This guide will show you how to stop bed bugs from biting. You’ll find out five things that you can put on your skin to prevent bed bug bites while you’re sleeping.
The best part? All of them are skin-friendly with no side effects!
Plus, this guide also reveals the secret way to prepare your bed that will bring the chances of getting bed bug bites to almost zero.
Let’s dive in.
5 Things To Put On Your Body To Prevent Bed Bug Bites
You can use any one of the five things on your skin to repel bed bugs from biting you –
- Vicks Vaporub
- Essential oils
- White vinegar
- Bed bug repellents for skin
- Coconut oil
They keep bed bugs off of your body. And all of these are bed bug repellents.
Let’s find out how you can use them in a right way for maximum effect.
#1 – Vicks VapoRub
Vicks VapoRub repels not only cough and cold, but also bed bugs.
To stop bed bugs from biting you, use Vicks VapoRub on parts of your body that are prone to bed bug bites, like the neck, knees, lower back, belly, and elbows.
Ever wondered why Vicks VapoRub is a good bed bug repellant?
The pungent smell of eucalyptus and methanol in Vicks VapoRub repels bed bugs and many other bugs.
But you must keep in mind that you need to apply a generous amount of Vicks VapoRub on the bite prone areas of your body.
These areas are your neck, shoulders, the undersides of the knees and elbows.
#2 – Essential Oils
Research has proved that essential oils have insecticidal properties. But essential oils are not insects or bed bug killers.
Bed bugs don’t like the smell of essential oils. The strong smell of essential oils is highly pungent for bed bugs.
There are four types of essential oils that work best- Eucalyptus essential oil, Tea tree essential oil, Peppermint essential oil, and Lavender essential oil.
Essential oils can be tricky to buy unless you know how to buy a genuine essential oil.
If you use a poor-quality essential oil, you won’t protect yourself from bed bug bites while sleeping.
Choosing the right essential oil is a big topic. But to keep things short and simple, here’s what you should look for while buying essential oils –
- Essential oils are available in dark glass bottles. Avoid buying essential oils that are sold in plastic bottles. Plastic bottles degrade the essential oil.
- Always purchase 100% plant extract and cold condensed essential oil. There should be no additive like vegetable oils in the essential oils.
- Pure essential oils are expensive and very thick.
- Natural essential oils have the biological name of the element extracted from on the bottle. The country of origin is also mentioned on the bottle.
The University of Minnesota has this informative post on how to choose the right essential oils without getting duped.
There are two ways to use an essential oil on your body.
The first way, and the most effective way, is to directly apply the essential to the places of your body where bed bugs bite.
But, if you do it daily, you’ll soon run out of essential oil.
Quality essential oils are expensive. You’ll create a big hole in your pocket if you use this method every night before sleeping.
So, the second way is to make a spray of by mixing essential oils with water.
Mix ½ an ounce of essential oil with ½ a gallon of water, and spray it around your bed, on the mattress and bed frame.
Spraying it on your body and on the bed frames will certainly keep bed bugs away from your bed and skin.
#3 – White Vinegar
White vinegar is a cheaper, yet effective, alternative to essential oils.
The acidic nature and pungent smell of vinegar repel bed bugs and many other bugs like ants, roaches, and centipedes.
But you don’t have to pour a bottle of vinegar on yourself.
All you need to do is take a piece of cotton, wet it in vinegar, and rub it on the parts of your body where bed bugs bite.
To keep bed bugs away from your bed, you can spray a mixture of vinegar and water around your bed too.
The only adverse effect of spraying vinegar too often on your bed is that your mattress will start to smell like vinegar if you use it daily.
#4 – Wear Bug Repellents For Skin
There are some excellent bed bug repellents for skin that you can use before sleeping.
We highly recommend Avon Bug Guard. It’s water-resistant, PBA free, and it’s non-greasy, making it perfect for everyday use.
Use the bug repellent spray on your forearms, at the back of knees and elbows, neck, back, and on your feet. These are the common areas where bed bugs bite.
As we mentioned earlier, even if you use creams or essential oils, always wear clothes while sleeping.
