Can Listerine help with Bed Bug Bites?

listerine to treat bed bug bites

In this article, we will answer the question: Can Listerine help with Bed Bug Bites?
Bed bug bites can be a frustrating and uncomfortable experience for those unfortunate enough to encounter these tiny pests. These nocturnal insects feed on human blood, leaving behind itchy red welts that can disrupt sleep and cause distress.

While there is no miracle cure for bed bug bites, some individuals have turned to a surprising remedy: Listerine mouthwash. We will review together the potential benefits of using Listerine to alleviate the discomfort associated with bed bug bites. Discover how this common household product may offer relief and practical tips on how to use it effectively.

What is Listerine?

Listerine is a well-known brand of antiseptic mouthwash. It was first introduced in 1879 as a surgical antiseptic but later gained popularity as a mouthwash for oral hygiene. Listerine contains a blend of essential oils, such as eucalyptol, menthol, methyl salicylate, and thymol, which have their antiseptic properties.

The primary purpose of Listerine is to kill bacteria in the mouth and freshen breath. It is commonly used for oral hygiene practices, such as rinsing and gargling. Listerine works by reducing the bacterial count in the oral cavity, helping to prevent conditions like bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay.

Over the years, some individuals have explored alternative uses for Listerine, such as applying it topically to the skin for various purposes. However, it’s important to note that these uses are not backed by scientific research or approved by the manufacturer. (source)


Can Listerine help with Bed Bug Bites?

Limited scientific evidence exists to support the effectiveness of Listerine for treating bed bug bites. Although Listerine contains antiseptic ingredients like eucalyptol, menthol, methyl salicylate, and thymol, which have antimicrobial properties, its primary purpose is for oral use rather than addressing skin conditions such as bed bug bites.

The specific efficacy of Listerine in alleviating the symptoms of bed bug bites is not well-established. However, some individuals reported that Listerine helped relieve the itchiness of the bite and reduce inflammation.

It’s important to note that bed bug bites are primarily an allergic reaction to the saliva injected by bed bugs when they bite. To manage the symptoms of bed bug bites, it is common to address the underlying allergic reaction and provide symptomatic relief.

This may involve methods such as using topical anti-itch creams or lotions, taking oral antihistamines to reduce itching and inflammation, applying cold compresses to the affected area, and practicing good hygiene to prevent infection.

If you’re looking for a natural option to relieve the discomfort and itching of bed bug bites, you can read our article on Cucumber and Bed Bugs.


How to use Listerine for Bed Bug Bites?

While Listerine is primarily intended for oral use as a mouthwash, some individuals have experimented with it and claimed that Listerine helps for bed bug bites.

Here are some general steps to use Listerine for such issue:

  • Dilute the Listerine: Mix equal parts of Listerine and water to dilute its concentration. This can help reduce the potential risk of skin irritation or sensitivity.
  • Cleanse the bite area: Wash the affected area with mild soap and water to remove any dirt or debris. Pat the area dry with a clean towel.
  • Apply the diluted Listerine: Dip a cotton ball or a clean cloth into the diluted Listerine solution, and gently dab it onto the bites. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing the bites, as it may further irritate the skin.
  • Allow it to dry: Let the diluted Listerine solution air dry on the skin. Avoid covering the area with clothing or bandages immediately after application.
  • Monitor for any adverse reactions: Pay attention to your skin’s response. If you experience any excessive redness, itching, or irritation, discontinue use immediately and rinse the area with water.


Are there any side effects of using Listerine on bed bug bites?

Since mouthwash is primarily formulated for oral use, there is limited information available on the specific side effects of using it on bed bug bites. However, it’s important to note that mouthwash contains various ingredients, such as alcohol, menthol, and essential oils, which may cause potential skin reactions or irritation when applied topically.

