Lysol is a synthetic home disinfectant composed of several chemical compounds. It is principally used to kill microbes (typically bacteria and viruses) – those microscopic organisms that live in and around homes and other shared spaces, such as public restrooms, cafeterias, and workplaces. These places need regular disinfection, hence the need for Lysol.
While doing domestic chores, we come in contact with many of these microscopic organisms, especially bacteria, fungi, and viruses which can cause diseases. Lysol can be used to get rid of some of those germs on shared surfaces.
Lysol may also be able to kill a common household pest: bed bugs. It has been reported that Lysol may kill bed bugs when applied directly to them. However, it has also been reported that disinfectant sprays are ineffective at killing bed bugs in controlled tests.
Now, the question many may have is: Does Lysol kill bed bugs? You want to know if it really can kill bed bugs and how effective it really is against these pests. Let us try to answer that question.
What is Lysol made of?
There are different forms of the trademarked product Lysol produced by Reckitt Benckiser. While the chemical makeup can vary, the active disinfecting ingredients in most Lysol disinfectant spray products are ethanol and alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium saccharinate while the active ingredient in the Lysol Power and Free disinfecting wipes is hydrogen peroxide.
Will Lysol kill bed bugs?
Can you use Lysol to kill bed bugs? The truth is that we don’t really know! Lysol itself has not really been tested as a bed bug insecticide.
A disinfectant spray called Proxi, however, was tested by researchers at Rutgers University. And even when applied directly to bed bugs, it did not kill them.
A product with a similar ingredient has also been empirically tested. Steri-Fab, which contains N-alkly dimethyl benzyl ammounium chloride was tested on bed bugs. It killed less than 60% of the bed bugs in the trial. In addition, it should be noted that this ingredient made up only 0.076% of the product, meaning that it was not one of the most active ingredients and likely contributed little to bed bug mortality.
Bed bugs typically reproduce slowly compared to other insects (only 1 egg per day, on average). However, it is still important to kill them on the spot to decrease the chances of their laying eggs and breeding in your home.
Bed bugs can be difficult to get rid of because they do not confine themselves to beds. As their population grows, they are likely to spread throughout the room. Despite a relatively slow reproductive cycle, bed bugs are still insects, which means they reproduce more quickly than many larger types of animals: three or more generations per year.
Wash all fabrics – including bed and pillow covers – in hot water. Then, be sure to run them through the dryer on high for 30 minutes. Washing is unlikely to be enough but the heat from the dryer should do it.
Extreme heat or cold can kill bed bugs, so a good steaming or putting bedding into the freezer may be all you need for an early/small population.
Here are a few things you should do to control a bed bug infestation:
- Remove all garbage in and around your home that could serve as a hiding place for bed bugs.
- Thoroughly vacuum all potential bed bug breeding grounds (that can be reached by the vacuum, of course), including all carpets, the corners of the couch, behind wooden furniture, and in all other dry regions of your home.
- Treat all sleeping surfaces and cushions with hot air or steam. This will make sure that none of the bed bugs are left hiding inside your bed or couch. They will try to hide in the folds of the cushions to avoid being seen. This is why you need to use heat to drive out the ones you cannot reach.
- Treat with pesticides. Synthetic pesticides (e.g., pyrethroid sprays) or desiccants (e.g., diatomaceous earth) are both likely to be effective though desiccants may take longer.
- If the infestation is too much for you to handle, reach out to professional exterminators.
If you decide to try Lysol spray, remember that it may have adverse health effects. Some of the chemical compounds in Lysol are associated with reproductive, endocrine, respiratory, skin, or eye hazards.
In addition, some people are allergic to the fragrances used in some disinfectant products.
Keep in mind that Lysol disinfectant sprays are aerosols, so you should take care not to puncture the can or use the sprays around open flames.
And be sure to use Lysol only in well-ventilated areas and avoid getting it on your skin or in your eyes. Be careful not to inhale it.
Finally, alcohol (including ethanol) can also be damaging to some surfaces, so be sure to read the label carefully before the application. Under no circumstance should you ingest Lysol itself or any food that has the chemical on it. This means that all food items need to be properly covered and removed from the areas where you intend to use Lysol.
While using Lysol may not be the best way to get rid of bed bugs, it is inexpensive and may be worth a try if you have a small bed bug population. It is not recommended, however, especially for infestations.