How to Get Rid of Bedbugs in an Apartment

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic garbage bags

  • Flashlight

  • Household gloves

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Spray bottle

  • Clothes washer and dryer

  • Steam cleaner

  • Hair dryer

Bedbugs have been feeding on human blood for centuries. A decline in bedbug infestation occurred in the 20th century. According to the Mayo Clinic, after World War II bedbugs were eradicated from most developed nations through the use of DDT. DDT, a synthetic pesticide, was eventually banned due to the suspicion that it caused cancer. Bedbug infestations are currently on the rise for reasons such as increased travel and time spent in hotels, hospitals, buses and shelters. Bedbugs are particularly difficult to control in apartment buildings because of the close proximity of living and sleeping areas. If proper steps are taken to treat the infestation, it is possible to live in a bedbug-free apartment. Professional help is recommended, but do-it-yourself treatments will also work.

Step 1

Confirm that there is a bedbug infestation. Bedbugs are small, reddish-brown, flat insects that hide in mattresses, dressers and even electrical outlets. They feed on human blood, and their bites result in red welts that usually occur in a linear pattern of three or four bites. Check sheets and covers for blood spots. Make sure to flip the mattress and box spring, and check the headboard and anything under the bed such as boxes. Check all dresser drawers and stacks of clothing. Inspect all electrical outlets and closets. Check all couches. Use a flashlight to see inside all crevices. The pest control experts at Tech Letter stress that initial inspection must be thorough, and you will need to return again after treatment and reinspect just as thoroughly.

Step 2

Remove all bedding (including mattress pads, pillows and quilts) in every bed in the apartment. Put all bedding, including clothes in closets and children's stuffed animals, into plastic garbage bags to isolate any infestation on the items.

Step 3

Use a steam cleaner that produces a low-vapor steam with a high temperature. Get as close to the bedbugs as possible, and steam clean the entire mattress, box spring, chairs and any other area where bedbugs were spotted during inspection.

Step 4

Use a hair dryer on the highest setting to kill visible bedbugs.

Step 5

Pour rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle and spray directly on bedbugs. Make sure to wear gloves when using this method.

Step 6

Wash and dry bagged bedding and clothes at the highest temperature setting allowed in order to kill the bedbugs.

Step 7

Repeat treatment after one week to ensure the infestation has been eliminated or controlled.

Step 8

Hire a professional exterminator if you are unable to get rid of the infestation yourself. Prepare for extermination by inspecting, removing and bagging all bedding and clothes in bedrooms, and move them to another room such as the living room. Unused electrical outlets should be uncovered. You will have to leave the apartment for at least five hours so the insecticide has time to work. Residents with heart conditions or other health issues should remain away from the treated area for even longer.


Make sure to wear gloves and a ventilated face mask when using and/or being exposed to chemicals of any kind.

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