Rubbing Alcohol Fumes, Bed Bugs, and Carpet Beetles

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Dear Home Ec 101,

I was wondering if anyone ever sprayed their vacuum (not the bag type, the cyclone type with plastic bin) thoroughly to kill any bugs. I’ve been professionally treated for bed bugs and carpet beetles (YUCK sign me mortified) and haven’t seen any, but am scared to death to use my vacuum or anything that might still harbor the creeps. Since 91% rubbing alcohol kills them, I was considering it.

But there’s the flammable aspect. I found nothing on line about anyone doing this, nor any safety searches turning up much on it either on the web.
Thank you if you’ve ever heard of this!

Bugged in Burlington

Heather says:

First of all, I want to let you know that sometimes a bug infestation is what it is. Are you hoarding dirty dishes that have attracted a cockroach infestation? NO. Sometimes bugs are just a fact of life and not a reflection of your personal hygiene or lack thereof (Did you know lice actually prefer clean hair?). So take a deep breath and shake it off. You were just unlucky, no one here is judging or awarding the Home-Ec101 Seal of Disapproval.

The website has a great resource on resolving a bedbug infestation. They do not recommend rubbing alcohol, in fact they just recommend using a detergent and hot water to clean up areas that may have come in contact or be a surface upon which bedbug eggs may lurk.

So, go ahead and clean out your canister and give it a thorough cleaning with detergent and hot water. If you would feel better using rubbing alcohol be aware that the air and dust whirling around inside the canister does provide a possibility of creating a stray spark via static electricity. Allow all of the rubbing alcohol fumes to dissipate before using the vacuum.

From the research I did, it would appear that it takes a combination (and this is NOT an official recommendation, I haven’t had coffee yet and need to think and do more research) of rubbing alcohol and borax is suggested to treat for carpet beetles. Like bedbugs, simply cleaning the canister of your vacuum after EVERY use should be sufficient to ensure you are through the worst of this infestation headache.

I hate that you had to deal with carpet beetles and bed bugs, but hopefully the worst is behind you and you can get back to everyday life.

Good luck!


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2 thoughts on “Rubbing Alcohol Fumes, Bed Bugs, and Carpet Beetles”

  1. Alcohol can damage some plastics.  I would recommend contacting the manufacturer of the vacuum cleaner for what they advise.   It can’t be a new question for them.

  2. I spoke with a pest control company who suggested alcohol to spray baseboard and carpets/rugs for carpet beetles, which seems the greenest way to go. He also said that each time you finish vacuuming, you need to pour a small pile of baking soda on the floor (anywhere) and suck it up with the vacuum and it will attach to any critters in there so they are thrown out when you empty the canister or bag etc.


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