Skip to Content

Does Vicks Rubbing Stop Bed Bug Bites? (Not Really…)

Does Vicks Rubbing Stop Bed Bug Bites? (Not Really…)

Are bedbugs biting you nonstop at night, keeping you up at night? You’re sick of getting out of bed in the middle of the night to search for a bed bug remedy. If you don’t have access to most of the suggested remedies, you should try Vicks Vaporub. However, does Vicks rubbing stop bed bug bites? 

Human blood is the main food source for bedbugs, especially at night. Some people experience allergic reactions; bed bug bites can cause skin rashes and itching. Most people apply Vicks to their bodies to ease congestion or joint pain. Thanks to the Vicks heat and strong aroma, most bugs won’t bite you.

Does Vicks VapoRub Repel Bed Bugs?

Vicks Vapor Rub repels bedbugs, but only temporarily. Active menthol and a strong scent from Vicks Vaporub repel bedbugs. Strong scents are repulsive to bed bugs, and will stay away from them.

The following components are also highly potent and can be found in Vicks Vaporub: thymol, nutmeg, turpentine oil, camphor, eucalyptus, and cedar leaf oil. Bedbugs will be repelled by the mixture of different scents in Vicks Vaporub.

The heat and fragrance from Vicks are sufficient to keep bed bugs away from your skin and keep them from biting you. You can dab some Vicks on your elbow, neck, knees, ankles, and wrists instead of rubbing it all over your body. Applying some to your bed’s legs will prevent bed bugs from climbing up the sides of your mattress.

Will Vicks Vaporub Kill Bed Bugs?

Vicks Vaporub does not kill bedbugs but only repels them, and not for long. Vicks VapoRub ingredients are safe because they are designed to be applied to the body.  While cedar leaf and the other Vicks components are potent enough to repel bed bugs, they are not strong enough to kill them.

When you apply Vicks to certain parts of your body, bed bugs only experience one significant side effect: the essential oils make them ill.

When applied, menthol feels cool and has a minty smell. While it may feel wonderful, bedbugs find the fragrance unpleasant and the cool sensations like a burning fire.

Is Vicks Vaporub a Good Insect Repellent?

Vicks Vaporub was not designed to be an insect repellent; hence it is not a good repellent. Its menthol ingredient is the only factor that makes it effective at repelling numerous insects. The strong aroma of menthol turns off most insects.

Another reason Vicks Vaporub is not a good insect repellent is that its effect only lasts for a brief period. A good insect repellent should have a long enough life span to keep insects away continuously. Vicks is quite ineffective because the aroma and heat do not linger for more than fifteen minutes.

Vicks Vaporub is made using petroleum jelly, which is quite sticky. After applying it to your body, you’ll undoubtedly leave it all around, getting your couches and bedding dirty. The dirt will attract other bugs. A good insect repellent should be able to keep insects away rather than attract them.

What Repels Bed Bugs From Biting?

If you wish to prevent bedbugs from biting you, it’s good to note that Vick Vaporub only provides a very short-term remedy. You should look for longer-lasting remedies. The best action is to look for remedies that make bed bugs less likely to bite you and repels them. Natural remedies are recommended since they repel bed bugs from biting.

Here are some products you can use:

  • Coconut oil; You can apply coconut oil all over your body to stop bed bugs from crawling up your body. Any bed bug attempting to climb on your body will be repelled by the strong scent of coconut oil. Additionally, the oil has essential fatty acids in it. The acidic substances are the ones that bedbugs would try to avoid.
  • Essential oils: These oils are usually extracted in various ways from plants. Bed bug repellent creams, sprays, and lotions contain essential oils such as tea tree, lavender, mint, and cinnamon. Because the oils have strong scents, antimicrobial properties, and anti-inflammatory properties, they are effective bed bug repellents. They are safe enough to be applied to the skin directly.
  • Bedbug repellent lotions: The repellents are meant to be used as ordinary body lotions before bed and are typically mixed with DEET. With a scented layer of cream all over your body, the bed bugs won’t bite. 
  • Rubbing Alcohol: Any bed bug that gets into contact with the alcohol dies. The scent is strong enough to drive bed bugs away. The bed bugs won’t bite if you apply rubbing alcohol to exposed body parts before you go to bed.

What Scents Attract Bed Bugs?

Unfortunately, bedbugs consume human blood for their food. Bed bugs are generally attracted to scents closely related to their primary food source, humans.

