Will Salt Kill Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are a nightmare, and the thought of those blood-sucking pests living in your sheets and linens is enough to make your skin crawl.

Key Points:

  • Bed bugs are not affected by salt, and it will not kill them or prevent them from biting humans.
  • Salt has very little scent, meaning that bed bugs cannot be repelled by it.
  • Fertilizers do have chemicals that may burn the bed bugs on contact, but these are unlikely to attract them in the first place.

A bed bug bite is unpleasant, and it is rarely just one bite, often covering a large section of your body quickly. After you have finished applying the anti-itching cream, you are likely going to find some preventative measures, so it doesn’t happen again. 

When it comes to natural pest control products, salts are often touted as a great go-to for garden pests and home-invading insects. But bed bugs only feed on blood, like how mosquito bites work, and are unlikely to ingest the chemicals other bugs would.

Let’s explore if salt is an effective method for dealing with bed bugs and other useful tips to keep these pests away. 

Does Salt Kill Bed Bugs?

Salt does not kill bed bugs, and in the case of a serious bed bug infestation, you should contact a pest control company to help you completely eradicate the problem. Salt does not work on bed bugs as they will not eat it, and so it will do no systemic damage to their internal systems.

Likewise, the salt grains are too large to penetrate the exoskeleton of bed bugs, and so they will not be dehydrated or lacerated like they are when exposed to other dustlike powders. 

Regular salt can be used as a barrier if placed around the legs of your bed or other places bed bugs crawl and can drastically slow them down, but this is a temporary fix at best.

There is no chance that this alone will solve your bed bug problem, and you should immediately seek better remedies in the morning. Even though the effects of salt are impressive and it has proven antiseptic properties, it will not harm bed bugs in any meaningful way, and better natural alternatives should be implemented. 

What Kind of Salt Kills Bed Bugs?

When it comes to common salts around the home, we have cooking salts, cleaning salts, and gardening salts. Because it is so easy to bind other chemicals using the stable molecular structure of salts, you will find many other variations, some of which may have a limited effect on bed bugs.

But it is unlikely that you will want to add tons of mystery salt to your bed just to try and get rid of your bed bug problem.

Salts in fertilizers could potentially burn bed bugs on contact, but since bed bugs find food by searching for carbon dioxide, it is unlikely that nitrogen-rich fertilizer will even attract bed bugs. Alternatively, you could try using cooking salt with garlic or herbs that have known anti-insecticidal properties.

However, even if you find a salt that has some effect on bed bugs, it really isn’t worth the time to apply and clean up the salt compared to how many bed bugs it is likely to kill. 

Can Salt Water Sprays Kill Bed Bugs?

Saltwater is a life-sustaining liquid and only effective on organisms that have an aversion to salinity. Salt added to water makes the water saline, and it can kill microorganisms, parasites, and a whole range of sensitive soft-bodied creatures.

When combined with baking soda, the effects can be even more pronounced. Unfortunately, insects like bed bugs have developed a rigid exoskeleton that allows them to resist environmental changes, including alterations in the salinity around them.

The saltwater spray will not stop bed bugs from biting people. 

Will Salt Repel Bed Bugs?

Bed Bug and Salt

Since bed bugs search for food by scenting for carbon dioxide, other smells, with the exception of concentrated essential oils, herbs, or chemical solutions, will not deter these pests. Salt has very little odor and, unlike diatomaceous earth, will not kill bed bugs who simply come into contact with it.

Even if you built a wall of salt around your bed, it is still possible that the bugs would eventually cross it and have access to the blood of humans or the blood of animals.

Neither the smell of salt nor the physical composition of salt mixtures and salt crystals will repel or stop bed bugs from finding a blood meal. 

Bed Bug Remedies

Even though table salts and bath salts won’t work to kill bed bugs, there are still plenty of natural fixes that you can utilize to prevent the problem of pests without the chemical mess. Although bed bugs are resilient pests, you can stop an entire infestation naturally with pesticide powders and acidic solutions.

Bed bugs are also extremely sensitive to heat, so any combination of these remedies is sure to wipe out the entire bed-bug infestation. 

Diatomaceous Earth Sprinkle anywhere bed bugs have been seen or are likely to  appearA quick remedy for bed bugs is the fine sharp particles of diatoms slice the hard exoskeleton on bed bugs and leads to dehydration and death after even brief, direct contact
Vinegar Spray the areas where bed bug treatments are needed and also use vinegar to get rid of blood stains in beddingThe strong acid of vinegar will kill all stages of bed bugs if direct contact is made, meaning the area needs to be soaked completely or used as a wider treatment program
Boric AcidNot very effective on bed bugs, but when combined with a baking soda mix will kill most difficult home pests Can wipe out a range of pest species making it easier to identify if bed bugs are the main culprit for the bites you are experiencing.
Alcohol Spray on hard surfaces near linens to help kill any bed bugs or their eggs and larvae that are under the unwashable bedding Alcohol will dehydrate bed bugs and can also help clean and sterilize areas where blood or bed bug feces have been discovered
Heat TreatmentSteam wands or a hair dryer on high can be used to kill bed bugs that are hiding in hard-to-reach places, as a temperature over 140° F is lethal to themHeat is a very effective method of killing pests like bed bugs and should be used whenever possible, including using hot water to wash bedding, sunlight to clean mattresses and heat guns for fixed or hard-to-move home furnishings 

What Happens to Bed Bugs When Exposed to Salt?

Nothing happens when bed bugs are exposed to salt. They will climb over or around it and continue moving on to their destination.

A large pile of salt covering the floor with salt grains may slow bed bugs down but will be a pain to clean up and will do absolutely nothing to prevent bugs from biting you as you sleep. Salt in bed sheets is even less effective as bed bugs crawl into the fabric and not on top of it, resulting in a useless effort and the chance of severe discomfort the next time you use that bedding.

There is absolutely no effective way to use salt as a pesticide against these pests since table salt will not kill bed bugs or even repel them. 

Leave a Comment