Here are some possible side effects that could occur when using mouthwash on bed bug bites:

  • Skin irritation: Mouthwash may contain ingredients that can irritate the skin, leading to redness, itching, or a burning sensation at the application site.
  • Dryness: Some mouthwashes contain alcohol, which has a drying effect. Applying such mouthwashes to bites may further dry out the skin in that area.
  • Allergic reactions: Individuals with known allergies or sensitivities to certain ingredients in mouthwash, such as menthol or essential oils, may experience allergic reactions when applied topically on bed bug bites.


It’s important to perform a patch test before applying mouthwash to a larger area of the skin.

Additionally, it’s always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or dermatologist for appropriate advice and guidance on treating bed bug bites. They can provide you with suitable treatment options based on your specific circumstances and help manage any potential side effects.


Can you use Mouthwash on other skin irritations?

Healthcare professionals generally advise against using mouthwash for purposes other than oral hygiene. While certain mouthwashes may contain ingredients with potential antimicrobial or soothing properties, they are specifically formulated and intended for use in the mouth. Extensive research and approvals for topical application on the skin are lacking, making it not recommended for other skin irritations or conditions.


Does Mouthwash repel bed bugs?

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that mouthwash repels or deters these pests. Mouthwash is primarily designed for oral use and is not intended or proven to be effective in repelling or preventing bed bug infestations.


Can bed bugs bite you in the mouth?

While it is possible for bed bugs to bite any exposed area of the skin, it is uncommon for them to bite inside the mouth. They typically prefer areas of the body where the skin is thin and easily accessible, such as the face, neck, arms, and legs. These insects are attracted to the carbon dioxide and warmth emitted by humans, which guides their feeding behavior.

They do not typically bite areas around the mouth. They frequently bite exposed skin areas like the arms, legs, neck, and shoulders. During sleep, they can bite any accessible part of the body. However, it’s important to note that they do not specifically target the skin around the lips, cheeks, or chin.


Can Bed bugs infest or hide in toothbrushes or dental hygiene products?

While it is theoretically possible for bed bugs to hide in toothbrushes or dental hygiene products, it is extremely rare. They are primarily attracted to areas close to their human hosts where they can feed on blood. They typically prefer hiding in cracks and crevices near beds, furniture, or wall voids.

Toothbrushes and dental hygiene products are not ideal hiding places for these pests. Because they do not provide the dark, secluded environment that bed bugs prefer. Additionally, the bristles of toothbrushes are not conducive to bed bug hiding or survival.


Can Bed bugs bite or cause any damage to teeth or gums?

They do not cause direct damage to teeth or gums. These pests are primarily blood-feeding insects, and they typically bite exposed areas of the skin to feed on blood. Their bites can cause itching, redness, and discomfort, but they do not specifically target teeth or gums.

Their bites are usually superficial and affect the skin rather than the oral cavity. However, excessive scratching of bed bug bites can potentially lead to skin abrasions or secondary infections. Which could indirectly affect the mouth if the surrounding skin is involved.


Can Bed bug bites or infestations affect dental health or oral hygiene?

Bed bug bites or infestations do not directly affect dental health or oral hygiene. Bed bug bites are primarily an allergic reaction to the saliva injected by bed bugs when they bite, and their symptoms typically manifest as itchy, red welts on the skin.

While bed bug bites can cause discomfort and inconvenience, they do not pose a direct threat to dental health or oral hygiene. They do not target the oral cavity or teeth specifically.

However, it’s worth noting that the stress, anxiety, and disruption caused by infestations can indirectly affect overall health and well-being, including oral health. Stress and sleep disturbances related to bed bugs can potentially impact oral hygiene practices, such as brushing and flossing regularly.



In this article, we answered the question: Can Listerine help with Bed Bug Bites?
While Listerine mouthwash may provide temporary relief for the itchiness associated with bed bug bites, it is important to note that its effectiveness is not scientifically proven. The soothing properties of Listerine, such as its menthol and essential oil content, may offer some comfort to irritated skin.

For effective relief from the itchiness caused by such bites, you can read our detailed buying guide on Bed bug bite relief Products.