The Best Bed Bug Spray 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.

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The Best Bed Bug Spray Option

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Bed bugs (cimex lectularius) are tiny insects, about the same size and shape of apple seeds, that feed on human blood, preferring it to the blood of other animals. These parasites take their common name from a tendency to hide in blankets, sheets, and mattresses, but they can breed and nest in many other areas throughout the home, such as baseboards and furniture. Bed bugs can also migrate to infest all areas of the house where their favorite meal—you and your family—hang out, leaving itchy, swollen bumps at the site of a bite.

Though bed bugs can be effectively treated with a targeted insecticide, just like fleas and lice can be, bed bugs must be eradicated at all stages of life. Bed bug sprays use a variety of active ingredients ranging from powerful insecticides like pyrethrin, pyrethroid, imidacloprid, and acetamiprid to pet- and child-friendly options like geranium oil and clove oil (though these non-toxic alternatives are not as effective). If you aim to rid your home of these irritating pests, consider the products reviewed here, representing some of the best bed bug sprays available in their respective categories.

  1. BEST OVERALL: HARRIS Bed Bug Killer, Toughest Liquid Spray
  2. RUNNER UP: Bedlam Plus Bed Bug Aerosol Spray
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Hot Shot Bed Bug Killer
  4. NATURAL PICK: mdxconcepts Bed Bug Killer, Natural Organic Formula
  5. BROAD-SPECTRUM PICK: JT Eaton 204-0/CAP Kills Bedbugs Oil-based 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: Harris 5-Minute Bed Bug Killer Foaming Spray
The Best Bed Bug Spray Option

Photo: amazon.com

Before You Buy and Use a 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, with water-based sprays possibly damaging 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 preventative 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 bedposts 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 DIY treatments and the sprays described here fail, the infestation may require an exterminator.

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.

The Best Bed Bug Spray Option: HARRIS Bed Bug Killer, Toughest Liquid Spray

Photo: amazon.com

1. BEST OVERALL: HARRIS Bed Bug Killer, Toughest Liquid Spray

Harris Odorless and Non-Staining Bed Bug Killer 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.

The Best Bed Bug Spray Option: Bedlam Plus Bed Bug Aerosol Spray

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2. RUNNER UP: Bedlam Plus Bed Bug Aerosol Spray

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 two weeks.

It’s safe to spray on every part of the bed, behind wall fixtures, and on your 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.

The Best Bed Bug Spray Option: Hot Shot Bed Bug Killer

Photo: amazon.com

3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Hot Shot Bed Bug Killer

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 two 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 your dog or cat comes down with fleas, see your veterinarian for an approved product to treat them.

The Best Bed Bug Spray Option: mdxconcepts Bed Bug Killer, Natural Organic Formula

Photo: amazon.com

4. NATURAL PICK: mdxconcepts Bed Bug Killer, Natural Organic Formula

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.

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

Photo: amazon.com

5. BROAD-SPECTRUM PICK: JT Eaton 204-0/CAP Kills Bed Bugs Oil-Based Spray

If more than one insect species has invaded your 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.

The Best Bed Bug Spray Option: PT Alpine Flea & Bed Bug Pressurized Insecticide

Photo: amazon.com

6. BEST FOR MATTRESSES: PT Alpine Flea & Bed Bug Pressurized Insecticide

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 that powerful insecticides are known for. Use a ventilator during application and follow manufacturer recommendations for re-entry.

The Best Bed Bug Spray Option: Ortho Home Defense Max Bed Bug Killer

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7. BEST FOR UPHOLSTERY: Ortho Home Defense Max Bed Bug Killer

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 two 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.

The Best Bed Bug Spray Option: Harris 5-Minute Bed Bug Killer Foaming Spray

Photo: amazon.com

8. BEST FOR BASEBOARDS: Harris 5-Minute Bed Bug Killer Foaming Spray

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 five 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.