Home Treatments for Bed Bugs

Getting rid of a bedbug infestation requires immediate attention and even quicker eradication.

Dispose

Inaccurately associated with unsanitary environments, bedbugs are tiny, blood-sucking insects that infest areas where warm-blooded hosts, such as humans and animals, lie or sit. Indicators of these pests include waste (dark spots on or in mattress, dead bed bugs, eggs, shed skins), bites (little red bites on the skin) and the bugs themselves, which resemble tiny cockroaches.

If possible, get rid of the infected mattress and any other infected items. If this is not an option, upend the mattress and shine a light through the fabric to spot the bugs; if any material on the mattress is torn, remove and replace.

Vacuum

Vacuum the mattress, all personal items, surrounding area rugs, carpets, along baseboards, furniture, bed stands, headboards, foot boards, rails and any other surfaces that should not be washed.

Scrub

Scrub the infested area with a strong soap and a stiff brush to eradicate the eggs.

Trap

Sticky traps, such as the ones used for roaches and ants, will capture the little critters that have escaped.

Seal

Apply a sealable bedbug-certified cover on the infected mattress and leave it on for at least a year. Seal all personal items, including stuffed animals, toys, bedding, laptops, phone and radios, in plastic bags with Nuvan strips for two or three days. Because these strips are harmless to the item and do not leave any residue, no washing is required after removing the objects from the bag. Throw away the vacuum cleaner bag after sealing it in a plastic bag.

Spray

Spray rubbing alcohol directly on visible bugs. Spray fruit and vegetable insecticides containing canola oil or pyrethrins that do not cause harm to children or pets onto bug-infested items.

Steam

Home steam equipment such as steam irons may help. Professional steam cleaning, such as steam cleaners rented from grocery stores, works if the infestation is less than 1/2 inch deep.

Heat

Temperatures over 120 degrees Fahrenheit kill bedbugs, so drying washable items at high temperatures is recommended. Use the drier on 180 degrees (the "High" setting) for 20 minutes.

Leave

Leaving the items out in the extremely cold weather (below zero) or in hot weather (above 113 degrees) for a couple of weeks also rids items of bedbugs.

About the Author

Tonya Yirka is an Indiana-based writer who has focused on writing for online publications since 2009. She contributes many articles about Chinese culture and traditions to various websites. Yirka, a retired teacher, has a Bachelor of Science in education from Indiana University and attended classes toward a Master of Science in educational studies.