The Best Bed Bug Sprays for DIY Pest Control

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.

Best Overall

Bottle of HARRIS Bed Bug Killer, Toughest Liquid Spray

Harris Egg Kill & Resistant Bed Bug Killer

Runner up

Can of MGK Bedlam Plus Bed Bug Aerosol

MGK Bedlam Plus Bed Bug Aerosol

Best Bang For The Buck

Spray bottle of Hot Shot Ready-to-Use Bed Bug Home Insect Killer

Hot Shot Ready-to-Use Bed Bug Killer With Egg Kill

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

To eradicate these pernicious pests, folks often reach for the best bed bug spray. But that may mean different things to different people, since some bed bug sprays use powerful insecticides with such active ingredients as pyrethrin, pyrethroid, imidacloprid, and acetamiprid, while other products employ pet- and child-friendly geranium oil and clove oil. Plus, consumers will first want to understand how widespread a bed bug problem is before attempting to treat it themselves. “If you believe you may be infested, contact a pest professional for an immediate diagnosis,” cautions entomologist Jim McHale, president of JP McHale Pest Management in Buchanan, New York. Those ready to rid their home of bed bugs of all life stages can use this guide for shopping tips and recommendations for the most effective bed bug sprays available in their respective categories.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Harris Egg Kill & Resistant Bed Bug Killer
  2. RUNNER UP: MGK Bedlam Plus Bed Bug Aerosol
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Hot Shot Ready-to-Use Bed Bug Killer With Egg Kill
  4. NATURAL PICK: MDXconcepts Gypsum Bedbug Spray
  5. BROAD-SPECTRUM PICK: JT Eaton Non-Staining Oil-Based Bed Bug Spray
  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: EcoVenger Bed Bug and Egg Killer Spray
The Best Bed Bug Spray Option
Photo: amazon.com

Before You Buy Bed Bug Spray

Bed bug sprays 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. Before reaching for any bed bug spray, consider the following preventive measures and treatments:

  • 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 also discourage the parasites. For physical barrier defense, put double-sided tape on the bedposts and bed frames to hamper the insects’ ability to crawl into the bed itself.
  • 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 mattresses to ensure that bed bugs and their 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 (like mattress covers) 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 bed posts that is safe for kids and pets. For a contact killer, dilute rubbing alcohol or tea tree oil (20 drops, or 0.03 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 bed bug treatments and the sprays described in this guide fail to eliminate bed bugs, it may be necessary to hire a professional exterminator to deal with the infestation. 

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, explains McHale. During our 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 to determine the top options for this list. The best bed bug sprays treat infestations while causing minimal disruption to the daily life of household members. McHale details the difference between natural and chemical products, saying, “Natural products, where active ingredients include essential oils or silica gel, affect the insects physically. Chemical treatments typically affect the nervous system of the insect.” Both natural and chemical bed bug sprays were selected to provide a range of treatment options. 

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

Harris Egg Kill & Resistant Bed Bug Killer

Product Specs 

  • Quantity: 1 gallon
  • Active ingredients: Imidacloprid, N-Octyl bicycloheptene dicarboximide, phenothrin
  • Longevity: 16 weeks

Pros

  • Effective for up to 4 months, providing long-term protection against infestations
  • Effectively kills pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs and their eggs, ensuring thorough eradication
  • Odorless and nonstaining formula, making it ideal for use in various home areas

Cons

  • Not suitable for application on clothing, pillows, or bedding due to safety concerns
  • Unsafe for use in areas where food is prepared; careful application required for all usage 

The Harris bed bug spray is a powerful product 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 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved for use in the home and around pets, it should not be used on clothing, pillows, or bedding. It’s also important to note that imidacloprid is considered toxic to some wildlife. Always follow label directions to ensure safe use.

Get the Harris bed bug spray at Amazon, The Home Depot or Walmart.

