Essential Oils Versus Bed Bugs: What You Must Know

Essential oils have long been a topic for debate, but as more research is being done around them and their properties, the better we understand what their uses can be apart from just smelling nice. So, can essential oils be used in the fight against the ever-intrusive bed bugs? Here is what you must know.

Essential oils are a great, all-natural way to help repel bed bugs from your home. There are multiple essential oils you can use for this purpose, but there are also some essential oils that have been found to kill bed bugs in certain situations. So, try them out and see which one works for you.

What are the most effective essential oils to use against bed bugs? How do you use essential oils to repel bed bugs? And are there any other natural ways to help rid your home of bed bugs? We will answer all these questions and more in this article.

How To Repel Bed Bugs With Essential Oils

Bed bugs are a nuisance that can pop up in your home without warning. They are difficult to get rid of and can cause some painful bites, not to mention their ‘gross’ factor. Many people feel that their homes are unclean or have an unsettling feeling about it when they have bugs like bed bugs running around.

This is understandable, especially if it turns into an infestation that can begin to affect your sleep and spread to other areas of your home. Thankfully, there are some natural remedies that may be able to assist you with this before it turns into a big problem.

Essential oils are a great way to help repel bed bugs. It is important to note, however, that essential oils will not necessarily kill the bed bugs, but they may be able to help stop them from biting you and possibly stop them from spreading to other areas of your home.

If you want to use essential oils to assist with a bed bug problem, you need to ensure that you get an essential oil that is 100% pure and is not a mixed essential oil. The essential oils that we are going to go over can be mixed with distilled water and placed into an atomizer or spray bottle for easier use.

To ensure that you get the best results possible, you should not only spray your mattress, but you should spray your bedsheets, pillow as well as around the base of your bed. This is why it is important that use an essential oil that you enjoy the smell of, that you find relaxing, and that you have no skin allergy to. You will also need to spray your essential oil treatment at least once every two days.

You can also add the essential oils to a carrier oil such as almond or grapeseed oil and then use this mixture on your skin before you go to bed as this will aid in personal protection against bed bugs, with an added benefit of gorgeous glowing skin.

Another useful why that essential oils can be utilized is if you already have a painful bite. You can dab a very small amount of essential oil onto a cotton ball and place it on the bite. This can help soothe the bite area and help to reduce inflammation.

Just remember that essential oils should not under any circumstances be eaten or ingested in any amount for any reason. This can lead to illness that may need a hospital visit as some essential oils are quite toxic to humans as well as pets.

So, let us have a look at the essential oils that may be able to assist you with the highly annoying problem that is a bed bug infestation.

The Best Essential Oils To Use

Some essential oils are better than others when it comes to repelling bed bugs. With some, you may be required to use a lot more in the mixture, and you may have to spray it around your house more often.  While with others, you may only require a few drops and may only need to spray it around once every few days to get the results that you want. But let us have a look at the essential oils that you can use.

Lavender oil – this essential oil really is, well, essential. Lavender oil has great antifungal and antimicrobial properties, and it has the added ability to help deter bugs, including bed bugs, from entering specific areas. Spraying this essential oil around your home will also aid in reducing your overall physical and mental stress, and this is an essential oil that is safe to use in your children’s room too.

Eucalyptus Oil – This is another great essential oil to use that helps ward off the annoying little bed bugs. This essential oil is not really to everyone’s taste in aroma, but it is a very useful oil when fighting off bed bugs and other bugs in general. This essential oil is great for cleansing the home from any bugs that may annoy you.

Peppermint Oil – This is one of the best essential oils to use in the fight against bed bugs. This essential oil will help keep your beds clean and pest-free as it is a great bug deterrent. Plus, peppermint oil has a lovely bright scent to it that is refreshing and helps to uplift the body and mind, which makes it a great oil to use in your home.

Tea Tree Oil – this essential oil is one of the most powerful antiseptic essential oils that are available today. Tea Tree Oil has often been used in the fight against lice, as it can not only kill them but it can stop them from reoccurring too. For this reason, Tea Tree Oil is a great weapon in your arsenal to help effectively banish bedbugs from your home, and it should be one of the first oils that you try.

Lemongrass Oil – this is a great natural anti-inflammatory oil as well as a powerful germ killer and an astringent. This essential oil is not as strong as the others, but you can mix it into the spray bottle with another essential oil to help in the bed bug fight. Lemongrass oil is a great oil to have in your home as it not only helps deter bed bugs but it also helps with joint pain and a number of skin issues.

Cedarwood Essential Oil – this is an essential oil that will need to be mixed in with another oil in your spray bottle as it is not as strong, but it can be extremely helpful at warding off bed bugs. This essential oil would be a perfect choice to add to a carrier oil to be used on the skin for personal protection against bed bugs, as this oil also kills acne-causing bacteria, helping to clear your skin.

Clove Oil – this is quite a potent essential oil for bed bugs. This oil has been proven to be able to actually kill bed bugs in certain situations, so this is defiantly one essential oil that you should add to your spray bottle. Clove oil is also filled with antioxidants, and it is extremely helpful in relieving joint pain and stimulating the circulatory and lymphatic systems when rubbed on the skin.

