How to get rid of bed bugs quickly – with the best products and home remedies
OK, you’re here to find out how to get rid of bed bugs, so let’s move on, right?
It’s time to say ciao to these little creatures. To be honest, bed bugs have absolutely nothing beautiful about them. In fact, they’re the stuff of nightmares. Not only is the prospect of these household pests crawling over you while you sleep is quite unsettling, but the bites you may experience as a result are very uncomfortable. Don’t cry yourself to sleep tonight, we can help you get rid of them.
If you’re not sure if you have that particular living thing, see our bug detection article for a double, triple check.
Here’s a little more on what to look out for from Rentokil’s experts: “Identifying bed bugs or knowing there’s a problem isn’t always easy. During the day they remain hidden in tiny cracks and crevices. Often times, the first sign of bed bugs are bites that appear on your body when you wake up. ‘
Whether you’ve been backpacking recently and suspect you’ve brought home unexpected guests, you’ve moved into a rental apartment only to find that your used mattress is full of critters or you’re worried about what might be If you live in your child’s university accommodation, follow our tips to get rid of them quickly.
(Photo credit: Christopher Jolly at Unsplash)
Look out for the bed bug signs
Before you can start bed bug control, you need to know once and for all if you have an infestation.
Since it is very unlikely that you will ever see your bed bugs, here are some surefire signs that you might be dealing with the tiny critters:
- If you wake up in the morning with extremely itchy skin that you didn’t have when you fell asleep, it could be a sign that you have bed bugs. You may also notice a rash, which is made up of small, red spots on your body.
- You can spot small blood stains on your bedding along with rust-colored stains from bed bug droppings. If you have dark bedding, this may be more difficult to see.
- If you manage to find where the bed bugs are hiding, you may also spot small eggs or signs that they are shedding their skin.
- There may be a musty smell in your room released by bed bugs.
(Image credit: Denny Designs)
Where bed bugs hide
How do bed bugs get into your home? It could be that they arrived with luggage (were you infected somewhere?), Clothes or in beds or furniture that had already been used.
They like to hide in groups – and if they have infected your mattress, you can be sure that they will also live in the bed frame and headboard.
(Image credit: Getty)
To get rid of bed bugs, clean your bed
The best solution to getting rid of bed bugs might be to completely replace your mattress. This is a big investment though, so your first port of call may need to be to thoroughly scrub your bed.
How to do it effectively:
- Take a stiff brush to the mattress and vacuum it thoroughly and regularly. Immediately empty the vacuum cleaner into an outdoor rubbish bin.
- Do the same for the bed frame and the whole room where you found the bed bugs.
- Wash all of your bed linen, clothes, curtains and all other home textiles in hot (at least 60 ° C) and, if you have a tumble dryer, on a hot setting.
- Everything else around the bed – toys, pillows, clothes – also needs to be washed with hot water.
- Alternatively, you can put the sheets and bedding in the freezer for three to four days – this will kill the bed bugs.
- Keep an eye on cleaning – that means cleaning and vacuuming your room regularly. And if you have a rug, you might think about cleaning it thoroughly while you’re at it.
- Get a good mattress protector. This acts as a barrier between the mattress and your bedding. Remove it every time you wash your bedding, and wash it with hot water too. Use the stripped bed for brushing and vacuuming (as above).
- Look for places where bed bugs can hide (remember, they are the depth of a credit card) and fill in those gaps – even peeled wallpaper is a potential home for them.
- Keep the room where you discovered the bed bugs spotless and tidy – bed bugs can survive for months without feasting.
The best mattresses at the best prices
The best products to get rid of bed bugs
1. Fight them with bed bug spray
One of the first steps in getting rid of bed bugs is to kill them locally before they can spread around the house. You need to wash any bedding or home textile they have been on, but before that you should get rid of them where they live. A spray is also good for items that cannot be washed, such as some furniture and mattresses.
Once you’ve spotted just a few bed bugs, you can try less toxic methods like a distilled vinegar spray. It kills those it comes in contact with and can be sprayed fairly liberally as long as you can let it dry, but be aware that it won’t get rid of the eggs.
It doesn’t work with a real infestation either – you need chemical pesticides like the bed bug killers available on Amazon.
Warning: Use these in a well-ventilated area and keep them away from children and pets. After the treatment you will have to sleep elsewhere for a few nights.
(Photo credit: Robert Dyas)
2. Kill them with steam
A safe, clean, and toxic-free way to kill bed bugs is through steam. Use a portable steam cleaner to kill them (this should also make the eggs unusable), then vacuum up the leftovers after they dry.
You could use an iron, but the steam is difficult to direct and requires lots of refills – you also run the risk of burning items that shouldn’t be ironed. A steam cleaner is way more effective and you can see our top rated steam cleaners here or buy a selection below.
Today’s best steam cleaner deals
3. Wash them off, then tumble dry them to be sure
Even if you killed all of the bed bugs where you found them, you will need to wash any bedding and clothing that may have come in contact with them.
We recommend putting everything on the hottest laundry the fabric can take (although the water itself does the main work by drowning them), then tumble dry to make sure they don’t survive.
If you’re still not convinced it’s doomed, here’s how to effectively clean your machine.
4. Thoroughly vacuum the infested area
Once the bed bugs are killed, you need to be sure that you got rid of their eggs too. Use the fixed brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner to remove dead insects and eggs, and make sure you get into every corner or interior and the lining of your mattress.
We’ve reviewed the best vacuums if you need a new model that can do the job, or shop for the latest vacuum cleaner deals below.
Today’s best vacuum cleaner deals
(Photo credit: Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash)
Keep them away with homemade essential oil spray
A number of essential oils are believed to get rid of bed bugs, and some can also be applied to the skin to keep it from taking a bite. Peppermint oil is often referred to as the one they like the least.
You can apply small drops around your bed, but some people react to this on their skin, so be careful and consider other citrus-based oils for use on the skin. Tea tree is a great natural insect repellent, and lavender oil is a great repellent too – and when used around your bed, it will take you to the land of napping.
Here’s a handy guide on how to make a bug spray:
- Take your essential oils of your choice (in this case lavender, tea tree and / or peppermint)
- Fill a spray bottle with water and add the essential oils as you like (we assume 20 drops of lavender and / or peppermint and 10 drops of tea tree should be enough).
- Spray to your heart’s content – over your bed and the surrounding area.
- When you go on vacation take the spray with you and when you arrive at the hotel spray your bed and around your suitcase to keep the little pests from going home with you.
Bed bug repellent essential oils
Know when to call pest control
If all else has failed and you are still plagued by those nasty little bugs, we recommend reaching out to your landlord, community, or pest control agency for professional advice.
Often times, store-bought solutions will not completely get rid of bed bugs.