest control, baking soda works in more than one way:

  • Digestion: When baking soda warms up, the chemical bonds begin to break down and the composition will change, releasing carbon dioxide gas. If an insect ingests the baking soda, this gas will release into their digestive tract and eventually burst the lining, killing them.
  • Exoskeleton: Baking soda under a microscopeCrystals in baking soda can sometimes be sharp enough on the microscopic level to cut the underbelly of bed bugs. When this happens, the amount of damage they accumulate can cause eventual death.
  • Dehydration: Baking soda is a salt and can absorb things such as odors and moisture. When an insect comes in contact with it, it sucks water out of them, dehydrating the bug to the point of death. And it doesn’t even need to ingest the powder for this to happen, as simple contact with it can do the job.

Liquid ammonia is used to clean with, among other things, including pest control. If you’re wondering, “Does ammonia kill bed bugs?”, you can go here to find out.

Diatomaceous Earth is a powder similar to baking soda in that it contains sharp pieces of material on the microscopic level. Unlike soda, DE is made from the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton. But something similar between the two is their benign nature. Neither baking soda nor DE will harm humans and is actually used in food all the time.

Does Baking Soda Kill Bed Bugs?

Chemicals aren’t the only things that can kill insects. Even though baking soda isn’t a chemical, it can kill bed bugs. Organic, all-natural products are out there that will have a powerful effect on them, just like a store-bought insecticide. Essential oils and DE are two of those products, along with baking soda.

Bed bugs are one of the hardest infestations to conquer.

If used correctly, baking soda can kill bed bugs, although it won’t be instantly. And although you’ll have to diligently stay on top of the application, the plus side is that there won’t be any kind of dangerous chemicals sitting around your home

Top 3 Ways to Use

So, how can you use soda properly to kill your bed bugs?

There’s more than one way:

  1. Paste: Soda pasteMix soda and water together in a bowl until a paste forms, about the consistency of honey. Use a brush and paint the paste wherever bed bugs might hide, such as mattresses, box springs, couches, armchairs, bean bags, etc. Don’t forget to get inside crevices and cracks. If there are holes anywhere in a piece of furniture’s frame, apply the paste around the hole and when the bed bugs come out to find you, they’ll have to walk right through it. Every few days, vacuum up the dried paste and start again until your infestation is gone.
  2. Sprinkle: Sprinkle sodaSprinkle a thick layer of baking soda around all furniture and inside cracks and small spaces. Even the carpet can be treated – spread a layer of the powder all over it. Vacuum up and repeat every three days. Remember that a vacuum is an important part of getting rid of bed bugs, as it removes them from your home instantly. By using it daily, you’ll get bugs that come out of hiding, putting a major dent into your problem.

    Keep an eye on your bed bug issue. No method out there will stop it in just one day; in fact, it usually takes many days, if not weeks, to take care of it. During treatment time, watch your home daily. If after a week, you don’t see a difference in insect activity, either change the way you’re using baking soda or switch to a different product. Although soda is a trusted method, sometimes those bugs are just incredibly stubborn.
  3. Piling: High bedBed bugs that hide in places other than your bed have to crawl up the legs of your bed frame to get to you. Pile baking soda in a thick layer all around your bed’s legs; the bugs will have to crawl through it will soon fall victim to the soda’s deadly effects. Do the same thing with the couch, piling baking soda around its base. All bed bugs coming and going from the area will be forced to go through it.

Borax, derived from boric acid, is a popular product you can find in most stores. People use it for things like cleaning and even making slime. For more information on boric acid for bed bugs, click here.

If you’re ever unfortunate enough to find out your bed is being invaded by insects, go try and natural product. It’s cheap, it’s harmless to you and your pets, and it works to kill insects. Thanks to this versatile sodium compound, you’ll be able to sleep with peace of mind, hopefully never to wake up to nasty bites again.

You can find further details of Bed Bugs Control here.

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  1. Does bakeing soda really work to kill bed bugs?

    • I live in a apartment complex, and seen some. So my friend told me to use the baking soda method, and to put my heater on high temp. So I sprinkled baking soda all around the crevices, cracks, basically every perimeter of my room, put my heater on about 90 and left it on for 24 hours. Came back the next day & found 1 dead. Never seen another one since. Its been close to a month. You are suppose to vacuum it up and repeat. Hopefully this method works and I will never see any again!

      • In order to kill bed bugs you need temperatures of 212° or 0°F(for up to 4 straight days according to the CDC. My friend is trying 2 days in a refrigerated truck at -20° for 4 days but he’s a truck driver and is moving all his stuff in a small load and most of those require a CDL to even rent. Only one steam cleaner on the market reaches 212°F and all Bissel products, according to their website reach a max of 190° as they have a safety mechanism in them even the one that’s supposed to get to 25° of whatever u put in it. we found a sanitizing steam cleaner at hardware freight that reaches 212 degrees, and was much cheaper than advertised online I’m getting ready to try it. So far it seems rubbing alcohol over 80% kills them instantly but I should have held on to one to ensure it didn’t revive later and did not so I’ll know that soon too as I’m going ape shit on them in about 20 minutes it’s the first time I saw him and it took me a couple weeks to figure out what they even were since I didn’t find it in bed and have never seen them or known anyone with them so it took me a minute to identify them and in that time they grew to be exponentially huge and I’m freaking the fuck out I haven’t slept or sat down in 2 days and finally have everything I think I need to kill them so I’m going to totally go crazy in a minute and see what else works I also bought chemicals so I don’t know which is which as to what will win the war but we’ll find out. I’ll use napalm and burn the house down if I have to lol

  2. What type of heater you use?

  3. There is a non-toxic treatment (safe for humans and pets) that is EPA 25B Exempt and offers the active natural ingredients Cinnamon and Soy. Agree about the diatomaceous earth but this product, Terminator, is easier to use.

  4. Hello. I read on many online articles that there is no scientific evidence that baking soda kills bed bugs. Do you agree with this?

  5. Baking soda is not an effective way to treat a bed bug infestation. This misinformed article is not helping. DE powder will kill bugs and silica gel products like Cimexa work even better. If you want a completely natural way to kill them, steaming works great combined with other tactics. The only thing baking soda will do is make a mess.

  6. No I don’t agree cause I live in a apt & the exterminator’s told me to use baking soda & I have only saw two that I balive were dead or dying. Picked them up with tolet paper & flushed them. The guy that lived here for got to take his pets with.LOL I have worked my butt off to get rid of them between the guy’s comming & doing the treatment’s I have got rid of a lot. I used pure oil’s in my defuser’s my carpet deorderizer with baking soda & more but can’t remember all I used.

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