Will Sleeping With the Lights on Keep Bed Bugs Away?

by Derrick | Last Updated: September 19, 2022

Have you ever heard the saying that roaches will scatter when you turn on the lights? For some odd reason, people seem to believe that the same holds true for bed bugs! Well, I’ll tell you right now: keeping the lights on won’t keep bed bugs away. 

Sleeping with the lights on won’t keep bed bugs away. The best way to keep bed bugs away is to avoid moving furniture or clothes from one location to another, especially in communal settings. Thankfully, there are several remedies you can take if you do encounter bed bugs.

Read on to learn why keeping the lights on won’t keep the bed bugs away and what to do instead. This article will discuss best methods for keeping bed bugs away and what to do if you find them.

How To Keep Bed Bugs Away

There are several ways that you can deter bed bugs, even if they’ve already infested your bed or other furniture. Certain substances can kill bed bugs on contact, and some scents will strongly deter them from returning. However, the idea that sleeping with the lights on will keep bed bugs away is a myth.

Use a Steam Cleaner

Using a steam cleaner is the fastest way to kill bed bugs, as they can’t survive temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This often works well in combination with a vacuum cleaner. You can use the heat from the steam to kill the bed bugs, then vacuum them away afterward.

Use Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol will kill bed bugs if it touches them, and you can spray it on your furniture to kill off an infestation of bed bugs or prevent one from taking hold. However, rubbing alcohol is also highly flammable, so be careful about applying it too heavily, especially if you plan to light a candle or cigarette nearby. It also carries a strong smell that can be unappealing.

Spray Neem Oil

Neem oil is the go-to pest control method for houseplant enthusiasts who want those pesky parasites to go away. This is mainly due to the fact that it’s the only EPA-approved bio-pesticide for indoor use. It’s pretty much the sole indoor pesticide houseplant owners can use. 

Neem oil can not only repel bed bugs, but it can also kill their eggs. Spray neem oil in the infected room all over the furniture, and watch your bed bug problems disappear. 

If you’re looking for a decent neem oil spray, the Natria Neem Oil Spray (available on Amazon.com) is an excellent place to start. It comes in a spray bottle ready-to-use and can be purchased in a long-lasting gallon bottle. Not only will it take care of bed bugs, but it can also be rid of rust and mildew. Go on and give your furniture some much-needed love!

Apply Lavender Oil

Lavender oil is an effective bed bug deterrent, plus it soothes the skin and nails and dissipates anxiety. Applying lavender essential oils to your furniture is a great way to deter bed bugs from setting up a home while making your furniture more comfortable and more appealing. This method is one of the safest methods you can choose for getting rid of pests in the home.

Cover Up

Another thing you can do to keep yourself safe from bed bugs is cover your skin with clothes when you go to sleep. This is a good idea if you’re in the process of dealing with a bed bug infestation or are having a temporary stay in a shared living situation and want to make sure you don’t pick up bed bugs.

Avoid Contact

While traveling, it’s important that you avoid contact between your clothing and potentially infested areas. If you have concerns about the bed, carpet, or other surfaces in a hotel room, for example, you should place your luggage on a table or dresser instead of putting it directly on the floor. This will decrease the chance that bed bugs will make contact with your belongings.

How to Know If You Have Bed Bugs

First things first: how do you know you have bed bugs? Because bed bugs tend to bite you while you’re sleeping and then hide during the day, it may be challenging to know whether or not you have an infestation or simply a mosquito that visits you nightly (or allergies or a rash). 

The best way to know if you have bed bugs is to look for the common symptoms of a bed bug infestation: bites. Bed bug bites typically look like the following:

  • Red spots with darker coloring in the center.
  • Red spots in a cluster or a line.
  • Red spots on the face, arms, neck, or hands.
  • Itchy red spots.

You can also look for bed bug excrement, which often collects along the edge of mattress seams and other crevices of furniture.

Identifying Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are tiny brown insects with six legs. They’re round in shape and have two antennae, plus they have a hard shell like a beetle or a cockroach. They prefer to feed on humans, although they’ll use any warm-blooded animal as a host.

The reason why people think bed bugs can be frightened with light is that they’re nocturnal. However, this is only a myth; in reality, light will not keep bed bugs away.

Bed bugs hide inside mattresses, sofas, clothing, pillows, and any soft furnishings. You can find them by looking in corners of furniture or looking inside sheets. 

Bed bugs are hated and feared because they feed on the blood of humans and animals alike, leaving itchy bites in their wake. They crawl out from their hiding places at night, leaving many clustered bites that are known for their close spacing and great numbers. The bites appear small and red, and there are lots of them.

Bed Bug Causes

Frequent travel, changing your bug spray, buying antique furniture, and even bed bugs themselves being resistant to insecticide can encourage bed bug infestations to take hold.  

Because bed bugs hide inside old furniture, they piggyback on the furniture whenever it’s moved. They also like hiding inside clothes, so people can  carry them to multiple locations unintentionally when they travel. This is especially true of people who gather in large groups, like in communes, shelters, or hotels. 


So, in conclusion, sleeping with the lights on won’t keep bed bugs at bay, but you can control them with strong scented oils like neem oil and lavender oil. You can even use rubbing alcohol to kill bed bugs, but be careful with this method, as rubbing alcohol is highly flammable, and it can be dangerous if applied in large quantities.