Can you kill bedbugs with kerosene?
Before modern insecticides were available, bedbugs were a pervasive problem. Most households experienced lice, bedbugs, or both, at some point in time. People tried all kinds of home remedies to keep bedbugs at bay, including smearing coal oil and axle grease on the legs of their beds. There were also a number of “old wives tales” not at all rooted in scientific fact, such as sprinkling pickled cucumber, egg yolks, bacon grease, vinegar, and all other kinds of things on the bed.
Some desperate folks even supposedly resorted to taking their straw mattress off of the bed during an annual “spring cleaning” and using gunpowder, sulfur, kerosene, or benzene to treat or burn the mattress. It was not uncommon to actually place the legs of the bedframe directly into a can or tin of kerosene to prevent bugs from gaining access to the mattress. (Today, we have bedbug interceptors which work much better).
In modern times, some people still hear about using kerosene to kill bedbugs (primarily spraying liquid kerosene oil on surfaces), and wonder if it will work for them.
Should I use kerosene on bedbugs?
As we’ve discussed in our article about using paint thinner to kill bedbugs, using kerosene to kill bedbugs is also a major fire hazard! Kerosene is considered highly flammable, and could ignite from a spark from vacuums or other electrical appliances or cigarettes. This can be very dangerous.
While it technically is fatal to bedbugs, kerosene also creates a very unpleasant odor for people. These strong fumes that can be extremely harmful or even fatal if inhaled. If you spray kerosene directly on your bed, the bedding, mattress, and boxspring will absorb the kerosene smell and be dangerous as well as unpleasant to sleep in. Overall, we do not recommend trying this.
Kerosene will kill bedbugs and bedbug larvae on contact. Bedbugs have not developed a resistance to kerosene, as they have to many other over the counter pest control remedies. But, kerosene will not effect the bedbug eggs. It is also a relatively dangerous method, as it produces strong unpleasant fumes and can be highly combustible in certain scenarios.
Take it straight from the Alameda, CA Department of Environmental Health’s”Bed Bug Myths” flyer:
“[K]erosene does not repel or kill bed bugs and is also TOXIC and
Here is a better way to kill bedbugs yourself
Thank you for reading about using kerosene to kill bedbugs! Please refer to all manufacturer instructions and warnings when using a bed bug control product. This website is an independent resource. This site receives compensation from the Amazon Affiliates program, which allows us to run this site at no cost to you. Your purchase price and this review are NOT affected. This website receives NO compensation directly from the manufacturers of any product. We do not necessarily endorse any bed bug products that may appear on the 3rd party ads on this site, which will be clearly marked as such. We are not responsible for any inaccuracies or omissions, or any new information that has been released since the time of publication, or your actions taken as a result of any of these things. Content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for consulting with a professional. If you have any doubts about your ability to safely utilize any of these pest control methods, please consult a professional bed bug exterminator before attempting them. You can find a trusted local exterminator online. Read more about us here.