Home Remedies for Bed Bugs to Never See Them Again

Bed bugs can be a huge problem and an infestation can spring up almost instantly. If you have a bed bug problem, try one of these home remedies.
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Last updatedLast updated: November 01, 2021
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Bed bugs are a real nuisance if you get them, and just saying “bed bugs” can inspire fear in even the toughest homeowner. Bed bugs have been a hot topic for years, and many people live in fear of discovering that they’re harboring a bed bug infestation of their very own.

Despite the fact that everyone knows that bed bugs exist (and are super annoying), most people don’t know how to tell if they have bed bugs, what to do to contain the problem, or home remedies for bed bugs. In this article, we’ll discuss bed bug basics and cover several home remedies options for ridding your home of the annoying critters. For the best success, you may want to try a combination of several of them, but that will depend on how intense your bed bug problem is.

Signs that you have bed bugs

Home Remedies for Bed Bugs to Never See Them Again

You can easily spot their marks on a mattress.

Did you know that bed bugs have been around since the dinosaurs roamed the earth? Trusted Source Bedbugs hung out with dinosaurs but didn't bite them, study finds | CNN Bedbugs roamed the earth with dinosaurs but the tiny blood-sucking pests likely didn’t bother T. rexes and their kin, scientists say. www.cnn.com Even still, not everyone knows how to spot that they’re dealing Trusted Source France launches bedbug hotline in campaign to stamp out the itchy menace France thought it had gotten rid of bedbugs in the 1950s, but in recent years the blood-sucking insects have made a comeback.
In response to this unwelcome resergence, the French government launched an anti-bedbug campaign Thursday, which includes a dedicated website and an information hotline.
www.cnn.com
with a bed bug problem, but that’s exactly why we wrote this article.

One of the most obvious ways to tell that you have bed bugs is by checking your body for bug bites after you wake up. Bed bug bites look like small red dots and are usually clustered together in a clump or a wiggly line. Bed bugs like to nest in the crevices of mattresses and pillows and get their sustenance by feeding on the blood of animals and humans, which means that if you’ve got bed bugs, you’re probably being eaten alive while you sleep!

While you may be eager to start using these home remedies for bed bugs right away, you should first check to make sure that you have a bed bug problem on your hands.

Besides looking at your skin for bites, there are a few other ways to tell if you’ve got bed bugs sharing your bed with you:

  • Bed bug eggshells. If you find a lot of tiny white specks on your furniture, carpet, or sheets, this could be a sign that bed bugs have laid eggs in your home. These are lighter colored, which makes them difficult to spot, but they’re one of the telltale signs of an infestation.
  • Red/rust-colored stains. Another common sign of bed bugs is spotting red or rust-colored stains on your mattress, bedding, or other furniture. These stains are from the blood of the bed bugs nesting there and are a good reason to try one of the home remedies in this article.
  • Black dots. In addition to red stains, you should also look for small black dots on your mattress. Bed bugs— just like all animals— have a digestive system and leave behind poop wherever they inhabit. These tiny black dots could signify that bed bugs are leaving their excrement behind on your mattress.
  • You see living bugs. Lastly, you may even notice living, moving bugs roaming around on your soft furniture or bedding. Bed bugs are usually quite small, but once they eat enough, they can grow large enough to see with the naked eye. The second you spot any living bugs, you should drop everything to start eradicating your infestation.

Best home remedies for bed bugs

If you do find bed bugs, don’t panic. You can still get rid of them— likely using one of these home remedies. If all else fails, you can call in the professionals to perform extermination on your home. If you have to resort to those extreme measures, however, you may want to consider purchasing a new mattress and a new set of sheets to match (here’s another great list if you want more options).

For all of these remedies, you should keep in mind that if you have a bed bug infestation in your bed, you probably also have bed bugs on the other soft surfaces and furniture in your home. Therefore, you should be treating all of these spaces rather than just your mattress.

Vacuum

Home Remedies for Bed Bugs to Never See Them Again

Vacuuming your mattress is a great way to ensure that you’re safe from bed bugs.

A good first method to try is the vacuum approach, which requires a powerful vacuum with a hand-held hose attachment. In order to make this method as effective as possible, you should consider vacuuming every day or, at the very least, every other day. This can help curb the existing population while stopping it from growing out of control.

Like most of the methods on this list, this method requires a lot of time, so be sure you have enough time allotted to perform it correctly.

When attempting the vacuum method, begin vacuuming surfaces above the ground (like your bed or couch) and work your way down to the floor. Make sure to spend extra time on the cracks and corners of your space, and you should also look inside seemingly unlikely places like your electrical appliances.

As soon as you finish vacuuming, you should take your vacuum bag far away from your home to discard it. This means emptying it away from your home after every single use while dealing with the infestation. You may want to consider spraying the area with a non-toxic bed bug killer. We love this one from EcoRaider and this one from Eco Defense.

