Why Spray Mattress with Alcohol?

There is one main reason why someone may intentionally spray alcohol on a mattress: to eradicate bedbugs. A bedbug invasion is the most difficult to deal with out of the many infestations that may occur on your mattress. These nasty parasites are very good at hiding. They have even evolved to become resistant to certain chemical pesticides. As you ponder how to get rid of bedbugs, alcohol can seem like an excellent option. But is it?

Can Alcohol Kill Bedbugs?

Absolutely! Alcohol is a strong solvent, and it will kill a bedbug upon contact. When a bedbug is sprayed with alcohol, the outer shell is dissolved, and the same alcohol dries out the bug’s insides. That is thanks to alcohol’s desiccant properties. Alcohol also does the same thing to a bedbug’s eggs. It dissolves the cover and dries out the contents found on the eggs. On paper, spraying a mattress with alcohol seems like a great DIY option for getting rid of bedbugs. But as you will see later on, it has its drawbacks.

What about Repelling Them?

Besides killing bedbugs, alcohol is also great at repelling bedbugs from your mattress. Because of what it does to them, bedbugs will avoid crawling or laying eggs on parts of the mattress that have been treated with alcohol. Therefore, this will, in some ways, repel them. But it will not get rid of a bedbug infestation.

Why isn’t Spraying Mattress with Alcohol the Best Solution for Bedbug Invasion?

If it’s your first time dealing with bedbugs, alcohol will be your top choice. It’s cheap, readily available, and dissolves the shells of bedbugs and dries out their insides. As mentioned earlier, alcohol does have its drawbacks when used to get rid of bedbugs. Here are some reasons why spraying a mattress with alcohol isn’t such an effective solution.

1. Alcohol Will Kill Bedbugs Only on Contact

Bedbugs are skilled at hiding inside your mattress. These tiny parasites will get inside your mattress cover, hide on the edges and wait to snack on your body when you sleep. Even though alcohol will kill bedbugs, it will only work when sprayed directly. You may kill some bedbugs that weren’t hiding. But for those that were, they will remain intact and lay more eggs. You will have only dealt with some and not all of the bedbugs on your mattress.

2. It’s Not a Reliable Method

Research done at Rutgers University discovered that rubbing alcohol isn’t 100% effective at killing bedbugs. They performed a test where bedbugs were sprayed with rubbing alcohol, and four days later, at least half of the population was still alive. A clear indication that spraying alcohol is no longer an effective method of getting rid of bedbugs on a mattress.

3. Alcohol is Highly Flammable

Another reason why you may want to steer clear of alcohol is because of its high flammability. Spraying alcohol on a mattress is very dangerous. It’s because mattresses are also flammable, especially memory foam. Even though most mattresses these days have flame retardants, such as a fiberglass fire sock, it’s not worth the risk.

To be safe, you should avoid spraying alcohol on mattresses for whatever purposes. There are better ways of dealing with a bedbug infestation, which we will recommend later on.

How to Use Alcohol as a Temporary Solution to Bedbugs on Mattresses?

If your friend or colleague has recommended alcohol as an excellent alternative and you want to try it. Here are some tips on how to get temporary relief from spraying your mattress with rubbing alcohol.

  • Look for 91% isopropyl alcohol. You can get this on Amazon or Walmart. If you want to deal with bedbugs on your mattress, spraying anything other than 91% alcohol will have no tangible effect.
  • Try as much as possible to contain the infestation on that particular mattress. If it’s on one bed, spray the legs and coat the legs with petroleum jelly. That should hinder movement.
  • Spray the alcohol on every part of the mattress, including the underside, box spring, and headboard. Spray more around the corners or areas that look like perfect hiding spots.
  • Before going to bed, you can spray the mattress to repel the bugs overnight. You can also spray your body before going to bed.

Even though alcohol can offer temporary relief to a bedbug infestation on your mattress, you need to find a long-term solution. You can’t keep on drenching your mattress in rubbing alcohol, yet the bedbugs are continuing to lay more eggs. Also, doesn’t the above seem inconvenient? Picture spraying your mattress with rubbing alcohol every night? How will you even get to fall asleep in such an environment? What about the fire hazard associated with spraying mattresses with rubbing alcohol?

