Home Remedies for Getting Rid of Bed Bugs
The very idea makes us squirm, little blood sucking creatures taking advantage when we are at our most vulnerable, but that’s just what bed bugs are highly adapted for.
Bed bugs are oval brownish colored creatures, about the size of an apple pip, however once fed, they can have a red coloration and swell up. Fast moving, and yet thankfully unable to fly, they are often unwittingly brought into the house on furniture, luggage or clothes and can quickly become established. They tend to congregate in mattresses, bed frames and so on, giving them perfect access to us humans at night, but they can survive without feeding for up to a year. Contrary to popular belief, though, they aren’t a sign of a dirty, unkempt home, as they only feed on blood, which, let’s face it, we all have!
If you wake up with tiny, itchy welts on your body, you may be suffering from bed bugs. But fear not, they can be dealt with pretty easily with some simple home remedies.
Getting rid of bed bugs
Gather up all the bedlinen, curtains, and clothing, wash on a hot wash, and the highest dryer setting that you can. Anything that can’t be washed, such as pillow fillers, soft toys and shoes, pop in the dryer on a hot setting for thirty minutes.
Using a stiff brush, scrub the mattress, removing any bug or their eggs. Make sure you brush deep into the seams and around any piping, and then vacuum everything thoroughly, including carpets. Remove any clutter from the bedroom, and vacuum again. Once you’ve finished, place the vacuum bag in a plastic bag and throw it in the trash. Remember to run the vacuum around regularly to keep on top of any nasties.
It’s important to protect yourself from any bed bugs that might have escaped your deep cleaning by hiding right down inside your mattress. Mattress covers are a great idea, preventing the bugs crawling out at night.
Best product for getting rid of bed bugs
Utopia Bedding Zippered Mattress Encasement is available in a range of sizes and includes pillow covers. This should be left in place for at least a year to ensure the last horrible critter starves. If you have a box spring, that should be covered too.
Another defense in your bed bug battle – which, by the way, you’ll be winning if you’ve followed this plan, is to repair any cracks in the walls. Bed bugs can hide in the smallest places, and will do, so plaster the cracks and glue down any loose wallpaper.
If you still feel those little bugs are there, watching you, scatter some diatomaceous earth around, leaving it down for a few days before vacuuming it up. The microscopic particles have sharp edges that pierce the bugs and cause them to dehydrate and die. This has the advantage of not being toxic to humans and animals. Baking soda can also be safely used in the same way.
People recommend using silica gel, but as it’s highly toxic, I would avoid using it if you have kids and pets.
Another very effective method, once you’ve thoroughly cleaned, is to make up a spray with approximately 18 oz of water and 20 drops of tea tree oil, and spray your house. Wintergreen alcohol can be used instead of tea tree, but as with silica gel, it’s highly toxic to people and pets.
Having bed bugs, while horrible, isn’t the end of the world, and even the best hotels suffer outbreaks, but these home remedies are super effective at getting rid of them, and ensuring they never trouble you again.