You’re probably reading this page because you have bed bugs, so you’ll want to know how to get rid of bed bugs quickly and effectively so that you can sleep once more in peace.
Below are several different methods of getting rid of bed bugs. I’ve listed quite a total of 9 methods and provided advantages and disadvantages of each so that you can decided on the best one for you to implement. Some of them are easier methods but may not be as effective. Others may be more costly but may help you get rid of the bed bug infestation faster. In general, we highly recommend you put several methods into place to create a comprehensive bed bug treatment plan. This will ensure you get rid of every single bed bug as well as bed bug eggs and prevent bed bugs from appearing again in your home.
If you’re in a hurry, then skip to the end for the 2 solutions that we have found to be most successful at killing bed bugs for the largest number of people.
1. Use a Dry Steamer
This is one of the bed bug home remedies that truly works (it’s also what a professional would use to take care of your bed bug problem).
A dry steamer (which you can purchase for around $300 on Amazon) is a vacuum-like device usually used for cleaning carpets, fabrics, sofas, mattresses without making them moldy through spraying out too much water.
The reason why a dry steamer is the method of choice for getting rid of bed bug infestations is three-fold:
(A) A dry steamer gets up to enough heat in order to kill bed bug eggs, which require a very high temperature!
(B) A dry steamer can work on tough furnitures like sofas, carpets, and mattresses that you can’t put into a wash but yet are way too valuable to just throw away.
(C) A dry steamer is a long term investment – after you’ve successfully dealt with your bed bug problem, you can continue to use the dry steamer for cleaning your carpet and furniture.
The main disadvantage of getting a dry steamer is the cost. But, even though $300 seems like a lot of money at first to spend on solving your problem, the fact of the matter is, a good dry steamer can save you a ton in furniture (and avoid the need to spend more money on a professional exterminator) and has long-lasting benefits beyond just bed bug extermination.
If you’re looking for a good dry steamer, try the Vapamore MR-100 as many people have amazing success getting rid of bed bugs with it.
One word of warning about the dry steamer – please follow safety precautions when using a dry steamer and keep pets and children away from it as it does emit steam at very high temperatures!
We highly recommend using diatomaceous earth after you’ve finished the dry steaming treatment on your flooring and furniture. This will kill any lingering bed bugs that weren’t killed by the dry steamer as well as kill any bed bugs that get hatched after your treatment or that you bring into your home again.
Diatomaceous Earth is a simple white powder-like substance made from a sedimentary rock. It’s a natural pesticide that’s safe to put around your home (just be careful not to breathe it in when you open the pack!).
You can then sprinkle this powder around your home (especially the corners of the room and under your bed). Then, when the bed bugs walk across this powder, they will be dehydrated by the diatomaceous earth and thus be killed.
This is a cheap and easy method of ensuring you kill every last bed bug in your house, even the ones that escaped every other method you used!
And, like the dry steamer, it has uses other than killing bed bugs (e.g., to kill other insects in your home or garden).
There aren’t really any disadvantages to using this method except that you need to use it in conjunction with a dry steamer for effectiveness.
3. Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol is a super cheap and very safe method of killing bed bugs (just don’t drink the stuff!). However, as you probably already know, rubbing alcohol evaporates very quickly, and so it’s best for killing large bed bug infestations that you can see. Pour it into a spray bottle and spray live bed bugs with it.
4. Professional Exterminator
All the other methods mentioned in this article are home remedies that you can implement yourself. However, if you don’t have time or the patience to do it yourself, then a great option is to hire an exterminator to kill the bed bugs for you. This of course isn’t cheap and the exterminator will have to come out several times to finish the job properly. Even then, there’s a good chance there will be some bed bugs or bed bug eggs that will have been missed, so we still recommend you implement a second method like using diatomaceous earth to kill any residual bed bugs.
Again, the main disadvantage to using this method is the cost, but if you have a serious bed bug infestation, then it might be in your best interest to spend the money up front instead of suffering for months while you test out less expensive methods.
