Can Talcum Powder kill Bed bugs?

Talcum powder to get rid of bed bugs

In the relentless battle against bed bugs, individuals plagued by infestations often seek alternative solutions beyond conventional insecticides. One such unconventional method that has sparked curiosity is the use of talcum powder. The idea that a common household item can potentially combat these relentless blood-feeding insects raises intriguing questions. Can talcum powder kill bed bugs? This article delves into the science, the anecdotal evidence, and the pros and cons of using talcum powder in the ongoing quest to free homes from these persistent pests. And also we will see if it can be successfully used in homemade DIY Traps.


What is Talcum Powder ?

Used since ancient times, talcum powder is actually magnesium silicate powder, a natural mineral from the same family as clay. It is mainly used in cosmetics because of its absorbent and mattifying properties. It can be used to prevent skin irritations, fight against perspiration, eliminate bad odors and so on. Talc or Talcum powder is also known as Baby Powder.

Can Talcum Powder kill Bed bugs ?

Rumor has it that talcum powder can kill  bed bugs. It has never been proven. There are indeed no scientific studies showing that this is an effective remedy for killing bed bugs. Baby powder is not abrasive enough to penetrate and dehydrate a bed bug’s exoskeleton. As a result Talcum powder is not deadly to bed bugs.

Indeed it can dry out bed bugs and their eggs, making it potentially harmful to them. However, it is by all means not an effective and proven method for killing large infestations of those pests. While baby powder may cause some bugs to die, it is not a reliable method to win your battle against those bloodsuckers.

Baking soda is also known for these absorbent properties and is also discussed for its properties about bed bugs. You can have a look at our article dedicated to Bed bugs and Baking soda.


Which Bed bug Powder is effective against bed bugs ?

Unlike Talcum powder, there are two bed bug powders that have been proven to be deadly to bed bugs : Silica Gel dust and Diatomaceous earth.

  •   Silica gel has small particles that are sharp and tough.  They can strip away the thin outer layer of a bedbug’s shell. This protective layer allows them to retain water. Soon they become dehydrated and die quickly.
  •   Diatomaceous earth works on the same principle. It is made from ancient fossilized microalgae. It is a very fine powder that looks like flour but is much more abrasive. The particles of Diatomaceous earth attach themselves to the shells of bed bugs, causing a loss of body fluid and death of those critters.

Both Silica gel dust and Diatomaceous earth last a long time, thus ensuring the extermination of several generations of bed bugs.

If you want to know more about the best powders for bed bugs that are available on the market, have a look at our Bed bugs Powders Buying Guide.


Can Talcum Powder be used in bed bug Traps ?

Some homemade traps are created by putting bowls filled with talcum powder beneath each bed leg. So when bed bugs try to climb onto the bed legs, they will fall in the bowl filled with Baby powder. The slippery properties of talcum powder will make it difficult or impossible for the bloodsuckers to escape the bowl. This DIY trap will enable you to isolate your bed bugs living outside of your bedding area.  

There are some other methods that can be used to trap those pesky insects, such as:

  • Using sticky double sided tape around the legs of the bed (Could be your furniture as well)
  • Using commercial bed bug traps, which are specifically designed to trap those bloodsuckers


Talcum powder vs Cornstarch to get rid of Bed bugs

Another powder that could be used in Traps against those blooduckers is Cornstarch. If you are interested you could have a look at our article about Bed bugs and Corn Starch. Both talcum powder and cornstarch can dry out moderately bed bugs and their eggs, making them potentially harmful to them. However, like talcum powder or baby powder, cornstarch is not a reliable and proven method to handle large infestations. It is indeed important to note that both are not registered pesticides, and therefore, not proven to be effective against those critters.

Additionally,  if you sprinkle Baby powder and corn flour in large quantities in your room. Both could create dust and make it difficult to see the bugs, making it hard to confirm if the implemented treatment is working or not. It is also not recommended to use those two dusts in areas where you sleep or spend a lot of time, as the both powders could be inhaled and could cause respiratory problems over time.



We answer in this article if Talcum Powder can kill Bed bugs. Talcum powder has not been proven to kill bed bugs on contact.  This won’t be a definitive solution to your bed bugs infestation.