How to Kill Mosquito Larvae with Household Bleach or Vinegar

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Things You'll Need

  • Measuring spoon (tablespoon)

  • Measuring cup

  • 1 bottle of household bleach

  • 1 bottle of apple cider vinegar

Mosquitoes carry deadly diseases such as malaria, encephalitis and West Nile virus.

Mosquitoes, while fragile and small, are responsible for more deaths than any war in history. Mosquitoes harbor and transmit disease through their saliva. Female mosquitoes lay floating rafts of up to 300 eggs on standing water. In less than a week, larvae mature to pupae, and within three days, become adult mosquitoes. While repellents are the best defense against the bite, killing the mosquito larvae, before they mature, is the best preventative. Two common household items are effective in killing the larvae.

Killing Larvae with Bleach

Step 1

Empty any small containers of stagnant water.

Step 2

Rinse the container with a solution of two parts water, to one part bleach.

Step 3

Estimate the amount of standing water in larger containers that cannot be emptied, such as ornamental ponds, roofline gutters, rain barrels and children's pools. The concentration of bleach or vinegar you use depends upon the amount of water estimated.

Step 4

Add 2 tablespoons of household bleach to each 1.5 gallons of standing water. Sixteen tablespoons equals one cup. Bleach is best used in wading pools, gutters, and stagnant water areas where large concentrations of larvae are found.

Step 5

Double the concentration of bleach to standing water if larvae are older and visible as tiny mosquitoes (pupae) to the naked eye.

Step 6

Repeat applications of bleach as necessary, when larvae are found. Bleach oxidizes quickly and is not effective as a long-term preventative.

Killing Larvae with Vinegar

Step 1

Estimate the amount of standing water.

Step 2

Add apple cider vinegar to the water, creating a 15-percent vinegar to 85-percent water concentration. Use the vinegar instead of bleach if you are concerned about the accessibility to children or pets.

Step 3

Repeat as necessary after rainfall.


After a rainfall, remove any standing water possible. Mosquitoes will breed in accumulations as small as a cupful of rainwater.

Remove leaves and debris from rain gutters, as this creates a perfect breeding environment after a rain and allows water to pool.

For permanent areas of standing water such as rain barrels or small ponds, add goldfish, which feed on mosquito larvae.

Other common household products that kill mosquito larvae include vegetable oil and liquid dish soap.

Empty and clean bird baths weekly and pets' water bowls daily.


High concentrations of bleach and water will damage fabrics and can be harmful to children, pets and wildlife.

Always use insect repellent when outdoors after dusk.


Laurie Carpenter

A 35-year child care specialist, Laurie Carpenter’s first writing involved scripts for a national award-winning cable program on child care issues. From cradle to grave, she worked for a historical cemetery, handling public relations and historical pieces for newspaper publication. Working towards her master’s degree in education, Carpenter also completed a certificate of journalism program at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.