How to Use a HEPA Vacuum for Bed Bugs


Bed bugs are very small insects, about the size of a seed, that inhabit warm areas and spread quickly. They are commonly found in bedding and in shared areas such as dormitories, hotel rooms and hostels and can cause an allergic reaction or bacterial infection on the skin. Because a female bed bug can produce more 500 eggs in her lifespan, bed bugs can be a very difficult problem as they inhabit tiny crevices in bedding and linens. Removing bed bugs is possible with a vacuum that has a HEPA filtration system, although it may take repeated efforts to completely remove all bugs.

Things You'll Need

  • Washing machine
  • Laundry detergent
  • HEPA filter vacuum with dust bag
  • Sealable bags
  • Outdoor trash
  • Remove all bedding and linens from the infected area and wash in very hot water (over 120 degrees Fahrenheit) with detergent, preferably in a washing machine with a sanitize option.

  • Plug in the HEPA filter vacuum and turn it on. Vacuum the entire room, especially the bed and box springs, carefully cleaning all sides, seams, corners, crevices and folds. Vacuum any furniture, closets, curtains, interior and exterior of dressers and along the floorboards as well.

  • Vacuum other soft objects, such as stuffed animals, thoroughly with the HEPA filter vacuum. Place the object in a large, sealable bag and leave sealed for several weeks to suffocate any remaining bugs.

  • Turn off and unplug the vacuum. Remove the dirt bag from the vacuum and place in a large, sealable bag. Seal the bag and discard in an outside garbage receptacle.

  • Remove the HEPA filter from the vacuum and tap carefully over a waste bin with a sealable bag inside. Seal the bag and discard in an outside garbage receptacle.

  • Rinse the HEPA filter well with cold water and air dry before returning to the vacuum if the filter can be washed.

  • Clean the area after vacuuming with a hot steam cleaner and bed bug cleaner, available at hardware and home retail stores. Consider covering the bed and box springs with a mattress cover.

  • Vacuum the entire area again in a few days and repeat weekly until no bed bugs have been evident for a week or more.

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