Last Modified on May 22, 2016
As more people are travelling more frequently and even further than ever before, bed bugs are becoming more and more of an issue. But, if you are experiencing an issue with bed bug bites or with an infestation, don’t worry because we have some safe, effective treatment options for you. We suggest treating bites with apple cider vinegar or calamine lotion with zinc oxide and eradicating the pests from your home using cinnamon.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs can be described as small, round, brown-colored insects that feed on the blood of animals and humans. These bugs have flat bodies that look somewhat like an apple seed. However, as they feed, their bodies grow or swell and become reddish in color. The bugs are typically most active at night and feed in a general area for three to ten minutes, leaving behind a collection of spots.
What Causes an Infestation?
The common misconception is that bed bugs come from a dirty place; however, the bugs can be found even in the cleanest of places. Generally speaking, the bugs are transported from an infested area to a new locale by a variety of means and can live anywhere. The most common hiding places for the bugs are linens, furniture with upholstery, mattresses, box springs, and bed frames, so hotels and other travelling locales are primary hosts to the pesky nuisances.
Do I Have to Call an Exterminator?
If you have discovered that your home has been invaded by bed bugs, you may want to call an exterminator as these individuals are trained to eradicate such issues. However, you can many times treat the condition just as effectively yourself.
What Are the Best Natural Remedies for Bed Bugs?
If you find that you have been bitten by bed bugs, we suggest you use apple cider vinegar or calamine lotion to treat the bites. We also suggest that you eliminate any existing bugs using cinnamon.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid. This acid helps relieve the itching and burning caused by bed bug bites.
2. Calamine Lotion
Calamine lotion contains an important compound zinc oxide. This compound helps relieve itching and reduce inflammation caused by bug bites.
The oil in cinnamon serves as a poison for bed bugs. Sprinkling your furniture and mattress with the spice should eliminate the bugs almost instantly.
If you’ve ever dealt with bed bugs, you know they aren’t easy to get rid of, but these natural remedies should help. Give our suggestions a try or add a few of your own to our list of reader-contributed remedies below!
Remedies for Bed Bugs
The Popularity of Bed Bugs Remedies - Full List
|Apple Cider Vinegar||3||2012-10-31|
|Calamine Lotion W/ Zinc Oxide||3||2011-04-06|
|Soapy Water Spray||1||2009-03-29|
|Steamer, Tea Tree Oil||1||2014-01-06|
Replied by Anita
Philadelphia, Pa, US
Replied by Naila
Replied by Asiyah
Replied by Julie
Replied by Arclight
Posted by Stephanie (Toledo, Ohio) on 04/06/2011
I stayed at a hotel in New Orleans for a conference and was bitten by bed bugs all over my face, arms, legs, and chest. (We caught one and were able to take it to the front desk so it was definately bed bugs.) It took several days for the welts to appear, but when they did, they were bad. I looked on-line for 2 weeks to find help to reduce the swelling, redness, and itching. During those two weeks the bites continued to look and feel worse. I looked and felt terrible. I tried witch hazel, aloe, coconut oil, camphor, hydocortosone creme, antibiotic cream.. Nothing worked.
Someone mentioned Calamine lotion (make sure to get the one with Zinc Oxide in it) and within 24 hours of using it the swelling was gone, the redness was less than half of what it was, and it itching stopped. After 2 weeks the bites are finally healing instead of getting worse!!!! Thought I would share it here. Thank heavens we knew what happened and were able to treat our stuff with heat upon returning home so we didn't bring them home with us!!
Replied by Daniel A
Los Angeles, Ca
Replied by Joshharrington
Replied by Sara
Posted by Tam (The Valley, Ct, Usa) on 05/17/2013
I got rid of my bed bugs fast using cat litter. One web source said to crush the crystals with a mortis and pestle, but, time must have passed and I found a brand of cat litter that has micro crystals of sylica gel at the grocery. :-D The silica gel dries out bed bugs.
Place a container (I used the plastic ones we get when we order Chinese take out, they have a good footprint for furniture legs and are shallow, and free) under the most human/animal occupied furniture legs first. Bed bugs will die soon after they pass through the silica gel. Bed bugs can hibernate for up to 18 months, so keep the silica litter under the furniture legs for that long.
Also, that oil soap made for wood kills bed bugs on the spot. I used more than a healthy dose in several gallons of water. I have a back pack sprayer. For the wood bed frame (mattresses removed) I just sprayed away and watched them come out from every crack. After all was flooded and I saw no more movement, I used a towel on the bed frame and a mop on the wood floor. We let the frame sit for two days to dry then wrapped in saran wrap.
