How Toxic is Lysol? 5 Alternatives to Try

In this article, we answer the question, how toxic is Lysol? We’ll share 5 alternatives to help fight off insects and pests.

Lysol is one of the most popular disinfectants on the market. It’s effective against viruses and bacteria and is even used as a remedy for insect-related problems. However, is it safe for home use around pets and kids?

How Toxic is Lysol? Overview

So, is Lysol toxic? The short answer is yes. If inhaled, Lysol contains ingredients that can be acutely toxic to humans and animals. However, if you use Lysol correctly, experts say that you should be safe.

The dangers of Lysol start the second people start to misuse it. One study said the improper use of Lysol can cause several side effects, including respiratory problems, skin irritation, allergic reactions, and vision issues.

Lysol’s Toxic Ingredients

Lysol contains benzalkonium chloride, which is a skin-irritant and eye-irritant. There are also concerns that it’s a respiratory toxicant, a neurotoxicant, a gastrointestinal toxicant, and an immunotoxic. It’s safe to say consuming Lysol is dangerous. Even the smallest amounts can cause irritations.

Denatured ethanol is the potent component in Lysol. However, it’s toxic to humans and can cause bronchitis. If you consume a large volume, contact poison control or go to the ER.

How Toxic is Lysol? Using as an Insecticide

Since Lysol is used to disinfect from viruses and other germs, it’s not recommended for fighting off insects. There’s no evidence to support Lysol’s as an insecticide.

It’s true that Lysol may be used off-label to kill bed bugs and their eggs, but it only does so by smothering them under layers of the disinfectant. It has no long-term effect and can easily come in contact with pets, kids, and food.

How Toxic is Lysol? Alternatives

Here are five of the most effective remedies to keep the insects at bay.

1. Natural Oils

Natural oils are the holy grail of pest repellents. These essential oils are natural, safe, and effective at fending off insects.

Peppermint Oil

NaturoBliss Peppermint Essential Oil, 100% Pure and Natural, Premium Therapeutic Grade Peppermint Oil, Aromatherapy Essential Oil, 4 fl. oz. Essential Oil with Glass Dropper
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NaturoBliss Peppermint Essential Oil, 100% Pure and Natural, Premium Therapeutic Grade Peppermint Oil, Aromatherapy Essential Oil, 4 fl. oz. Essential Oil with Glass Dropper
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Peppermint oil is an effective antimicrobial, but did you know it’s also effective at repelling insects? The major compound in the oil is menthol, a chemical that many insects can’t stand.

The best way to apply it is to add a few drops to a cotton ball and place it at different locations around the house. Replace the cotton balls once or twice a month to keep the pheromones in the air.

It’s also a great idea to look for cleaning products that contain peppermint oil. You’ll keep your mirrors spotless while also repelling insects.

Lavender Oil

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Lavender oil is effective in pest control because of its active ingredient, which is linalool. Linalool is effective in repelling ants, fleas, and spiders. You can add a few drops of lavender oil to your body to repel bugs.

Lavender oil has a lot of uses, which means there are a lot of creative ways you can apply it around your house. You can use lavender soap, buy lavender oil moisturizers, or even combine lavender oil with vinegar for stronger action.

Citronella Oil

Citronella Essential Oil (4 oz) 100% Pure and Natural, Therapeutic Grade Perfect for Aromatherapy, Diffuser, DIY and More by Mary Tylor Naturals
  • CITRONELLA ESSENTIAL OIL: 100% Pure and Natural, Steam distilled from Naturally grown Citronella plants.
  • LARGE 4 OZ BOTTLE: Amber Glass Bottle Comes with a High Quality Glass Dropper for Convenient Use.
  • PURE CITRONELLA ESSENTIL OIL: Free of any Additives and other Chemicals.

Citronella is another popular choice to repel insects. The effectiveness of citronella oil in repelling mosquitoes has been widely established. A 2011 study concluded that pairing citronella oil with vanillin can repel mosquitos for roughly three hours.

Be wary of citronella candles, though. Studies have shown that they’re not nearly as effective in repelling insects as directly applying the oil.

Thyme Oil

Gya Labs Thyme Oil for Hair - 100% Natural Thyme Essential Oil for Skin, Thyme Essential Oil Organic for Diffuser - 100% Pure Aromatherapy Oils (0.34 Fl Oz)
  • FOR FULLER-LOOKING HAIR. Thyme essential oil for hair may improve hair and scalp care. It has properties that may help with the overall well-being of...
  • SOOTHING FOR SKIN. Thyme essential oil for skin care is often used in skincare to nourish and hydrate skin. To experience its potential benefits, add...
  • A REFRESHING SCENT FOR AROMATHERAPY. Thyme oil is known for its crisp and herbaceous scent, which may cultivate a fresher surrounding. Diffusing 2...

