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Home Remedies for Bed Bugs

If you’ve had to deal with bed bugs, you must know how unpleasant it can get. These small pests seem to hide in the smallest cracks and come out at night to bite you, causing you discomfort and those annoying bed bug bites. Then you end up here, searching for home remedies for bed bugs

No matter how clean you keep your environment, it seems to not depend on that. These bugs are hard to get rid of and are rather common, so it’s no surprise you’ve come in contact with them. The fact that they’re common doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get rid of them, nor that you shouldn’t do that.

Maybe you start thinking should I get a new mattress, or is it possible to get rid of them? While a new good-quality mattress, if your current one is lacking, is a good idea, there are ways to clean your old one

So, maybe you’re wondering, “does alcohol kill bed bugs?” or perhaps you wanna know, “does bleach kill bed bugs?”. Keep on reading to find out if they do and also to find some other home remedies for bed bugs, that could help you eliminate the problem. 

What are Bed Bugs?

I know I promised you the remedies, but before getting rid of them, it’s vital to understand what they are and how they appear in your home. Bed bugs are tiny insects approximately the size of a rice grain that hide in soft, warm, and dark places, making the mattress a perfect hiding spot. 

Due to bed bugs' size, it might be hard to notice them. But they make their presence known by biting you. Mostly it occurs at night not only because you spend your time sleeping then, but because they're nocturnal pests. During the day, they hide in their secret hiding places, and only at night do they come to hunt you down

Their bites are not harmful to humans, but they might be annoying. They cause red bumps that itch. And that’s the main reason why you might really want to get rid of them.

Signs of Bed Bugs

Now that you know what bed bugs are, you can start looking out for them. There are a few signs that your home has been infested with bed bugs.

  • Bed bug bites
  • Stains on your bed
  • Black dots
  • Bugs' eggs
  • Living bugs

All these signs might show that you’re dealing with a bed bug problem. Bites are the most prominent sign, but you might also notice stains on your bed that are made out of your blood that comes out from the bites.

home remedies for bed bugs:bug bites on legs

Also, you might see black dots that are bug feces, smaller white larvae, which might be extremely hard to spot, and lastly, you might see the actual tiny bugs crawling.

Knowing what to look out for to understand whether it’s a bed bug infestation or not, you’re ready to learn about the home remedies for bed bugs. 

Home Remedies for Bed Bugs

If you’ve become roommates with a plethora of bugs, you might want to evict them. These pests are never fun to deal with, so let’s find out the best home remedies for bed bugs. 

Vacuum 

First things first, no matter how clean your home is, you need to make it even cleaner if you’re dealing with a bed bug infestation.

When it comes to vacuuming it’s one of the home remedies to get rid of bed bugs, but it’s not your usual vacuuming the floor routine, you have to take care of all the surfaces, especially the soft ones, as bed bugs are most likely to hide in them. While bed bugs are resistant to some substances[1], none of the bug species are immune to vacuuming

Also, what you have to do is vacuum regularly, every day or every few days while your home is infested with the bugs. It’s hardly possible to suck up all the bed bugs in one try, so you must keep the cleaning up to reach the best results

How to clean a mattress: vacuuming the mattress.

What is more, while cleaning, you have to be extremely thorough. Check surfaces you wouldn’t have thought about previously, like furniture or electrical appliances. Also, start from the top and go downwards, as the bugs are likely to crawl lower towards the softer surfaces. 

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Steam Cleaning 

Another one of the home remedies for bed bugs that’s similar to vacuuming is steam cleaning. It should be used for soft surfaces, and it might be even better than vacuuming in some cases. Steam clean your mattress, sofas, or carpets to reduce the prevalence of the bed bugs.

If you’re wondering why steam cleaning helps, that is because of the high steam temperatures. Heat can kill off bed bugs and their eggs, leaving your home clean of them. But you might want to vacuum the dead bed bugs after you’re done steaming the surfaces

Washing Everything

It might be a bit of a hassle, but you need to make sure you wash everything that could have come in contact with bed bugs. Get ready to do some laundry.

