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How to Get Bed Bugs Out of Your Car

by Grams

How can I get Bed Bugs out of my car. I've tried Bombs and sprays with little affect?

Editor Suggestions on How to Remove Bed Bugs From Your Car

Hi Grams,

Sorry to hear that your car has bed bugs. Bed bugs are skilled hitchhikers. Causes include when a friend that has bed bugs sits in your car, or if you bring in the bed bugs after visiting an infested home, movie theater or after traveling.

Getting bed bugs out of your car can be challenging, but it is possible with the right approach. Here are some steps you can take to eliminate bed bugs from your vehicle:

Vacuum thoroughly: Use a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment to remove bed bugs, their eggs, and any debris. Pay special attention to seams, folds, and crevices in the upholstery, as well as floor mats and carpets. Make sure to dispose of the vacuum contents in a sealed bag immediately after use. You can see bed bugs with the naked eye, although a magnifying glass (or use your phones camera zoomed in), and a flashlight.

Steam cleaning: Steam can kill bed bugs and their eggs upon contact. Use a portable steamer or rent a commercial one to thoroughly steam clean your car's interior, focusing on the seats, carpets, and any other fabric surfaces. Ensure that the steam reaches at least 120°F (49°C) for maximum effectiveness. Test first on your car seats to make sure the vapor will not stain.

Heat treatment: Bed bugs cannot survive in extreme heat. If possible, park your car in direct sunlight on a hot day with the windows rolled up, which can raise the interior temperature to levels lethal for bed bugs. You can also use a portable heater designed for bed bug heat treatments to achieve the necessary temperatures. Aim for at least 120°F (49°C) for a few hours to ensure effectiveness. You can also use a hair dryer set to the high
heat setting, holding it on each spot for about 10 seconds. Leaving your car in the hot sun can be the best treatment.

Insecticides: Use a contact and residual insecticide (two different products) labeled for bed bug control to treat your car. Make sure to follow the label instructions carefully, and only use products that are safe for indoor use. We particularly like Sterifab for a first treatment to kills bed bugs and their eggs on contact, and then Bedlam, or Phantom sprays for residual (lasting) protection. You can try a one size fits all product from a local Home Depot, but we prefer the approach recommended above. (test any product for fabric staining before use)

DO NOT use bed bug bombs. These just cause the bed bugs to move deeper into their hiding spaces.

Diatomaceous earth (DE): This natural, non-toxic powder can be used to kill bed bugs by damaging their exoskeletons. Apply food-grade DE to your car's interior, focusing on crevices and seams. Let it sit for a few days, and then vacuum it up. Be sure to wear a mask when applying DE, as it can be harmful if inhaled. Apply after using insecticides as a last barrier for any bed bugs you might have missed.

Regular inspections: After treatment, inspect your car regularly for signs of bed bug activity. Use a flashlight to check seams, crevices, and other hiding spots. If you spot any live bugs, repeat the treatments as needed.

Prevent reinfestation: To avoid reintroducing bed bugs to your car, make sure your home and workplace are bed bug-free. Launder your clothes and belongings regularly, and be cautious when using shared laundry facilities or visiting places where bed bugs could be present.

Remember that it may take multiple treatments to fully eradicate bed bugs from your car. If you're still struggling with an infestation after trying these methods, consider consulting a professional exterminator for assistance.


Editor and Publisher
Bed Bugs Handbook

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