How to Get Rid of Bed & Carpet Bugs

If you're finding yourself itchy and covered with tiny bites after you sit on your furniture or carpet, you may have an infestation of bed or carpet bugs in your home.

Bed and carpet bugs prefer to live in fabric.Bed and carpet bugs prefer to live in fabric.
The names of these critters are a bit misleading, as both bed and carpet bugs live in just about anything in your home that has fabric. Although it's not a bad idea to call in a professional to deal with a bed and carpet bug problem, there are do-it-yourself processes and tools for bed and carpet bug removal to try before seeking help.

Dispose of any items you do not need that could provide a suitable environment for the bugs or which will hinder your inspection.

Inspect your home to identify where there are signs of infestations. Look for spots of blood on fabrics, fecal spots and larvae casings, especially around furniture connecting points like buttons or support joints. Move furniture, remove coverings to expose padding, and empty drawers as you go. Don't forget to check places like around appliances where the bugs may hide, even though these items aren't fabric-based.

Thoroughly vacuum your carpets to remove as many bugs as possible.

Wash furniture coverings, linens and clothes in hot water (120 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter). The heat should kill the bugs.

Steam treat items that cannot be laundered. The heat from the steamer reaches only to about 1/2 inch, so don't bother for items thicker than this.

Put small infested items in a freezer. Bed and carpet bugs are susceptible to cold as well as heat.

Spray infested areas with an insecticide designed for bed and carpet bugs.

Apply diatomaceous earth around infested areas. The ground-up, sharp fossils in the earth rip at the undersides of the bugs as they try to crawl across.

Seal any cracks you found during your inspection to prevent additional bugs from reinfesting your home.

Reinspect your home every week for signs that new bugs have gotten in or hatched. Repeat the entire extermination procedure if you find more bugs in any stage of development. Get rid of any furniture that appears to be a source of reinfestation.

Things You Will Need

  • Vacuum
  • Clothes steamer
  • Insecticide
  • Diatomaceous earth


  • Some insecticides are extremely toxic. Use an insecticide that has been deemed safe for pets and people, especially if you must use the insecticide on furniture or carpeting that gets fairly constant contact. If you aren't sure if a product is safe, contact the manufacturer before application. Always ventilate your work area well.

About the Author

Wanda Thibodeaux is a freelance writer and editor based in Eagan, Minn. She has been published in both print and Web publications and has written on everything from fly fishing to parenting. She currently works through her business website,, which functions globally and welcomes new clients.