Best Bed Bug Sprays

Updated October 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

30 Models Considered
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best bed bug sprays

Nothing will ruin your good night’s sleep faster than an infestation of bed bugs. These insects may be small, but their bites are extremely itchy, and they’re surprisingly difficult to get rid of. You could call an exterminator for help. But if you want to avoid a big bill, you can try tackling the problem yourself with a bed bug spray.

Bed bug sprays are designed to kill bed bugs on contact and prevent new bugs from re-infesting your home. But bed bugs have proven themselves to be terribly resilient, and some populations have even become immune to some of the most common insecticides. That’s why it’s crucial to choose your formula carefully.

Here’s a guide to walk you through all of the important considerations when choosing a bed bug spray.

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Bed bugs feed on blood, and they often get into the home via luggage or second-hand furniture. They hide during the day and then come out to feed at night.

Key considerations

Before you can start comparing different bed bug sprays, you need to understand the type of spray that you need.

Pests killed

Bed bug sprays are typically designed to kill bed bugs at all stages of their life cycle. This should be plenty if your only problem is bed bugs, but if other insects are getting into your home as well, you may want to choose a spray that can combat other pests, such as ticks, spiders, fleas, or cockroaches. The manufacturer should clearly list all insects that the spray works on, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find one that suits your needs.

Contact vs. residual

The two types of bed bug sprays are contact and residual. Contact sprays are fast-acting, and they kill bed bugs almost immediately. But they degrade quickly and don’t offer much in the way of long-term protection. That’s where residual sprays come in. These take longer to begin working, but they remain effective for several weeks. If you have a bed bug outbreak, it may be wise to purchase a contact and a residual spray to help kill the bed bugs quickly and prevent new infestations. Or you could look for a spray that’s a combination of the two.


For years, the go-to bed bug killer was a pyrethrin- or pyrethroid-based spray. But recently some bed bugs have shown resistance to these products. For this reason, it’s not recommended that you use a bed bug spray that only has pyrethrin or pyrethroid as the active ingredient. Instead you should choose a formula that uses a different chemical like a neonicotinoid (imidacloprid, acetamiprid, etc.) in addition to or in place of pyrethrin or pyrethroid to ensure that you don’t run into any issues with bed bug resistance.

There are also some natural bed bug sprays if you don’t feel comfortable using chemical-based sprays around your home and family. These use geraniol, geranium oil, clove oil, and other compounds to kill and repel bed bugs. However, these sprays are typically not as effective as traditional bed bug sprays, so they’re not a wise choice for a serious infestation.


Once you’ve decided on the general type of spray that you need, you can start focusing on the details.

Length of effectiveness

Each bed bug spray lasts for a different amount of time. Some contact sprays may only be effective for a few minutes. Residual sprays, on the other hand, usually last at least a couple of weeks, and some may even last up to four months at a time.

But just because one spray lasts longer than another doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily better. However, it does mean that you won’t need to respray as often, which is something to take into consideration. You should be able to figure out how long a bed bug spray is effective by reading the product label or instructions.


It’s usually best to choose a bed bug spray that dries clear and does not leave stains, especially if you plan to use it on upholstery, bedding, or carpeting. Before you use a bed bug spray, you should read the instructions to be sure that it’s safe to use on specific surfaces and that it won’t leave any visible residue behind or otherwise damage your furniture.


It’s not uncommon for bed bug sprays, especially chemical-based sprays, to leave an unpleasant odor behind. This should dissipate over time, and you may be able to speed up the process by ventilating the room after you spray. Another option is to go with an odor-free formula. You can get some idea of how strong a bed bug spray’s scent is by reading customer reviews online.


It’s best to choose a bed bug spray that has been certified by an organization like the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as being both safe and effective. Usually, this information is listed on the product itself. Or you can check with the EPA or USDA directly to see which products they’ve approved.


Bed bug sprays range in price from around $5 to over $50. The cost depends on the ingredients, the types of pests killed, and how long the spray is effective. The size of the bottle also matters.

If you’re trying to determine which spray offers the best value, you should compare sprays by price per ounce rather than overall cost. Divide the total cost by the number of ounces to determine the price per ounce. Most bed bug sprays cost somewhere between $0.20 and $0.42 per ounce, but some may cost as much as $1 or more per ounce.

This is one case where a higher price doesn’t always guarantee a better product, though. Base your decision on the product’s ingredients and effectiveness rather than on its cost.


  • Always read the manufacturer’s instructions thoroughly before using the bed bug spray.

  • It’s a smart idea to reapply the bed bug spray according to the schedule recommended by the manufacturer until you are sure that you have eliminated the problem.

  • You shouldn’t use a bed bug spray on its own. You still need to dry your sheets at a high temperature and take additional precautions to rid your home of bed bugs.

  • Always allow the bed bug spray to dry before touching any of the items that you’ve sprayed.

  • Never use an outdoor pesticide in place of a bed bug spray intended for use inside your home.

Other products we considered

Those who are interested in natural bed bug sprays may want to consider the Pest Peeve Bye-Bye Bed Bugs. This fast-acting spray kills bed bugs quickly and is safe to use around children and pets. It’s also backed by a customer satisfaction guarantee, so if the product doesn’t work as well as you’d hoped, you can get your money back. Another option is the Premo Guard Premo Bed Bug & Lice Killer. This all-natural, odor-free spray kills bed bugs on contact and keeps them away for up to two weeks after spraying. It also works on other insects, including lice, fleas, cockroaches, and ants.

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For best results, use a bed bug spray in conjunction with other measures like drying your sheets and clothing at a high temperature to help eliminate bed bugs. For a serious infestation, call an exterminator.


Q. Are bed bug sprays safe to use?

A. They should be safe as long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and do not touch the spray until it has fully dried. If you’re concerned about the safety of the chemicals in the spray, you may want to opt for a natural bed bug spray instead, although these may not work as well.

Q. How do I use a bed bug spray?

A. The spray you choose should have specific instructions, but, in general, you shake up the spray and apply it evenly across all the surfaces you want to treat. You can also spray it around any cracks or crevices in your home where you feel the insects might be getting in and out or hiding.

Q. Can I apply a bed bug spray directly to my bed?

A. It depends on the type of spray that you’re using. Always read the instructions first. If you can’t apply it directly to your mattress, you can still spray the area around it and dry your sheets at a high temperature to help kill the existing bed bugs.

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