Does Dawn Kill Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs can come out of nowhere and may reappear without warning. It can be hard to stay on top of an infestation and still get good sleep and be comfortable. If you have ever had to deal with a bed bug infestation in bedding, I am sure you’ve started looking for effective bed bug-killing products.

I have found that alcohol and heat can be a simple treatment on clothes and can help to bring these pests out of hiding. But none of these products and solutions will penetrate deep into clothing, floor covers, or mattresses where a bed bug infestation is most likely. A commonly suggested remedy for a more comprehensive treatment is Dawn dish soap. 

Will Soap Harm Bed Bugs?

Direct contact with regular dish soap will kill adult bed bugs. Soapy water shouldn’t be diluted too much and can be made more effective through various additives. Using hot water can increase the penetration depth of the solution and help it coat deeper in its hiding places. Hot water can clean some of the debris and filth that attracts other pests and help start the cleaning process. 

It is possible to make dish soap more harmful to bed bugs and be incorporated it into a more complete pest management approach. To head off a bedbug infestation, sprinkle diatomaceous earth all over the room and on any upholstered furniture, bedding, box springs, or clothing to hit bugs on the surface areas.

Mix Dawn dish soap with a high percent alcohol like isopropyl alcohol. Create an alcohol mix by mixing alcohol with water. Hitting bedbugs with alcohol will kill them quickly, and a soapy, hot water-alcohol mixture is a great preventative measure against pesky insects. 

Dish Soaps That Kill Bed Bugs

Dawn Dish Soap Ultra Dishwashing Liquid, Dish Soap Refill, Original Scent, 56 Fl Oz (Pack of 2)

There are several types of soap that can be used to irritate and kill bed bugs. Laundry detergents for washing machines can be used with hot water to create a bed bug killer, but the resulting dry powder will cause skin irritation. Body and hand soaps can likewise harm bed bugs that they come directly in contact with but will not affect the ones hiding deep in the box springs, and it won’t affect the eggs. 

Dawn dish soap will not leave an itchy residue and can penetrate deeply into the outer layer of bedding. Some types of dish soap work better than others, but they all will be effective with a direct spray treatment. Below are the best soaps for effective bed bug treatment. 

DawnNot EffectiveNot a concentrated formula and few disinfectants
Dawn PlatinumEffectiveMore concentrated surfactants and disinfectants
Dawn UltraVery EffectiveHighly concentrated formula that suds longer and sticks better 


Regular soap will kill on contact if enough is sprayed directly on the bugs. For indoor clothes and outdoor clothes, the simple version can still help get rid of bed bugs without leaving a lot of residues or needing as much water to wash out. This type of soap won’t penetrate very deeply into the fabric with bed bugs. 

The formula doesn’t have many extra antibacterial disinfectants and lacks the fresh citrus scent of other brands. This aroma, as well as the strong surfactants, are needed to provide lasting insect control. Without it, the regular just cannot damage bed bugs as much as other, stronger formulas. 

Dawn Platinum

Platinum is a strong formula designed to cut through grease and be tough on stains. Typically this will come in its own concentrated spray that heavily coats surfaces and makes an excellent sprayer to treat bed bug clothes and fabrics. The higher concentration formula kills faster and was a wider range of applications.

Platinum has a citrus scent, and it will linger, potentially warding off bed bugs and other invasive insects. The smell alone will not be very effective, but reapplications will continuously kill newly hatching bed bugs and help keep the population under control. 

Dawn Ultra

The most highly concentrated formula is offered that has the most punch against bed bugs. It can sink deep into the fabric and coat eggs and larvae that are hiding inside. The thick liquid sticks to the fabric for a long time and will not easily run off. The tackiness of the soap allows it to resist evaporation and provide additional protection. 

Ultra has strong surfactants and disinfectants, as well as odors and fragrances that can make surfaces undesirable for bed bug occupation. Making a more comprehensive treatment plan and making an alcohol mixture with hot water and isopropyl alcohol can get rid of even more bugs with each spray. 

Is Dawn Effective Against Bed Bug Eggs?

Bed Bugs

Dawn is only effective against bed bug eggs if it coats eggs wherever they are hiding. The egg sacks of bed bugs can be hidden very deep, and be difficult to ensure a thorough coating. The soap that is sprayed will stick to the areas near the eggs and leave an odor that lingers and may repel future nesting females. 

Since the chance of hitting all of the eggs with dish soap is unlikely, repeated bed bug treatments will be needed. Bed bug eggs hatch every 10 days, so if the first spray doesn’t coat the egg, the second spray may hit the newly hatched larva. Spraying every week until all suspicion of bed bugs is gone is one sure method of getting rid of these pests with soap.