The phrase "Don't let the bed bugs bite" may be used mostly in a lighthearted way, but bed bugs are nothing to joke about. Although the appearance of these pests has greatly declined since the early 1900s, many families every year still find them in their homes. There are many different methods for getting rid of bed bugs and preventing them from returning. Here are a few of the most common.
- Spray Them With Rubbing Alcohol
If you can physically see the bed bugs, squirt them with a spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol to kill them on the spot. Sometimes bed bugs will hide where you can't see them, so this method doesn't get rid of all of them, but it is a useful method to begin with. Check inside drawers, beneath sofa cushions, and under mattresses to find all the visible bugs you can, and spray them down.
- Wash Everything
This means sheets, blankets, pillowcases, sofa covers, cushions, and clothing. Bag up and launder anything you can. Wash them all with hot water to kill any bugs or eggs that may be hiding. Make sure you wash the laundry bag too! If you don't wash everything, you run the risk of hidden eggs hatching and spreading the bugs all over again.
- Use Steam
Steam is deadly to bed bugs. Most hardware stores sell small devices that can produce steam. Take a walk through your house, steaming around and underneath beds, couches, and chairs. Don't forget to spray inside dressers and clothes, as well as around the corners of your house. The great thing about this method is that you can steam virtually anywhere in your house without damaging anything.
- Vacuum Your Home
Using vacuum hoses to clean mattress and couch surfaces, as well as along carpet borders and the walls. When you empty out the vacuum cleaner bag afterward, seal it up in its own trash bag and put it in an outside garbage bin immediately to keep any bugs from returning into the house.
- Consider Insecticides
Families with children or pets may want to pursue other non-toxic options first, but insecticides can certainly be quite effective. Avoid the kind that come in an aerosol spray can, as those can just encourage the bed bugs to scatter. If bed bugs are still present a week or two after the initial treatment, try again. You may need a few tries before you manage to get all the places where bugs are living.
- Call In an Exterminator
If none of these home remedies seem to be doing the trick, you can always call in the professionals. They will have extra tools and techniques to get rid of those pesky bugs, and it's well worth the price to make sure your home is bug-free.
To prevent bed bugs from entering your home again, thoroughly clean any furniture, linens, or clothing you purchase secondhand. Keep an eye out for bugs and start a treatment option at the first sign of infestation. The earlier you capture them, the easier it is to get rid of them all.