Imagine coming home from a strenuous 9-5 day, eating a sumptuous meal, and getting into bed in the hopes of getting some well deserved Z’s, only to greeted with pesky bed bugs in your mattress?
If you’ve discovered these small, wingless insects crawling around your sleep space, good news is that you don’t have to throw your mattress out just yet or seek what can be expensive exterminator treatment. That said, here are 3 super easy DIY solutions for how to get rid of bed bugs on mattress, without puling your hair out!
Table of Contents
What are Bed Bugs?
Before revealing the solutions on how to get rid of bed bugs on mattress, it is important to know what they are in order to apply the best treatment. Bed bugs are small yet visible wingless insects that need to feed in order to breed, which in this case means human blood. They vary in colors ranging from light brown to reddish brown and have a flattened, oval shape.
In terms of size, bed bugs are generally 5 mm long and 2 to 3 mm wide, but may not be visible sometimes owing to the fact that they tend to feed at night when you are asleep and hide during the daytime. Speaking of feeding and breeding, bed bugs go through 5 stages until they reach adulthood, and at a fully grown stage can survive for about five months without a blood meal.
Unlike dust mites that are inevitable guests in your home, it is not normal to have bed bugs in your spaces let alone live with them. Additionally, these insects can be found almost anywhere in your home especially hard to reach places, such as in crevices in the skirting boards, in cracks and under carpets. However, their preferred picnic spot is in and around your mattress, because that is where they are guaranteed a tantalizing meal!
How to get rid of Bed Bugs on Mattress?
Even though you may scrupulously clean your home, bed bug infestations can stem from a single contaminated item entering your home. This could be from the clothes used on your cruise vacation to a second hand piece of furniture you bought home thinking you got a sweet deal. Now that you know the signs of bed bugs on mattress, let’s get right to the 3 different ways you can try to rid of them for good.
Solution 1 – Steam the Buggers, literally!
First things first—it is important that you first strip your bed of everything including sheets, comforter, pillow cases and protectors, and even your pillows if they are machine washable. Next, wash and dry these items at the highest setting. Bed bugs and their eggs generally can’t last past temperatures ranging between 117 degrees Fahrenheit to 122 F, and for about 20 minutes to reach 100 percent mortality.
Clothes dryers generally generate 120 degrees Fahrenheit of heat, so the bed bugs that exist within your linen will be dead in about 30 minutes, but a 90 minute cycle will ensure that they are completely dead. Now that you’ve taken care of the basics, getting rid of bed bugs from mattress does require a little more effort.
The process of steam cleaning can be expensive, where professional services can cost between $300 and $1,200. You can however buy a good steam cleaner for roughly $300 or less, and use it to clean your home even after you’ve bid the bed bugs goodbye. Before you buy a home steam cleaner, it is important to ensure that is does generate heat of 200 degrees or more otherwise it will not work effectively to kill both the bed bugs and their eggs.
Steaming your mattress in an effort to get rid of bed bugs is not a quick process, but is slow and does require a little patience. You want to move slowly, so that the heat concentration is felt at every inch of the mattress. Wrap a small piece of cloth on the tip of the steamer to prevent the air coming out from blowing the bed bugs and their eggs all over the room.
In the event you can’t get your hands on a steam cleaner, a powerful home vacuum should do the trick. Simply use the hose attachment to vacuum your mattress, making sure it reaches all the crevices and indentations where these critters love to hide. And don’t forget to empty the bag of the vacuum cleaner and clean the inside of the container thoroughly outside to ensure there aren’t any stubborn bed bugs trapped inside.
Solution 2 – Treatments to Kill Bed Bugs
Bed Bug Sprays
There are several chemical based, easily available treatment options you can try to kill bed bugs. Bed bug sprays are one of the most preferred DIY remedies to get rid of bed bugs, and are available in alcohol, insecticide, pyrethroid or even 100 % organic and eco friendly herbal based treatments. These bed bug sprays are generally low in toxicity, making them safe to use around kids and pets.
Alcohol based bed bug sprays are slightly more effective than herbal bedbug treatments, but are highly flammable, so you will have to remove any type of electrical items before spraying them. When it comes to effectiveness, pyrethroid based bed bug products top the list due their effectiveness, but on the downside are non-environmentally friendly and tend be more toxic.
Bed Bug Dust and Powders
Even though bed bug powders do not offer the insecticidal performance of bed bug sprays, they do offer residual effects that can last for weeks and even months. They consist of organic food grade Diatomaceous Earth, making them a safe choice to use around kids and pets. The benefits of bed bug dust and powders are twofold, where they not only kill bed bugs, but also work well to get rid of other household pests including fleas, ants and cockroaches.
Bed Bug Traps
Bed bug inceptors tend to be more effective than the aforementioned treatments especially in the early stages of bed bug discovery. Adding to this, they are easy to use, and consist of specially designed chemical free, powder coated plastic containers that prevent the bed bugs from getting out. They make a great choice for mattresses, but also around the bed and furniture to capture and kill the insects hiding in cracks and crevices around these areas.
Solution 3 –Using the Power of the Sun
Since bed bugs can’t survive through intense heat temperatures, the easiest way to kill them is by setting them out under the sun. However, heat temperatures of the sun aren’t usually hot enough to destroy the bed bugs, so you will need to seal them in black plastic bags, and set them out on a warm, sunny day to get rid of the bed bugs. As an alternative, you can also put the bug infested items in a closed vehicle, but if the temperatures do not reach at least 120 degrees for an hour or more, you will have a much bigger problem to deal with.
Once you’ve put in the hard work of getting rid of bed bugs, the last thing you want is a relapse of these insects. Some effective solutions to keep bed bugs at bay include getting a mattress cover, and moving your bed away from any points of contact such as walls, nightstands, and other furniture. Getting rid of bed bugs can be a daunting task, which is why it is important to use a solution that works miraculously to get rid of the insects, but also is safe to use around family members especially kids and pets in your home.