Are there home remedies for bed bugs that work? Bed bugs are the most difficult and annoying pests to eradicate. Generally it is safest and most effective to hire an experienced pest control professional for bedbug extermination, but it is also a bit expensive and beyond means for many people. Fortunately, there are natural, cheap and effective ways you can use to kill bed bugs in your home. Here is how to get rid of bed bugs at home; on mattresses, clothes and furniture.
Home Remedies to Kill Bed Bugs Fast
Although bed bugs are annoying and a nuisance, they do not transmit diseases. They can easily be carried around via luggage, clothing, bedding and furniture. Initial hiding places of bed bugs are beds frames, head boards and mattresses. They however move to other surfaces and eventually spread to other rooms and apartments.
It is important to know that having bed bugs is not a sign of dirtiness. They have been known to strike even the most sparkling five star hotels. Bed bugs can infest anywhere from offices, stores, hotels, airplanes, movie theaters and gyms. They can hide in your luggage and personal belongings to hitch a ride back to your home.Bed bugs live sorely on bloodand feed by piecing the skin and withdrawing blood. Most bed bug bites are painless but turn into itchy welts that can be mistaken with mosquito bites.
Signs of bed bugs include, bug bites, blood stains on pillow cases and head boards. Bed bug skin and eggs can also be found on mattress edges.
Is it possible to get rid of bed bugs? If you live in an apartment or condominium, it is best to alert the property manager for coordinated bed bug control. When looking for how to kill bed bugs with home remedies, it is important to understand how bed bugs look like, their feeding habits and hiding places in order to effectively exterminate them. Bed bugs multiply very quickly, which means that spotting one bed bug is as crucial as having many of them.
When using home remedies for bed bugs, it is important to keep in mind that getting rid of bed bugs is not a one day affair, you need to be diligent, patient and work a little harder to permanently get rid of bed bugs in your home. To exterminate bed bugs, it is important to kill mature bed bugs, nymphs and their eggs. Here are effective home remedies for bed bugs;
Tea Tree Oil for Bed Bugs on Bed and Clothes
Tea tree oil is one of the old home remedies for bed bugs and dust mites. It is a natural antibacterial that can be used to clean bedding, clothing and the entire home. There is however no scientific evidence to show that tea tree oil has anything with pesticide activity.
- Dilute tea tree oil with lukewarm water
- Place it in a spray bottle and spray on beds, carpets, furniture and newly dried fabrics
- Use a hair drier in the hottest setting to blow dry all items sprayed with TTO
- Depending on how severe the infestation, do this twice weekly
- If you do not have a sensitive skin, you can apply dilute TTO on exposed areas of your skin before going to bed to prevent bed bug bites
This remedy also masks the awful stench given off by the scent glands of bed bugs. Note that, it is not safe to use undiluted tea tree oil where you sleep- it can cause irritation and blistering. Tea tree oil is non-toxic and can be safely used to get rid of bed bugs at home.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs at Home with Alcohol
Alcohol is the best way to get rid of bed bugs in different stages of their life cycle – mature, nymphs and bed bug eggs. It also acts as a bed bug repellent. The only problem with this home remedy is the fact that alcohol dries up too quickly making it necessary for you to spray more than once to get rid the bugs permanently. There are different ways you can use alcohol as a quick fix for these pests. It is most commonly used in spray form to clean fabric, furniture, floorboards and other items.
- Put isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle and test a small part of furniture- wood surfaces finished with vanish may be damaged by alcohol sprays
- Spray on mattress seams, head board and box springs
- Ventilate the room, clean and dry out everything before sleeping there
Note that alcohol kills on contact and does not linger as it dries quickly. This acts as a temporary bed bug fix before pest control gets to you. DO NOT use kerosene or gasoline.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs on Furniture with Baking powder
One of the old home remedies for bed bugs is to use baking soda on furniture and floor boards. Baking powder kills bed bugs through desiccation which means drying them out. Note that bed bugs are difficult to kill and may require several applications of baking powder.
- Identify bed bug hide outs on furniture – look into cracks and crevices
- Remove clutter and put into plastic bags for treatment or disposal
- Remove fabric and wash it detergent and hot water
- Vacuum the bed and floor boards
- Using a paintbrush spread a thin layer of baking powder on spring boards and headboards paying close attention to cracks and crevices
- After several days, vacuum the baking soda and then reapply treatment
How to Kill Bed Bugs on Furniture with Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of aquatic organisms called diatoms. It is a home remedy that kills bed bugs mechanically. D.E acts as a desiccant that destroys the waxy shell of bed bugs and eventually killing them by dehydration. This remedy, does not killbed bugs immediately or fast; it may take 7-17 days.
- Put everything away from the walls
- Wear protective gear; gloves and respirator
- Fill up your dusting applicator with diatomaceous earth
- Dust around the infected room, on furniture, floor boards, electrical and light switch plate
- DO NOT use diatomaceous earth on your mattress because it will make it more airborne and create a risk of inhalation
If applying large amounts of D.E, wear a dust mask to protect you from inhaling this substance.
How to Kill Bed Bugs in Mattress and Fabric using Bleach
Using bleach is one of the common home remedies for bed bug extermination
- Identify the bed bug hide outs and clear up the room by removing clutter and unused material
- Empty drawers and dressers. Remove all fabric and wash in hot water and bleach, then dry at the highest heat
- Thoroughly vacuum the bedroom, mattress, box springs, night stands and carpet
- Remove the vacuum bag, tie it off with a plastic bag and discard in the trash can
- Combine equal parts of bleach and hot water then fill up a spray bottle to make a bed bug spray
- Spray bleach on mattress and other surfaces
- You can use a wash cloth to wipe all washable surfaces with bleach
- Allow the sprayed surfaces to completely dry out
Remember to use color safe bleach for colored fabric.