If you do decide to hire an exterminator, please visit the bed bug extermination section of our website first. Among other questions that you should ask a potential exterminator are how many treatments will be required and included in the price, what types of extermination they will use, what type of insurance they carry, and what preparations will need to be made on your part. It is also very important to check with any exterminator that you hire before you undertake any other home remedies, as there are many home remedies that will actually interfere with or hinder the success of an exterminator’s measures.
5. Bed Bug Sprays
This is the method I often see being recommended the most. But unfortunately, most bed bug sprays do not work that well! And they only work on killing live bed bugs, but not bed bug eggs.
Let me diverge for a second and explain the importance of killing bed bug eggs. If you don’t get rid of them, then new bed bugs will hatch and will terrorize your nights again. So, not only do you want to kill all the living bed bugs but you also want to get rid of all the bed bug eggs in your home. That’s why the dry steamer is the best option – it will kill both live bed bugs and bed bug eggs! That way you’ll be able to rid yourself of bed bugs from the root.
I know that chemicals have long been the method we have turned to in order to get rid of bed bugs (as well as other pests), but the most effective chemical for eradicating bed bugs (DDT) is banned in many countries, and we are very conscious about not introducing chemicals into our homes that might be harmful to ourselves or to our families/pets. Unfortunately most “safe” and “natural” bed bug sprays are not very effective. If you really want to buy a bed bug spray, then the best one we’ve found is the Eco Natural one (available here on Amazon). Note also that bed bugs are developing resistance to many chemicals, and so it’s never a sure bet.
That said, bed bug sprays are of course a very easy and cheap method to kill bed bugs.
If you want a more in-depth review of different bed bug sprays, please visit the bed bug spray section of our site.
While this does work to get rid of some bed bugs, you will no doubt miss many live ones as well as many eggs with your vacuum. That’s why we recommend starting with this method while you wait for your more effective methods to arrive (like the dry steamer).
7. Laundry and Dry
This method is along the same lines of method 6 above. It’s a good first step to start with since most people have washers and dryers, but it’s not that effective at killing bed bugs or their eggs unfortunately. Also, you obviously can’t stick certain items like your entire mattress into the washer!
8. Get a Mattress Cover
While a dry steamer can help clean the outside of your mattress, there’s still the immediate issue of bed bugs biting you every night as well as the fact that some bed bugs (and eggs) might be deeper inside the mattress, beyond the reach of the dry steamer. So, if you’re planning to keep your mattress, then go get a good mattress cover (like this one). This is also a great preventative measure anyway.
A mattress cover is like a sealed plastic cover that fits over your mattress (make sure to get the right size for your mattress), and when it’s sealed shut, it should keep all the bed bugs inside the mattress and not out to bite you. Ultimately, the bed bugs will die off due to starvation inside the mattress cover. This all depends on a good mattress cover that seals well – I suggest taping over the zipper and checking to make sure there aren’t any gaps or tears in the cover.
9. Discarding Items
We obviously would prefer if you didn’t have to lose any of your possessions. However, if the infestation (e.g., on your mattress or sofa) is dire, then throwing it out carefully may be a better option than trying to clean it. While I know this is a stressful situation for you, please try to take care when you discard items infested with bed bugs – for clothes, place them into plastic bags and seal them and for mattresses, place them into a mattress cover. If you’re placing them on the street for the garbage collector (which I see often in New York City), then please place a note on it stating that it contains bed bugs so that people looking for bargain furniture don’t pick it up by accident!
Remember that these methods on how to get rid of bed bugs should not all be used independently of one another. Our best suggestion would be to dry steam your entire home, use a bed bug mattress cover, and then sprinkle diatomaceous earth throughout your home.
Above all else, if you know that you have bed bugs, please take action as soon as possible, since the problem will only get worse, no matter how bad or not bad you think it is right now. Bed bugs do not just go away, and the longer you wait, the harder it will be to completely eradicate them.