Your first instinct when finding bed bugs in your apartment is to grab the nearest shoe and start banging away on the walls and floors. While it is understandable, it is not the most effective way to kill bed bugs.
If you want to get rid of bed bugs and not simply kill the few you spot, you have to do more than a little bug stomping. If calling in an exterminator is out of your price range, consider effective alternatives to help you kill bed bugs. Remember that it will take more than a day to get rid of bed bugs so monitor the progress and repeat these tips as needed.
Stay At Home
The first thing you’ll want to do when you have a bed bug infestation is go someplace else. Avoid that desire because it will only cause the bed bugs to relocated to other parts of the home. If they don’t have you to feed on every few days, they will go in search of food which means they will go to other bedrooms or common living areas where food will be plentiful.
Your best bet is to start treating your furniture and killing bed bugs right away. Sleeping on the sofa won’t starve them; it’ll simply make them come to the living room to find you. To kill the bed bugs you must keep them in isolation where they are.
Hot Water Cleaning
Most people run right out and get some type of bug repellant or other chemical to kill bed bugs, and that’s fine. However you can’t spray your clothing, bedding or upholstered furniture with bug spray. In this instance you will have to wash your items in hot water to kill bed bugs. The water temperature should be at least 120° F in order to properly kill them.
Items that cannot be easily placed in your washing machine like sofas and mattresses still require heat to kill bed bugs. Aim your hair dryer at the mattress or sofa on high heat for at least 30 seconds. This is enough time to burn the bed bugs and effectively kills them.
If items like comforters or mattress pads cannot be placed in the washing machine, place them in the dryer on high heat, running the cycle twice.
Seal All Cloth
All items that have been thoroughly washed will need to be enclose in vacuum sealed bags until all bed bugs have been killed. If you don’t seal them properly, you risk bed bugs getting into the clean materials and laying more eggs, thus starting the process over again. Keep these items sealed until the infestation is over and only open the bags to remove items away from the infestation.
Items that should be washed and sealed include:
- Sheets, blankets & comforters
- Laptop bags, purses, backpacks
- Stuffed animals or cloth toys,
- Throw pillows and blankets, ottomans, bean bags and foot stools.
Some of these household items, like ottomans and throw pillows and soft toys should be vacuumed to kill bed bugs if they are unable to be washed or dried using high heat.
Wash anything that will fit in HOT water to kill bed bugs!
Fill In The Cracks
We mostly think of bed bugs as being in bedrooms and sometimes living rooms but the key to knowing how to kill bed bugs is knowing how they enter your home. They often get into the home through cracks and holes in the home’s foundation.
The best thing you can do in this instance is use caulk to seal all the holes and cracks around your home. Look in areas such as baseboards, power outlets and near doors and windows as this is their most likely point of entry. If you have exposed electrical cords or pipes—either decorative or operational—seal any and all holes or cracks that are visible.
If you have any decorative molding around the home, examine the areas closely for cracks as this is the most commonly overlooked area for bed bug entry. Be sure to seal them to stop more bugs from coming in and check it periodically to keep them sealed.
Scrub, Then Scrub Some More
Cleaning is as crucial to killing bed bugs as any other method of killing them. For some areas you will simply have to apply a little elbow grease to get rid of the bed bug nuisance. Areas that aren’t easily vacuumed such as the skirt of the sofa or the raised edge of your mattresses. While you should always vacuum these areas as well, you will need to follow up with a good scrubbing.
Use a brush with stiff bristles and cleaning products that won’t ruin the fabric. Scrub hard enough to dislodge bed bug eggs but not so hard that the cloth begins to discolor. Areas like room corners, sofa cushions and box springs are most likely to house the eggs but you should thoroughly scrub all floors and furniture to kill bed bugs.
Remember: you may have to repeat some of these steps several times to effectively kill bed bugs.