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  • Stephanie Zajac

The Most Effective, Painless Way To Kill Bugs (Using Shaving Cream)

Updated: Aug 27, 2019

Before you turn to a wikiHow article or bust out the insect spray, there's a non-invasive way to kill bugs that can be found in the comfort of your own shower. Yup, shower. Most bugs and spiders can't survive a quick spray of shaving cream. This method isn't an intricate process; it's pretty straightforward. I'll take credit for it, as my tree-hugging self can't stand to kill little critters with the tried-and-true shoe hitting technique. Barbarians.


4 legs, 6 legs, 8 legs. Creepy crawlers are rarely a fun surprise, so there's no judgment here if you feel like completely exiling them from your home. Weirdly enough, a common misconception is that four-legged bugs exist. The bible alludes to this: "flying creeping things, which have four feet." I'm no entomologist, but today's world doesn't seem to have any insects with four legs. Most of them have six, and as we all know, our spidey friends have eight legs. And your 2-legged self should have no fear if you encounter one of these fellas in your home.


Upon a bug encounter, chances are your first instinct is to grab a shoe. It does work, but the shaving cream method works better. Hear me out. It's not just because it's a more humane way to kill, it's also more effective.


Bugs have tiny little hairs on their exoskeleton that detect pressure and feeling. For example, let's say you blow on a cockroach's back. (You'd never want to do this in the first place because they can be filthy, but humor me with my hypothetical.) Cockroaches have two little tails that stick out to detect mechanical stimuli—pressure, air flow, etc. If you blow on the roach, its first reaction is to run away as fast as possible. Same goes for any other physical sensation that creates pressure, air flow, heat, or the like.


If you attempt to swat a cockroach with your shoe, you give it a head start. The cockroach can sense the air pressure created from swatting just in time to start running. Then your aim is off, and it takes a few more thrusts to nail it down. Ineffective, IMO.


Using shaving cream, on the other hand, traps the insect instantly. The shaving cream comes out so quickly and has enough power so that you can spray it from far away. Thus, the insect won't feel it in time to be able to run or hide, and the gel will trap its tiny little legs.


See, if we look at the main states of matter (solid, liquid, and gas), we'll find gel somewhere in between solid and liquid. Most bugs and insects can swim in water, because liquid particles are spaced out sparsely, so their little limbs can move. A gel is more thick, with particles situated much closer to one another. Unfortunately for bugs, it's paralyzing. Good thing is, it'll die a quick death. Not to mention, it feels cleaner than smashing its guts everywhere. Once it's solidified in the shaving cream, you can wipe it up with a paper towel in one fell swoop.


Fun fact: Did you know that insects don't have all of their neural processing in their heads? Some of their processing lies in other body parts. That means there's a chance that even a headless cockroach could still react to being hit with a shoe. It won't feel pain, but it'll feel the pressure and start to run.


Now for the flip side of the coin. Killing bugs with shaving cream (or any other gel for that matter) is simply more civilized. It inflicts less pain on them, so why not spare them the discomfort and spare yourself the bloody mess? Cuticular damage actually doesn't cause pain for insects and bugs. For example, if a limb is damaged, a bug or cockroach won't limp. If you can solidify those limbs in a gel-like substance, you're not hurting them. Just debilitating them. Slightly more civilized, right?

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