Do Steam Cleaners Kill Bed Bugs Effectively?

While they’re not known to pose any serious medical risks, bedbugs are stubborn, unlovely creatures whose infestation can be a real bother. They spread too fast and are hard to get rid of given their exceptional resilience.

Even the harshest chemicals can still leave behind bedbugs and or their eggs. But given the broad-spectrum effectiveness of heat, most people ask if steam cleaners can help them rid their houses of bedbugs.

This article explains everything you need to know about the effect of steam cleaners on bedbugs. It explains how steam cleaners work against bedbugs, how to use them correctly, and more. But if you immediately need a concise answer to the question, here you go.

Do Steam Cleaners Kill Bed Bugs Effectively? 1

Yes, steam cleaners kill bedbugs plus their eggs but you must use them correctly for optimal efficiency. We’ve explained everything below. 

What Are Bedbugs?

Bedbugs are small, oval insects that survive on human blood. They’re identified by flat bodies, which swell after they’ve fed on human blood. The insects do not fly but move quite fast over surfaces.

They love hiding inside clothes, furniture, and other places. Bedbugs are most active at night when they bite humans while asleep.

How Do I Know That I Have Bedbugs in My House?

Before thinking about using steam cleaners to exterminate bedbugs, you want to verify that you indeed have an infestation. And, there are many ways to know if there are bedbugs inside your house because they tend to stay not far from their host (humans).

Firstly, check your bed, pillows, and clothing for the insects, their fecal spots, or eggshells. These insects love to stay as close to their host as possible, so you’ll often find them and their eggs around sleeping areas. And since they mostly hide, look around stitches. Also, check the hidden areas of your bed.

Secondly, check the crevices and cracks of your furniture and floors, especially carpeting. The insects are popular for staying inside such dark places. A random check in the day or at night can reveal their presence. Ensure that you check hidden spots.

Itchy skin in the morning may be another indicator of bedbugs. Although it could be caused by many other things, you can attribute it to bedbug bites if you also notice traces of blood on your sheets and pillowcases.

Bedbugs bite the exposed part of your skin while you’re sleeping. Moreover, bedbugs can be identified by an odor from their scent glands. The musty smell is often associated with a large number of these insects.

How Does Steam Kill Bedbugs?

While these animals are popular for their resilience, heat is a huge threat to their existence. They usually survive best between 70° and 80° Fahrenheit. Temperatures below or above this range will start to bother these insects.

However, temperatures have to be at or above 113° Fahrenheit — the more, the better — to kill bedbugs efficiently. On the same note, the exposure time must be put into consideration. More exposure time with more heat will automatically lead to a 100% mortality rate.

Steam temperatures at 113° Fahrenheit will kill bedbugs at all their stages of life, including their eggs. While stream cleaners differ, most of them release steam at or above 150°C. Some even reach 300° F, with most of them ranging between 160° and 245° F. This will automatically kill bedbugs even with short exposure.

So, yes, steam will help you kill bedbugs. Sadly, it won’t help you keep them away as it doesn’t have residual activity. That means you can suffer an infestation as soon as the next day.

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How To Kill Bedbugs Using Steam Cleaners

You won’t simply steam-clean your house and assume that all bedbugs are dead from the steam. Here are a few surefire steps to follow that will get you there:

1. Clean The House and Clear Spaces

Start by cleaning your house to remove dust and do away with hidden spaces. For example, you can vacuum your carpets and mattresses to remove dirt and dust; wash your clothes (in hot water) and keep them in an airtight bag, and throw any unwanted stuff outside.

2. Start Steaming

Now, ensure that your steam cleaner has the right nozzle on the extension tube. I recommend the triangular nozzle used alongside a microfiber cloth. Fill your steam cleaner with water and turn it on. Take your time to steam every crevice, all seams, and every other hidden place.

Ensure maximum contact time to ensure 100% efficiency. Don’t forget to steam-treat your furniture, mattresses, pillows, bed, wardrobe, chairs, walls, ceiling, cracks, and couches, just to mention a few. Ensure that the pressure is set to medium to avoid pushing away rather than killing the bedbugs.

3. Dry The Cleaned Stuff

It’s now time to allow all steamed surfaces to dry. You can also use a fan to fast-dry them. Meanwhile, once dry, please observe every treated surface for traces of live bedbugs, their larvae, or eggs. You can repeat the process around a surface on which the insects have not died.

Precautionary Measures While Using Steam Cleaners to Get Rid of Bedbugs

  • Follow all manufacturer’s directions.
  • Always remember that the steam cleaning machine is under pressure. Keep this in mind while refilling.
  • Test before use to ensure that the target surface doesn’t get destroyed.
  • Always ensure that the nozzle is pointing away from you.
  • No children should be around when you’re using the machine.
  • Avoid pin-point nozzles as they can push away the insects instead of killing them.

Keeping The Nasty Animals Away

While steam-treating your surfaces is effective in helping you eliminate bedbugs, keeping them away is equally another story because heat doesn’t have residual effects. Here are a few tips for keeping bedbugs away after evicting them from your house:

  • Seal all cracks on your walls and ceiling to prevent the insects from sneaking in.
  • Cover your mattress with a bedbug cover. Keep it zipped.
  • Don’t leave any clutter on the floor, including your dirty clothes, food remains, and paper.
  • Regularly wash your clothes, beddings, and curtains. Vacuum regularly, too.
  • Be careful not to carry bedbugs home from a hotel room or any other sleeping place where you go.

The Bottom Line

Yes. Steam cleaners kill bedbugs at 113° Fahrenheit and above if used correctly. You now have the information plus the guide. You can remove bedbugs from your house and keep them away, forever. Cheers! 


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