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Home Remedies for Bed Bugs: Will Anything Work?

  
  
  

home remedies for bed bugsWhen it comes to home remedies for bed bugs, there are many: some that legitimately work and others that are merely old wives’ tales. First let’s address those that simply do not work and then move on to the best home remedies for bed bugs that, for our purposes here, are defined as solutions that can be employed without seeking the advice or assistance of a professional service. 

Home Remedies that Don’t Work so Well
Here are some home remedies for bed bugs that will not get rid of the infestation:

  • Vacuuming can spread the problem: While it may seem effective to suck up as many of the bed bugs as possible by trying to cover every crack and crevice in your home, in actuality this strategy will not cover all hiding spots, is difficult to get bed bug eggs, and may actually spread the problem if you don’t seal the vacuum bag that you throw away. It could be a supplemental treatment with other more effective methods but is not ideal. 
  • Rubbing alcohol is cheap but cannot do much: Because it is a liquid and does dry up, it does not do much over the long term to eradicate bed bugs and their eggs. It would also have to be used on identifiable bed bugs, which are often hard to detect. And, pouring liquids of any sort into the walls or foundation of a structure is never advisable. 
  • Throwing out your belongings is a bad idea: This can be costly and certainly not effective as many people take what others throw out in terms of mattresses, clothing, bedding and furniture, which means that they inherit bed bugs as well. Meanwhile, you have to pay out for new stuff and you likely will still have bed bugs lurking in soft-side décor items or behind outlets, smoke alarms, furniture, and baseboards just waiting to lodge themselves in your newly purchased products. 

Home Remedies to Try 
Try to focus on using these and other effective home remedies, but remember that you may need to use a combination of them in order to truly rid yourself of bed bugs:

  • Hot washer and hot dryer: Wash your bedding and clothing in very hot water in the washing machine and also use the hottest possible setting for the clothes dryer. This should be done regularly as it has been proven that bed bugs and their eggs can be killed by temperatures that are 120 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter. If you can afford it, you can also send your clothing and bedding to the dry cleaner on a regular basis. However, other treatments must also be used rather than to solely rely on this remedy.
  • Dry steamers: Steam creates the high temperature necessary to kill bed bugs and bed bug eggs. The steam can get in more of the cracks and crevices for a longer and deeper reach into a structure or piece of furniture. Moreover, steam is a desirable natural method. However, the equipment is not necessarily cheap and must be used very carefully. 
  • Mattress covers and encasements: Consider this both a treatment and preventative measure for bed bugs as these can keep on working for up to two years if you’ve purchased a quality cover. This is also a very reasonably priced solution. However, this product only covers mattresses and box springs so it is still important to use another remedy for other areas in the home or facility. 

In Review
Here are the main points from this blog post:

  • Home remedies are defined as anything that does not involve the use of a professional service.
  • Remedies that do not work well include vacuuming, using rubbing alcohol, and throwing out all bed bug-ridden belongings.
  • Home remedies worth trying include hot washer and hot dryer, dry steamers, and mattress covers and encasements.
  • It is best to use a combination of remedies for more coverage.
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Photo Credit: WordRidden via Flickr

About The Author

Jeremy EckerJeremy Ecker has worked in the pest control industry for the past 17 years. The last 8 years was spent as a Vice President of one of the most well respected regional Pest Control Companies in New York. He is part of a NESDCA Certified Dog Team

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