How to Kill Bed Bugs with Steam?

If you have ever experienced a bed bug infestation, you know how bad it can get. Bug bites all over the body, countless sleepless nights are nothing when the bugs simply don’t go away. 

Even if you spend thousands of dollars on exterminators, there is no guarantee that they won’t come back. What to do then? Well, one possible option is learning to live with them. If this idea doesn’t thrill you too much, we have a better solution!

As the entire bed bug infestation creates nothing but chaos in our life, the solution needs to be easy and simple. This is why we are so invested in the steam killing method. In this article, we will explore everything about how to kill bed bugs with steam!

How Does Steam Affect Bed Bugs?

how to kill bed bugs with steam

Steam is one of the best methods of removing bed bugs without using any chemicals. Bed bugs are quite resilient insects. They tend to stick around for a long period of time. And the fact that they multiply so fast is another reason why people say you can’t get rid of them. 

But steam is probably the most affordable way to control this infestation. Bed bugs love a 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Soft places like cushions, beds are always around that temperature. This is why they pick those pots. 

What a steamer does is increase the temperature up to 130-140 degrees Fahrenheit which is too hot for the bugs to survive. 

Constant exposure to such a high temperature can kill bed bugs within 10-15 minutes. Steam cleaners can actually change as high as 300 degrees Fahrenheit which kills the bugs instantly. 

Can Steamers Kill Bed Bugs?

Steam cleaning has become incredibly popular in recent days due to its high effectiveness in killing bed bugs. You can use them to clean and sanitize any surface of your home without any added cleaning products whatsoever.

Steam killing not only kills bed bugs but also destroys their eggs. So it basically stops the repopulation cycle. 

Steam cleaners can go through thick fabrics like carpets and beddings as well. This means you can reach deep inside the places where bed bugs like to live. 

Where Can I Use Steamers for Bed Bugs?

The convenience of a steam cleaner is that it can be used on any surface. You can use your steam cleaner for:

  • Killing bed bugs inside tricky places like under the mattress, inside the couch. Cushions and upholstery.
  • It can be used on furniture too. Use a steam cleaner to kill bed bugs and dust mites from nightstand, beds, cupboards, and dressers
  • Steam cleaners are great for carpets and rugs. You can use them on any type of floorings to kill germs and bacteria.
  • It’s a great choice for killing bed bugs inside box springs. 

How to Use a Steamer to Kill Bed Bugs

steam clean bed bugs

Steam cleaners are excellent at killing bed bugs in the mattress, furniture, or carpeted floors. 

Here’s our step-by-step guide on cleaning bed bugs from mattress:

  1. Attach the Nozzle: Attach the triangle nozzle to your steamer wand. This nozzle is the best for getting into tricky surfaces. 

    The floor nozzle is also great but with that one, you might need to move slower than usual. The wider the nozzle gets, the slower you have to be in order to retain the temperature.
  1. Select the Temperature: It’s important to select the right one. While bed bugs all die within 130-140 degrees F, you should set the steamer too much higher. 180 degrees is the bare minimum. You can go higher depending on the type of fabric you’re using it on. 

    The thicker the fabric, the higher you can go. Certain fabrics, however, do not function well with heat. So make sure it’s not something that can melt at a high temperature.  If the temperature is too low, the bed bugs will survive. 
  1. Start Steaming: Start with smaller areas and go slowly. As steam is basically water, the fabric will be damp and that’s totally okay.

    The fabric should be damp but not wet. If you find the fabric to be wet, you need to either decrease the amount of steam or hold it a bit away from the surface.
  2. Use It All Over: Use the steamer all over the mattress. For the wider surfaces, use the floor nozzle to cover larger areas.

    Use it on areas where you can see bed bugs and even on areas where you can’t. You’d be surprised at how deep inside these bugs can live. So be through with it.
  3. Open the Windows: when you are done with steaming the mattress, open all the windows in the room and turn on the fan. This helps to keep the room well ventilated. When fresh air starts to circulate inside the room, the fabric dries down quicker. 
  4. Repeat the Process: if you can still see bed bugs or you can feel they are not all dead yet, repeat this process until you’re satisfied. It is smart to go through each mattress at least twice. This makes sure that the steam has killed all the bed bugs. 

How to Steam a Couch to Kill Bed Bugs

To properly kill all the bedbugs from a couch, try following these steps:

  1. There are usually a few different nozzles and attachments with your steam cleaners. For a couch, you will need quite a few of them. Start with the single nozzle.
  2. Use a microfiber towel to wrap around the nozzle and secure it with an elastic. This helps to intensify the steam and it becomes more aggressive.
  3. Apply the steam in all the cracks and crevices of the couch. Go through each part slowly and patiently. Don’t skip any part. 
  4. Go 1 inch per second and hot the steamer for longer for certain places if you think it needs more time.
  5. Grab the triangle attachment and use it for the flat surfaces including the cushions. 
  6. Roll your sofa on the back and take off the cover.
  7. Team the entire surface slowly and take your time with it. You want to cover every nook and cranny.
  8. Go through each area more than once to make sure the heat reaches everywhere.
  9. Add some bed bug powder or essential oil. You can add anything that repels the bed bugs. 
  10. Restaple the cover and put it in place. 

