Bed bugs are pests that are commonly found in our household. They first infest your sleeping areas like beds, mattresses, sofas, etc. and later on spread to every nook and corner of the house. They enter your house in search of food for their survival. These tiny parasites feed themselves with warm blood obtained from humans and pets living in the house. They attack your body at night when you are sleeping, suck out blood by piercing a hole into the skin and then hide themselves in and around the bed. Next morning, you feel severe itching and swollen bumps appear all over the body. If there is a heavy infestation in the bed, then they can badly disrupt your sleep at night. Therefore, killing of bed bugs in the house is very important before they cause any serious harm to you or your loved ones.
How to Kill Bed Bugs with Heat
Studies have found that bed bugs and their eggs cannot tolerate high temperatures. If they are exposed to about 120°F, they die within 15-20 minutes. You know that bed bug infestation is not just confined to bed area. They can be found all over the house. Now, heat has to be applied on different household items in a different manner. In the following paragraphs, we will discuss various methods of heat application on bed bugs.
Hot Water Treatment
All the washable items like linens, sheets, pillows, cushions, furniture coverings, garments, etc. should be washed in hot water. Put these materials in washing machine and set the temperature at 130°F. Keep them in the hot water for about half an hour. After washing, put them in the clothes dryer for drying. Here too, heat them at around the same temperature. Alternatively, you can dry the washed items under the sun. The bed bugs and their eggs will succumb to high temperature of the water and dryer.
Dry Heat Exposure
There are many such items like leather jackets, shoes, stuffed toys, etc. which cannot be washed in hot water as they may get damaged in water. In that case, bed bugs in these items have to be subjected to dry heat. Put each object to be treated by heat in separate plastic bags and seal them properly. While packing them, make sure they are not tightly folded inside the bag because then heat may not penetrate deep enough where the bugs are actually hidden. Place these bags in a clothes dryer and turn it on at 120°F. Keep the bags inside the dryer for the next 15-20 minutes. After that, remove the bags from the dryer and allow them to cool down before you take out the contents. Finally, vacuum clean the heat treated items in order to clean up residues of killed bed bugs.
Bed bugs in carpets, rugs and furniture of the house can be killed by steam cleaning. If you do not have a portable steam cleaner at home, then you can get one on rental basis. When the steam is pushed through the fabrics of the carpet, bed bugs trapped there come in contact with the high temperature of the steam and they die. While using a steam cleaner on a furniture, you need a machine with a small nozzle that can release steam into the small cracks and crevices of the furniture. If required, you can repeat steam cleaning treatment one more time after two weeks to ensure that all bed bugs are gone.
Use Heat Gun
Heat gun can be used for getting rid of bed bugs that are hidden in large areas like mattresses, beds and upholstered furniture in a bedroom. You have to take a few precautions before you start using the heat gun. First of all, keep children and pets away from the work area. Keep a fire extinguisher at hand. Do not wear any kind of loose fitted clothes while working with a heat gun. Set the temperature of the gun at 200°F. Hold the gun 4 inches away from the surface to be treated and turn it on. Move it gradually in circular motion on the entire area. While working on the mattresses, apply heat on both sides and do not forget its seams. Similarly, in case of beds and other furniture, heat should be applied on all the surfaces including the underside. Thus, you can eliminate bed bugs completely from all corners and crevices.
Once you have freed your house from bed bugs, make sure you do not have another infestation. To prevent it, you must keep your house clean. You can continue with the thorough cleaning of the household items with hot water once in a month. After traveling, treat your luggage with the heat gun before you bring them inside your house.