Put your clothes and bedding in the washing machine and turn up the temperature[2]. Although be careful not to damage any material, take a look at clothing labels that state the highest temperatures that could be used. What’s often forgotten is that you should wash your pillows too, most of them are safe to be washed in the washing machine.

home remedies for bed bug: washing machines

Check out this guide to see if your pillow is safe to be machine-washed, and if not, to find out how to clean your pillow safely and without damage to the material. Cleaning everything, including your pillow, is one of the best home remedies for bed bugs. 

Silica Gel

Ever wondered what those small packs of little round stuffing that come in most of your packaged purchases are? They’re packs of silica gel balls. Their main use is to absorb humidity and keep the surroundings dry. And that’s another one of home remedies for bed bugs

If you’re wondering how it can help with dealing with bed bugs, they dry them out, causing death. So for this method, you should crush the gel balls between your hands and spread the substance on possibly affected areas. So next time, think twice before throwing the packages out as they could come to be of use. 

Baking soda

Another one of the home remedies for bed bugs that could be used similarly to silica gel is baking soda. Baking soda has many purposes, and one of them includes it being a moisture absorbent. Using it, you can suck out the moisture off bed bugs bodies, and this way kill them.

home remedies for bed bugs: baking soda

To use it, you should directly apply baking soda to the infested surfaces. Simply spread it on your mattress and wait for it to take effect. You can’t expect instant results, as bed bugs are rather hard to get rid of. That's why you should reapply it every few days

Borax

If you’re looking for ways how to get rid of bed bugs naturally, you could benefit from using a natural household object borax. Borax will suffocate the bed bugs leading to their death. You should simply sprinkle some borax on your mattress or other surface and leave it for 24 hours to take effect

The downside of this method is that it’s not an instant remedy for bed bugs.

Another use for Borax is adding it when washing your bedding or other objects in the washing machine. Borax is a type of salt that will help with drying the bugs out this way reducing the probability of the bed bugs surviving. 

Hair Dryer

This type of home remedies for bed bugs, unlike the borax method, is one that works instantly. Using a hairdryer is one of the ways how to get rid of bed bugs naturally. If you’re in a rush or decided to deal with bed bugs just before your bedtime, take a hairdryer and simple blow the bugs off your mattress.

home remedies for bed bugs:hair dryer

This method is effective if the heat is high on your hairdryer, then it might kill the bugs, but if you’re simply expecting that once you blow them off your mattress, you'll get rid of them, you'll probably be disappointed. It’s not that easy. Blowing at them with a hairdryer is more of a quick temporary solution to avoid being badly bitten at night. 

Rubbing alcohol

One of the most common questions asked when it comes to dealing with bed bugs is “does alcohol kill bed bugs?” And the answer is yes, alcohol is one of the home remedies for bed bugs. One of the ways to use it is to get a 90% alcohol solution and put it in a spraying bottle.

Then you should spray your mattress and other surfaces with the alcohol, and the bugs should be killed instantly. Although you have to be cautious, since inhaling alcohol can be poisonous. It could be hazardous as well since it’s highly flammable and can lead to a risk of fire.

So, if you’re using this method, take extra care and be mindful of the risk factors

Bleach 

Another one of commonly asked questions is, “does bleach kill bed bugs?”. Bleach does, in fact, kill bed bugs. Bleach is one of the strongest alternatives out there for you try out. It does so by oxidizing bugs’ outer shell. Although it would be the most effective if you sprayed the bleach on them directly

But I’d strictly advise against it. Bleach has extremely strong chemicals that can harm your skin, and if inhaled, it would do your respiratory system a lot of harm. So if you’re that keen on using it, you must wear proper protective gear.

Another way to use it is to combine it with the method of washing materials in the washing machine. Add some bleach, preferably color-safe, along with detergent, and wash your laundry at a high temperature (as high as possible according to laundry label)

home remedies for bed bugs: detergent and bleach

Having done that, to maximize the effect, you should tumble dry your laundry at a high-temperature setting, if the materials you washed are okay to be tumble dried.

Another thing you can do using bleach, is mix it with water in equal parts and use it to clean surfaces. You should do that for the hard surfaces that can’t be washed. But once again, take caution dealing with such strong chemicals. 

So in case you wondered, does bleach kill bed bugs, yes it does, but it might not be one of the safest options out there. It’s still one of the home remedies for bed bugs. Although some of the other remedies such as high heat or even vacuuming might be more effective

Using Herbs

If you’re wondering how to get rid of bed bugs naturally, it doesn’t get more natural than using herbs

There are plenty of herbs that are among the best home remedies for bed bugs. Let’s see what they are.