And that is it! Your couch has been steamed to perfection! By now, all the bed bugs should be gone. 

Precautions for Killing Bed Bugs

  • It’s important to read the instruction manual before you start using your steamer. 
  • Don’t put the steam too close to the surface. Keep it at least 5-8 inches away from it. 
  • The steam is going to be super hot. So don’t try to check its temperature by putting your hand in front of it! You’d be surprised by how many people do it!
  • Never leave a hot steamer sitting on the floor. Kids and children can try to play with it. The steam can reach up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. It can instantly burn them.
  • Steamers tend to split out hot water if they haven’t been cleaned. So make sure to clean them regularly.
  • Always keep your hands away from the steam in case it spits out hot water.
  • Use a nozzle that distributes the steam evenly all over a surface. Pinpoint nozzles are not great for killing bed bugs. 
  • Before you start using your steam cleaner to kill bed bugs, test it on another surface to see if it’s working properly. 

Tips for Controlling Bed Bugs

  • Wash your bed sheets and clothing in hot water to kill any bug eggs. 
  • Never let other people borrow your beddings or cushions. If they do, use super hot water to clean them before putting them in your bed again. 
  • Vacuum your house frequently. Bed bugs thrive off of dust and dirt. So if you don’t clean your home on a regular basis, it becomes a very welcoming spot for all sorts of insects.

    You might even face cockroach infestation for an unclean home. Nobody wants that on top of bed bugs!
  • Check your furniture before you start to remove bed bugs. Even if you think only your bedroom mattress is infested with bugs, chances are they have traveled all over the house. So make sure to check every piece of furniture, mattress, cushions before doing a bug removal process.
  • Keep your house clean and organized. The cleaner your home is, the easier it is to find bed bugs.
  • Make sure to keep your home well ventilated to prevent any germs from spreading. 

Frequently Asked Questions

01. How Long Does It Take for the Steam to Kill Bed Bugs?

If you are using a steam cleaner to kill bed bugs, it will take around 15-20 minutes to do it. Bed bugs can not survive high heat for longer. So when you use a temperature around 180-200 degrees F, it dies instantly. 

The reason why it takes longer is that you have to go through the whole surface so not a single bug is left. If the bed bugs are on the surface level, steam cleaning is the best way to tackle that situation. 

02. Should I Throw Out My Mattress If I Have Bed Bugs?

No, you shouldn’t throw out your mattress if you have bed bugs. Bed bugs are extremely swift at traveling from one piece of furniture to another. So by the time you’re throwing out your mattress, the bugs probably have spread to everywhere in your home. 

You can’t throw away everything. So a better solution is to use a steam cleaner to kill the bugs from your mattress and any other surfaces. If that doesn’t work, contact some professionals and let them do the job. It would be much cheaper than buying a new set of furniture!

03. Can I Use a Clothing Iron to Kill Bed Bugs?

Technically, clothing iron can kill bed bugs but it’s not at all practical to use one for a whole mattress. It would take hours to go through each section and still you might not kill all the bugs as they can move around. 

This is why steam cleaning is so popular as steamers get super hot and can cover bigger surfaces. 

If you have a piece of cloth that has bugs in it, it would make sense to use an iron for it. But even then, you can just check the cloth into hot water and the bugs would die instantly. Using a clothing iron in this context just doesn’t seem that practical at all.

04. Will a Hair Dryer Kill Bed Bugs?

Steam cleaners are not inexpensive. So it’s understandable to look for alternatives. Hairdryer, however, is not the answer to that. You can not kill bed bugs with a hairdryer as it simply dies heat up so much. 

Killing bed bugs requires a lot of heat. No hairdryer comes with such high heat settings simply because hair can not handle that much heat. Hairdryers are meant to be safe for your hair and to dry it. You don’t need high temperatures to achieve that.

So if you are thinking of using a hairdryer, don’t bother. You can use a clothes dryer to kill bed bugs. It won’t be as effective as a steam cleaner but it can be used for smaller items like curtains, cushions, and pillows. 

05. How to Keep from Spreading Bed Bugs?

One of the issues with bed bugs is they are incredibly hard to get rid of. Even if you hire a professional to clean, one bug that is left behind will multiply within a week!

To prevent bed bugs from spreading, always make sure to shower before you come to your bed. Limit the number of things you carry outside of the house as they can be possible vehicles for the bugs to travel home. 

If you live with roommates, don’t let them simply jump into our bed. Don’t let other people borrow your beddings and never borrow them from others.

Basically, always keep your home and bed super hygienic. You can apply some bug repellent spray from time to time. 

End Note

In most cases, trying a single method does not ensure total bed bugs elimination. So we recommend incorporating a few other tricks to make sure the infestation doesn’t spread all over the house. 

Most people think they get bed bugs over and over again when in fact it’s the same bugs who went into hiding while you were doing your bug removal treatments. 

Now that you know how to kill bed bugs with steam, hopefully, you will be able to kill the eggs from all your furniture without any chemicals. 

So what do you usually do to prevent bed bugs from spreading??? Comment down below to let us know!

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