The Best Bed Bug Sprays of 2022

Don’t let your carpets, curtains, furniture, and bedding become the permanent home of a bed bug infestation. Grab the best bed bug spray and eradicate these parasites.

By Timothy Dale | Updated Mar 25, 2022 2:55 PM

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The Best Bed Bug Spray Option

Photo: amazon.com

Bed bugs (cimex lectularius) are tiny insects that feed on human blood, hiding in blankets, sheets, mattresses, and more. Bed bugs can also migrate to infest all areas of the house where you and your family hang out, leaving itchy, swollen bumps at the site of a bite.

The best bed bug spray typically uses active ingredients ranging from powerful insecticides like pyrethrin, pyrethroid, imidacloprid, and acetamiprid to pet- and child-friendly geranium oil and clove oil. If you want to rid your home of bed bugs of all life stages, read on for shopping tips and the most effective bed bug sprays available in their respective categories.

  1. BEST OVERALL: HARRIS Bed Bug and Egg Killer
  2. RUNNER UP: MGK Bedlam Plus Bed Bug Aerosol
  3. BEST BUDGET: Hot Shot Ready-to-Use Bed Bug Home Insect Killer
  4. NATURAL PICK: MDXconcepts Bed Bug Killer Natural Organic Formula
  5. BROAD-SPECTRUM PICK: JT Eaton Oil Based Bedbug Spray with Sprayer
  6. BEST FOR MATTRESSES: PT Alpine Flea & Bed Bug Pressurized Insecticide
  7. BEST FOR UPHOLSTERY: Ortho Home Defense Max Bed Bug Killer
  8. BEST FOR BASEBOARDS: HARRIS 5-Minute Bed Bug Killer Aerosol Spray
The Best Bed Bug Spray Option

Photo: amazon.com

Before You Buy Bed Bug Spray

Bed bug spray can control and even eradicate infestations, but they can come with harmful levels of toxicity—not to mention strong chemical odors—that require vacating the area until the spray clears.

Sprays are generally water- or oil-based formulas, the former of which could possibly damage electronics, documents, and wooden surfaces if used in excess. Oil-based sprays can stain whatever they’re applied to, and often leave a sticky residue, though that’s typically removable with soap and water.

To avoid these issues with sprays, some folks plagued by bed bugs try alternative measures. These include steam cleaning and washing items in hot water, as exposure to temperatures of 185 degrees Fahrenheit kills bed bugs.

Diatomaceous earth—a silica-rich powder made from the sediment of fossilized algae—can be employed to banish bed bugs by destroying their exoskeleton. There are also traps designed to lure and eliminate bed bugs. You may wish to consider the preventive measures and treatments below before reaching for a bed bug spray.

  • Prevent: The scent of lavender repels and can even kill bed bugs; use as an essential oil sprayed in areas where bed bugs nest, like baseboards and beds. Peppermint leaves, another natural bed bug repellent, can be ground and scattered at the base of the bed and in the corners of a room. Using scented dryer sheets on clothing and bed linens may discourage the parasites, and for physical defense, put double-sided tape on your bedposts and bedframe to hamper the insects’ ability to crawl to you.
  • Clean: Consistent house cleaning can help keep bed bugs at bay. Vacuum bed bugs into the machine’s isolated chamber, then remove the chamber, treat it with rubbing alcohol to kill the insects inside, and rinse before returning to the vacuum. Use a stiff brush when vacuuming curtains, upholstery fabrics, and your mattress to ensure that bed bugs and eggs cannot remain hidden in the folds of material.
  • Isolate: Confine the infestation to kill the insects without unintentionally triggering a migration. Move the bed away from the wall and surround the feet of the bed frame with baking soda to prevent bugs from climbing down. Any items that could have been exposed should be removed from the area and immediately washed in hot water or treated with effective bed bug killers. Any items that cannot be washed or treated should be thrown away in a sealed bag for garbage collection.
  • Treat: Mild bed bug infestation may be treated with common household products. Sprinkle baking soda around bed posts or spread crushed silica gel—commonly found in new shoe boxes and product shipments—on the ground to create a barrier around your bed posts that is safe for kids and pets. For a contact killer, dilute rubbing alcohol or tea tree oil (20 drops, or .03 fluid ounces) into 32 fluid ounces of water and spray directly on bed bugs. Or simply blast them with a hairdryer on its hottest setting.

