How to Get Rid of Bedbugs

By Kacey Kroh, Abshier House

Once you have thoroughly checked for bedbugs and determined you have a bedbug infestation, you will need to remove them from your environment. Failure to do so will result in an outbreak that is difficult to control without the help of an exterminator. The process of removing bedbugs is the same as getting rid of lice. You can eliminate bedbugs by following these instructions:

  1. Wash all fabrics in hot water.
  2. Steam clean fabrics and furniture that cannot be laundered.
  3. Vacuum the house thoroughly, paying special attention to dark areas.
  4. Apply essential oils to hard surfaces.

If you follow these guidelines you will be rid of bedbugs in no time!

how to get rid of bedbugs
Image credit: Piotr Naskrecki

If possible, throw away contaminated items. It is recommended that you dispose of them in a manner that discourages reuse, preventing others from taking your discarded items and starting the outbreak over again.

Wash bedbug contaminated fabrics

If you are experiencing an outbreak of bedbugs, remove all loose fabrics in your house and have them laundered. Washing the textiles in water greater than 130° Fahrenheit and using either a harsh detergent-like, color-safe bleach or a few drops of essential oils with your preferred all-natural detergent will completely kill and remove these pesky creatures.

If any bedbugs do happen to slip by, insert the laundry in the dryer on the highest temperature possible to finish the job. Repeat the process, if necessary.

Do not reintroduce your fabrics to the infested areas of the house until you have disposed of all bedbugs and their eggs. Package the items in plastic and place them aside until you are finished with your cleaning spree.

Steam clean bedbug contaminated furniture

Obviously, you will not be able to fit your couch into the washing machine. However, you can steam clean it to eliminate the outbreak. Bringing the steam above 130° Fahrenheit and applying the steam for two to three minutes along cracks, edges, and seams of all upholstered furniture will be more than adequate.

Make sure you vacuum all steamed items after they dry to lift and remove any stray bedbugs and eggs.

Always follow the directions on the steam cleaner. They can cause burns and, if unauthorized chemicals are used, can sometimes have catastrophic results. The steam cleaner can release poisonous gas, start fires, and potentially explode, if you add pesticides or chemicals not approved for use. Be careful!

Vacuum bedbug contaminated carpets

Make sure to vacuum the whole house, paying extra attention to the edges of wall-to-wall carpets. If you have an area rug, you can send it out for professional cleaning, remembering not to reintroduce the area rug to the house until cleanup is finished.

After vacuuming, sprinkle silica gel or diatomaceous earth on all flooring throughout your house. Silica and diatomaceous earth act as a drying agent that, once attached, cannot be removed from the bedbug. This causes the bug to dry-up and die.

Items that cannot be steam cleaned or vacuumed can be sealed in plastic and placed in either the sun or in a freezer. Sun exposure will kill the bedbugs in two days. If you decide to place the sealed items in the freezer, store for at least two weeks to ensure the bug has died.

Apply essential oil to bedbug contaminated surfaces

Some surfaces may have become contaminated with bedbugs, eggs, or both. The most common hard-surface areas that need attention are typically found near where a person or pet sleeps. For example, bedbugs frequently infest nightstands, bed frames, and lamps.

Essential oils have natural properties that repel bedbugs and other parasites. Dilute a few drops of essential oil in water or apple cider vinegar and apply with a sponge or washcloth to surfaces. Pay special attention to cracks or crevices, especially those that block natural light.

Try using oregano, lavender, and tea tree oils on surfaces. These oils are reported to be the most effective.

If your infestation does not go away consider using pesticides or hiring a pest control professional that specializes in the removal of bedbugs. Good luck!