Does Hand Sanitizer kill Bed Bugs?

hand sanitizer to kill bed bugs

When it is not possible to wash your hands in the traditional way, with soap and rinsing with water, disinfecting your hands with a Hand sanitizer (also called hydroalcoholic gel) is an option. This is why many people have it available. In this article we will answer the question: Does Hand Sanitizer kill Bed bugs?

What is Hand Sanitizer?

Our environment is full of bacteria, microbes, viruses and other germs that will come into contact with our hands at any time. Hydroalcoholic gels act through the bactericidal effects of alcohol and the mechanical effects related to skin friction to get rid of bacteria.

They can be found in three general forms: Bottle, Pump or Tube.

Most of the time Hand Sanitizers do contain alcohol. Which usually comes as:

  • Ethyl alcohol (also called ethanol)
  • Propyl alcohol (propan-1-ol or n-propanol)
  • Isopropyl alcohol (propan-2-ol or isopropanol)


Precautions for use:

Excessive use can actually harm the microflora of the skin. Indeed, the micro-organisms of the skin flora are necessary for our health due to the natural barrier that they provide against pathogenic bacteria. Always refer to the instructions of the product you purchased.


How to choose an effective Hand Sanitizer?

In order to inhibit the proliferation of bacteria, the hydroalcoholic gel must contain between 60 and 80% alcohol (ethyl, propyl, isopropyl). To ensure this formula, you can directly have a look at the label to ensure the composition of the product. This alcohol concentration will have an effect on the efficiency of your Hand Sanitizer against Bed bugs.


Does Hand Sanitizer kill Bed bugs?

Hand Sanitizers main mission is not to get rid of Bed bugs. However, it contains alcohol which acts as a desiccant and has dehydrating properties. If your hand sanitizer contains Isopropyl alcohol, then it could harm bed bugs. Indeed, Isopropyl alcohol at high concentration could eat away part of the Bed bugs outer shell, which would leave the bug to dehydrate and to die. However, this could only work if there is contact between a bed bug and hydroalcoholic gel. And the contact should be prolonged. As alcohol in hand sanitizers do evaporate relatively quickly, it would be very difficult to kill bed bugs with Hand Sanitizers.

If you are interested in the topic of disinfectant for pest control, you can check our article about Dettol and Bed Bugs.


Can Hand Sanitizer kill Bed bugs Eggs?

Hand sanitizer is not specifically formulated to kill bed bug eggs, and its effectiveness in eliminating them is limited. Bed bug eggs are quite resilient and have a hard outer shell that helps protect them from various threats, including chemicals and disinfectants.

While hand sanitizers may contain alcohol, which can kill some insects upon contact. It is however unlikely to penetrate the eggshell and kill bed bug eggs effectively. Additionally, bed bug eggs are often laid in hard-to-reach areas. Such as cracks and crevices, where hand sanitizer may not be able to reach.


Can Hand Sanitizer repel Bed bugs?

Isopropyl alcohol contained in Hand Sanitizer are not known to repel bed bugs. Pest control experts do not consider Hand Sanitizer an efficient way to repel bed bugs. Also the alcohol evaporation from hand sanitizer would make it quickly ineffective, even if it had repelling properties.
If you are interested in home remedies to repel bed bugs, you could have a look at our article on Bleach and Bed bugs.



Yes, Hand sanitizer does kill bed bugs. But it cannot be used to end an infestation. Especially a large one. Because you would have to apply the hydroalcoholic solution directly on the bug. And usually, bed bugs like to hide in cracks and crevices that would be hard to reach with a hand sanitizer.

If you use Hand Sanitizer to get rid of bed bugs. You could kill a few bugs if you are lucky but the solution would not be definitive and even less long-lasting against bed bugs. While you are wasting time with such methods, Bed bugs would reproduce very quickly and the infestation would grow.

To avoid all these inconveniences and get rid of bed bugs for good, you should instead try our DIY method to get rid of bed bugs. This method consists of Steam treatment, high temperature washing, vacuuming, encasing your mattress and Using insecticides designed to kill bed bugs. If you want to find out the best insecticides to get rid of bed bugs by yourself, you could have a look at our Best Bed Bugs Sprays Buying Guide.