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 critters. To be brutally honest, bed bugs are absolutely nothing beautiful. In fact, they are nightmares. The prospect of these household pests crawling over you in your sleep is not only quite annoying, but the bites you may get as a result of it 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 animal, check out our pest removal article to double and triple check.
Here’s a little more on what Rentokil’s experts should look for: “Identifying bed bugs or knowing there’s a problem isn’t always easy. They stay hidden in tiny cracks and crevices during the day. Often times, the first signs of bed bug bites will appear on your body after you wake up. ‘
Whether you were recently backpacking and suspected of bringing home unexpected guests, you’ve moved to a rental property only to find that your used mattress is full of critters or you are concerned about what could be if you live in your child’s university accommodation, follow our tips to get rid of them quickly.
(Photo credit: Christopher Jolly on Unsplash)
Look out for the bed bug shields
Before you can tackle bed bugs, you need to know once and for all if you have an infestation.
Since it is highly 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 super itchy skin that you didn’t have when you went to bed, 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 bedclothes as well as rust-colored stains from bed bug droppings. If you have dark beds it may be more difficult to see.
- If you can figure out where the bed bugs are hiding, you may also spot small eggs or evidence that they are shedding their skin.
- There may be a musty smell hanging in your room. This is something that bed bugs trigger.
(Image credit: Denny Designs)
Where bed bugs hide
How do bed bugs get into your home? It may be that they came in with luggage (have you got stuck anywhere?), Clothes, or in beds or furniture that have already been used.
They like to hide in groups – and if they infest your mattress, you can be pretty sure they will live in the bed frame and headboard too.
(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, however, so your first port of call may have to be to give your bed a thorough scrub.
This is how it works:
- Take a stiff brush to the mattress and then vacuum it thoroughly and regularly. Immediately empty the vacuum cleaner into an external container.
- Do the same for the bed frame and anywhere in the room where you found the bed bugs.
- Wash all of your bedding, clothes, curtains, and other home textiles in a hot wash (at least 60 ° C) and, if you have a tumble dryer, in a hot environment.
- Everything else around the bed – toys, pillows, clothes – must also be washed with hot water.
- Alternatively, you can put your sheets and linens in the freezer for three to four days – this will kill the bed bugs.
- Keep track of cleaning – this means cleaning and vacuuming your space regularly. And if you have a rug, you could 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).
- Find 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 spotlessly clean and organized – bed bugs can survive for months without feasting.
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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’ll need to wash any bedding or upholstery they’ve been on, but before you do, you’ll want to remove them from where they live. A spray is also good for items that you cannot wash, such as furniture and mattresses.
When 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 on pretty generously as long as you can let it dry. Note, however, that the eggs are not removed.
It won’t work with a proper infestation either – you’ll need chemical pesticides for that 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 in a different place for a few nights.
Bed bug killer spray, 500ml | £ 5.99 on Amazon
This long-lasting bed bug spray is solvent-free and odorless. It can be used on bedding, mattresses, and furniture, making it perfect for items that you can’t put in a washing machine
(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 off (this should make the eggs unusable too). Vacuum the leftovers after they dry.
You could use an iron, but the steam is difficult to conduct and requires a lot of refills. You also risk burning items that shouldn’t be ironed. A steam cleaner is far more effective and you can see our top rated steam cleaners here or buy a selection below.
Today’s best deals on steam cleaners
3. Wash them away, then tumble dry them
Even if you kill all of the bed bugs that you found, 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 job in drowning) and then using a tumble dryer to be extra sure they won’t survive.
If you are still unsure of its death, here’s how to clean your machine effectively.
4. Thoroughly vacuum the infested area
Once the bed bugs are killed, you need to be sure to get 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 if you want to buy today’s vacuum cleaner deals below.
Today’s best vacuums deals
(Photo credit: Kelly Sikkema at 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 put small drops around your bed, but some people have a reaction to this on their skin. So be careful and consider other citrus-based oils for skin application. Tea tree is a great natural insect repellent, and lavender oil is a good repellent too. When used around your bed, it will help you get into the land of napping.
Here’s a handy guide on how to make a bug spray:
- Take the 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 to your liking (we are counting on 20 drops of lavender and / or peppermint and 10 drops of tea tree should do the trick.)
- Spray to your heart’s content – over your bed and the surrounding area.
- When you go on vacation, take the spray with you and spray your bed and suitcase at the hotel 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 mistakes, we recommend reaching out to your landlord, local council, or pest control unit who can offer professional advice.
Often times, store-bought solutions cannot completely rid yourself of bed bugs.