How to Get Rid of Bedbugs?

You can take several steps to eradicate a bedbug infestation in your home. One, you can wash the bedding and mattress cover under high heat. The heat will destroy the bedbugs and their eggs. As you remove the cover, avoid contaminating your home further with fiberglass. Make sure that your mattress is fiberglass-free. If it contains fiberglass, dealing with the infestation will be more difficult.

Alternatively, you can expose your bedroom to high heat. That should kill bedbugs as well. Most exterminators offer this service. Or, you can put bed sheets and pillows that have been infested with bedbugs in zippered covers and put them away.

There is also the option of using pesticides. As you approach this method, you will need to learn more about pesticide resistance. In certain areas, some bedbugs have developed a resistance to certain pesticides. Homeowners can also benefit from natural remedies such as essential oils. These have been known to be effective at repelling mattresses.

When you consider all methods of getting rid of bedbugs, the best option is to hire a professional exterminator. These experts will kill the bedbugs and their eggs and treat your mattress, bedroom, and the entire home. Exterminators use a wide range of techniques. They will expose the bedbugs to high heat. They will also use pesticides and a bunch of effective tools and techniques. Using their experience with bedbugs, they have a much better chance of dealing with this infestation than you can with your bottle of alcohol spray.

Can I Spray All Types of Alcohol on a Mattress?

In the first place, you shouldn’t be spraying alcohol on a mattress. What you should be doing is looking up professional bedbug exterminators near you. As mentioned earlier, alcohol isn’t the most reliable method of dealing with bedbugs on your mattress.

But since we have already brought up the topic of using alcohol, you need to know that there are four main types available for domestic use. First, we have isopropyl alcohol. This is a strong solvent, and it’s what we recommended earlier for those of you interested in giving this ingredient a try. There is also rubbing alcohol. It’s very common in most homes, and it’s used to disinfect items.

There is witch hazel, which most people don’t know contains alcohol. Finally, we have wintergreen alcohol which is a mixture of several additives. If you must spray alcohol, go for the strongest one. But be very careful when spraying alcohol on a mattress. Ensure that there are no fire hazards in the surrounding environment.

Can Alcohol Kill Lice on a Mattress?

Bedbugs aren’t the only parasites that can invade your mattress. Lice also, on rare occasions, do crawl to the mattress and pillows. If you or a loved one is getting treatment for lice, you may also want to treat the mattress and pillows. In such a scenario, you will be wondering if alcohol can also kill lice?

Despite the dangers of using alcohol on a mattress, you don’t need to introduce such strong solvents if you or a loved one has a lice infestation. Lice mainly live on the scalp. They can’t survive for more than two days on the mattress. It’s why they rarely leave the scalp. Just wash the mattress cover and bedsheets if you are dealing with lice. But forget about using alcohol.

Can I Disinfect My Mattress with Alcohol?

That will depend on what type of infection you are trying to get rid of. In most cases, it’s safer and more effective for you to disinfect the mattress by washing the cover and the sheets. You can also spray some essential oils on the bed and vacuum it. Spraying your mattress with alcohol seems like an extreme method of disinfecting the bed.


Q: What happens if you spray rubbing alcohol on your bed?

A: Any bedbugs that may be on the mattress will be killed on contact. The alcohol will repel those that survive. However, when the alcohol evaporates, the bedbugs will surface.

Q: Is alcohol a good mattress disinfectant?

A: Rubbing alcohol is an excellent disinfectant, but it’s very risky to use on your mattress. It’s better to explore other safer disinfectants.


The only benefit you can get from spraying your mattress with alcohol is to kill bedbugs. However, in the above guide, you can see that alcohol isn’t a reliable eradicator of bedbugs. If you are tired of bedbugs feasting on you, it’s better to bring in professional assistance. It’s the only way to be assured of complete eradication of a bedbug infestation. Spraying your mattress with alcohol can seem like a quick and easy solution, but the results are temporary.

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