Updated: December 27, 2022

If there are any house guests you really don’t want to roll out the welcome carpet for, it’s bed bugs. Despite their tiny size, these pesky critters can send grown men running for cover… and deliver a mean bite to those who don’t.

As with everything, prevention is better than cure. Rather than waiting until your bedroom is overrun with blood-sucking invaders, there’s plenty you can do in the meantime to repel them- and keep them repelled. Lavender essential oil is one of the best home remedies for bed bugs and will produce outstanding results.

While there’s no shortage of treatments that claim to do all kinds of wonderful things to deter bed bugs, why go to the expense and risk of bringing potentially hazardous chemicals into your home when you can make a safe, natural, and, best of all, cheap remedy for bed bugs which is lavender as it is one of the best essential oils for bed bugs.

The Power of Essential Oils

Essential oils have been used for their medicinal and health properties for centuries. But did you know their value extends way beyond giving you spot-free skin and healthy sinuses? Used correctly, they can serve all manner of uses in the home… including, wouldn’t you know, as a great way of repelling bed bugs.

When it comes to the top 5 essential oil bug repellents, we’re looking at:

  • Lavender
  • Tea Tree
  • Thyme
  • Lemongrass
  • Clove

Each one of our fab five has potent effects, but the one we’re most interested in here is the sweetest smelling of them all, lavender. According to anecdotal evidence, lavender has an unsurpassed bed bug fighting appeal.

But are the anecdotes more than just tall tales?

Can a few drops of lavender really work against a bed full of invaders?

Does Lavender Repel Bed Bugs?

Its floral, herby fragrance may hint at a gentle nature, but when it comes to repelling bed bugs, lavender packs an almighty punch. There’s just one little caveat… it won’t work alone. If you expect to be able to sprinkle a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow and call it a day, don’t expect your bed bugs to do anything but laugh.

For lavender to work effectively, you’ll need to combine it with other techniques. Short of calling in pest control, you’ll find one of the most effective means of bringing an infestation under control is the “seal, wash, vacuum” method. Simple enough to do (although usually requiring several attempts before you eradicate those pesky bugs once and for all), the method employs the following steps:

  • Seal any cracks and crannies in the walls, bed frame, bedroom furniture, and flooring.
  • Sweep the carpet and bed to dislodge any eggs and bugs.
  • Wash bed linens on a boil wash. Depending on the level of infestation, you may need to replace your mattress and get rid of any upholstered furniture.
  • Vacuum the entire room, including all nooks and crannies, then immediately dispose of the vacuum bag.

The Best Ways of Using Lavender Oil to Repel Bed Bugs

Once you’ve tackled the worst of the infestation, it’s time to bring in the lavender oil to make sure those critters never come a-crawling again. Lavender oil can be used in a myriad of ways for this purpose, but some of the most popular include:

The Undiluted Method

This method is probably the simplest. Simply grab a bottle of lavender oil (you can either buy it from a store or try your hand at making your own using our easy recipe (details to follow)). Sprinkle a few drops in every corner of the room, including the bed. Bear in mind that undiluted lavender oil is strong and can stain: avoid direct contact with your skin, and don’t use on any precious linens or soft furnishings.

The Cotton Ball Method

Sprinkle a few drops of lavender oil on to several cotton balls. Scatter the balls throughout your room, making sure to place extra ones around the area’s bed bugs have been known to lurk.

The Clay Diffuser Ball Method

If you find soaked cotton wool balls lose their pungency too soon for your liking, clay diffuser balls offer a great, long-lasting alternative. Making your own balls is easy enough: simply shape some earth clay into the desired size, and voila, job done! If you can’t get your hands on any clay, a thick paste made from cornstarch and water will do just as well. Once the balls are made, simply add a few drops of lavender oil to them before scattering around the bedroom.

The Steaming Method

If you have a portable steamer and can get your hands on some lavender hydrosol (pure oil might damage the fragile workings of the machine), the steaming method is an outstanding option to try: if the heat from the steam isn’t enough to stop bed bugs in their tracks (which most of the time, it will be), the potency of the lavender will certainly do it.

The Lavender Spray Method

Lavender spray is one of the most popular ways of using lavender to repel bed bugs. Easy and safe to use, not only will it act as an effective deterrent, but it’ll also leave your room smelling delightful.

How to Make Lavender Oil Spray for Bed Bugs

As lavender oil is extremely strong, some people prefer diluting it into a spray, rather than simply sprinkling it straight from the bottle. The first thing you’ll need to master if you choose this method is how to take the oil and turn it into an effective repellent spray.

To make a spray at home, you can either go the easy route and simply mix one drop of store-bought lavender oil to one ounce of water or go the extra mile with this home-made recipe.

  1. Take a bunch of dried lavender and trim away the woody stalks from the bottom of the stems.
  2. Crush the lavender using the back of a cake knife and place it in a clean, airtight glass container or jar.
  3. Pour enough light oil into the jar to just cover the lavender, seal the container/ jar and store in a cool, dark place for six weeks.
  4. As per the previous instructions, add one drop of the homemade lavender oil to one ounce of water to make the spray.