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Why the heck are we spritzing our shoes with alcohol?

(14 posts)
  1. cilecto

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Nov 27 2010 18:57:15
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    I've seen it posted here dozens of times. Someone's been in an infested or suspect location and needs to go home or visit someone. Someone advises, among other things "spray alcohol on your shoes". Considering the following:
    - Only 91% alcohol is reportedly effective. Most "alcohol" sold in US drugstores is the less effective 70%
    - A sprayer must be acquired.
    - Alcohol will damage leather and plastic finishes.
    - Alcohol is a contact killer. A contact killer will only kill the bugs that you douse with it directly. It will have no effect on bugs hidden deep in your shoe. It will not kill bugs that come out of hiding later. It will not kill the dreaded eggs. There are other contact killers, like soap or detergent that can do the same, with less damage. (I happen to like Murphy's for cleaning grimy shoes.)

    ...When we spray your shoes with alcohol, are we achieving anything that we can't do, perhaps even better, with a keen eye and a damp wipe?

    Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night...
    - Psalms 91:5-7

    (Not an pro)
  2. Richard56

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Nov 27 2010 19:16:56
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    I"m certainly not alone, but I may have mentioned this a few times in terms of what I did at one point and perhaps in a limited preventative context. While not a cure all, I still think there's merit as *part* of a bed bug preventative strategy. So point by point --

    Cileto: - Only 91% alcohol is reportedly effective. Most "alcohol" sold in US drugstores is the less effective 70%
    -----------------
    Whether true or not, I think that has been covered in many of those threads. Personally, I found 91% alcohol available in the local chain drug store as did others who so reported

    CIleto: A sprayer must be acquired.
    -------------------------
    Generic plastic sprayers are available at most drug stores. Cost only a couple of dollars if I remember correctly.

    Alcohol will damage leather and plastic finishes.
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    I never used alcohol as a full shoe treatment (did that with PackTite) but rather for the soles of my shoes be it leather, but usually some sort of rubber compound. The idea therefore was not to fully treat the shoe but to use as an adjunct to a full treatment for any bed bugs that may have gotten onto the sole either from the outside or inside while walking.

    - Alcohol is a contact killer. A contact killer will only kill the bugs that you douse with it directly. It will have no effect on bugs hidden deep in your shoe...It will not kill the dreaded eggs.
    --------------------------------------------------
    A number of PCO's have commented that it is rare for a bed bug egg to end up on the sole of a shoe since the bugs do not like to lay eggs out in the open. So again, the alcohol spray was mainly aimed at any bed bugs on the sole of the shoe that may have been picked up.

    There are other contact killers, like soap or detergent that can do the same, with less damage.
    ---------------------
    I'm sure they are. I just found the alcohol spray to be very quick and easy. Again, not as a cure all (for one really doesn't exist) but just as an added step when going out (or into) the bed bug world. These days I don't spray my shoes anymore (or clean them or PackTite them) as I don't have any bed bugs in my home and am far less paranoid about bringing them from the outside. But if things changed, I'd probably get my alcohol spray out once again as part of a anti-bedbug strategy.

    Richard

  3. nycyn

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Nov 27 2010 19:51:49
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    Cilecto: I'm glad you brought this up. And I'm inclined to your position---why not just an inspection and a wipe.

    I was thinking about this since Richard56 stated here that a milestone in his recovery was that he has stopped treating his shoes with ETOH when he walked in his door. And you beat me to it.

    Question was going to be: What are the real odds of a bed bug hitchhiking on a shoe sole?

  4. cilecto

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Nov 27 2010 19:57:31
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    > Question was going to be: What are the real odds of a bed bug hitchhiking on a shoe sole?

    Doesn't matter. Just flip over the shoe and look. It's the less conspicuous areas that I'd worry about. I've eyeballed crocs and flip flops and noted places where a BB could conceivably hide out that might not be obvious.

  5. nycyn

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Nov 27 2010 21:39:09
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    cilecto - 1 hour ago  » 
    > Question was going to be: What are the real odds of a bed bug hitchhiking on a shoe sole?
    Doesn't matter. Just flip over the shoe and look. It's the less conspicuous areas that I'd worry about. I've eyeballed crocs and flip flops and noted places where a BB could conceivably hide out that might not be obvious.

    You are right. It doesn't matter.

  6. so unsettling

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Nov 27 2010 22:36:22
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    I guess everyone has covered it pretty well. But would just like to add one reason why I always spray them after taking them out of the packtite or bag. I have never been very successful at the "get dressed fast and leave" protocol. It just takes me a while, and I am standing there closing bags and trying to get dressed in a hurry, but just can't seem to accomplish it all very fast. Since I leave very early in the morning, I always worry that some hungry nymphs might be wandering around my feet trying to get to me. The types of shoes I wear all have those nooks, craneys, ridges on the bottom of them, and a visual inspection isn't that simple. It only takes a minute to spray them, with equipment that is very cheap and available in drug stores or family dollar chain stores. I know it doesn't guarantee anything, but it's just another small effort in the ongoing attempt to minimize my chances of being a carrier.

    Oh, and about all those ridges and nooks in sneaker-type or work shoes. Those are the reason why we find so many little black and white things all over the place, which at first sight can be mistaken for fecal stains or eggs. They are tiny rocks picked up from outside. I never realized how many of these I track into my home until I started looking for something else!

  7. bushbugg

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sun Nov 28 2010 1:37:42
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    I understand it, but I have to admit, all this howard hughes behavious has me chuckling.

    Oh what bed bugs will make you do... sigh.

  8. nycyn

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sun Nov 28 2010 1:54:23
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    bushbugg - 15 minutes ago  » 
    I understand it, but I have to admit, all this howard hughes behavious has me chuckling.
    Oh what bed bugs will make you do... sigh.

    I wouldn't do on-board chuckling. Very unpopular.

  9. bbgirl

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Mar 7 2011 10:55:03
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    Be careful about treating the inside of shoes with alcohol - it can be very irritating to the skin. In desperation I applied rubbing alcohol liberally to the inside of boots and got a deep ridge in my skin that remained irritated and painful for about a week. I guess I didn't let them dry out enough before putting them on - but the idea is to do it right before you leave the house right?

  10. Winston O. Buggy

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Mar 7 2011 18:49:15
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    How about just taking the dam shoe off and banging it about or utilize the branch/toothpick method for getting dog poop out of sneaker soles. . And you call yourself NYers. No wonder bed bugs are kickin ass.

  11. BBGen0cide

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Mar 7 2011 19:32:01
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    Bed bugs can hide in the stitching, banging ain't gunna do nuttin.

    Alchol wont do nuttin.

    Packtite will mess them up.

    As will getting a shoe strap for your dyer.

  12. bedbugman

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Mar 7 2011 22:12:12
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    I think if you have got to the stage where you are wasting good booze on your footwear its time to visit the doctor or get a hobby, seriously people calm down and forget about bed bugs life is too short

  13. cilecto

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Mar 7 2011 22:19:11
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    bedbugman - 6 minutes ago  » 
    I think if you have got to the stage where you are wasting good booze on your footwear its time to visit the doctor or get a hobby, seriously people calm down and forget about bed bugs life is too short

    And your excuse for writing about BB at 2AM GMT is what?

  14. bedbugman

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Mar 7 2011 23:02:19
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    Errrrrr ok you got me, the truth is I always get up in the middle of the night to check my encasement is still in one piece. And to rub myself down with JD


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