How effective is bed bug steam cleaning? Here is all you need to know about killing bugs with a steam iron.
Steam treatment is one of the several ways to tackle a bed bug problem. This has been used successfully with significant results obtained. Steam treatment can either be used alone or could be combined with other methods to get rid of bed bugs.
Our discussion will focus on providing as much information about bed bug steam treatment.
We hope by the end of this article to help you get the gist on what it takes to perform a thorough job of using the steaming method.
Can Steam Alone Get Rid Of A Bed Bug Problem?
Do steam cleaners work?
This is an important question usually asked by persons interested in using heat to control bed bug populations. We have established the fact that steam treatment is used successfully to destroy bed bugs and their eggs.
However, there are limitations as to how effective this method is.
In other words, steam treatment works best in certain conditions and infestation levels than others. It is best applied when a bed bug infestation isn’t full-blown. When bed bugs are restricted to certain parts of your home such as a crack or crevice, blasting steam at such areas for a considerable length of time should get the job done.
Using steam alone for bed bug treatment in a severe infestation sadly won’t get the job done. Therefore, you shouldn’t have your hopes high. However, steam cleaning can be used in addition to other extermination methods to rid the problem.
Early Detection Is Important
If you must use steam cleaning to get rid of a bed bug problem, then early detection will be necessary. This is of the essence because, during the early stages, bed bugs and their eggs are yet to spread to other parts of the room or home.
However, the problem is that most infestations are only noticed after the situation has worsened.
Nevertheless, there are times when you might luckily discover a bed bug problem at its early stage. At such times, getting rid of them will be easier with steam treatment. You only need to apply steam to such areas for an extended length of time sufficient enough to kill them.
The best part is that steam treatment destroys bed bug eggs, thereby limiting the chances that such eggs would hatch. This arrests the problem squarely and ensures you won’t have to deal with an infestation that comes from hatched eggs.
This one-time steam treatment is sufficient to contain the problem when detected early.
Identifying Bed Bugs
How does someone know they’re having a bed bug problem? By being knowledgeable about what these tiny mites look like. Adult bed bugs have definite characteristics they can be identified by. These include a balloon-like elongated shape with the reddish-brown body when fed.
Other physical features include wings (can’t fly despite these), about the size of an apple seed (that is, from 5 to 7 mm), and short golden hairs. Through their glands, bed bugs produce a musty-sweetish odor that signifies their presence.
However, the reality is most bed bugs go through various developmental stages. Thus, it might become harder to identify as certain features aren’t as developed during nymph stages as those of adult bed bugs. At such developmental stages, their appearance looks whitish and yellowish.
To know exactly what you’re dealing with, it’s best to search the internet for photos to compare with what you’ve seen. Nevertheless, the presence of one adult should be sufficient reason to apply steam treatment immediately.
Where To Look
Steam treatment for bed bugs isn’t applied randomly. It needs to be targeted with precision in areas harboring these pests. There are lots of common hiding places used by bed bugs. This behavior has become predictable and helps you search out your surroundings fast if you suspect bed bug presence.
Areas to look include drawer joints, in carpet or rugs, on your bed, you should be looking searching along with tags & piping, box spring and near seams. Duvet cover and other bedding should be searched as well. Ceiling, walls and wall joints are also likely hiding spots.
Search any space wide enough to fit a credit card. Curtain folds should also be looked at. Search beneath loose wallpapers and wall hangings too. Your chairs and couches are also target areas, hence inspecting along seams will be necessary. Cracks and joints on headboards and bed frames should be searched too.
Thorough bed bug inspection along these points helps know exactly where to apply your steam. Having identified such hiding spots, how you apply steam treatments also counts. You shouldn’t rush the process but take the time to apply sufficient burst of steam within 2-feet of such areas.
Apply the steam and hold for a considerable amount of time till bed bugs are exterminated and their eggs destroyed.
However, as mentioned earlier, a full-blown bed bug infestation will require additional extermination strategies. In other words, steam alone won’t be enough to get the job done.
Strategies For Exterminating Bed Bugs Using Steam
How do you steam clean bed bugs?
