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Does Salt Kill Bed Bugs? Unpacking the Myths and Science

From the Puffy Editorial Team | 3 min read.
Does Salt Kill Bed Bugs? Unpacking the Myths and Science

Bed bugs are a universal problem that can turn any serene home into a stressful environment. One frequently mentioned home remedy is salt, raising the question: does salt kill bed bugs? This article is a deep dive into this query, exploring scientific theories and practical applications concerning salt’s efficacy against bed bugs.

Will Salt Kill Bed Bugs?

The simple answer to this question is no; regular table salt isn’t a reliable method for killing bed bugs. However, the conversation doesn’t end here. There are multiple types of salt and various conditions under which they might be more effective.

Points to Consider:

  • Effectiveness: Overall, salt is not a reliable insecticide for bed bugs.
  • Types of Salt: Not all salts are created equal; some may offer marginal benefits.
  • Practicality: There are more effective and scientifically-backed methods available.

It’s worth noting that some mattresses are designed to be more resistant to bed bugs. For instance, Puffy mattresses come with covers that are more difficult for bed bugs to penetrate, reducing the likelihood of an infestation.

Does Salt Water Kill Bed Bugs?

Saltwater, like regular salt, also lacks the potency to kill bed bugs effectively. However, it may offer some deterrence.

Understanding Salt Water’s Limitations:

  1. Lack of Potency: Saltwater concentrations are generally not potent enough to kill bed bugs.
  2. Temporary Deterrence: It may act as a short-term repellent but not a long-term solution.
  3. Water Dilution: The presence of water can dilute salt’s already minimal effectiveness.

Does Epsom Salt Kill Bed Bugs?

Epsom salt, chemically different from table salt, also falls short in terms of killing bed bugs. Though it is frequently touted as a home remedy for various ailments, its insecticidal properties are not strong.

Breaking Down Epsom Salt:

  • Chemical Structure: Composed of magnesium and sulfate, which have no known effectiveness against bed bugs.
  • Common Uses: Primarily used for relaxation in baths, not as a pesticide.

How Long Does It Take Salt to Kill Bed Bugs?

Given that salt is not an effective means of killing bed bugs, the question of timing becomes somewhat moot. In any effective bed bug treatment, time is of the essence.

Time-Effective Alternatives:

  1. Heat Treatments: Raising room temperature to around 118°F can kill bed bugs in less than 20 minutes.
  2. Pesticides: Some commercial pesticides offer a quick solution, but they should be used carefully.

How to Use Salt Water to Kill Bed Bugs

Though not recommended as a reliable bed bug killer, if you are interested in experimenting with salt water, there are ways to maximize its potential.

Steps for a DIY Salt Water Solution:

  1. Mixing: Create a solution using warm water and a high concentration of salt.
  2. Application: Spray the solution generously on areas where bed bugs are suspected.
  3. Observation: Keep a vigilant eye to see if there is any reduction in bed bug activity.
  4. Follow-up: This should not replace other more proven methods of bed bug eradication.

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Other Natural Remedies to Consider

Given the ineffectiveness of salt, you may want to explore other natural remedies.

Alternative Options:

  • Diatomaceous Earth: A naturally occurring substance that dehydrates bed bugs.
  • Tea Tree Oil: Offers some repellent properties, though not a guaranteed killer.
  • Vinegar: Can kill bed bugs upon direct contact, but not their eggs.

The Verdict: Does Salt Truly Kill Bed Bugs?

Through our exploration, it’s clear that salt is not the miracle cure for bed bugs that some might hope. Despite its ubiquitous nature and low cost, salt fails to provide a scientifically-proven, effective solution for bed bug infestations.


The idea that salt can be used as a reliable tool for bed bug extermination is more rooted in myth than science. While it might offer a minimal level of deterrence, there are far more effective strategies out there, both natural and chemical.

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These range from heat treatments to commercial pesticides, and proactive solutions like bed bug-resistant mattresses. Combining these approaches offers a more comprehensive and effective strategy for tackling bed bugs, helping to restore peace of mind and comfort in your home.

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