It should be no surprise that you act as a bed bug’s primary food supply and mode of transportation. Since bed bugs lack wings, you are responsible for moving them from one place to another by accidentally carrying them in your clothing, bags, or other items.

One of the scents that attract bedbugs is of dirty laundry. They prefer previously worn clothing because it signifies your presence. Most people gather their dirty clothes in one corner in a washing basket. The bed bugs choose the ideal hiding places in these piles.

Histamine is another scent that bed bugs love. When bedbugs bite you, a chemical odor called histamine is released. By producing histamine, they want to let the other bedbugs know there is a safe food source nearby.

Human skin naturally emits a scent called sweat. The bed bug, which most times is also seeking warmth, signifies that you are producing heat. One of the qualities that attract bed bugs to humans is their warmth.

Bedbugs are usually attracted to the smell of carbon dioxide because it implies the presence of a living host. A specific amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide is present in the air we breathe. Bed bugs can detect us because of the carbon dioxide we exhale.

Top Scents That Keep Bed Bugs Away

Use of scents bed bugs hate appears to be the only strategy that consistently discourages them from your home. While pleasant to you, bed bugs usually become irritated by these smells.

Due to the way bedbugs breathe, some smells can be fatal. Because they lack fully formed lungs, bed bugs breathe through a trachea that is part of their exoskeleton. Any scent is instantly inhaled without being filtered, which frequently proves lethal for bed bugs. 

Here are the top scents that will keep bed bugs away:

1. Linalool

Many plants and fruits naturally contain linalool, commonly used commercially in making various pesticides. Bed bugs and some other insects avoid scents like lavender, citrus, basil, cinnamon, and mint. These scents contain linalool, which is strong enough to repel or kill bed bugs.

2. Vinegar

A bed bug’s exoskeleton is protected by chemicals easily corroded by vinegar’s acetic acid, dehydrating it. It also has a strong scent that overwhelms the nervous system of bed bugs.

3. Garlic and Onions

Allicin is strong enough to repel bed bugs and is found in garlic and onions. It is released when garlic or onion is crushed or chopped.  Bed bugs cannot filter out allicin; thus, they avoid areas with onions or garlic. 

4. Diatomaceous earth

Another scent that repels bedbugs is the scent of diatomaceous earth. It is a natural repellant that comes in powder form. The powder gradually eats away the bed bug’s exoskeleton, resulting in dehydration and eventual death.

How To Prevent Bed Bug Bites While Sleeping?

You might not be able to get a good night’s sleep if you have bed bugs. Ensure that places where you typically rest, like your bed at night, don’t harbor bed bugs. You can protect yourself from bed bug bites while sleeping in several ways. Let’s examine a few;

1. Thorough cleaning

Bed bugs like cluttered areas where they can hide during the day and then surface at night to bite you. Make sure your sleeping place is tidy and clutter-free. Clean the entire space and prepare to rid of anything you don’t use by placing it in plastic bags. Move the bags out carefully to prevent spreading bed bugs to additional rooms.

At least once or twice a week, launder your clothes and bedding in high temperatures. To get rid of any bed bugs that fell off, disinfect the area where your laundry is being done. Consider vacuuming your carpets, fiber items, curtains, and bedroom furniture at least once each week.

2. Essential oils

The strong scent of essential oils repels bedbugs and other insects. Lavender, rosemary, citronella, peppermint, and eucalyptus essential oils work the best. Any essential oils should be placed in sachets and tied to your doors, windows, and dresser.

Spray your bed frames with essential oils. The entire bedroom area, including your mattress, can be sprayed with essential oil sprays.

3. Dryer sheets

Another all-natural approach to stop bed bugs from biting is dryer sheets. Under your bed sheets, place several dryer sheets on the mattress. Bedbugs won’t bite you while you sleep because of the strong scent of the dryer sheets. Additionally, you might place some dryer sheets in your dresser or pillowcases. The best dryer sheets to use are those that have a Lavender scent.

4. Wear pajamas

To ensure you have the most skin covered when sleeping and to prevent bed bugs from having a spot to bite, you might consider wearing pajamas.  Roll the socks over the pajama leg and wear them over the pajamas to keep bedbugs from getting in the way.


If you have no other options, you can use Vicks Vaporub at night as a last-resort bed bug repellant. It can’t provide a long-term fix, and the effects are short-lived. Fortunately, we’ve highlighted more products you can use to protect yourself against bed bug bites. Compared to Vicks Vaporub, these products are more effective and last longer.