Can a Clothes Steamer Kill Bed Bugs?
You will get two treatment options when dealing with a bed bug problem. One is through the use of chemicals and another is a natural way, which is the use of heat. If you can’t afford heating equipment, a steam cleaner will do to kill bedbugs in your home.
Will a Clothes Steamer Enough to Kill the Bed Bugs?
Depending on the level of heat that your clothing steamer can reach, you can use this to steam clean all bed bug-infested surfaces. The ideal temperature that your steam cleaner should be over 131 degrees Fahrenheit. Though most clothes steamers can reach this, not all can be used for the sole purpose of killing bed bugs.
With this reason in mind, the use of commercial steamer is highly recommended for this purpose. Steamers of this type are more effective as these are designed to reach higher levels of heat that are enough to kill the creepy crawlies. At the same time, it helps in effectively sanitizing surfaces treated against the bugs.
Steam treatment is an alternative chemical-free bed bug treatment that you can conveniently do without the need for expert services. The treatment works not because of the steam but because of the heat from the machine.
This method kills live bed bugs in all stages of life when done properly. The success rate depends mainly on the quality of the steamer that you are going to use. If it can’t reach the ideal temperature or can’t generate more than the ideal heat, the treatment may fail to penetrate surfaces and kill the bugs.
Is Steam Enough to Kill the Pesky Blood-Sucking Bugs?
Steam is a successful treatment that helps in killing bed bugs. However, eradicating bed bugs doesn’t mean that you just have to blast certain areas with steam.
Since bed bugs can take over multiple areas during an infestation, it is only necessary that you know how to properly use a steam cleaner to deal with the pests. This way, you can get successful results as you invest in a new machine.
Steps in Steam Cleaning Your Home to Eliminate Bed Bugs
If you are determined to use steam in treating a bed bug infestation, there are a couple of steps that you must follow to make the entire treatment successful. These steps are the following:
Step 1: Get a Steam Cleaner with a Minimum of 3.8 L Water Tank Capacity
You can choose from these top picks for your first steam cleaner. If you can’t afford to get one, you can always resort to renting one from a reliable company. As mentioned, clothing and even carpet steaming machines may not work for this purpose.
Step 2: Place the Right Type of Nozzle or Attachment to the Hose
Look for the attachment with a wide or angular nozzle. This is highly recommended for steam cleaning upholstery as well as other surfaces. Make sure that you place the nozzle before turning on the machine.
Avoid nozzles or attachments as you want to make sure that you can get as close as possible to infested items. To prevent blowing the bed bugs and their eggs to other parts of the room, avoid using pointed nozzles or narrow nozzles.
Step 3: Steam in Cracks and Crevices after Upholstered Items
When your steamer is ready, start treating all the upholstered items and followed by hard surfaces from top to bottom. You should follow this motion to push down all bed bugs instead of pushing them up or blowing them around the room.
These critters hide in items with cracks and crevices. So, items that you should include are:
- Box Springs
- Tacking Strips on Carpets
Important Note: Make sure you have unplugged all electronic devices before starting!
Step 4: Get a Good Coverage by Moving the Wand Slowly Over the Treated Surface
Using pressurized steam go for a speed of approximately 30 cm or 12 inches every 30 seconds. This way, you can make sure that each item is thoroughly exposed to the steam and kill the bugs and eggs.
Unlike other treatments, steaming can be a tedious and slow process. This is true especially if you are treating a large area. As much as possible, take breaks or call for someone you can take turns to when doing the treatment.
If you find live bugs during the treatment, hold the steam over the area for about 30 seconds to kill it completely. Use a paper to pick up the dead bug and discard it properly.
You must hold the steamer for a few seconds on one surface for it to be effective. This is the reason why this particular treatment requires enough time and patience to be successful.
Step 5: Help Air Circulate Across the Room by Opening the Window and Turning on a Fan
When done, open all windows and turn on a fan. This will help air circulate across the treated room and fry off all treated items.
You must let all items dry properly to avoid mildew and mould from forming. Simply aim the fan to treated items to dry them off faster.
Step 6: Repeat the Treatment at Least Thrice to Ensure Success Rate
For the treatment to work successfully, you should repeat the entire process at least 3 times to kill all the bugs and even those that escaped on the first run. You can repeat the procedure after a couple of hours or the following day depending on the area that you’re treating.
Important Note: Don’t wait for a couple of days before repeating the treatment. Remember that these bugs multiply quickly. Your efforts will all be wasted if you let these critters multiply again before a follow-up treatment.
How to Increase the Effectiveness of the Treatment
Some steps will help increase the effectiveness of steam cleaning and these are:
Step 1: Make sure that the Surface Temperature is Between 160 to 180 °F
Killing the bugs and at the same time protecting your items from getting damaged during treatment, your steamer must reach a temperature within this range. You can use an infrared thermometer to check on the temperature.
If the temperature doesn’t reach this reach, you should adjust your steamer or get another streamer that can reach this temperature range.
Step 2: The treated Surface Must Be Damp and Not Wet
Adjustments must be made to your steamer if the treated surface is wet. It should only feel damp. A solution you can do for this is using a dry towel to reduce the moist on the treated surface.
If there are small or delicate items that must be treated, you can use a handheld steam cleaner or have them washed and dried using high heat. Simply place them in plastic bags to prevent the bugs from infesting other items when moving them across your home.