Rosemary Oil – this essential oil has a lovely light and clean aroma that is loved by almost everyone. This essential oil is used in many perfumes and colognes and has been used in this way for thousands of years. This essential oil does not only have a good smell, but it is a perfect bed bug repellent. When it was tested, it killed almost all of the bed bugs after five days, so this is defiantly one to add to the spray bottle. 

Essential Oil Bed Bug Spray Recipe

There are many different bed bug essential oil spray recipes out there, as every essential oil enthusiast has their own recipe that they swear by. But here are two recipes that you can follow if you are new to using essential oils. These recipes are easy to make and can be used in various different areas of your home.

For the first recipe, you will need a spray or atomizer bottle, Peppermint oil, Lemongrass oil, Cedarwood oil, Witch Hazel, Epsom salts, and distilled water.

You will need to measure out 16 ounces (470 ml) of distilled water in the spray bottle. Then you need to add ten drops of each oil into the water, with 2 to 3 drops of the Witch Hazel and 2 Teaspoons of Epsom salt. You need to mix these together thoroughly and then add enough distilled water to fill the rest of the spray bottle.

This bed bug repellant spray is now ready to use!

The second recipe will need distilled water, an atomizer or spray bottle, Lavender oil, Rosemary oil, and Eucalyptus oil.

You need to fill the atomizer or spray bottle halfway with the distilled water, then add ten drops of each of the essential oils into the water. Close the lid of the bottle and shake well, then remove the lid and full the bottle to the top with distilled water and put the lid back on, and shake it once again.

This essential oil bed bug repellant spray is now ready to use. It is recommended that you wear gloves while spraying this essential oil spray as it is quite a strong mixture.

Why You Should Use Essential Oils Instead Of Pesticides

There are plenty of reasons as to why you should use natural essential oils to get rid of your bed bugs rather than pesticides. If you think about it, why would you use something that can be potentially harmful to you, your family, and your pets when there is a safer way to do it that is also effective.

To get the best results possible when using an essential oil spray, you will also need to remove contaminated items such as linen, which is what you would have to do when using a pesticide too, but you will be able to get rid of the bed bugs in a natural way, without the need for any chemicals.

But there are other benefits of using a natural treatment when you are fighting bed bugs too. These benefits include the fact that you will not have to use any harmful chemicals or liquids in your house or bedroom.

With this, you can avoid introducing potentially dangerous pesticides into the environment that can throw off the fragile local ecosystem in your garden and have the chemicals spread elsewhere by bugs and other animals leaving your area.

Natural treatments tend to be more affordable, so you will save some money as you do not need to buy those expensive pesticide sprays.

Using essential oils in your bed bug treatment leaves behind a lovely and pleasant aroma that can also provide some great aromatherapy into your life, which can help you in many different areas, like relaxation.

If you have pets, then you may want to go a natural route, too, as you do not want your pets accidentally licking up the chemical pesticide, which can kill them. If you use essential oils, they will have a lower chance of needing a vet visit if it is accidentally ingested.

And let’s face it, bed bugs are found mainly in your bedroom or on your sofa, and these are the places where most people spend their time when they are at home.

When you are lying on your bed, you do not want to breathe in harsh chemicals that can be harmful to you or have the scent of pesticides in your nose while you are trying to relax and sleep. This alone is a great reason to use a natural essential oil treatment for bed bugs.

Other Natural Ways To Reduce Bed Bug Populations

If you do not want to go the essential oils route for whatever reason, but you still want to use a natural treatment when fighting bed bugs, do not worry as there are some other natural ways you can go about defeating those little pests.

You can use good old soap and water with a good amount of steam to help get rid of bed bugs. This is a good way to not only repel bed bugs but also kill them outright. So, if you have a clothes steamer, then it will be your best friend when fighting the little bugs.

If you do not have a clothes steamer, then there are a few other ways that may help rid you of your bed bug problem. You can wrap your mattress in plastic wrap as this will essentially suffocate the bed bugs solving the problem.

Something else that may help in repelling the bed bugs is to place petroleum jelly on the legs of your bed, which will then catch bed bugs as they are trying to crawl in and out, and the smell of the jelly is supposedly undesirable to the bed bugs.

You might also want to try using some rubbing alcohol to kill the little bugs, which has been shown to be effective. You can combine the rubbing alcohol in a spray or atomizer bottle with some distilled water and then spray it around spaces that are prone to bed bugs. This is not meant to be a repellant but rather a solution for an ongoing infestation as it kills the bed bugs.

Neem Oil is another all-natural incest repellent that can also kill the creepy critters too. This is a good one to add to a carrier oil that you can place on your body before you go to bed, or you can put it in a spray bottle with some distilled water and spray it onto your bed and other areas that get affected by bed bugs.


Essential oils are a great all-natural insect repellant that also adds other benefits to your life as a bonus. Some essential oils work better than others as they are stronger or have more qualities to them that bed bugs may not like. But if you are looking for a natural way to repel the bed bugs in your home, then essential oils are a must-try.

Who knows, maybe you will find one that helps you get rid of the bugs in your home as well as helping you to relax better and get a good night’s sleep.

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Anat Goldberg

Hi! My name is Anat and I have lived all my life in the countryside. I grew on a farm in Northern Italy and from an early age, I took care of the animals on the farm and the family garden. Over the years I have developed a growing passion for organic cultivation and pest control.

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