I do still have upholstered furniture wrapped in plastic. When 19 months pass since I saw the last bed bug, I will remove it. I wish I had known about the cinnamon, my kids would have appreciated that.
Within my first 10 days of panic, I bombed the house, and then lay DE all over the floor. Both were very bad ideas and in response to feeling desperate. My son did not breathe well with the DE (he has asthma) on the floor. My kids are older so I was not concerned about them ingesting the silica litter. In the containers placed under furniture legs it poses no harm compared to DE constantly being disturbed into the air.
We read some funny writings, it helped to laugh. The guy that wrote about the cat litter wrote that he missed his bed bugs, and, like him, I still have about half a bag (was $11.00) of the litter left.
Posted by Anne (Las Vegas, Nv) on 11/30/2012
I told my apt mgr that i needed a new sofa, they gave me one from another apt instead that had bed bugs in it.
they were driving me crazy. tried spraying it with rubbing alcohol, but did't help much.
bought a new sofa and mattresses with a cover covering both of them (it's just impossible to put a fitted sheet over both of them) but bugs evently got on those.
i read about the cinnamon. put an entire bottle all over it, and then realized it was nutmeg. so i added cinnamon over it and haven't had a bite since
first put some of the mixture all over the mattress and then put on sheet and put mixture all over that. and no more bites.
before you do this you might invest in one cover that covers both mattresses.
Replied by Ms Y
Replied by Cassandra
Replied by Paulany
Niagara Falls, Ny
Replied by Paula
Replied by Jean
Posted by Joan (Ferndale, Wa) on 03/19/2011
I sprinkle powdered cinnamon on my oatmeal every day, and include it in every recipe that it works with. The bedbugs don't bite me anymore. They have all died of starvation. I figured that if bedbugs hate cinnamon, then why not get it into me, to make it even more effective. It's tasty, and good for you, too. I ingested some cinnamon every day for about three months to totally get rid of the bugs. WARNING: We're only talking about the powdered cinnamon that you buy from the spice shelf at the grocery store. (NOT the concentrated oils in Rest Ease which would be highly toxic.)
Replied by Yeag
Replied by Agnes
Vancouver, Bc, Canada
Replied by Bcaru
Posted by Pipi (Lakewood, New Jersey) on 09/12/2010
Cinnamon took away my ant problem. Ants hate the smell of cinnamon. I told my friend, who had a problem with ants too, about it, and she sprinkled some cinnamon in the place where they were coming from. The ants didn't come back. My other friend had a cockroach infestation in her home and I figured if cinnamon could work on ants why wouldn't it work on cockroaches. A few weeks later she came back to me and she was like "you know, Pipi, I think your cinnamon worked because I haven't seen a cockroach since I put it out." I was really happy for her. Anyway, a lot of people in my town are having problems with bedbugs and I really think cinnamon could work to eliminate them. I mean, if it could work on ants and cockroaches why wouldn't it work on bedbugs. If you're having a ant or cockroach problem figure out where they are coming from and sprinkle cinnamon in that place. For bedbugs, maybe you could sprinkle cinnamon directly on the mattress under the sheet. I don't know if that might ruin the mattress. I guess whatever you feel is right, do. If you get results with bed bugs let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org
Replied by Teresa
Ft. Wayne, Indiana
Replied by Dani
Replied by Kevin
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Replied by Bitten Up
Replied by Franco
San Diego, California
Replied by Andrea
Posted by Suzie (Los Angeles, Ca) on 12/27/2014
I just want to say that I love earthclinic! I come here often just to learn new things!
I also want to let people know that there is an easy solution to bed bugs. It is a growing concern, there are so many people that are getting them! Including me! I am sorry to say. I did everything right, I checked when I was at a hotel, I never put luggage on the floor, I sprayed concoctions in any hotel room that I stayed in. But I got them anyway, and I don't know how. The good news is there is help. The first thing I did when I thought I had them was to wash and dry all bed linens and while that was drying I vaccuummed my bed and steamed the mattress then I encased the mattress and pillows with allergy and mite control encasements, (I will do the box spring tonight), even with a partial effort its helped immensely. I bought a large mattress bag for dust mites not for bed bugs because mites are smaller and put alot of my clean things in there. Next which is very important, I put diatomaceous earth (FOOD GRADE) in the encasement, just a tablespoon spread around on the mattress. Then I dusted the bed frame, my bed room and around the floors with the D earth. I used a thick make up brush to spread it. I dusted the couch and love seat and every chair. I sit on only one barstool. Yes its a pain but so are bed bugs. I bought a few clothes hanging racks at walmart and after I dry clothes I hang them up or put small items in plastic bags. I thought I would go crazy and I panicked for a few hours in the last week I even cried a time or two....but I will win!!!! The main thing is to learn all you can then go forth and conquer!!!!
