Steamer Kills Bed Bugs.
Steam is a very effective method for killing bed bugs in all the stages of development, if applied correctly. When using steam as a treatment the quality of the steamer is very important. Use a commercial steamer with a minimum capacity of 1 gallon, preferably with a steam volume control. The type of steamer you use to steam clothing will not be effective for bed bug treatment. Do not use a carpet cleaning machine. Carpet cleaning machines do not reach high enough temperatures to kill bed bugs.
Steamers work by delivering lethal temperatures to where bed bugs may be hiding. Steam is very effective when bed bugs are on the surface of items and can be effective up to 3/4″ into fabric surfaces. In cracks and crevices, steam will kill bed bugs up to 2-3/8” into a gap. To effectively kill bed bugs the surface temperature should be at least 160-180°F immediately after the steam brush has passed. The steam is hot, as high as 212-250°F. This is the reason using a steam cleaner is a very effective way to eradicate bed bugs from your home, apartment, senior center, hotel, office, boat, or RV.
Using a steamer to kill bed bugs and get rid of bed bugs in your home is environmentally safe and highly effective. Bed bugs cannot tolerate heat above 160 degrees, a steamer kills bed bugs on contact. Even better, steam can penetrate into hard to reach areas and through the cloth wrappers of mattresses and box springs to kill bed bugs hiding inside as well.
While highly effective, steamers are not inexpensive, but certainly not near as expensive as bringing in a professional bed bug exterminator. In the majority of cases, calling a professional will resolve your bed bug problem! However, the problem is, the price. Professionals are good, yet expensive and professional bed bug treatments often require multiple visits. The average cost of a professional bed bug treatment is around $1500.00!
Trying to resolve the problem yourself using do it yourself treatment options can save you a great deal of money and once you purchase a quality steamer you will have it in your home if you need to handle a bed bug infestation again, also there are many more uses the steamer can provide for you and your family!
Using a steamer is at the top of the list for do it yourself bed bug treatment options, it works and is safe.
Using a Steamer to Kill Bed Bugs
Following the manufacturer’s directions for the steamer and the additional precautions below will help you generate steam safely and obtain maximum control of bed bugs. Here are some additional tips to follow:
Attach a nozzle to the steam wand. There is a triangular nozzle that comes with the steamer, this nozzle works well most of the time. The floor attachment will also work, move the nozzle slowly to obtain the right temperatures.
- Surfaces must reach a temperature range of 160-180°F. Below this, bed bugs may survive. The steam from a good steamer will put out temperatures from 212-250°F.
- Fabric may be damp, but it should not be wet. If it is too wet, the steamer usually has a switch or a dial that you can use to decrease the amount of steam.
- Use the steamer on all surfaces where you see bed bugs and areas where you think bed bugs may be hiding.
- After you are finished, using a fan in the area will circulate air and help dry the items you have steamed.
- You may have to repeat this procedure a couple of times as this method only provides control of bed bugs that are exposed to the heat, any bed bugs that do not come into contact with the steam will survive.
- Steamers will sometimes spit out hot water when you start up, or after the steamer has not been used for a while. Pointing the wand at a towel when you first start will allow you to capture this water.
- Do not use a pin-point steam nozzle; make sure you use a nozzle to distribute the steam at lower pressures such as a floor or diamond attachment. Pin point nozzles can blow the bed bugs away and they may survive.
Bed Bug Basics
- Bed bugs are small insects, about the size of an apple seed. Adult bed bugs are flat, oval and reddish- brown in color. Juvenile bed bugs can be very small and hard to see.
- Bed bugs feed on human blood and can live for over a year without a meal.
- Bed bugs usually hide during the day near where people rest or sleep and then come out at night to feed. Bed bugs do not live on our bodies.
- Some people do not react when bitten by a bed bug.
- Most bed bugs are found within 8 feet of a person’s resting place. As the infestation grows, bed bugs will spread further. You can find bed bugs in any of the following places:
o In mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and bedding
o In the cracks and crevices of furniture
o Behind peeling wall paper
o Behind pictures and clocks o In curtains
o In cracks in hardwood floors o Under carpeting
o Behind electrical outlets or switch plates
Killing Bed Bugs With A Steamer – Advantages
The advantages of killing bed bugs with a steamer:
- Environmentally friendly and “green” option for killing bed bugs
- Steam penetrates and kills bed bugs you cannot see. This includes bed bugs in cracks and crevices, inside of mattresses and box springs, through carpet, and in hard to access areas of your furniture.
- Steam is a “touch less” method of killing bed bugs and will help keep from damaging your furniture. Be aware though, that steam can remove varnish from furniture if you aren’t careful.
- Steam allows you to treat your bed, bed sheets, curtains, carpet and other chemical absorbing items without having to use toxic chemicals.
- A bed bug steamer will not only kill bed bugs, but their eggs as well.
Bed bug steamer – Disadvantages
While using a steamer is a highly effective bed bug treatment strategy, there are some disadvantages you need to be aware of:
- Not all steamers will work. See our buying guide below for more details on how to select a bed bug steamer that will work.
- Steam is hot – I know this seems obvious, but when using steam as a treatment method, you really have to be careful. Steam can cause serious burns, and can penetrate clothing and gloves.
- A steamer should be used before using toxic chemicals not after. Steam can cause chemicals to vaporize and go airborne. Airborne chemicals can pose significant risk to your health. Always use chemicals or sprays after using steam.
- Steamers must be used correctly. This means making sure all areas are steamed. Missing an area will just result in another infestation or result in spreading the bed bugs around.
- Don’t use steam on electrical outlets. You can get shocked or damage your outlet causing a short that could result in a fire.
How to use a bed bug steamer correctly
There are tons of threads on internet forums where people are complaining about how using a bed bug steamer doesn’t work. In almost all of these posts, the bed bug steamer didn’t work because it wasn’t used correctly.
Here’s how to use a bed bug steamer to get rid of your bed bugs:
- Purchase a steamer (see our top 3 picks at the bottom of this article). Remember, not just any steamer will do. You’ll need to purchase one that has the right attachments and produces a constant stream of steam that is hot enough to kill bed bugs. Not all steamers do this. In the buyer’s guide section below, we’ll tell you what you need to know, and even recommend a few of the top bed bug steamers.
- Pay attention to and follow the instructions included with the steamer. Failure to do this can result in damaging the expensive steamer you just purchased, ruining your carpet and/or floor, or even worse severely burning yourself. Steamers are safe if used properly.
- Begin steaming – Steam the floor, bed (mattress and box springs included), trim, walls, cracks and crevices, dressers, curtains and any other place you suspect bed bugs. Making sure you cover all areas and that you don’t miss any. Try to use a section method where you start at one corner and work your way in sections to the opposite corner. Do not over steam and avoid getting the material “wet”. Remember: do not steam electrical outlets!
If in a few days, you still see signs of bed bugs, steam again. If you still see bed bugs after two steam treatments, you should steam one more time, then follow-up with a bed bug spray. Remember though, do not steam again for while after using the chemical! If you want to steam again, call the spray manufacturer and ask them how long you should wait before using the steamer again.
Removing bed bugs using any method, including steam often requires multiple treatments. Don’t be discouraged if you have to steam a room 2-3 times to completely eliminate your bed bug infestation. Multiple treatments is common.