Thyme oil is one of the most effective oils in repelling insects. It’s labeled by the EPA as an effective pesticide and fungicide. This means that it can be a great addition to your house to repel insects and also keep molds at bay.

If you have bed bugs, applying drops of thymol can kill up to 91.7% of the young larvae.

2. Pest-Repelling Plants

Pest-repelling plants are natural ways to keep pests and bugs away. These plants often release pheromones that can protect your home, lawn, or garden from pest damage.


Homegrown Packet Chrysanthemum Seeds, Seeds, Non-GMO Packet (Burgundy Dream)
  • Perennial, Full Sun, Zone 3-9
  • Homegrown Seeds Packet contains seeds
  • They will grow to 3 feet tall, mounding to 4 feet across.

Part of the Pyrethrum genus, chrysanthemums are effective at keeping roaches, lice, ticks, fleas, and beetles away from your house. They’re among the few flowers that are capable of killing these insects, not just fending them off.

Mexican Marigold

NIKA SEEDS - Flowers Mexican Marigold Mix Annual - 100 Seeds
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Marigold flowers are popular companion plants. Their flowers can repel lice, mosquitoes, and other pests. They’re easy to grow and can be placed near windows in flower beds.


Frontier Co-op Organic Cut & Sifted Lemongrass 1lb
  • Botanical Name: Cymbopogon citratus
  • Common Name: Lemongrass
  • Country of Origin: Sri Lanka

Lemongrass is not only used for decoration but for its natural insect repellent effect as well. It contains citronella oil, which we covered its benefits above.


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  • Grow Now or Later - Plant now or store for future growing seasons. Will remain viable for years if stored in a cool dry location. Each packet has...

If you have a garden, petunias are essential as companion plants. They repel a wide variety of insects, like beetles, squash bugs, and some types of worms.

Petunias can be put in hanging baskets and used as decoration. They produce a light licorice odor that insects absolutely hate.

3. Vinegar

Lucy's Family Owned - Natural Distilled White Vinegar, 1 Gallon (128 oz) - 5% Acidity (White Vinegar, 1 Gallon (128 fl oz.))
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  • Cleaning - Yes! White Vinegar for cleaning works fantastically.
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Vinegar is good at getting rid of insects. It repels ants, flies, mosquitoes, and other bugs. Highly acidic vinegar can be potent enough to kill insects. You can also combine vinegar to make powerful sprays.

Vinegar can be paired with essential oils to increase results. You can use tea tree oil with white vinegar and spray it on the walls and floor. Apple cider vinegar is also very effective for indoor pests.

We don’t recommend vinegar as a solo solution to pests. You can trust its strong smell to confuse, disperse, and repel insects. However, it’s combining it with other remedies that can truly keep insects away from your house.

4. Baking Soda

Arm & Hammer Baking Soda-4LB (01170)
  • Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, 4 Pound (Pack of 1)

We consider baking soda to be one of the most cost-effective remedies to repel insects. Sodium bicarbonate is labeled by the EPA as a fungicide, but it’s also used as an insecticide for different insects.

Baking soda deters ants, roaches, worms, and slugs. Additionally, if an insect ingests baking soda, carbon dioxide bubbles will be released inside its body, which is poisonous and fatal.

Like vinegar, baking soda can be used with other items to increase its effect. Soap is mixed with baking soda and sprayed on surfaces. You can also combine it with essential oils and spray it on plants for an effect on caterpillars and larvae.

5. Miscellaneous

3 Inch Live Venus Fly Trap Live Plant, Dionaea Muscipula Venus Fly Trap Plant, Sundew Carnivorous Plants Live Houseplants, Venus Fly Trap Terrarium Plants, Live Plants Indoor Plants by Plants for Pets
  • REAL VENUS FLY TRAP PLANT: Large carnivorous plants that feed on bugs with jaw-like petals aka ‘bug traps’. This dionaea plant is a useful flying...
  • FLY AND MOSQUITO TRAP: Functional house plants that trap and consume common bugs found in the home, such as flies, mosquitos, and spiders. Keep your...
  • DIY INDOOR TERRARIUM: Design a unique carnivorous plant terrarium with live flytraps and other terrarium plants. Real plants are also excellent for...

There are endless ways you can fight off insects without using toxic chemicals. Cinnamon, charcoal powder, chalk, petroleum jelly, and cayenne pepper can exert a powerful effect.

Find items around your house that you can use to repel insects. Frequently vacuum your house, change the sheets, and wipe all surfaces. We even found homeowners who invested in a couple of venus flytraps to hunt down insects!

How Toxic is Lysol? Conclusion

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Lysol is one of the most popular pesticides in the United States. It’s used to disinfect surfaces from germs and may kill common pests. However, it may not be the best option for fighting off insects.

We don’t recommend using Lysol off-label for insects and household pests. Instead, you should opt-in for non-toxic options that are more effective and safer for kids and pets.

CLICK HERE to browse our selection of non-toxic pest control products!

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