Posted by Karen (Salisbury) on 10/03/2013
Diatomaceous earth does not work on bedbugs! I covered my couch with it. I sprayed the inside, outside, underside, opened the seams, around the feet and still have bedbugs. I have also tried sprays which are only a temporary fix for one night, steamed everything for a one night fix. Is there anything else to try? I read cinnamon but is it a temporary fix as well? I will write this because I experimented with it myself: a mixture of pickling salt and creole mix stops them in their tracks but wasn't able to finish my experiment because my son went and sprayed it with 91% achocol, the bug died. An exterminator told me achocol will kill them but again it's on contact like many of the products being sold. Once it dries it no longer is effective. Any advice is helpful and should I experiment again with a different product I will let you know. Thanks to all
Replied by Prioris
Replied by Dave
Fountain Inn, Sc
Replied by Andrea C
Posted by Yeag (Louisville, Ky) on 06/11/2012
I can not get rid of bed bugs... I just sprinkled diamaceous earth everywhere & they are still here... Just killed 3 adults @ 2:45 am... I tried soapy water, insecticides, & diamaceous earth... No luck!!! ... please post this on your page asap in order for me to get a remedy to kill them...thanks!!!
Replied by Yeag
Replied by Dawn
Posted by Stephanie From Texas (Plano, Tx, Usa) on 06/10/2012
I recently read about food-grade diatomaceous earth for getting rid of all kinds of creepy-crawlies, including bedbugs, fleas, etc.. The great thing is that it is completely safe for use in kitchens, on pets, etc. , and I would assume around small children. According to the ad I read, it can be put on the rails of the bed, dusted even on the mattress, I think, and so on, where it microscopically scratches the soft bodies of the bugs, causing them to dehydrate and die. Apparently it is not an instant fix, but an effective and complete cure, lasting months if not vacuumed away. I sent my daughter the info because her cat has fleas, and the testimonials I was reading indicated it could be rubbed on the animal as well as being worked into the carpet. Directions were given for use against bedbugs, and I made a mental note in case I ever need it. It was being sold for $16 for over 4 pounds, and the folks being quoted said that it goes a long way and lasts a long time. I assume there are a variety of websites that offer it, though I have not found it yet in two or three natural foods stores I have checked locally. Apparently the place to look would be in pet care, but you do want the food grade so that it can be used throughout your home as needed - I'm going to get it for the little ants who sometimes visit my kitchen! I hope you get relief right away, having a little one in the house!
The other thing you might look into is having an ozone machine run in your home, which would kill all bugs, fungus, etc, and not result in any toxicity or residue, but I have only hearsay info about that, and I would imagine it would be pricey.
Replied by Darlene
Replied by Dee
Replied by Bed Bug Hugs
Replied by Candance
Replied by Tom
Fort Worth, Texas
Replied by Sandra
Replied by Sheri
Posted by Zander (Cincinnatti, Oh) on 12/04/2011
We had a bed bug infestation from a guitar case which we had loaned out and retrieved.
We self treated with DE [you have to be VERY careful with this, protect your respiratory system with a respirator, not a paint mask and it must be food grade, not swimming pool filter type] and, at a separate time, yes kerosene. We have an all wood ceiling and floors. We used a nasty, non-natural insecticide in the kerosene and mopped the floors and ceiling with the mixture. Obviously, one must exercise common sense caution with the use of kerosene [as with any flammable liquid], which is the centuries old treatment for bed bug destruction and repulsion [old timers would place their bed posts in cans of kerosene to prevent them from scaling the posts].
A thorough examination of the bed frame and bedding--under mattresses particularly, must be done as well as under lamps, particularly floor lamps, furnishings, book cases, behind switch plates and outlet covers. Remove such covers and paint the backs of each with DE bound in a bit of soapy water. Allow to dry completely before replacing.
We made the fatal error of using bug "bombs" at our first discovery of these creatures which spread them and caused us to have to battle them for months, rather than the day or so it might have taken to eradicate them. The bug bombs spread them. They are much easier to find and eliminate if they are not spread.
