Bedbugs are small insects that live in cracks of mattresses, bedding and bed frames. They come out at night to feed on their human hosts and can leave painful welts behind. Bedbugs are considered very hard to kill, and even harsh chemical treatments may not work. If you prefer a green approach, or cannot tolerate pesticides, try a few natural treatments.
Things You'll Need
- Steam cleaner
- Plastic sheeting
- Diatomaceous earth, food-grade
Wash all bedding and clothes in hot water. Bed bugs can survive temperatures up to 100 degrees for a brief period of time, but they cannot tolerate extended periods of time in high heat. Washing bedding and clothes in hot water and drying them on high heat for more than hour will eliminate bed bugs naturally.
Steam clean mattresses and around baseboards. Using a home steamer, apply steam to places where bed bugs congregate, such as cracks and folds in mattresses, cracks and small spaces by baseboards and underneath the mattress. Work slowly and keep the steam as hot as possible.
Wrap the mattress and box spring in plastic sheeting and place in the sun. This method is commonly used for severe infestations. The outside temperature should be as hot as possible for this method to work. The mattress and box spring should be placed in direct sunlight for at least 6 hours. The heat inside the plastic should be intense enough to kill off the bed bugs.
Sprinkle diatomaceous earth underneath the bed and around the room. While this may not look very nice, bedbugs cannot tolerate this substance. Use only food-grade quality diatomaceous earth and avoid breathing it in when applying. Leave it down until you no longer notice bedbugs.
Spray natural pesticides around the room. Pesticides containing neem oil or natural pyrethrins can be sprayed around the room for short-term effectiveness in repelling and killing bedbugs. This should be reapplied weekly to catch new hatchings.
Tips & Warnings
- Do not use the diatomaceous earth that is intended for swimming pools. It is hazardous to human and pet health. Only food-grade quality should be used.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images
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