Heat: How to Kill Bed Bugs on Clothes with Heat
Home treatment with heat simply entails increasing the level of heat in your home to a level that bed bugs cannot survive.
Placing garment and fabric out in the heat or under very hot temperatures has been proven to kill bed bugs fast. While using this treatment is safe, it is important to make sure that the heat is contained in the house and that you stay outdoors during this treatment. Here is how to treat bed bugs with heat:
- Place infested garments and bedding in the dryer and set to the highest heat; 120 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes
- Use blow dryers on high heat to get rid of bed bugs on fabric
- You can also place rugs and other un-washable fabric in out on a hot sunny day
- Alternatively, loosely wrap items in a black plastic bag and place it outside in the sun for at least 24 hours
You can also allow furniture to sit out in direct sunlight for at least 24 hours.
Natural Remedies for Bed Bugs
Exterminating bed bugs has been hindered by the development of new strains of pesticide resistant bugs. This has made many people turn to DIY homemade treatments which have been shown to be far more effective. Natural remedies for bed bugs are not necessarily effective but can be used to control bed bug infestation or even as a preventive measure. Studies have shown that some of these home remedies for bed bugs are more effective than others. Here is how to kill bed bugs naturally:
Bed bugs love to hide in dark places and come out only to feed. Cracks in the bed and walls make very good hide outs for bed bugs. Use plaster to repair cracks and remove any loose wallpaper and tighten light switch covers. Apply caulk to seal crevices in base boards, shelves and cabinet.Repair Cracks and Crevices
Get Rid of Clutter
Getting rid of clutter and unused items reduces the places where bed bugs can hide. Put unused items in plastic papers and seal tightly for storage. This makes sure that any bed bugs on them are suffocated and not allowed to move to other places in the house. These items should only be brought back once the problem has been controlled and should be checked thoroughly before returning them.
Trap Bed Bugs and Kill Them
Force bed bugs out of cracks by using a knife, sharp edge of a paper card or a blow dryer in low heat setting. Alternatively, you can use the sticky side of a duct tape to trap them and kill them. Make a sticky barrier with duct tape lengthwise to isolate bed and prevent bed bugs from crawling back. This method can be used during treatment or while you are at it figuring out what to do to get rid of bed bugs.
Getting Rid of Infested Items
It is not necessary to get rid of furniture and mattresses at the first sign of bed bugs. Cleaning, spraying, heat treatment and enclosing are often adequate. Furniture and box springs should only be discarded if they cannot be covered and are heavily infested.
It is important to note that changing beds or mattresses before getting rid of bed bugs in the house does not help. This is why it is important to seek help from a professional to deal with a bed bug infestation. They have a way of telling how bad the infestation is.
To throw away items, wrap them in a plastic bag and secure them with a label that says “infested with bed bugs”
Vacuuming to Capture Bed Bugs
Vacuuming can be used effectively to reduce the number of bed bugs especially where there are clusters of them. This method is not entirely helpful but can be used alongside other home treatments for bed bugs. Use a strong suction and concentrate in areas with fabric and crevices.
When you are finished, remove the vacuum bag and seat it tightly. Place it in a plastic bag, seal then dispose it off in the trash can. If your vacuum cleaner does not have a removable bag, empty the contents into a plastic bag and seal. Remove the plastic container and wash in hot soapy water to kill remaining bags.
Steam Treatment to Control Bed Bugs
In the same way, you can pour hot water along the head boards and horizontal springs of the bed to kill bed bugs and destroy their eggs.Steamers are excellent natural remedies for bed bugs. They are easy to use, chemical free and thoroughly clean the infested area. It is important to vacuum the area before steaming. It is also possible to use a vacuum cleaner and steamer in combination. Start steaming from the top of the room downwards to carpers and floorboards. Steam treatment can also be used in moldings, mattresses sofas, head boards and box springs.
After steaming allow adequate time for the steam to dry before returning the bedding and fabric. NEVER apply steam into electrical appliance or outlets.
Be careful not to scald or burn yourself when using heat treatments to kill bed bugs.
Keep Bed Bugs away using Dryer Sheets
One way to repel bed bugs from your bed. This is because bed bugs do not like the smell of dryer sheets and they stay away. Simply use 8-10 scented dryer sheets between your mattress and box spring. Do the same on the top of your mattress- between the mattress and bed sheets. Dryer sheets can also be placed inside both pillow cases.
Most of these home remedies for bed bugs are not as effective if not used several times. Results vary from one person to another. Home remedies for bed bugs will reduce contact and spread to other rooms. A temporary reduction in bed bug bites can fool into thinking that bed bugs are gone. You should keep in mind that bed bugs are very difficult pests to get rid of and there is no magic to make them disappear in a go.
If you get rid of the adult bed bugs without eliminating the bed bugs eggs, they will hatch in no time and make your efforts futile. It is for this reason that it is recommended to seek the help of a professional or pest control depot to get rid of bed bugs. Bed bugs are nothing to be ashamed of and SHOULD NOT in any way associated with dirtiness. Home remedies for bed bugs should be used as a temporary measure while waiting for professional help from the pest control center.
Bed bugs can multiply quickly, so early detection is critical to help prevent an even larger infestation.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: When dusting using treatments such as D.E and baking powder, wear dust masks. People who are asthmatic should keep off dusted places. Keep children out of the house when spraying and dusting to eliminate bed bugs.