Can Air Freshener Kill Bugs?

Plug-in air fresheners are a wonderful invention if you have pets (or bathrooms). However, the sprays can also be overwhelming if you’re in the room when someone decides to empty half the can!

This has led a lot of people to question whether the sprays can be used for more than just unpleasant odors.

But does air freshener kill bugs, or is this just wishful thinking? Let’s take a closer look.

Can Air Fresheners Kill Bugs?

Let’s be honest, using Febreze or other fresheners aren’t very effective, even if you make direct contact. Let’s look at some different types of bugs and how effective these sprays can be against them.

Does Air Freshener Kill Ants?

sugar ants in kitchen
Little black ants

Ants are one of the most common home invaders out there, and one of the few a freshener might help against.

Chances are, you won’t kill many ants by spraying them, though. Instead, spray the freshener along ant trails as an effective method of disorienting the workers.

Sticky traps or natural remedies such as a homemade borax bait will be more effective at killing them.

Can Air Freshener Kill Cockroaches?

how to kill wood roaches

Cockroaches are one of the most common home pests out there – an one of the toughest to eliminate. Sadly, your Febreze will do little to hinder these pests.

At best, the strong smell might scare them away from the sprayed surface for a few minutes.

Does Air Freshener Kill Flies?

The chances of killing flies with a can of freshener is pretty low. You might be able to drown some smaller flies while they’re resting.

However, fruity scents may do more to attract fruit flies than scare them away.

Can air Freshener Kill Mosquitoes?

Sadly, you aren’t going to kill a mosquito with a can of Febreze.

The good news is that some citrus smells may help repel these critters, so pick your scents accordingly.

Can Air Freshener Kill Spiders?

Oddly enough, Febreze has an actual reputation as a spider killer. Unfortunately, there are plenty of more effective treatments out there.

If you don’t mind wasting a lot of spray and are fast enough, you might be able to kill one. I would suggest sticking to something designed for spiders, though.

Will Air Freshener Kill a Wasp?

paper wasp
Paper wasp

This is just a bad idea all around. Some wasps are docile, but others can be very aggressive. All wasps are capable of stinging multiple times.

There’s simply no scientific evidence to justify risking your safety using this method.

Instead, stick to more effective solutions such as pesticides or (if it’s a docile species) just leave it be.

Will Air Fresheners Keep Bugs Away?

Again, there’s no scientific proof that Febreze, Glade, or other brands can repel bugs. Some scents may work briefly, but the bugs will come back and may build up a tolerance.

If you want to keep bugs away, you’ll need to use products designed specifically for this purpose.

Do Air Fresheners Attract Bugs?

Just as some scents may temporarily chase bugs away, there are some smells that may be attractive. For example, some fruity or floral smells may be close enough to fool some insects into thinking there’s food nearby.

There haven’t been any official studies on just how often this happens, so your “fresh apple scent” may be ignored altogether.

How Effective Is Febreze on Insects?

We mentioned earlier that Febreze has a special reputation for working on bugs, but are these rumors true?

Febreze contains hydroxypropyl beta-cyclodextrin (HPβCD), an active odor-eliminating ingredient that is highly toxic to insects. Unfortunately, you’re not likely to kill household pests with even a full can.

The reason? Febreze simply doesn’t contain the harsh chemicals needed to get this ingredient through the bug’s exoskeleton. If you’re lucky, a bug will ingest some while grooming and die that way, but it’s still not very likely.

How Air Fresheners Work – And Why They Don’t Kill

spraying air freshener

Air fresheners are commonly used to mask unpleasant odors in homes, cars, and other indoor spaces.

They work by releasing fragrances into the air, which can be either natural or synthetic. The delivery system is sometimes aerosol, and other times a pump spray.

While they seem to really change a room for us humans, they simply have very little impact on pests.

Success stories likely revolve around the use of a freshener to overwhelm chemical signals. With ants, roaches, and other social insects, this interference means they can’t communicate.

Likewise, scents derived from natural sources such as citrus fruits may have a limited repellent ability. Unfortunately, these sprays only work in indoor spaces and simply aren’t effective bug repellents.

Potential Risks of Using Air Fresheners as Insecticides

Finally, let’s look three reasons why wasting money may not be the only downside to using air fresheners to kill pests.

  1. Toxicity: Many air fresheners contain chemicals that can be toxic to humans and pets if ingested or inhaled in large quantities. Some of these chemicals can also cause skin irritation or allergic reactions.
  2. Ineffectiveness: While a lucky hit may kill the odd bug, they are not designed to be used as bug sprays and may even attract some types of pests.
  3. Environmental impact: These sprays often contain chemicals that can contaminate soil and water sources if not disposed of properly.

Our verdict

When you’re looking for a safe and effective way to get rid of bugs, stick to products that are specifically designed for that purpose.

Look for insecticides that are labeled as safe for use around humans and pets or use natural products such as diatomaceous earth.

Always follow the instructions carefully to avoid any potential risks. Remember, misusing a product intentionally is often both illegal and dangerous!

When in doubt, consult with a professional pest control service before using most household products for DIY extermination.


Leave a Comment