Will Steam Kill Bed Bugs?

by Taylor
(Maryland)

Bed Bugs Steam Treatment

Bed Bugs Steam Treatment

I bought a stem cleaner the kind used for steaming your clothes.


Will this help kill the bed bugs?

I contacted these bugs through my Father's Home, Gave them to my mother and then brought them home to my house. When I got bite marks from them I immediately bought "Hot shots" bed and flea spray, I took my mattress (which is brand new) outside and sat it in the sun for the day when I expected it I seen one or two little spots on the rim of the mattress, I then sprayed and soaked the edges in bed bed & flea spray. I sprayed my whole entire mattress and box spring wrapped both in plastic left a little hole opened and then put a bed bug fogger inside the the plastic.

I covered the hole back up put a bug bed cover over the plastic and fogger waited 2 days then bombed it again, Then I removed the fogger, left the plastic on and put the cover back on.I have washed every piece of clothing I own in hot water then put them into the dryer high heat.

I have sprayed my bedroom and the rest of the house with the bed bug & flea spray. Tonight I got on my hands and knees and steamed my whole entire carpet ( which took 4 hours). I then sprayed the carpet again every crack, baseboard screw, nail i could find,I sprayed under my dressers, then used the steam in my drawers and under the furniture.

I called an exterminator and they wanted $450.00 dollars per room I have have 7 rooms so they wanted $3,750.00 to do my whole house.

I am a single parent living on a fixed income with a servilely handicapped child and a 2 yr old child, I can not afford an exterminator!!!

This problem has become very stressful, exhausting, and I am ready to rip all my hair out, I find myself wondering will I ever solve this issue? I currently have all my clothes in my dinning room and sleep on the couch which since I have been sleeping there for 2 weeks now I have not got bitten, but do plan on using the steam on the couch as I have already sprayed the couch down.

My children have not got bitten once yet so I am hoping I have the problem controlled.The problem I have now is I feel like they are climbing on me day & night,

I can barely sleep and I am embarrassed. So the question is will steam help kill them?

Editor Response, Bed Bugs and Steam

Hi Taylor,

The short answer is that steam will kill bed bugs. Hold the steamer head on each area for about 10 seconds to generate the required heat. If
your steamer has a tube attachment that funnels the steam in one stream (vs. the kind that has several holes), place it under the seam of the mattress, hold for 10 seconds and move to the next area (see picture).

I'd prefer that if you are going to go about treating the problem yourself, that in addition to steaming and vacuuming, that you purchase a bed bug kit that contains two types of sprays. The first, is a contact killer and the second is a residual spray that provides some level of lasting protection. Here's a link to a recommended bed bug kit.

Here is a link to detailed instructions on how to treat a bed bug problem yourself.

In terms of the mattress, I'd suggest purchasing inexpensive bed bug mattress and box spring covers. This will trap any bed bugs that you missed during treatment. Leaving the mattress in the sun will not kill bed bugs unless the required 114F temperature is reached inside of all the mattress seams. You are better off starting with the steam, follow with the spray, let dry, apply some bed bug dust, and then cover with a bed bug approved cover. You can buy inexpensive covers at WalMart or from Allerzip/Amazon.

Couches are tougher to treat. Here, go the two spray approach, but be sure that the sprays do not damage the fabric (test in an out of the way area). After spraying apply some bed bug powder or dust in out of sight locations.

It is common for bed bugs to require multiple treatments. In terms of an exterminator, many will negotiate prices, particularly for low income households. Contact your local department of health to see if they can offer any assistance.

In terms of bites, everyone reacts differently. Not to concern you, but a lack of bites on your children does not mean that they are not being bitten. To help protect them, wear bed clothes that cover as much skin area as possible, and keep the beds at least 6 inches from the wall and all furniture. Place double sided tape on all bed legs, or even better, place a bed bug trap under each bed leg such as a Climbup. A home made version would be a tin under each bed leg with a thin layer of mineral oil inside. Tape some construction paper to the outside so that the bed bug can climb up the paper, and fall into the tin when they reach the top. The mineral oil (or use talcum powder) will kill them before they can climb up onto the bed.

As an aside, if you rent your apartment or home, there are some pretty good laws in Maryland that could help you get treatment. Just contact your landlord and request bed bug treatment in writing.

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