First, it is important to understand that heat is basically what is needed to exterminate bed bugs using this method.
Steam helps deliver this heat as it penetrates hidden areas much easier than other forms of heat generation. The temperature counts as well.
Bed bugs get killed when steam is delivered at 160 degrees Fahrenheit. However, to kill both bed bugs and their eggs, An increase in steam temperature to 180 degrees Fahrenheit should be sufficient enough to get the job done.
Delivering steam at 180 degrees Fahrenheit requires the temperature to be greater than that. This means the equipment used or steam must be in good shape. Although there are great steamers that will give you the results you seek, commercial steamers are much hotter and penetrate deeper.
You could hire one for this purpose.
Using Bed Bug Steamer
Every steamer comes with specific use instructions or manuals from the manufacturer. These instructions must be strictly followed for the best results. Not all areas used by bed bugs to hide can be treated with steam.
Confused? You shouldn’t be. Items such as electronics could get damaged when treated with steam.
For this method to be most effective, steam treatment will need to be repeated multiple times. Why? Because not all bed bugs are likely to be killed by the steam.
Those that have been able to keep a safe distance from the steam will resurface after you’re through. Doing this repeatedly for a few days ensures they don’t escape.
Surfaces being targeted must reach temperatures of between 160 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything below this temperature range won’t do much to exterminate bed bugs. We recommend staying at the upper limit, that is, 180 degrees Fahrenheit. This destroys both bed bugs and their eggs, thus eliminating the chances of such eggs hatching later on.
During steaming, fabrics will get damp. This is normal. However, it shouldn’t go beyond this by getting wet.
Steamers have controls where you can regulate the amount of steam to ensure it only dampens the fabric. Using a fan after treatment helps circulate the air, thus drying damp fabrics faster.
To maintain the needed temperature, an infrared thermometer will be necessary. This should be used to measure surface temperatures after passing the steam over a surface.
The insufficient temperature will require passing it over much slower to ensure adequate temperature build-up. That way, you’re sure you’ve applied sufficient temperature to exterminate and destroy bed bugs and their eggs.
Caution should be applied when using a steamer over surfaces. This is because certain surfaces might be damaged at high temperatures. Therefore, some form of testing will be necessary. Test an unseen or hidden area of the fabric first to see how well it holds up before proceeding.
You should be away from the steam, or it should be directed outwards, away from you. Keep kids at a safe distance. If possible, they shouldn’t be within the room when carrying out this treatment. Kids are very curious and might approach when you least expect. Keep them as far away as possible.
Avoid using pin-point steam nozzles, rather go for a wider nozzle that evenly distributes steam across surfaces. Pin-point steamer nozzles deliver steam at high pressure. That means it blows off bed bugs without killing them. These are spread further, thus spreading the problem to other areas.
Some steamers are likely to spit out hot water if left idle for some time. Caution must be applied when restarting. One of the ways to limit this is by pointing the nozzle on an absorbent material to help arrest spills.
Commercial Bed Bug Steamers
What is the best steamer to kill bed bugs?
There are varieties of steamers you can use to get rid of bed bugs. These come in all sorts of brands and help get the job done. A few of the most reliable ones include Mr. 100 Primo Cleaning System, Jet Steamer By Pure Daily Care, and McCulloch Mc 1275 Heavy Duty Steamer.
Others are the DB Tech Handheld Multi-purpose Pressurized Electric Steamer and Sargent Steam Cleaner BRZ2 Portable Multipurpose High-Pressure Dry Vapor Steamer.
Bed Bug Steamer Rental
Renting professional bed bug steamers is a good way to exterminate bugs yourself and also save some money.
Many companies lease out commercial steamers that pest control experts use. Some of these facilities also provide add-on services at competitive rates.
Are you confident that you can this yourself? Then don’t spend thousands on exterminators. Go online, you’ll discover many steam rental companies near you.
If you do plan to open a pest control business, you can become a rental provider.
Steam cleaning for bed bugs is a useful way to rid your home of these mites. While this is true, it isn’t thorough and will require additional methods of bed bug extermination to be deployed.
Steaming is most effective in the early stage of an infestation before it becomes full-blown.