Can Vaseline Help With Your Bed Bug Infestation?

Once you have bed bugs, they seemingly never go away. On average, fully ridding your home of these pests takes about three weeks, as the process requires multiple phases. Because insecticides usually don't kill bed bugs, though, targeting their hatchlings can become an endless cycle. You might find yourself applying more and more insecticide every couple of weeks, meaning you and your household aren't just fending off allergic reactions and bites — you're also inhaling potentially dangerous chemicals. While getting rid of bed bugs permanently is possible, finding a solution in the moment is tricky.

You've probably tried everything: throwing your mattress away, sleeping with the lights on, or even blasting the bugs with extreme temperatures. Though these solutions seem like the best ways to get rid of bed bugs, none of them actually cut your bed off as an access point — or you as a food source.

But what about Vaseline? Most bed frames are made of wood, so the science that applies outdoors also applies indoors: Placing a ring of Vaseline around a tree creates a sticky boundary that can protect fruit trees and plants from aphids, ants, and other pests that feed on sap. This same method may work around your bed for several days, but it's not guaranteed, and it's only a temporary solution.

The Vaseline hack may help, but it's not permanent

Where pest control is concerned, it's always wise to call a professional, especially with something that spreads as quickly and easily as bed bugs. While the Vaseline trick creates a slippery environment that may block these pests, they may still jump over the boundary or climb ceilings to access you. Of course, a ring of petroleum jelly may eliminate a portion of the infestation, which may keep the issue at bay until a professional arrives.

Keep in mind that this solution is only temporary and won't kill the bugs. Even so, you can try mixing the jelly with a natural oil like thyme, tea tree, lemongrass, or lavender, as all of these have pungent smells and antibacterial properties. They may also interrupt the bugs' natural pheromones that tell them where to retrieve their next meal. For an added scent boost, you can also use these oils to clean and sanitize your home.

When traveling, check both sides of your mattress for bugs or dark stains. Use a flashlight to check sides of the bed that are dark or hard to reach. Once you return home, steam your suitcase immediately. Wash all of the clothes you brought on the trip and dry them on high heat, as high temperatures in an enclosed space will help kill the pests. With these steps, you can hopefully avoid bringing bed bugs into your home and enduring the exhausting extermination cycle.