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Cheap Ways To Kill Bed Bugs

Updated on August 26, 2011

Bed bugs are nasty

Alright, so you've got a bed bug infestation. Don't panic. Alright, panic a little bit. Those nasty little buggers will bite you and leave red marks all over you, and they are a pain the neck to kill. I'm going to give you a bunch of tips on how to kill bed bugs using a variety of methods. I suggest you use as many of these methods as you can in combination to stop the infestation.  

Use rubbing alcohol, not bug spray

Standard bug spray just doesn't seem to work on bed bugs. They just walk right through it. One thing that does work is rubbing alcohol. Put it in a spray bottle and spray it directly on the bed bugs. They'll do a little death dance and lift their hind ends in the air and then drop dead. The problem with this is that rubbing alcohol evaporates quickly and is only really effective in killing off the bugs that it's sprayed directly on. You can't just spray it all over your home for full protection. When you're done killing off the bugs you can see, vacuum up the remains.  

Use a steamer because bed bugs hate heat

Take an ordinary steamer and steam the entire infested area. Steam the entire mattress if you've found bed bugs there. Steaming bed bugs kills them and their eggs. Take your time when doing this so you don't miss any areas. When done, vacuum the entire area you've steamed. Basically, after every step you want to vacuum (and don't forget to change the bags and/or empty the vacuum outside your house).

Steamers are also great for getting wrinkles out of clothes that shouldn't be ironed, like most suit jackets and blazers. If you don't have one, they're a great investment. 

Bed bug spray

This step is controversial. Some people say that bed bug spray will make you sick. If that's the case, and especially if you have weak lungs, maybe consider spraying with a mask on and only when you won't be in the house for some time, like right before you go on vacation. Spray the mattress. Spray the furniture. Spray the floor boards. Spray the outlet covers. Spray the carpet. You can get the industrial-size bed bug spray chemicals at Home Depot or Lowes for cheap. 

Bed bug proofing your bed

You could say this step comes from Chinese tradition. They use an ingenious method for bed bug proofing their beds, and you should do this if you've had bed bugs in your house. Put a bowl (preferably not the fine China, but some cheap bowl from Wal-Mart) under each leg of your bed. Pour some oil into it. If you have scented oil that will work fine. This will prevent bed bugs from crawling up the legs of your bed frame to get to the mattress (that's where they want to go, because that's where most of your dead skin flakes are).

Above the bowl on the leg of the bed wrap some duct tape with the sticky side facing out. Bed bugs will get stuck on this as they try to move up and down the bed. In some cases they've even been known to pull off their own legs while trying to get free. It's kind of like that James Franco movie, except way more satisfying.

Bed bug proofing your mattress

The simplest way to bed bug proof your mattress is to get a plastic mattress cover and seal the zipper with some tape. No bed bugs will be able to come and leave as they want on that mattress. Cover your box spring like this if you have one as well, because they can nest in there.  

Wash your sheets, pillows, and any exposed clothing

It's important that you wash any sheets, pillows, or clothing that may have been exposed to bed bugs on the hottest temperature they can handle. You need to kill any eggs that may have gotten on them.  

Seal off the infested room

If you've only found bed bugs in one room. Seal that room off while you are exterminating them. Use double sided tape along the entire door frame.  

Heat those bugs to death

If you live in an area that is hot, this might be a little easier, because it can get quite expensive to heat a home to the temperatures we're talking about unless you live in a hot area already. If you live somewhere like Arizona, in the summer months when it's really hot and you're planning to be away from your home for a few days you can kill most bugs in your home by turning off the AC (which you would probably do anyway) and turning on the heat. Get that temperature up to 130 or 140 degrees in your home for a day or so and those bed bugs will die. This is kind of an extreme measure, but it's surprisingly effective.  


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  • Guanta profile image

    Guanta 6 years ago from New York City

    Thank you for your Hub, I am DB Cooper very good information. I'm always looking for ways to fend off these unpleasent things. I don't 'feel' any foreign invasions yet, but you never know.

  • vydyulashashi profile image

    vydyulashashi 7 years ago from Hyderabad,India

    Very helpful.

    These bed bugs can also spread diseases. Nice and easy way to get rid of them.

    God Bless You!