Runner Up

MGK Bedlam Plus Bed Bug Aerosol

Product Specs 

  • Quantity: 17 ounces
  • Active ingredients: Imidacloprid, N-Octyl bicycloheptene dicarboximide, 3‑phenoxybenzyl‑(1RS, 3RS, 1RS, 3SR)‑2, 2‑dimethyl‑ 3‑(2‑methylprop‑1‑enyl) cyclopropanecarboxylate
  • Longevity: 2 weeks

Pros

  • Safe for direct application on beds, ensuring effective bug elimination in sleeping areas
  • Efficiently eradicates pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs and eggs for thorough infestation control
  • Features a nonstaining formula that’s suitable for use on fabrics and furniture

Cons

  • Only effective for 2 weeks, necessitating more frequent applications for ongoing protection
  • Inadvisable for use in areas of food preparation due to safety concerns

While other sprays can damage mattress bedding and other fabrics, MGK Bedlam Plus 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 carpet as well as hardwood flooring without concern. The spray is nonirritating 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.

Get the MGK bed bug spray at Amazon or Walmart.

Best Bang For The Buck

Hot Shot Ready-to-Use Bed Bug Home Insect Killer

Product Specs 

  • Quantity: 32 ounces
  • Active ingredients: Cypermethrin
  • Longevity: 2 weeks

Pros

  • Can be safely sprayed directly on beds for effective bed bug elimination
  • Odorless and nonstaining formula, making it suitable for use on various surfaces
  • Also effective against fleas and ticks, offering additional pest control in 1 product

Cons

  • ​​Not suitable for use on pets as a treatment for ticks
  • Only lasts 2 weeks before reapplication is necessary

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 cypermethrin formula kills bed bugs, bed bug eggs, and fleas on contact, but it 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 directly on pets due to its harmful toxins. If a dog or cat comes down with fleas, see the veterinarian for an approved product to treat them.

Get the Hot Shot bed bug spray at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Walmart.

Natural Pick

MDXconcepts Gypsum Bedbug Spray

Product Specs 

  • Quantity: 16 ounces
  • Active ingredients: Peppermint oil and spearmint oil
  • Longevity: Not provided by manufacturer

Pros

  • All-natural, eco-friendly, child- and pet-safe formula, ensuring safety for the whole family
  • Pleasant mint essential oil scent after application acts as a room freshener
  • Safe for use on mattresses, carpets, and linens without causing damage

Cons

  • May stain wooden surfaces, like dressers, baseboards, or footboards
  • Lacks specific longevity information, making duration of effectiveness unclear

MDXconcepts bed bug spray is safe for the environment and all members of the household. It has a natural 100 percent plant-derived formula that instantly kills bed bugs on contact. The active ingredients, peppermint oil and spearmint oil, treat bed bug infestations while 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.

Get the MDXconcepts bed bug spray at Walmart.

Broad-Spectrum Pick

JT Eaton Non-Staining Oil-Based Bed Bug Spray

Product Specs 

  • Quantity: 1 quart
  • Active ingredients: Pyrethrin and piperonyl butoxide
  • Longevity: Not provided by manufacturer

Pros

  • Treats a wide variety of other pests in addition to bed bugs
  • Safe for use on all parts of the bed if package instructions are followed correctly  
  • Powerful, fast-acting, oil-based product that kills bed bugs on contact

Cons

  • Piperonyl butoxide is considered moderately toxic to aquatic wildlife
  • Many bed bug populations are resistant to pyrethrins, so an alternative product might be necessary
  • This chemical insecticide cannot be used around pets or children 

If more than one insect species has invaded a space, the 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 safety.

Get the JT Eaton bed bug spray at Amazon.

Best for Mattresses

PT Alpine Flea & Bed Bug Pressurized Insecticide

Product Specs 

  • Quantity: 20 ounces
  • Active ingredients: Dinotefuran, pyriproxyfen, and prallethrin
  • Longevity: Up to 7 months for flea eggs; longevity not provided for bed bugs

Pros

  • Safe for use on all parts of the bed and will not cause damage
  • Versatile product kills both bed bugs and fleas and comes in easy-to-apply pressurized spray can
  • Effective on flea eggs for up to 7 months and fleas for 30 days

Cons

  • Chemical odor requires respirator during application

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 the bed, including the mattress, pillows, and other bed coverings. 

It’s specially formulated to avoid drenching fabrics, and it dries quickly so that it won’t take long for the chemical odor to dissipate. That said, users will want to wear a respirator mask during application and follow manufacturer recommendations for reentry. Also note that one of the active ingredients, prallethrin, is considered highly toxic to some wildlife, including fish.