If the DIY treatments and the sprays described here fail to kill the bed bugs, then you may need to hire a professional exterminator to deal with the infestation.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Bug Spray 

Don’t just grab the best-looking bed bug spray available. A flashy logo on packaging might draw attention, but the ingredients inside, application method, and longevity matter most when choosing a bed bug spray. You should also consider whether the bed bug sprays work on contact to immediately kill bed bugs or if it’s a residual treatment that kills slowly to increase poison transmission to other adult bed bugs and bed bug eggs.

Contact vs. Residual 

Bed bug sprays are generally split into two types: Contact bed bug spray and residual bed bug spray.

  • Contact bed bug spray is designed to kill quickly when the solution comes in contact with a bed bug. This bed bug killer spray is an effective way to treat a small infestation or to quickly kill any stowaway bed bugs in your luggage after a trip. Some contact sprays can remain active for up to 16 weeks, but the bed bugs need to touch the spray for it to be effective.
  • Residual bed bug sprays are a better option than other bed bug sprays for controlling bed bugs at home because the poison takes longer to kill the affected bed bugs, allowing them to spread the poison to other bed bugs, ultimately killing more than with a simple contact spray.

Ingredients 

It’s necessary to determine the ingredients of a bed bug spray so that you know what the potential dangers are to you and your family, as well as the effects of the spray on the bed bugs. Common bed bug spray ingredients include pyrethrins and pyrethroids, desiccants, cold pressed neem oil, chlorfenapyr, neonicotinoids, and insect growth regulators.

  • Pyrethrins and pyrethroids are derived from chrysanthemum flowers and are the most commonly used active ingredient in indoor pest control solutions. However, this doesn’t mean that they are safe. These active ingredients target the central nervous system of the insect, triggering paralysis and then death, so make sure to follow the label when applying these products.
  • Desiccants, like diatomaceous earth or boric acid, break down the waxy, protective outer layer on a bed bug causing them to dehydrate and die. These active ingredients are common residual bed bug sprays.
  • Cold pressed neem oil is currently the only biochemical pesticide registered with the EPA for use against bed bugs. This is a contact killer spray that is effective against small infestations.
  • Chlorfenapyr is a pro-insecticide, meaning that it remains inactive as a pesticide until the insects ingest the compound. Once ingested, it breaks down and forms a lethal chemical that disrupts functions in the bed bug’s cells, resulting in death.
  • Neonicotinoids are a relatively new method for treating bed bugs. This active ingredient is a synthetic form of nicotine that is used to overload the nicotinic receptors by causing the nerves to fire repeatedly until they fail. This nervous system overload leads to paralysis and death.
  • Insect growth regulators are designed to interfere with the natural development and reproductive cycle of the bed bugs. They can be used to either alter the development of the external shell, leading to dehydration and death, or to stop development into adulthood.

Application 

Typically, bed bug spray is relatively easy to use. The most important step is to carefully read the instructions from the manufacturer before you start spraying to ensure it is safe to use on bedding, as well as any other precautions and recommendations.

Typically, you simply spray the product in common locations where the bed bugs travel, like cracks and crevices, then leave it for a few hours to several weeks, depending on the longevity of the spray. If you have a mild bed bug treatment that is safe for use on pillows, bed sheets, and mattresses, then apply the spray to the bed, allowing several hours for the bed bug spray to work.

Keep in mind that bed bugs can also hide in cracks and crevices in the headboard, footboard, rails, support slats, box spring, and any drawers that your bed may have. Additionally, bed bugs are likely to flee a toxic environment, so make sure you have enough spray to treat the entire room. If you are concerned about bed bugs in the walls, floor, or ceiling, consider using a bed bug fogger to ensure the chemical treatment seeps into all the narrow gaps, nooks, and crannies in the room.

Longevity

After application, the bed bug spray will begin to work. When a bed bug comes in contact with the spray it is either immediately affected by contact killers or it may spread the treatment to other bed bugs if it was a residual killer. The longevity of a bed bug spray is not an indication of how long it will take to kill, but how long it remains active after application.

On average, a bed bug spray will remain effective for about 2 weeks after application, as long as it is not washed, rinsed, or otherwise disturbed. Some bed bug sprays can even last for up to 16 weeks, ensuring that the treated areas continue to control the bed bug population for up to 4 months. Always check the longevity of a product before investing in an easy bed bug spray.

