If you’re looking for an excuse to buy a new mattress, bed bugs aren’t it, as we can teach you how to get rid of bed bugs in a mattress.
There are a lot of great things about living in New York City (great NYC pizza, rooftops bars, among others), but bed bugs are not one of them. While bed bugs can invite themselves into anyone’s bedroom, they seem to frequent major cities such as NYC, Baltimore, Chicago and D.C.
Bed bugs are blood-sucking insects that leave annoying, itchy welts on those they feast upon. They travel easily and can even reside in clean homes, which makes them hard to get rid of.
“Bed bugs only need blood to survive. We have treated for bed bugs in everything from million-dollar homes to public housing,” Orkin entomologist and director of technical services Dr. Ron Harrison says.
If you have a case of the bed bugs, don’t panic, and don’t think you need to throw away your mattress.
Here’s How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in a Mattress:
1.) How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in a Mattress: Isolate The Bed
The first thing you need to do is move your bed into the center of the room, away from walls and furniture where the bed bugs could jump to. Only the legs should be touching the floor. If your box spring is sitting on the floor, invest in a cheap mattress stand, or even lifts. As bed bugs cannot jump or fly, they’re only able to get to your bed by crawling. So, if your bed is lifted and isolated, they won’t be able to escape as easily.
Next, place bed bug traps bed bug traps under all four bed legs. Bed bugs will crawl up the outer edge of the trap and get stuck.
2.) How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in a Mattress: Add Heat
Heat is the secret to killing bed bugs.
Bed bugs will die at 113°F if it’s sustained for 90+ minutes. However, if you can heat them to 118°F, they’ll die in just 20 minutes. The eggs, unfortunately, are a bit tougher to kill. You’ll need to expose them to 118°F for 90+ minutes.
First, you’ll want to tackle your bedding. Remove all sheets, pillowcases, comforter, mattress pad and so on. Strip your bed of everything and wash and dry it at the highest setting. American dryers typically reach 120°F, so make sure to run for at least 90 minutes.
Next, tackle the mattress. As you can’t wash and dry your mattress, you’ll need to steam it. You can call a professional, which can cost up to $1,200, or you can simply invest in a home steam cleaner. Again, make sure the temperature of the steam reaches more than 118°F. Steaming is a slow job, as you’ll want to take your time to ensure you’ve covered every inch of your mattress. One inch per second is the standard benchmark for removing bed bugs from your mattress. Steam kills within one inch of the end of the steamer, so keep the steamer about one inch above the mattress as you work. Another helpful trick is to wrap a piece of cloth around the tip of the steamer so the steam doesn’t accidentally blow the bed bugs or eggs off the mattress.
3.) How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in a Mattress: Treat the Mattress
Once you’ve steamed and removed all of the bed bugs you possibly can from the bed, you’ll need to take one more step: killing those that remained in the bed and somehow survived. To do this, you’ll need diatomaceous earth (DE). DE is the most popular and effective natural bed bug treatment. Comprised of fossilized sea creatures called diatoms, it causes bed bugs to dry up from the inside out. You’ll also need a mattress cover, as you’ll need to sprinkle the mattress with DE and then trap any additional bed bugs inside the mattress.
- Step 1: Ensure mattress is dry after steaming. Put on a face mask, gloves and goggles.
- Step 2: Sprinkle DE dust across your entire mattress, ensuring it’s evenly distributed across the entire surface.
- Step 3: Seal the mattress. Make sure your entire mattress is encased inside the mattress cover, making it impossible for any lingering bed bugs to escape. While the mattress cover should seal, consider putting duct tape across the zipper as an extra precaution.
DE kills bed bugs within 48 hours, but in order to ensure all eggs are killed as well, you should keep your mattress sealed for 4-6 weeks.
Once the process is over and you’ve completely removed all of the bed bugs from your mattress, you should consider cleaning your mattress once more to rid the mattress of DE and any lingering odors.
Have you ever had a bed bug problem, and did you know how to get rid of bedbugs in a mattress? Tell us in the comments!