Does Steam Kill Bed Bugs? – Is It Really Effective?

Bed BugsDoes Steam Kill Bed Bugs? - Is It Really Effective?

If bed bugs have been wreaking havoc with your sleep, you certainly must have thought of a number of ways that you can get rid of them. Does steam kill bed bugs, is a thought that has occurred to many.

Does Steam Kill Bed Bugs?

Steam does seem to be an effective measure against bed bugs if it is applied correctly.  A temperature in the range of 160-180F maintained for a few seconds will exterminate a majority of the bed bugs.  

Bed bugs are survivalists and have the tendency to outlive almost all hazardous circumstances, but extreme heat is one thing these creatures cannot tolerate.

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How To Kill Bed Bugs With Steam?

Does Steam Kill Bed Bugs?

Applying steam correctly is of paramount importance here. With a temperature of 160-180F, a commercial steamer with a capacity of 1 gallon can do wonders for bugs. Attach a triangular nozzle so that steam might enter small crevices and cracks of furniture, floor, mattress, etc.

Go slow with steaming and let the area dry to repeat the process again.
You have to stay cautious when using steam. Make sure to avoid damaging of old furniture or assets due to heat. Use infrared thermometer to get the right temperature. It will be better if you hire a professional for this work.

Steam cleaning might appear to be a doable task, but there are a few pointers you need to keep in mind while doing this.

What Kind Of Steamer To Use?

Does all steamer kill bed bugs?

A commercial steam cleaner with a minimum capacity of 1 gallon (3.8 liters.)  The option to control the steam volume is also desirable.  Since these machines are expensive, you can also consider renting one.  Apparel steamers and carpet steamers are unable to reach the high temperatures required for bed bug extermination and are therefore quite useless in this case.

What Nozzle To Use?

Use a triangular nozzle for the most effective results.  Any nozzle with bristles attached would hinder the direct application of steam.  The nozzle you select should be able to reach into tiny cracks and crevices because that is where you will find the most bugs and their eggs.  A low-pressure nozzle works best for bed bugs, as the pinpoint nozzles tend to blow the bugs and their eggs around.

Pay Close Attention To Nooks And Crannies

Bed bugs are excellent at hiding.  They lay eggs in the most unlikely of spaces.  Look out for:

  • Cracks in furniture
  • Intricate designs on the headboard of your bed
  • Holes in the mattress
  • Seams of your bed linen or mattress
  • Cracks in floorings
  • Corners of the walls
  • The junction of the ceiling and walls
  • Move From The High Points Of The Area Downwards

Always begin with the high points of the room, like the tops of your curtains, higher points of the wall, etc.  If you begin steaming your floor first, many of the bugs might escape to the ceiling.

  • Go Slow

Steaming slowly is paramount.  If you breeze around your room with the steamer, you might not have created a high enough temperature to target both bugs and their eggs.  So move linearly across the area, slowly, so as to cover maximum area effectively.

 The general rule of thumb while steam cleaning bugs is 12 inches every 30 seconds.

  • Allow The Area To Air Dry

Steam cleaning will leave a good amount of moisture on your carpets, furniture, and other upholstered items.  This needs to be dried if you don’t want a mildew problem on your hands.  So allow for air circulation once you have finished the cleaning process.  Turn on the fan, if needed.

  • Repeat The Process

As is stated in the article previously, bed bugs are survivalists.  Their eggs require a bit more exposure to direct steam to ensure they are dead.  So you might want to repeat the steam cleaning process, based on the extent of the infestation.

Does Steam Kill Bed Bugs?

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Precautionary Measures While Using Steam

Working with steam involves exposure to very high temperatures.  Follow the underlying precautions to ensure no harm is done:

  • Deep clean your home before you begin the cleaning process.  Address the clutter in various spaces and make sure the bed bugs have nowhere to hide if they survive the assault of the steam.
  • Test the steam cleaner on a small patch of the area before you begin.  
  • Operate the steam cleaner with utmost caution.  Refilling the tank and handling the nozzle in between steaming can be dangerous, so be careful to avoid any burns.
  • Make sure to not damage frail or older furniture by over-exposure to steam.
  • Use an infrared thermometer to ensure that you are maintaining the right temperature while steaming.
  • For the best results, you could hire a professional to use the machine.  The use of mild pesticides along with steam will ensure that your house is completely free of bed bugs.

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