Bed bugs are one of the most annoying insects that exist. They live between sheets and mattresses to bite people at night when they sleep. They are not transmitters of diseases, but they cause discomfort due to their bites and allergic reactions. In this article, we want to share with you the best home remedies to get rid bed bugs.
These types of remedies are not as aggressive as chemical pesticides, but in most cases are effective.
Why do Bedbugs Appear?
Bed bugs appear because they enter your home through cracks in the walls or floor. They can also enter your home through clothing or luggage when you travel. Low-quality hotels may contain bedbugs that can travel as stowaways in your luggage.
Where do bed bugs hide?
Bed bugs usually hide near the bed. The most common places are under the bed, the box spring, the headboard, the mattress, or even the sheets themselves. The preferred place for bed bugs is in the seams of mattresses. They also hide in cracks in walls or floors.
Other hiding places are old furniture, old clothes, electrical outlets, and even the closet.
15 Home Remedies To Get Rid Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are difficult to get rid of. Most people remove the adult forms and nymphs but forget to remove the eggs. In this way, a new generation of bed bugs can hatch and perpetuate the problem. For this reason, today we will show you different methods that will help you remove not only the adult forms but also the eggs.
1. Cleaning and Disinfection with Bleach
The best remedy for bed bugs is cleaning and disinfection. Although bed bugs can also be present in clean environments, it is necessary to know where bed bugs hide to carry out a correct cleaning. As we already mentioned, the places near the bed are the places where more cleaning and disinfection should be done.
Bleach kills bed bugs on contact by oxidizing their outer shell. Bleach is an extremely strong chemical, so it’s effective as a contact spray, but it does stain, so don’t use it on your furniture, sheets, or clothes.
- Wash clothes and luggage very well
- Get rid of old clothes
- Clean all areas of the bed with a clean cloth and a product that contains bleach
- Wash the sheets and pillowcases very well.
The most important thing is the eggs. You also need to learn how to identify bed bug eggs correctly, as they too need to be removed when cleaning and disinfecting. Bed bug eggs look like grains of rice, but they look translucent.
2. Vacuum the Area
After the general cleaning, be sure to vacuum everything. Be sure to vacuum upholstered furniture, mattresses, curtains, boxes, shelves, and rugs. Bed bugs love to hide in dark places, so be sure to use your vacuum hose to suck them up in dark nooks and crannies.
After vacuuming, grab some big bags and wrap your mattress. Leave the bags for a week. That way neither the old bed bugs can get out, nor the new bed bugs can get in and they will starve.
Heat is one of the most effective methods to kill bed bugs. That is why it is widely used by large pest control companies. To use heat to kill bed bugs, the first thing you should do is wash all bedding that you think maybe infected in the washing machine with water that is as hot as possible (over 140° Fahrenheit). Wash bedding, clothes, stuffed animals, and soft items.
For mattresses and large furniture, use a steam cleaner on the highest setting. Steam cleaning is carried out through a machine that emits steam at high temperatures and, although it does not use chemical products, it is enough to remove dirt and the presence of insects.
It’s recommended to run the steam cleaner over the bed or upholstery several times. You should also run the cleaner over the nooks and crannies where bed bugs hide. On the other hand, if you have the possibility to remove old furniture, do it.
Bed bugs can also die from excessive cold. In this case, you should take all the furniture that may be infected (mattress, box spring, headboard, bedding, etc.) outside in winter. For this method to be effective, it will be necessary to ensure that the temperature is really low. At least close to 32 ºF. You can also cool down by leaving the windows open for a few hours. Although this measure is not 100% proven.
Vinegar is one of the strongest remedies when it comes to exterminating bedbugs. Most people have it in their homes, this makes it the ideal emergency home remedy. However, it should be used in conjunction with other home remedies on this list.
On the other hand, while vinegar can kill bed bugs by damaging their nervous systems, it doesn’t kill their eggs. So be sure to vacuum and follow the recommendations above, once you do that you can spray with vinegar.
Use a spray bottle to spray furniture and cracks in the floor where bed bugs tend to hide. Apply plenty of vinegar to the edges of the bed and under furniture. If you can see the bed bugs, you can apply the vinegar directly to them. That way, if they try to run away, they won’t be able to escape the vinegar.
6. Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Diatomaceous earth is a mineral extracted from diatomite, which is a siliceous sedimentary rock formed by the accumulation of fossil diatoms in lakes and seas of the past. This sedimentary rock is easily removable and pulverizable and is used to kill bed bugs.
This type of sand does not have an insecticidal action by poisoning but by dehydration. The exoskeleton of bedbugs is lost due to the abrasion caused by the sharp edges of the small silica crystals that form diatoms. When the insect loses its protection against water loss, it desiccates and dies.
How to use: Sprinkle diatomaceous earth in cracks, on each bed frame and other infected areas and leave for 24-48 hours. It is a slow process, but it is considered a 90% effective method. Let sit for two days, then vacuum the area to remove DE and dead bed bugs. DE designed specifically for pest control is recommended. Of course, keep it out of the reach of children and animals, as it is toxic.
Here is a video that explains how you can apply diatomaceous earth in electrical outlets and other places such as corners.
