How to use Soap and Water to kill Bed Bugs

soap and water to kill bed bugs

In this article we will answer the question: How to use Soap and Water to kill Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs, the tiny nocturnal pests that can turn peaceful nights into a nightmare, have become a persistent problem in many households. These resilient insects are notoriously difficult to eliminate, but could a common household item hold the key to controlling their presence? In this article, we explore the potential of cleansing agents as a weapon against these bloodsuckers.

We will see whether soap has the power to eradicate these unwelcome guests and provide insights into the most effective strategies for using soap in the battle against bed bugs. Join us as we uncover the truth behind the intriguing relationship between them and soap.

Can Bed Bugs smell Soap and Water?

They have a remarkable ability to detect and locate their hosts primarily through the detection of carbon dioxide and body heat. They are attracted to the carbon dioxide exhaled by humans and other animals, which helps them locate potential feeding sources.

While they have a strong sense of smell and can detect various odors including soap. It is unlikely that they are attracted to the scent of soap or water itself.


Can Soap and Water keep Bed Bugs away?

Soap and water alone are not sufficient to keep bed bugs away and isolate you from them. They will try to reach their blood meal even though they have to pass by a spot where they can smell soap.
A home remedy that could be useful to repel bed bugs would be bleach. If you are interested you can check our article on Bleach and Bed bugs.


Can Soap and Water kill Bed Bugs?

Soap and water can kill bed bugs on contact, but it may not be a reliable method for eradicating an infestation. They have a tough exoskeleton that provides them with protection, and they are resistant to many common household cleaners and detergents.

If you expose them to soap and water, they may be temporarily immobilized or drowned. Soap can disrupt their cell membranes and compromise their ability to retain water.

However, they can survive for extended periods without feeding and are skilled at hiding in small cracks and crevices, making it challenging to reach and eliminate all of them through simple cleaning methods.


How to use Soap and Water to kill Bed Bugs?

While soap and water alone may not be a foolproof method for eradicating a bed bug infestation, you can use them to kill them on contact. Here’s how you can utilize soap and water:

  • Prepare a solution: Fill a spray bottle with water and add a generous amount of liquid dish soap. Mix the solution thoroughly to create a soapy mixture.
  • Locate infested areas: Identify the areas where they are present. Common hiding spots include mattress seams, box springs, bed frames, headboards, and cracks in furniture.
  • Spray the solution: Directly spray the soapy water solution onto the bed bugs and their hiding places. Ensure that the solution comes into direct contact with the insects.
  • Repeat as necessary: Reapply the solution as needed, making sure to thoroughly cover all infested areas. They can be resilient, so multiple applications may be necessary.
  • Clean and vacuum: After treating the infested areas, clean and vacuum the surroundings, including the mattress, furniture, baseboards, and any other potential hiding spots. Dispose of the vacuum bag in a sealed plastic bag immediately.
  • Launder infested items: Wash any infested bedding, clothing, or other washable items in hot water (at least 120°F or 49°C) and dry them on high heat for at least 30 minutes to kill bed bugs and their eggs.


Which Body Soap kills Bed bugs?

While there isn’t a specific type of body soap that is known to kill bed bugs, certain types of cleansing agents may have some effectiveness against them. Soap, particularly dish soap or laundry detergent, can disrupt the cell membranes of bed bugs and potentially kill them on contact.

If you want to ensure that there are no bugs on your body. You can take a shower with warm water. Regular body soap can help remove any bed bugs that may be present on your skin.


Which Laundry Soap kills Bed bugs?

There isn’t a specific laundry soap or detergent that will kill bed bugs on its own. However, some laundry detergents that contain strong surfactants or enzymes may have some effectiveness against bed bugs when used in combination with hot water and proper laundering techniques.


Recipe for Homemade laundry soap that kills Bed bugs

While there isn’t a specific homemade laundry soap recipe deadly to kill bed bugs. You can try using ingredients known for their potential effectiveness against these pests. Keep in mind that homemade solutions may not be as reliable or potent as professional-grade products. Here’s a simple recipe you can try:



  • 1 cup of borax
  • 1 cup of washing soda
  • 1 bar of grated castile soap (or any natural soap)



  1. In a bowl, combine the borax, washing soda, and grated soap.
  2. Mix the ingredients thoroughly until well blended.
  3. Store the homemade laundry soap in an airtight container.



  1. Sort your infested clothing items separately from other laundry.
  2. Add the recommended amount of the homemade laundry soap (typically 1-2 tablespoons) to the washing machine along with the infested items.
  3. Wash the items using the hottest water setting available on your machine. Bed bugs and their eggs will die with high temperatures.
  4. After washing, transfer the items to a hot dryer and dry them on high heat for at least 30 minutes.



Does a Bar of Soap under the Mattress will keep Bed bugs away?

A bar of soap is not known to repel or keep bed bugs away. They are primarily attracted to the carbon dioxide and body heat emitted by humans, which helps them locate their hosts. They are not deterred by the scent or presence of washing agents.
While there are certain scents that could repel these insects, such as lavender or tea tree oil. So, a bar of soap which would contain those ingredients could be effective in repelling bed bugs.



In this article we answered the question: How to use Soap and Water to kill Bed Bugs?
While soap may have some impact on bed bugs, it is not a standalone solution for eradicating an infestation. Soap and water can kill bed bugs on contact, but their effectiveness against eggs and hidden bugs is limited.

Best is to use insecticides that are specifically designed for these pests. To learn more you can check our Bed bugs Sprays Buying Guide.

To successfully eradicate bed bugs, it is essential to adopt a comprehensive approach that includes thorough cleaning, and proper laundering techniques. While cleansing agents have its merits as a part of a broader strategy, it is crucial to rely on proven methods for effectively eliminating these critters and regaining peace of mind in your home.