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Does Salt Kill Bed Bugs? Exploring Natural Bed Bug Remedies

Does salt kill bed bugs

In the realm of home remedies and DIY pest control, a few questions are as intriguing as does salt kill bed bugs? This age-old query taps into our desire for simple, accessible solutions to one of the most persistent and irritating household pests: the bed bug. These tiny invaders have plagued humans for centuries, and with their recent resurgence, finding effective and economical ways to combat them has become more crucial than ever. In this article, we delve into the science behind this common question, examining whether the humble kitchen staple, salt, holds the secret to repelling these resilient pests.

Introduction to bed bugs and their behavior

Bed bugs are small, nocturnal insects that feed on human blood. They are reddish-brown, wingless, and about the size of an apple seed. 

Bed bugs are known for their stealthy behavior; they often hide in mattresses, bed frames, furniture, and even behind wallpaper during the day, emerging at night to feed. They are not known to transmit diseases but can cause itching and loss of sleep. 

Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to eliminate due to their rapid reproduction rate and ability to survive for months without feeding. Their resurgence in various regions has made understanding and controlling them a significant concern in pest management.

Salt and bed bugs: myth versus reality

The notion that salt can kill bed bugs is a common misconception. This belief is rooted in the effectiveness of salt against other pests like slugs, which are known to dehydrate and die when exposed to salt. However, bed bugs are structurally different.

Exoskeleton barrier

Bed bugs are encased in a resilient exoskeleton made of chitin, impervious to salt. This protective layer prevents salt from reaching their internal organs, rendering the dehydration strategy ineffective.

Ingestion unlikely

As obligate hematophagy, bed bugs feed exclusively on blood. Their dietary habits do not include the ingestion of substances like salt, which means salt-based treatments would not be ingested and thus, are ineffective.

Size and structure of salt crystals

The physical size and structure of salt crystals are not conducive to penetrating the small crevices of a bed bug’s body. Unlike finer substances that might cling to or be absorbed by the bug’s body, salt crystals are too coarse.

No impact on reproduction or eggs

Salt does not affect the reproductive cycle of bed bugs or their eggs. These pests reproduce quickly, and any effective treatment needs to address not just the adults but also their eggs.

Lack of scientific evidence

There is a lack of scientific research or evidence supporting the idea that salt can kill bed bugs. Pest control experts and entomologists generally do not recommend salt as a viable method for bed bug extermination.

Risk of misguided efforts

Relying on salt for bed bug control can lead to wasted efforts and time, potentially exacerbating the problem by allowing the bed bug population to grow and spread further.

While salt is a handy tool against some pests, its effectiveness against bed bugs is a myth. Understanding this helps focus efforts on scientifically supported and more effective bed bug eradication methods.

Does salt kill bed bugs?

No, salt does not kill bed bugs. This common misconception arises from the effectiveness of salt in dehydrating certain pests, like slugs. 

However, bed bugs are structurally different. They have a tough exoskeleton that salt cannot penetrate, making them ineffective in causing dehydration or death to these pests. 

Additionally, bed bugs exclusively feed on blood, so they do not ingest substances like salt. Effective bed bug control requires specialized methods, such as heat treatment, chemical insecticides, and diatomaceous earth, rather than household remedies like salt. 

Therefore, relying on salt for bed bug eradication is not a recommended or effective strategy.

The fallacy of epsom salt and saltwater sprays

The use of Epsom salt and saltwater sprays as bed bug remedies is based more on myth than scientific fact. Here’s why they are ineffective:

  1. Different chemical composition: Epsom salt, made of magnesium sulfate, differs chemically from table salt and lacks properties that would affect bed bugs. This makes it ineffective against these pests, contrary to some online claims.
  2. Ineffective saltwater solution: Dissolving table salt in water does not create a pest control solution capable of penetrating and affecting bed bugs. The saltwater mixture lacks the necessary properties to impact the pests’ exoskeleton or internal system.
  3. No residual killing effect: Unlike other pest control substances, saltwater sprays do not leave behind any residue that continues to affect bed bugs over time. Once evaporated, any minimal impact it might have had is gone.
  4. Surface tension limitations: The surface tension in a saltwater solution prevents it from reaching into the tiny cracks and crevices where bed bugs typically hide, rendering it ineffective as a treatment method.
  5. False security and neglect of effective methods: Relying on Epsom salt or saltwater sprays for bed bug control can lead to a false sense of security. This misguided trust may result in neglecting more scientifically proven and effective bed bug treatments.

Both Epsom salt and saltwater sprays lack the properties necessary to effectively combat bed bug infestations. Their use is based on misconceptions and can distract from more effective, scientifically-backed treatment options.

Repelling bed bugs with salt: A fruitless endeavor

Utilizing salt as a deterrent against bed bugs is largely ineffective. These pests are drawn to the carbon dioxide humans emit, not repelled by common household substances like salt. 

The notion of creating a salt barrier around sleeping areas is impractical. Not only would it require an impractical amount of salt, but this approach also fails to address the bed bugs’ resilience and adaptability in navigating various terrains. 

Moreover, the idea that salt could form a unique barrier is flawed, as any granular substance would theoretically have a similar effect, yet none prove effective against these persistent pests. 

Additionally, salt can cause damage and mess in the home, making it a less-than-ideal solution. In summary, relying on salt for bed bug repulsion is both unscientific and impractical, diverting attention from more effective pest control methods.

Effective bed bug control: Beyond myths

While salt is ineffective against bed bugs, there are several proven methods for controlling and eliminating these pests:

  • Diatomaceous earth: A natural, non-toxic substance that damages the bed bug’s exoskeleton, causing dehydration and death. The effective application involves a light dusting in areas where bed bugs hide.
  • Heat treatment: Professional heat treatments are highly effective, especially for eliminating bed bugs at all life stages, including eggs.
  • Chemical treatments: Insecticides designed for bed bugs can be effective, particularly when combined with other methods.
  • Professional pest control: For severe infestations, professional exterminators can offer more comprehensive solutions like whole-room heat treatments or fumigation.
  • Preventive measures: Using bed bug-proof mattress encasements, reducing clutter, and regular inspections can help prevent infestations.

Adopting a multi-faceted approach that combines these methods is the most effective bed bug control way and eliminate bed bug infestations.


Q: Can you kill bed bugs with salt?

A: Killing bed bugs with salt is ineffective. Salt cannot penetrate their exoskeleton, making it an inefficient pest control method.

Q: What kills bed bugs immediately?

A: Immediate bed bug elimination often requires professional heat treatment, insecticides, or vacuuming to physically remove them.

Q: What smells do bed bugs hate?

A: Bed bugs dislike strong odors such as lavender, peppermint, and tea tree oil. However, these scents alone are not a guaranteed deterrent for these pests.


In conclusion, our exploration into the common query does salt kill bed bugs? has provided valuable insights into effective pest control strategies. We’ve debunked the myth of salt as a remedy and highlighted the need for scientifically-backed solutions. Understanding that bed bugs require specific treatments, such as heat application, chemical insecticides, and diatomaceous earth, is crucial for successful eradication. This article aimed to guide you towards more effective methods, steering clear of ineffective home remedies. Remember, the key to combating bed bugs lies in informed, strategic approaches, ensuring a pest-free environment for your home.