Our Top Picks

We selected some of the best bed bug sprays in their respective categories based on high customer approval, overall efficacy, availability, and popularity.

Best Overall

The Best Bed Bug Spray Option: HARRIS Bed Bug Killer, Toughest Liquid Spray
Photo: amazon.com

The HARRIS bed bug spray is a powerful spray designed to be used on cracks, crevices, furniture, closets, wall moldings, mattress seams, bed frames, and almost anywhere else a bed bug could hide, without leaving behind stains and odors or damaging fabrics.

The chemical spray kills bed bugs on contact with imidacloprid, n-Octyl bicycloheptene dicarboximide, and phenothrin. It continues to treat the infestation for up to 16 weeks, even eliminating bugs and eggs that are resistant to traditional pyrethroid insecticides. While this product is EPA approved for use in your home and around pets, it should not be used on your clothing, pillows, or bedding. Always follow label directions to ensure safe use.

Product Specs

  • Type: Contact
  • Active Ingredients: Imidacloprid, n-Octyl bicycloheptene dicarboximide, phenothrin
  • Longevity: 16 weeks

Pros

  • Lasts for up to 4 months
  • Powerful active ingredients kill quickly
  • Kills pyrethroid-resistant bug and eggs
  • Odorless, non-staining formula

Cons

  • Not safe for use on clothing, pillows, or bedding
  • Not safe in food preparation areas

Get the HARRIS bed bug spray at Amazon, Walmart, and The Home Depot

Runner up

The Best Bed Bug Spray Option: Bedlam Plus Bed Bug Aerosol Spray
Photo: amazon.com

While other sprays can damage a mattress bedding and other fabrics, Bedlam Plus Bed Bug Aerosol Spray, with its water-based formula, can be used on all fabrics, wood furniture, and carpets to kill bed bugs and their eggs. This dual-action chemical treatment that includes imidacloprid can kill pyrethroid-resistant infestations, destroying bugs on initial contact and remaining active for up to 2 weeks.

It’s safe to spray on every part of the bed, behind wall fixtures and on the carpet or hardwood floor without concern. The spray is non-irritating to humans and common pets, but should never be used in a food preparation area or around consumable food and beverages, as it’s unsafe to ingest the spray.

Product Specs

  • Type: Contact
  • Active Ingredients: Imidacloprid
  • Longevity: 2 weeks

Pros

  • Safe to spray on the bed
  • Non-irritating to humans, cats, and dogs
  • Kills pyrethroid-resistant bug and eggs
  • Non-staining formula

Cons

  • Only lasts for 2 weeks
  • Not safe in food preparation areas

Get the Bedlam Plus bed bug spray on Amazon and at Walmart.

Best Budget

The Best Bed Bug Spray Option: Hot Shot Ready-to-Use Bed Bug Home Insect Killer
Photo: amazon.com

Hot Shot Bed Bug Killer is an affordable bed bug spray that treats infestations in every part of the bed, upholstered furniture, luggage, baseboards, and carpets. The water-based imiprothrin and lambda-cyhalothrin formula kills bed bugs, bed bug eggs, and fleas on contact, but needs to be reapplied every 2 weeks if infestations persist in problem areas.

The spray leaves no oily residue or stains behind and there’s no noxious chemical odor. However, because the spray also kills fleas, the manufacturer specifically states that the spray must not be used on pets due to its harmful toxins. If the dog or cat comes down with fleas, see the veterinarian for an approved product to treat them.

Product Specs

  • Type: Contact
  • Active Ingredients: Imiprothrin and lambda-cyhalothrin
  • Longevity: 2 weeks

Pros

  • Safe to spray on the bed
  • Powerful active ingredients kill quickly
  • Odorless, non-staining formula
  • Kills ticks and bed bugs

Cons

  • Not safe to spray on pets to treat ticks
  • Only lasts 2 weeks before reapplication is necessary

Get the Hot Shot bed bug spray on Amazon and at Walmart.

Natural Pick

The Best Bed Bug Spray Option: MDXconcepts Bed Bug Killer Natural Organic Formula
Photo: amazon.com

MDXconcepts Natural Organic Bed Bug Killer is safe for the environment and all members of your household. The bed bug spray uses a natural, 100 percent plant-derived formula to instantly kill bed bugs on contact. The active ingredients, peppermint oil and spearmint oil, effectively treat bed bug infestations, imparting a fresh, pleasant scent.