Get the PT Alpine bed bug spray on Amazon or Walmart.

Best for Upholstery

Ortho Home Defense Max Bed Bug Killer

Product Specs 

  • Quantity: 1 gallon 
  • Active ingredients: Bifenthrin, imidacloprid, and piperonyl butoxide
  • Longevity: 2 weeks

Pros

  • The battery-powered spray wand enhances the product’s ease of use
  • Due to its formulation, it kills pyrethroid-resistant bugs and eggs
  • Odorless formula is not unpleasant to use and won’t leave residual odors

Cons

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

Bed bugs in upholstery can be tricky to treat because the insects 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. The spray bottle 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 carefully for best results and to ensure safety.

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

Best for Baseboards

EcoVenger Bed Bug and Egg Killer Spray

Product Specs 

  • Quantity: 16 ounces
  • Active ingredients: Essential oils
  • Longevity: 2 weeks

Pros

  • Safe for direct application on mattresses and box springs as well as hard surfaces like wood baseboards
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture BioBased certified, ensuring an eco-friendly and nontoxic formula for safe home use
  • Effectively targets all stages of bed bugs, including resistant varieties

Cons

  • May require reapplication for ongoing infestations because it’s only effective for 2 weeks

In homes where small children and pets often play on the floor, it’s especially important to treat baseboards for bed bugs with a nontoxic formula. Those who must skip harsh chemical treatments may wish to check out the proven powerful formula of EcoVenger bed bug killer. According to an independent study by Rutgers University, published in the Journal of Economic Entomology, EcoVenger (formerly known as EcoRaider) was the only natural bed bug killer with 100 percent efficacy.

Rather than using synthetic ingredients, this product employs essential oils to kill full-grown bed bugs as well as nymphs and eggs. Due to its eco-friendly and nontoxic formula, it’s safe to use around pets and children, making it an ideal product for families impacted by bed bug infestations. While the product delivers immediate results, it also offers extended protection for up to 2 weeks after it dries. 

Get the EcoVenger bed bug spray at Amazon, Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Walmart.

Our Verdict

We omitted some other popular products on the market, like the Raid Bed Bug Foaming Spray and Harris Bed Bug Killer because they contain clothianidin and/or metofluthrin, both of which have a high toxicity to wildlife and do not meet our sustainability guidelines. 

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing a Bed Bug Spray 

Don’t just grab a bed bug spray because it has a flashy logo on the package. Ingredients, application method, and longevity matter most when choosing a bed bug spray. Also consider whether the bed bug spray works 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 bed bugs. 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 for controlling bed bugs at home because it 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 important to consider the ingredients of a bed bug spray to understand the potential dangers to household members and the environment, as well as the effects on 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, though it is crucial to carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. This is the best way to ensure it is safe to use around household members and pets and on a variety of surfaces, including bedding, as well as any other precautions and recommendations.

Typically, users simply spray the product in common locations where the bed bugs travel, like cracks and crevices. Those with a mild bed bug treatment that is safe for use on pillows, bed sheets, and mattresses can 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 a bed may have. Additionally, bed bugs are likely to flee a toxic environment, so make sure to have enough spray to treat the entire room. Those who are concerned about bed bugs in the walls, floor, or ceiling should 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 is touched by a contact spray, it should be killed immediately, while a residual killer is designed to work more slowly so that the affected bed bug can spread the poison to others. 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 a bed bug spray. 

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? 


It is not a good idea to sleep in a bed that is infested with bed bugs, because it is likely you will wake up with 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 lurking somewhere in your home, try blasting the area with a hair dryer on high heat to force the insects out of hiding. Hold the dryer about 3 to 4 inches away and move it back and forth across the area for about 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 in very hot water that’s at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit to kill bed bugs in the washing machine, and 130 degrees Fahrenheit for 50 to 60 minutes in the dryer. 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. 

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Timothy Dale

Contributing Writer

Timothy Dale is a home improvement writer who has been in the industry for several years. In his work for BobVila.com, he has written a number of how-to articles related to yard maintenance, vehicle repair, and home renovation, not to mention a wide variety of buying guides and articles on DIY projects. He always ensures readers get the information they need to tackle their next project.

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