  • Tea tree oil
  • Peppermint
  • Mint
  • Lavender
  • Black walnut tea
  • Lemongrass

There are quite a few more herbal remedies, but let’s focus on these ones as they’re the most common in most of the households

home remedies for bed bugs: herbs

Most of these herbs work as home remedies for bed bugs because of their smell. Simply spray some diluted tea tree oil, place a few lavenders around the home, crush some peppermint or mint leaves, and you'll probably be surprised by how easily you can get rid of bed bugs naturally

Also, you could place some black walnut tea bags around the corners of your home or spread some lemongrass. All these are popular ways how to get rid of bed bugs naturally

Conclusions

Bed bugs are notably unpleasant to deal with, and if your house or flat is infested with them, you must be looking for home remedies for bed bugs. Fortunately, there are quite a few ways to get rid of bed bugs naturally

First of all, you should try vacuuming the space, or steam cleaning it. Also, you should wash all machine-washable materials on a high heat setting to kill the bed bugs hiding in your bedding or clothes.

When it comes to substances you could use, they include silica gel, Borax, baking soda,  or even bleach. These all have varying degrees of effectiveness and should be used differently. One of the most commonly asked questions remains as “does alcohol kill bed bugs?” it does, and it can also be used as one of the home remedies to get rid of bed bugs.

If you’re looking for a quick remedy, you could try blowing at the bugs with a hairdryer at a high-temperature setting. This will quickly prepare your bed for sleep. And if you have some more time and patience, you could use the herbal home remedies to get rid of bed bugs the natural way. 

In order to ensure your bed sleeping environment stays clean and free of bed bugs, you should invest in a new good quality mattress that doesn’t require as much maintenance, as well as clean your pillow and your mattress regularly.

If you’d like to learn how to do that, check out our guides to see how to wash pillows and how to clean a mattress.


Scientific References

1. Doggett S., Dwyer D., Peñas P., et al. 'Bed Bugs: Clinical Relevance and Control Options'

2. Miller D. 'Using Heat to Kill Bed Bugs'



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FAQ

Does an unclean environment cause bed bug infestation?

Not necessarily, bed bugs can appear in clean homes too but if your mattress isn't cleaned properly the chances are higher. Sometimes the mattress is simply too old and you might need to buy a new one .

What to do if I have bed bugs?

What you have to do first is to take care of your environment. You should clean your mattress and all the other surfaces by vacuuming or steam cleaning and if it doesn't work, try out other remedies.

What is a memory foam mattress?

Memory foam mattresses are created mostly from polyurethane and have additional chemicals added that increase its viscosity and density. It’s also often called “viscoelastic polyurethane foam”. In order to create the air movement and let your body “breath” while you sleep, it has open foam bubbles. Memory foam mattresses are created in a way to adapt to your body curves and to also recover their original shape after you get up. Therefore, this kind of top mattresses offer you the feeling as if is created specifically for you.

Do top rated mattresses offer a money-back guarantee? Is there a catch?

All of the top mattress brands offer a money-back guarantee. The free trial usually starts from 90 to 100 nights, and if you don’t like the mattress, you can simply give it back. The majority of best mattress providers will not only give your money back but will also come to get it for free. If the mattress provider is reputable, there won’t be any catch - everyone understands that you have to try the mattress before knowing if it fits you.

What is off-gassing? Is it poisonous?

Off-gassing refers to the odor which comes from a new mattress. It’s the process that happens when volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) leak out of the mattress foam into the air. Those chemicals include both human-made and natural components, including formaldehyde, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), benzene, trichloroethane, and perfluorocarbons. Top rated mattresses will have zero or very minimal off-gassing. Many of them are sent to the customer already after the off-gassing. Is it dangerous, though? Even though the smell can be unpleasant, there’s usually only a very small amount of chemicals that can do no harm to your health.

How long do top rated mattresses serve?

The durability of a mattress depends on the provider and the quality of the materials used. Usually, you get a 10-year warranty, which will be valid in case of any defects. Normally, mattresses will serve you from 7 to 10 years, or even longer. Thus, when you buy the best mattress, you should take it as a long-term investment.