How to Clean Mattresses After Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are an insect that can cause discomfort to humans by biting and feeding on them. They are reddish-brown bugs that are wingless and very flat. They are about 3/8 to 1/4 inch long and are known for being fast-moving, nocturnal hunters that will feed off blood. Because of this, measures need to be taken during infestations, including cleaning mattresses.

Step 1

Examine your mattress for signs of a bed bug infestation. One of the easiest signs to spot is fecal matter, which will be in liquid form and look like dark smears or spots. Check the mattress, bed spring and frame for fecal matter. Also look for the bugs themselves.

Step 2

Vacuum your entire mattress set thoroughly. Start with the mattress itself, and methodically run a vacuum cleaner over the entire mattress. Use an extension hose and brush to really make sure it gets cleaned. Make sure to go over every nook and cranny with the extension. Thoroughly vacuum the box spring as well. Immediately place the vacuum bag or contents of the canister into a plastic bag. Place the plastic bag in a garbage bag, seal the garbage bag and place the sealed bags in a garbage can away from your home.

Step 3

Use a stiff brush to scrub the seams of a mattress. A brush can knock off bed bugs and bed bug eggs that can easily hide in seams and crevices located on the bed. Any brush that has stiff bristles will do, and it will help loosen up any bed bugs not captured in the original vacuuming. Vacuum the mattress set once again after brushing.

Step 4

Wash all of the bedding that was used on a bed infected by bed bugs. This will include sheets, pillow cases, blankets and anything else used on a bed. Wash the bedding in hot water, and dry it in machines that reach hot temperatures. Hot temperatures will kill bed bugs and bed bug eggs. Dry clean items like wool blankets, which cannot be washed and dried in a regular machine.

Step 5

Purchase a zippered mattress covered to be placed over the mattress. This will prevent the bed bugs from living on the mattress and getting into crevices. Bugs captured inside the protective cover will eventually die, but this may take months since bed bugs can live a long time without food. These plastic mattress covers are often used to prevent dust mites, so they can be purchased online or in many home or hardware stores.


  • Cleaning and professional extermination will be needed in a home to prevent a mattress from being reinfected by bed bugs.
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