If you have ever been overrun by bed bugs before, you will know what a pain they are. They bite you when you are sleeping, they cause intense itching, and worst of all – they are incredibly hard to get rid of!
Now, you could call in the professionals who will spray your entire house with chemicals, making it unsafe to live in for a while. If you are like me, however, you don’t want your house covered in chemicals, and you also don’t want to be uprooted and live in a hotel for a week.
Thankfully, there are other ways to deal with bed bugs, and in this guide, I will show you how to get rid of bed bugs naturally. It’s not easy and it may take a few attempts to get them all, but when you are done your home will be bedbug-free and if you follow the prevention tips they will not return.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Naturally – Look for Signs
If you wake up and you are covered in itchy spots, there is a good chance it is bed bugs. Always double check, as the bites could be caused by something else, such as fleas or mosquitos.
Bed bugs are small, about 1/5 of an inch long, but they are still visible. The best place to check for them is in your bed. Check your mattress, bed covers, bed frame, and headboard for the following clues of a bed bug infestation:
- Check for bed bug faeces. There will be rusty brown spots on your bed sheets or mattress that look like dry blood marks.
- Check for bed bugs themselves, use a torch and check out every part of your bed, especially seams and cracks. Bed bugs come out at night and hide during the day so they may be difficult to spot in daylight.
- Check the floor under your bed and any clothes that are near the bed. Bed bugs hide during the day so you need to check all areas around the bed.
If you can’t find any evidence of bed bugs but you still have itchy spots, it’s a good idea to follow the rest of this guide, there must be something biting you and the following tips will get rid of other nasty bugs that live in your bed.
Wash Bed Covers and Clothes
The first thing to do is take all of your bed covers, sheets, clothes, and anything that can be washed. Put them in the washing machine on a hot wash. Heat kills bed bugs so if there are any living in your bed covers, they won’t survive the washing machine.
This is one of the most important steps. Adult bed bugs lay eggs which hatch into other bed bugs, so you need to get rid of the eggs or they will keep coming back.
Use a vacuum cleaner with powerful suction and vacuum the floor under and around your bed. If you have carpet use a carpet attachment to really get deep into the fibres. The vacuum cleaner will get rid of the bed bug carcasses, eggs, and faeces.
Next, vacuum your mattress. Most vacuum cleaners have a mattress or upholstery attachment designed for this purpose. Make sure you cover the whole mattress, especially the edges and seams. Then turn the mattress over and clean the other side.
Remove the mattress from the bed and vacuum the entire bed frame. A crevice tool is good for this as it allows you to get into the joins and cracks. Put the mattress back onto the bed and then vacuum under and around the bed again. When it comes to bed bugs, there is no such thing as too much vacuuming.
Once you are finished vacuuming, take the vacuum cleaner outside and empty it straight away. Empty it into an outside bin as there is less chance of the bed bugs finding their way back into your bed.
Use a Steam Cleaner
Washing the bed covers and vacuuming should take care of the majority of the bed bugs, but if you really want to be thorough then you should use a steam cleaner. A steam cleaner is a great little tool that doesn’t require chemicals, and they are relatively inexpensive.
Use the steam cleaner on all areas that you vacuumed – floor, mattress, bed frame, and headboard. Be careful not to soak the mattress or the floor as this can lead to mould, which is a whole different problem. Even a quick blast of steam will be enough to kill any remaining bed bugs and eggs.
Make an Essential Oil Cleaner
Essential oils such as lavender and tea tree oil are harmful to bed bugs and will make them stay away. Get a spray bottle and put a few drops of your favourite smelling essential oil, the top it up with water. Lightly spray all areas of your bed with the spray.
The great thing about this method is that it can be done daily without much effort, and your bedroom will smell amazing!
Prevention is Better than Cure
By following the above steps you should now have got rid of your bed bug infestation. But don’t stop there! It doesn’t take much for them to return, and you don’t want to have to go through it all again. There are a few things that you can do to ensure the bed bugs stay away for good.
Firstly, it’s likely that bedbugs have motivated you to get a new mattress, so if that’s the case, you can read some honest reviews of the latest mattresses to enter the market here. If your mattress isn’t old or you can’t afford to replace it, another option is to invest in a hypoallergenic mattress protector. Not only will this help to reduce the risk of bed bugs, but they are also good for stopping fleas and dust mites from ruining a good night’s sleep.
Install bed bug traps under your bed frame. These are a cheap and easy way to see any signs of infestation, and stop the bed bugs before they become a real nuisance.