Using extreme temperature

You can also try killing bed bugs with extreme temperatures, such as those produced by a steam cleaning vacuum. This is a good option if you have access to a steam cleaner because these machines can reach temperatures above 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which will kill both living bugs and their eggs.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth is a popular product that works to rid homes of many types of bugs— not just bed bugs. The product is made from sedimentary rock that occurs naturally. The rock is harvested and then ground into an ultra-fine powder.

In order to apply Diatomaceous Earth in your home, sprinkle it over your floor to completely cover the area. Make sure you get it into the crevices and tiny cracks, too! The powder works to kill small critters because the powder has tiny shards that kill them. Be patient, though, as it can take up to 10 days for this product to work.

Borax

Home Remedies for Bed Bugs to Never See Them Again

Borax is easy to use at home.

Borax, a common cleaning item for the home, is great for killing bed bugs because the powder suffocates them when spread on top of infested surfaces. In order to use this method in your home, sprinkle borax generously on top of your bare mattress and furniture. For best results, wait at least 24 hours before cleaning it up.

Alcohol

As you already know, alcohol is a strong disinfectant that can kill most living things— too much alcohol, as you also already know, can even kill humans! Bed bugs are no exception.

To use, get an alcohol dilution of 90% or more and put it into a spray bottle. Then, spray your surfaces and furniture generously to make sure you kill all of them. You should also spray corners, cracks, crevices because bed bugs like to hide.

Tea tree oil

This essential oil has antimicrobial properties, which makes it a great product for cleaning everything from your home to your skin.

Undiluted tea tree oil is the most effective for getting rid of bed bugs, but this isn’t safe for humans. Therefore, you should instead use a diluted form. To use it, spray it all over your home and surfaces.

Hydrogen peroxide

Like alcohol, you can use hydrogen peroxide to kill bed bugs on contact as well. This is probably not the best course of action, however, because it’s also a bleaching agent and will permanently stain your furniture and bedding.

Lavender and peppermint oil

You can use lavender and peppermint oil interchangeably, as they have the same effect. Both of these oils make bed bugs feel sick and can eventually cause them to die. To use this method effectively, you should use the oils to wash your bedding and to spray all over your surfaces and furniture.

Baking soda

Home Remedies for Bed Bugs to Never See Them Again

Baking soda mix is another time-proofed method.

Baking soda dries out the areas that bed bugs like to live and nest, but it won’t kill them. This method will, however, work in a pinch because it can make the area inhospitable for them, which will likely keep them at bay until you can find a more permanent solution. To use, sprinkle liberally over all of your affected surfaces.

Bleach

Bleach kills on contacts like hydrogen peroxide and alcohol, but it also stains your belongings permanently. We don’t recommend using this method, but if you’re determined to try it, you can do so by spraying it all over all of your belongings.

Vinegar

Vinegar is another option that can work to kill adult bed bugs on contact. The only thing is that this method cannot kill the larvae, and therefore needs to be used in conjunction with another method to make sure that you get all of the bed bugs totally eliminated. Otherwise, you’ll just have the same problem on your hand as soon as the eggs hatch.

When using this method, take undiluted vinegar and spray it generously on all surfaces, including bed, furniture, bedding, flooring, closets, etc. A good method to use along with this one is the vacuuming or steam cleaning method (or all three).

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is commonly thought to work as a natural remedy for getting rid of bed bugs. According to this theory, using cinnamon oil will kill bed bugs on contact. This belief, however, is not true. Cinnamon oil can only deter bed bugs and temporarily keep them at bay but won’t work well for killing them on its own.

Final thoughts

Bed bugs have had their periods in history where they seem to take over everywhere. This is due to the fact that bed bugs reproduce rapidly. A small problem can become a city-wide infestation almost overnight. For this reason, it’s crucial that you do your part to diligently look for bed bugs as soon as you suspect you have them. If you happen to find them, you need to take immediate steps to get rid of them and sanitize your home. Again, this may involve getting rid of your mattress altogether and starting fresh. You should only have to do this if the infestation gets out of control, but if that’s that case, you should dump it as soon as possible. Use an air mattress while you wait for your new mattress, but take steps to keep it sanitary as well.

References

1.
Bedbugs hung out with dinosaurs but didn't bite them, study finds | CNN
Bedbugs roamed the earth with dinosaurs but the tiny blood-sucking pests likely didn’t bother T. rexes and their kin, scientists say.
2.
France launches bedbug hotline in campaign to stamp out the itchy menace
France thought it had gotten rid of bedbugs in the 1950s, but in recent years the blood-sucking insects have made a comeback.
In response to this unwelcome resergence, the French government launched an anti-bedbug campaign Thursday, which includes a dedicated website and an information hotline.
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