This bed bug spray can be used on all moisture-safe surfaces and items, including mattresses, baseboards, and carpets, without staining or leaving an oily residue. Repeat treatment per the manufacturer’s directions until the infestation is eliminated.

Product Specs

  • Type: Contact
  • Active Ingredients: Peppermint oil and spearmint oil
  • Longevity: Not provided by manufacturer

Pros

  • All-natural solution is safe around kids and pets
  • Plant-derived formula kills instantly
  • Pleasant essential oils scent after application
  • Safe for mattresses, carpets, and linens

Cons

  • May stain wooden surfaces, like dressers, baseboards, or footboards
  • Manufacturer does not note a longevity

Get the MDXconcepts bed bug spray at Walmart.

Broad-Spectrum Pick

The Best Bed Bug Spray Option: JT Eaton 204-0/CAP Kills Bedbugs Oil-based Spray
Photo: amazon.com

If more than one insect species has invaded a space, JT Eaton Oil-Based Bed Bug Spray is a broad-spectrum solution that targets multiple pests, including bed bugs and their eggs, fleas, brown dog ticks, silverfish, spiders, carpet beetles, and some roaches.

It relies on a pyrethrin and piperonyl butoxide formula and can be sprayed on all bed parts, baseboards, and flooring to kill on contact. It may leave an oily residue if too much is used, and it’s harmful to both humans and pets, so be sure to follow manufacturer directions exactly to ensure your safety.

Product Specs

  • Type: Contact
  • Active Ingredients: Pyrethrin and piperonyl butoxide
  • Longevity: Not provided by manufacturer

Pros

  • Treats a wide variety of pests
  • Safe for use on all parts of the bed
  • Powerful, fast-acting oil-based product

Cons

  • May leave an oily residue
  • Manufacturer does not note a longevity

Get the JT Eaton bed bug spray on Amazon and at Walmart.

Best for Mattresses

The Best Bed Bug Spray Option: PT Alpine Flea & Bed Bug Pressurized Insecticide
Photo: amazon.com

This efficient bed bug spray uses three different active ingredients—dinotefuran, pyriproxyfen, and pralethrin—to quickly and effectively treat all stages of bed bug infestations and can be effective on pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs. Despite its impressive results, PT Alpine Flea and Bed Bug Killer is rated for use on all areas of your bed, including your mattress, pillows, and other bed coverings.

It’s specially formulated to avoid drenching fabrics and it dries quickly so that you won’t need to air out the house for too long—but it does have a chemical smell characteristic of powerful insecticides. Use a respirator mask during application and follow manufacturer recommendations for reentry.

Product Specs

  • Type: Contact
  • Active Ingredients: Dinotefuran, pyriproxyfen, and pralethrin
  • Longevity: 4 weeks

Pros

  • Safe for use on all parts of the bed
  • Kills bed bugs and fleas
  • Works on bed bug eggs for up to 7 months

Cons

  • Chemical odor requires respirator during application

Get the PT Alpine bed bug spray on Amazon and at Walmart.

Best for Upholstery

The Best Bed Bug Spray Option: Ortho Home Defense Max Bed Bug Killer
Photo: amazon.com

Bed bugs in upholstery can be tricky to treat because they hide in the folds and stitches of furniture. Fortunately, Ortho Home Defense Max Bed Bug Killer outsmarts the insects with a unique battery-powered application wand. It delivers multiple spray patterns for precise application and a finger trigger for continuous spraying.

This odorless bed bug spray, which relies on bifenthrin, imidacloprid, and piperonyl butoxide, can be used once every 2 weeks on bed frames, couches, chairs, and baseboards to kill pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs, bed bug eggs, fleas, and ticks. It should not be used on mattress bedding, clothing, or pillows, however, and the manufacturer’s treatment instructions must be followed for best results and to ensure safety.

Product Specs

  • Type: Contact
  • Active Ingredients: Bifenthrin, imidacloprid, and piperonyl butoxide
  • Longevity: 2 weeks

Pros

  • Battery-powered spray wand
  • Kills pyrethroid-resistant bug and eggs
  • Odorless formula

Cons

  • Not safe for use on clothing, pillows, or bedding
  • Only remains effective for 2 weeks

Get the Ortho bed bug spray at Amazon, Walmart, and The Home Depot.