If you don’t, then the bed sheet and blankets will remove the creams and oils from your skin, exposing you to bites from bed bugs.
#5 – Coconut Oil
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, coconut oil has bug repellent properties that are stronger than DEET. (source)
The study showed that coconut oil has fatty acids that repel flies, ticks, mosquitoes, and bed bugs.
So, if you’ve mosquitoes in your home and bed bugs, then using coconut oil on your skin will stop them from biting you.
Just like the essential oils, the more natural the coconut oil is, the better.
Coconut oil is sticky, and it smells too. So, you, your clothes, and bedsheets might smell coconut-ty.
But there is some excellent quality coconut oil like COCO & CO that are non-greasy, non-smelly, and 100% pure. They work well in keeping bed bugs away.
How To Keep Bed Bugs Off Of You While You’re Sleeping?
You can sleep without bed bug bites despite a bed bug infestation in your home.
To make the five things that repel bed bugs work even better, you’ll need to prepare your bed a bit before sleeping.
But don’t worry. It’s not a whole lot of work.
There are three things that you can do within minutes before going to bed. Let’s find them out.
#1 – Sleep With Less Exposed Skin
Bed bugs can bite you on your neck, shoulders, legs, on the folds of knees, and elbows. Bed bug bites appear in a zig-zag fashion as itchy red welts.
The more your skin is exposed, the more bed bug bites you’ll get.
So, sleep with your clothes on covering most parts of your body. Before that, use the five things that you learned that prevent bed bug bites.
Bed bugs can’t bite through clothing. So, a night suite with pajamas is essential to deny bed bugs access to your skin.
Do not wear any shorts and tank tops while sleeping till you’ve gotten rid of bed bugs.
If you wear the bed bug repellents and sleep with most of your skin exposed, the repellents will rub off against the bedsheet.
That’ll lead to bed bug bites.
#2 – Do Not Forget To Steam Clean Your Mattress Before Sleeping To Kill Hidden Bed Bugs
Steam cleaning your mattress is a godsend method to prevent bed bug bites and kill bed bugs.
It’s because heat is a highly effective bed bug killer. And steam cleaners produce heat.
Bed bugs can’t survive temperatures more than 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Any heat more than that will kill bed bugs and baby bugs and even destroy their eggs on your bed.
So, take a steam cleaner and use it on your bed mattress. Slowly clean along the edges, corners, and folds of the mattress.
Bed bugs hide in these folds. You can also clean the headboard and bed frame of your bed with the steam cleaner.
#3 – Use Bed Bug Repellent For Clothes On The Clothes That You Wear While Sleeping
It’s an optional step. But it works wonders.
Spraying bed bug repellent on clothes and wearing bed bug repellents on your skin add double-layered protection that prevents bed bug bites.
When there’s a severe bed bug infestation in your home, bed bugs in dresser drawers are also possible.
Bed bugs will take refuge in the clothes and linen that you keep in the dresser drawers, especially when they’re close to your bed.
Also use bug repellent sprays on the fabric that you keep in the dresser drawer, closet, or wardrobe.
Can You Get Rid Of Bed Bugs Bites Overnight?
No, you can’t. Bed bug bites cause zig zag itchy red welts on the skin. These welts last for at least 1-2 weeks before they go away.
If you’re not allergic to bed bug bites, then you won’t even get these welts despite getting bitten by the bed bugs.
Toothpaste On Bed Bug Bites
Applying toothpaste on bed bug bites is a great way to soothe the itching that bed bug bites cause.
The toothpaste contains methanol which is an anti-itching agent.
Apply toothpaste on the bite wounds. Within a few minutes you’ll get a relieving cooling sensation on the bitten portion.
There are other products like calamine lotion, peppermint essential oil, fresh aloe vera gel, and a mixture of lemon juice and baking soda that also provide relief from the itching of bed bug bites.
7 MYTHS That Claim To Prevent Bed Bug Bites
There are many unproven and mythical rumors that float around claiming to prevent bed bug bites.
You must not waste your time and money on them.
