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Using a steam cleaner to remove bed bugs

using a steam cleaner to remove bed bugs

Is steam cleaning effective for a bed bug infestation?

Bed Bugs have been all over the news recently. So will a steam cleaner kill bed bugs and is steam cleaning a suitable way treat an infestation?

Yes, steam cleaning is very effective in the fight against bed bugs because they generate a tremendous amount of heat. This makes them a great tool to eliminate bed bugs from clothing, furniture and bedding.

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs (Cimex lectulariusare) are small, reddish-brown insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals. These insects do not transmit diseases, but their bites can cause itching and discomfort. Bed bugs can not fly or jump, but crawl fairly rapidly, so they can move between apartments or hotel rooms. They also stow away in luggage clothing or furniture to hitch a ride to a new home. Bed bugs are resilient pests that can hide in cracks, crevices, and fabric, making them challenging to eliminate. Bed bugs are easily visible with the human eye. (More about how to find bed bugs – the EPA.)

Using heat to destroy bed bugs

Bed bugs are killed by temperatures over 48.3 degrees Celsius. Their eggs are a little more heat resistant and require temperatures upwards of 54.8 degrees Celsius. (National Centre for Biotechnology Information: Temperature and Time Requirements for Controlling Bed Bugs (Cimex lectularius) under Commercial Heat Treatment Conditions). However these temperatures need to be sustained for a period of time. Ideally you want to aim to reach 71-83 degrees Celsius to immediately kill bed bugs when steam cleaning.

Steam cleaners reach temperatures between 160 and 180 degrees Celsius (320 to 356 degrees Fahrenheit). Bed bugs and their eggs cannot survive at these extreme temperatures.

Advantages with using a steam cleaner to remove bed bugs

Traditionally pesticides have been used to control bed bugs. However, research suggests that the evolution of insecticide resistance in bed bugs could be a primary factor in explaining the resurgence over recent years. (Insecticide Resistance in the Bed Bug: A Factor in the Pest’s Sudden Resurgence?) Coupled with mounting restrictions on the use of insecticides and increased concerns over liability it has become increasingly difficult to control bed bugs efficiently with insecticides. Often external professionals and multiple applications may be required.

Steam cleaning offers a number of advantages when getting rid of bed bugs:

  • Steam cleaning provides a chemical-free solution to bed bug problems. This is particularly valuable for those who wish to avoid the use of pesticides, especially in homes with children, pets, or individuals with allergies or sensitivities.
  • Steam cleaning not only eradicates bed bugs but also sanitises the treated surfaces.
  • Steam cleaning kills bed bugs immediately.
  • Steam cleaning is relatively simple and can be used to treat a variety of articles from mattresses, carpets, curtains, wardrobes etc.

How to use a steam cleaner to remove bed bugs

  1. Focus on the areas where bed bugs are likely to hide, such as seams, folds, and tufts in mattresses, box springs, and upholstered furniture. The heat generated by the steam penetrates these hiding spots, killing both adult bugs and their developing offspring.
  2. You can use an instant read thermometer (such as that used in cooking a turkey) to check that the required temperature is being achieved. Stick the thermometer fairly deep into the mattress or into creases in upholstery where bugs may be hiding. You want to aim to reach 71-83 degrees Celsius to kill bed bugs immediately.
  3. Use a large head to distribute the steam and not blast the bed bugs away. A towel can be used over the steamer head to reduce the dampness.
  4. Move the steam cleaner at about 2 cm per second. Check the surface after – it should be quite warm to the touch. If the surface is not that warm then move the steamer more slowly. If the surface is very hot you may need to more the steamer a little bit faster.
  5. Don’t steam leather. Be cautious on painted surfaces as steam cleaning can blister some paints. If in doubt do a trial area where it wont be visible if there are any issues.
  6. Work top to bottom and keep the leading edge of the steamer up slightly so the bugs go underneath.
  7. Take measure to avoid introducing more bed bugs (Preventing Bed Bugs).

It’s important to note that steam cleaning alone may not be a complete solution for a severe infestation. A multi-faceted approach, which may include vacuuming, laundering linens, and sealing cracks and crevices, is often necessary. Additionally, regular follow-up treatments are essential to catch any surviving bed bugs or newly hatched ones.

Steam cleaners are a valuable tool in the fight against bed bugs. Their ability to deliver high temperatures and moisture effectively eliminates these resilient pests without resorting to chemical solutions.  Steam cleaning can play a crucial role in ridding your home of a bed bug infestation if you would like to shop for the most effective steam cleaners such as the Matrix SV4 currently on special offer or visit our Steam Cleaner pages or complete this form alternatively, call freephone 0808 231 4517 for expert advice.

In the battle against bed bugs steam cleaners are definitely a good choice.