Best for Baseboards

The Best Bed Bug Spray Option: Harris 5-Minute Bed Bug Killer Foaming Spray
Photo: amazon.com

HARRIS 5-Minute Bed Bug Foaming Spray is best for use in baseboards, cracks, crevices, bed frames, box springs, and wall moldings thanks to a unique formula that expands into these areas, eliminating hidden nests within 5 minutes of contact. The spray continues working for a month before needing to be reapplied if bed bugs persist.

This spray relies on metofluthrin, clothianidin, and piperonyl butoxide to kill pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs in all stages of life. The foaming spray is non-staining and odorless, allowing it to be used all over the home without concern for residual stains, and it turns clear when it dries. While the EPA has approved the product for use on the entire mattress, the manufacturer recommends bed linens not be treated with this product.

Product Specs

  • Type: Contact
  • Active Ingredients: Metofluthrin, clothianidin, and piperonyl butoxide
  • Longevity: 4 weeks

Pros

  • Foaming spray expands into cracks and crevices
  • Takes just 5 minutes to kill affected bed bugs
  • Kills pyrethroid resistant bug and eggs
  • Odorless, non-staining formula

Cons

  • Not safe for use on clothing, pillows, or bedding

Get the HARRIS bed bug foaming spray on Amazon and at Walmart.

Our Verdict

For long-lasting bed bug control, HARRIS bed bug spray reliably treats bed bug populations for up to 16 weeks. However, if you are concerned about the treatment irritating or affecting you, your family, and any pets, then it’s better to opt for the more mild treatment of MGK Bedlam Plus bed bug spray.

How We Chose the Best Bed Bug Sprays

One problem currently affecting the bed bug extermination industry is that many populations of bed bugs have become resistant to pyrethrins and pyrethroids. So, during the selection of products, it was necessary to keep this in mind and look for top-quality options that could deal with pyrethroid-resistant infestations.

Extensive research into the ingredients, longevity, application, and effect of each bed bug spray was necessary in order to determine the top options for this list. The best bed bug sprays treat infestations while causing minimal disruption to the daily life of users and their family. Additionally, both natural and chemical bed bug sprays were selected to provide a range of treatment options.

FAQs

Take a look at the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about bed bugs, bed bug treatments, and how to deal with bed bug infestations.

Q: What is the main cause of bed bugs?

There are many reasons bed bugs might find their way into your home, but the most common cause of bed bugs is travel. The insects get into your luggage and clothing from hotel or motel beds, allowing them to infest your home if they are not killed immediately, which is why it’s a good idea to spray your luggage outdoors as soon as you get home, and then wash all contents of the bag.

Q: Can you sleep on a bed with bed bugs?

Yes, you can sleep on a bed that is infested with bed bugs, but expect to wake up to itchy, red bite marks. You won’t even feel the bed bug bite or them feeding for up to 10 minutes due to a numbing agent in the bite of the insect, but the evidence will be there in the morning.

Q: What spray do professionals use for bed bugs?

Professional exterminators can use a range of options to kill bed bugs, like heat treatment, foggers, powders, and sprays. Common professional bed bug sprays will contain pyrethroids, pyrethrins, imidacloprid, piperonyl butoxide, bifenthrin, or lambda-cyhalothrin.

Q: How do you draw bed bugs out of hiding? 

If you suspect that bed bugs may be hiding, then you can use a hair dryer to increase the heat over the suspected area to force the bed bugs to come out of hiding. Hold the dryer about 3 to 4 inches away and move it back and forth across the area for about 30 seconds to a minute.

Q: How do I permanently get rid of bed bugs? 

The best way to permanently get rid of bed bugs is thorough repetition and diligence. Wash and dry clothes, bedding, and other linens at temperatures of at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit to kill bed bugs in the laundry. Vacuum regularly to suck up bed bugs from the carpet and make sure to immediately seal and throw out the vacuum bag.

If you have items that cannot be heated up enough to kill the bed bugs, consider freezing these items for at least 4 days straight to ensure they are bed bug-free. You will also need to regularly inspect the home and treat with a bed bug spray as necessary.