Here are the top 7 rumors and myths about preventing bed bug bites and to kill bed bugs.
#1 – Vaseline Prevents Bed Bug Bites
Not at all. It’s the biggest bed bug myth around. Vaseline, and any other kind of petroleum jelly, won’t stop bed bugs from biting you.
Many believe that if you use generous amounts of Vaseline on your body and around your bed frame, then the bed bugs will get stuck and won’t be able to bite.
Vaseline doesn’t have any insecticidal properties like essential oils and coconut oil, which can repel bed bugs.
Bed bugs can easily bite through the layer of Vaseline on your skin and suck your blood.
#2 – Burning Sulfur Inside Your Home Repels Bed Bugs
Please don’t do it. Burning sulfur doesn’t have any effect on bed bugs.
And burning sulfur is dangerous. Smoke from sulfur causes shortness of breath, sinus, and it can even damage your eye.
#3 – Bug Bombs Will Kill Bed Bugs
When it comes to getting rid of bed bugs, there’s one thing that you should never waste your money on, and that’s bug bombs.
Bug bombs are ineffective because they can’t seep into the gaps where the bed bugs hide.
Once you use the bug bomb, the bed bugs will escape and hide in tight corners and gaps.
You might be successful in killing a few them, but not the entire population.
Also, bug bombs don’t have residual toxicity that can stick on the bed bugs’ skin and spread to other bugs.
That’s why it’s always a wise thing to do to contact a reliable pest controller to get rid of bed bugs.
#4 – Fire Extinguishers Will Freeze The Bed Bugs
It’s another rumor or myth. The CO2 from the fire extinguisher will not freeze the bed bugs to death.
In fact, CO2 attracts bed bugs.
So, don’t waste the gas inside your fire extinguisher to kill the bed bugs. Well, you can use the canister to smash the bed bug to death.
#5 – Sleeping With The Lights On Will Fool The Bed Bugs
The laughable belief is that bed bugs bite only when the lights are off. Therefore, many people sleep with the lights on, thinking that it’ll trick the bed bugs.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t!
Bed bugs bite when you’re stationary. So, it doesn’t matter to them if the lights are on.
#6 – Olive Oil On Your Body Will Stop The Bed Bugs From Biting You
No, it doesn’t. Even if you use virgin olive oil, it won’t.
It’s better to use olive oil for cooking rather than putting it on your skin to repel bed bugs. It simply doesn’t work.
#7 – Turning Off The Heat During Winters Will Freeze The Bed Bugs
No, it won’t. Bed bugs, like termites and roaches, are tough and hard to kill pests.
Bed bugs love the humid and tropical climate, but that doesn’t mean they’ll die in winters.
Bed bugs can go without a blood meal by laying low for 400 days.
So, if you think that if you freeze yourself during winters and it’ll keep the bed bugs away from biting you, then you’re unfortunately wrong.
Cold temperatures inside your home will not kill bed bugs. Bed bugs will be back when temperatures are normal.
But if you put bed bugs in a plastic bag and keep them in a freezer, then they will freeze to death within a couple of days.
The five things that prevent bed bugs from biting you, naturally, at night while you’re asleep are –
- Vicks Vaporub
- Essential oils
- White vinegar
- Bed bug repellents for skin
- Coconut oil
This guide also reveals the preparatory steps to take before going to bed that keeps bed bugs off of your body.
They’re sleeping with your clothes on, cleaning your bed mattress with a steam cleaner, and using bed bug repellents for clothes.
There’s also a dedicated section exposing the myths that don’t work at all to prevent bed bugs from biting.
Bed bugs are tough pests to kill. The methods that you’re learned are not a solution to get rid of bed bugs.
You’ll need the help of a bed bug exterminator to eliminate bed bugs from your home.
And getting rid of bed bugs is an expensive affair.
If your finances are tight, and if the bed bug infestation is at the early stages, then you can get rid of bed bugs under a tight budget.
We’re Mark and Jim, and we’re retired pest controllers who made homes pest-free for more than three decades. We, along with our team of experts, founded this site to give you the pest control hacks that work.