Unilever logo
Cleanipedia AE logo

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs at Home

Itchy red bites? You could be playing host to bed bugs! Find tips on how to get rid of bed bugs here.


get rid of bed bugs

While bed bugs are known to be difficult to remove, it can still be done. The most common way to get rid of bed bugs is to call a professional pest control company. But if this option is too expensive for you, then you might want to try a DIY approach first. This article outlines all the information you need to know about how to eliminate bed bugs.

There are no shortcuts when you’re getting rid of bed bugs. Be as thorough as possible. It’s not enough to just treat the bedding; you also need to treat the mattress and pillows.

How to Remove Bed Bugs: Find Out Which Rooms Are Infected

With bed bugs, you need to act fast; the sooner you start treating the problem, the better. If bed bugs are left untreated, they will start latching onto clothes and might spread to other rooms. Your first step is to ask your family members who’s been bitten, and find out what rooms you’ll need to treat. Because bed bugs can inhabit any place where a person sleeps, it’s important to check the living room sofa as well.

How to Remove Bed Bugs from Apartments

If you live in an apartment, you should tell your neighbours about the infestation, because bed bugs can move between apartments. You might be embarrassed to admit you’ve got bed bugs, but you have to, so your neighbours can take preventative action – otherwise, the bugs will just move from your apartment to theirs.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs from the Bedroom

Now that you know which rooms need treating, you need a thorough method that can eliminate them. Bed bugs can easily hide in any cracks, and their eggs are even more difficult to find. Here are a few basic steps on how to get rid of bed bugs from the bedroom.

  1. Strip all the bedding: this doesn’t just include the duvet cover, pillowcases and bed sheets, but also the pillows and mattresses themselves. Step 7 will show you how to treat washable items.Break down the bed into each component and treat each one at a time.

  2. Vacuum the bedsprings and the mattress: be very thorough with your vacuuming, and use any of the vacuum extensions to access hard-to-reach parts. After you’re done, remove the vacuum bag and throw it away so the bed bugs don’t climb back out.

  3. Use insecticide on the mattress and bedsprings: bug bombs and aerosol foggers aren’t very efficient in this case because they don’t reach all the hidden places where bed bugs can hide. It’s better to use spraying types, which you can apply to all surfaces and creases to stop bed bugs from spreading. Read the instructions on any product you use carefully, and take any necessary safety precautions. It’s recommended that you test out the product on a small area first.

  4. Cover the mattress and bedsprings: buy a good set of bed bug proofing encasements; these are fabric sacks that can zip around the mattress and bedsprings. They are designed to stop bed bugs from escaping to feed. This step is essential, so it’s important to buy these covers as soon as possible.

  5. Treat the headboard and bed frame: just like you did with the mattress and bed springs, it’s time to thoroughly vacuum the headboard and bed frame properly, making sure you’ve covered any hidden areas. Apply insecticide liberally.

  6. Get interceptor cups: these cups or platforms are specifically designed for you to put under the bed frame so the bed doesn’t touch the floor. Make sure the bed isn’t touching anything else, such as furniture, walls, or curtains, so you don’t create a bridge that the bed bugs can escape through.

  7. Treat non-furniture items: in addition to the bedding and pillows, it’s important to treat curtains, toys, clothes, books and personal items. If an item is washable, it can either be dry cleaned (remember to tell your dry cleaner about the bed bugs), or you can pop it in the washing machine with a quality laundry detergent like OMO. Just remember to check the care labels on the garment first. Another alternative is sealing the items in plastic bags so any bed bugs lose their access to food and die. These items should be kept sealed for 2-4 months in order for all the bugs to be killed. If this happens in the summer, you can leave those bags out in the sunlight for a few days to speed up the process. Another alternative is to place the bags in the freezer for 8-10 hours.If there are toys with hard surfaces, clean them very well with hot, soapy water and follow up with an antibacterial spray and/or rubbing alcohol.

  8. Treat the rest of the room: any furniture, floors, or surfaces need to be vacuumed very well. Apply insecticide the same way you did with the bed components.

These steps provide a helpful outline to explain the basics of what it takes to kill bed bugs. When using any insecticide, remember to read the label and follow the instructions carefully, making sure you’re keeping it away from children and pets.

This DIY approach can save you a lot of money compared to hiring a pest control company, but you have to be very patient and diligent to make sure that every last bed bug has been eliminated from your home.

  • Check your bedding for any black spots, as this might be dry bed bug excrement.

  • Also check your bed for mottled brown shells shed by bed bugs.

  • You should also check your bed for any blood spots, as you may have rolled over in your sleep and squashed a bed bug.

  • Thoroughly inspect your mattress and bed frame; you might actually spot the bed bugs themselves. Check all the crevices, joints and any other possible hiding places.

Originally published