7. Baking soda
Baking soda is one of the safest cleaning formulas. It is safe to eat and does not irritate your skin when it comes in contact with it. This is a great alternative to get rid of bed bugs. This compound works in a number of different pathways:
Digestion: It is perfectly safe for human consumption, but it is a different story for insects. When bicarbonate is heated as it is when it is digested, its composition changes. This generates a gas that destroys the gut of bed bugs.
Exoskeleton damage: Like Diatomaceous earth, the tiny grains of baking soda is quite sharp. In many cases, they are sharp enough to cut through the underside of the bed bug’s exoskeleton. This can cause enough damage to kill the bed bugs.
Dehydration: One of the qualities of baking soda is its ability to absorb moisture and odors. When you sprinkle baking soda on the area where there are bed bugs, the baking soda will suck the water out of any dehydrated bugs until they die. Just contact is enough.
How to use: The most common way to apply baking soda is by sprinkling it directly on the mattress. It is also recommended to sprinkle baking soda on cracks and other infected areas to dry out bed bugs.
Treating bed bugs with baking soda is cheap and effective. Of course, you will have to repeat the spraying and vacuuming process regularly to get rid of them.
Another product to eliminate bedbugs that will help you is salt. It is common to hear that they kill them, but salt only drives them away, as they do not proliferate well in an environment that is too salty. For this reason, we recommend spreading salt on the cracks, frames, legs of furniture and beds, as well as under the mattress and the seats of sofas and armchairs. It is recommended to use it in case you do not have baking soda.
Borax is another natural cleaning item that kills bed bugs by suffocating them. To use, sprinkle a generous amount of borax on your mattress. Leave it for at least 24 hours to suffocate bed bugs. While bed bugs don’t eat borax, they will have a hard time breathing when they are inundated with the substance.
You can wash other affected items with borax. Just add a little to your washing machine, the salty environment along with the soap will dry them out.
10. Isopropyl alcohol
Alcohol can kill almost anything, including bed bugs, bed bug larvae, and eggs. Using an alcohol dilution of 90% or more can kill bed bugs on contact. Just like with vinegar, you can spray them on bed bugs when I see them. Try to spray their hiding places as well, such as nooks and crannies where they lay their eggs.
Keep in mind, however, that inhaling alcohol is toxic to your health and is highly flammable, so use it with caution.
11. Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide can also be used to spray bed bugs, but it’s not as deadly as isopropyl alcohol.
12. Tea tree oil
Another home remedy used by grandmothers is tea tree oil. This oil has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. It has a strong and somewhat unpleasant odor but is not toxic to inhale. You can spray all areas and surfaces.
Although this oil does not kill bed bugs on contact, it can mask the smell of sweat that attracts bed bugs. It is recommended to use undiluted tea tree oil and spray your sheets and furniture with it. If you are sensitive to the smell you can dilute it a little with water.
13. Lavender and peppermint oil
The aroma of lavender and mint is capable of repelling bedbugs and other insects. A spray of lavender and peppermint essential oil may not kill bed bugs on contact, but the spray deters them from your home.
To use it is recommended to mix 15 drops of lavender, 15 drops of peppermint oil in 100 ml. of water, and spray liberally where you think bed bugs may reside.
14. Cinnamon and Cloves
Many people believe that spraying cinnamon leaf oil or clove oil can kill bed bugs. However, this method only serves to deter them.
Guava is a tropical fruit whose pulp is reddish-pink. It is widely used by athletes thanks to its great nutritional value. It is another of the popular home remedies to eliminate bedbugs naturally, as it is not harmful to humans or pets.
This remedy is little known and, although the smell of guava manages to drive away bedbugs, it is only really useful if the bedbug infestation is still very small, that is, just a few bedbugs.
In that case, we recommend preparing a guava infusion and spraying it on the affected furniture. Like oils, this is a very controversial method.
Here are some extra recommendations when using the above remedies:
- Remember to take care when traveling or visiting relatives and neighbors.
- Make sure to check your luggage before entering your house. You can do it in the garage of your house or in the entrance hall.
- Check for cracks and fill them with cement or some other material.
How to Prevent Bedbugs From Appearing at Home
On the other hand, to prevent bed bugs from appearing, it is very important to take into account a series of precautions that will make it difficult for them to reach our bedroom:
- Keep a close eye on any place they can hide, especially sheets, pillows, curtains, or rugs.
- Don’t leave clothing or luggage on the floor.
- Take special care when you go to hotels or sleep away from home, as they can adhere to these places and then be transported to your own home.
- Avoid putting the suitcase on the bed, especially if it has wheels since bedbugs can move from the floor to the wheels of the suitcase and, from there, to the bed.
- Change the sheets frequently.
- Keep the bedroom clean and with a few things to prevent dirt from accumulating more easily.
- Clean clothes and bedding at high temperatures, especially after travel or when you have been in places where bed bugs might be present.
- Act immediately as soon as you suspect the presence of bedbugs since it will avoid giving them time to reproduce and increase their number.
- To prevent bed bugs, it’s a good idea to place ground cinnamon or cloves in areas where bed bugs tend to spread to keep them away.