The last bed bug we saw was 3 months after the search and destroy measures faithfully followed as described above; however, I experienced what I believed were bite marks for ..... two years afterwards.
I went to extreme measures and actually slept in a diving suit! When "bite" marks appeared inside the covered areas I tried to determine if these were delayed skin reactions to previous bites that had perhaps occurred elsewhere in the home. That was so much fun to wonder about.
After leaving my home for three months, I came to suspect MRSA as the source of the "bite" marks. The marks were typically MRSA like "spider bite" in appearance.
I began a natural protocol for MRSA which included zinc, turmeric and coconut oil. The "bites" then disappeared.
I believe that what I had was MRSA carried by the bed bugs. I would like to confirm with a home test kit, if possible. If anyone has information about where such can be ordered online, I would be truly grateful.
Replied by Georgia
Replied by Don
Replied by Heather
Replied by Caroline
Replied by Teresa
Replied by Yeag
Replied by Karen
Replied by Trudyg
Replied by Dawn
Posted by Stephanie (Chicago, IL) on 01/07/2008
Bed Bugs Cure- HAIRDRYER! A friend of mine traveled through Africa and brought back bed bugs! I tried to help her for months trying to get rid of these creatures with every kind of spray, buying new mattresses--it was a total nightmare. They were biting her son almost every night--it was disgusting and frustrating. She spent a lot of money and time with all kinds of products and professionals and they would the bedbugs would just return. She was becoming very discouraged and depressed over it. Finally, I read online(after searching for months for a solution) that blowing a HAIRDRYER on the infected areas on high heat would kill them--permanently. Just use an ordinary hairdryer on HIGH HEAT all along the edge of the mattress and carpet, and anywhere you think they could be hiding(usually no deeper than 1/4 inch into the mattress so you just need to heat this up good). Putting the dryer on high heat, blowing the hot air closely for several minutes will kill the bugs and any eggs before they hatch. Do this BEFORE buying a new mattress so your new one doesn't get infected! This is the ONLY thing that actually worked, it's been several months now and no bugs have returned. Don't spend your money on services or expensive solutions that promise results--complete waste of money! Congratulations, you've just found the cure--and it's free!
Replied by Altaf Hussain
Replied by Valentinetti0
Posted by Carly (Seattle, Wa - Usa) on 12/20/2012
If you notice a bumpy red rash and have been reading library books lately, the link below might be of interest to you.
If you think about it, bed is where most people read library books. (I don't even want to think about the second most popular place they do their reading).
Anyway, heads up on the issue - better safe than sorry!
Merry Bug Free Christmas!!!
Posted by Mystic Gardener (Central Ohio) on 09/27/2015
I panicked when I found out I had bed bugs. I spent a lot of time and money uselessly, then I calmed down and actually used my brain. I think there may be a lot of fear mongering out there, possibly perpetuated by the pest control companies. No matter where they are hiding, they will come to you, the food source, during the night. I put all clothing and other soft items in plastic bags and left them in my car in the hot sun for an afternoon. The inside of my car reached over 140 degrees. I understand only 120 degrees is needed. In the winter you could use a dryer or even a warm oven. During that time, I bombed the house. Get the kind that says they are for bed bugs and roaches. I believe that killed all the bugs that weren't deep within the couch. Then I inspected all dresser drawers and vacuumed everywhere, emptying the canister outside immediately in a zip lock bag. I bought a big roll of 4ml plastic at Home Depot and some gorilla tape. I spread DE on the plastic, set my couch on it, wrapped it up and taped it completely with Gorilla Tape. Then I threw a pretty quilt over it. My couch is where I sleep, but for those of you with beds, you'll want to do those of course or buy the ready made mattress covers. I haven't seen a bed bug since, it's been 2 weeks, and I've been looking. Yesterday I turned my couch on its side, cut a slit in the plastic, put a bomb in there, set it off and quickly covered the slit with a patch. I did that just in case. I'm letting my quilt touch the floor so they CAN get up to me at night if there are any that weren't already in the couch when I wrapped it. Then if I see any, I will just throw that quilt in the dryer, or spray them with alcohol, but I haven't seen any! YOU are the lure. So if they are "in the walls" (doubtful), they will be coming out to feed. I will probably leave my couch wrapped for 6 months. Also, the information that they can live for up to 18 months with no blood supply (their food), really sounds like a stretch to me. I'll find out in 6 months and will update this post.
Replied by Mystic Gardener