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bed steaming

Does Steam Kill Bed Bugs?

Steam can zap those pesky bed bugs right out of their hiding spots! It's a clean, green way to dive deep into your couches and blankets, reaching places sprays can't.

Wondering if it really works? Keep reading to see how steam can help you win the bed bug battle.

Key Takeaways

  • Steam treatment is safe and effective for killing bed bugs in all life stages, including eggs, nymphs, and adults, without leaving harmful residues.
  • Preparation steps like decluttering, laundry, disassembling furniture, and vacuuming are crucial before using steam treatment against bed bugs.
  • After steam treatment, it's essential to wash textiles, vacuum regularly, encase mattresses and pillows, seal cracks, and monitor for bed bug activity.
  • While DIY steam treatment can save money and offer immediate action, professional exterminators provide expertise, equipment, and a treatment guarantee for a higher success rate.

Understanding Bed Bug Treatment

Getting rid of bed bugs is a crucial concern for affected households in Florida. As a result, various treatments have been developed to tackle bed bug infestations.

Common Bed Bed Control Methods

Here’s a closer look at the common methods used in bed bug control.



Safety Concerns

Chemical Treatments (i.e., baking soda)

Varies; some bed bugs may be resistant.

Potential toxicity to humans and pets if misused.

Heat Treatments

Highly effective if applied correctly.

Risk of fire if not carefully monitored.


Effective for small items, not whole rooms.

Inconvenience of removing items; limited application.


Effective over time; no resistance reported.

Low risk, but can take longer to achieve results.

The Rise of Steam Treatment

The tale of how to get rid of bed bugs takes a turn with the advent of the steam treatment.

As these cunning critters grow tougher against common pesticides, people are shifting to methods that are kinder to the environment and their health.

One effective method is steaming, which involves passing high-heat vapor through infested areas.

It leaves no harmful residues and is especially destructive to bed bugs in all life cycle stages:

  • Eggs
  • Nymphs
  • Adults

How Does Steam Treatment Work?

Steam treatment for bed bugs involves using high heat to eliminate these pests in various life cycle stages.

The Science Behind Steam Treatment

Steam treatments are a non-toxic way to tackle bed bug infestations. They work because bed bugs and their eggs cannot withstand the high temperatures steam cleaners produce.

Typically, a steam cleaner heats water to a temperature that produces steam above 200 degrees Fahrenheit. It is critical as bed bugs are sensitive to high surface temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

The steam temperature at the surface level must be sufficient to be lethal to the bed bugs. To maximize its effectiveness, here are the key factors to consider:

  1. Temperature: The steam must be between 160 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit at the point of contact. Temperatures lower than 160 degrees may not be effective, and above 180 degrees can damage some materials.

  2. Exposure: To ensure efficacy, bed bugs and their eggs must be exposed to the lethal temperature for a certain amount, usually a few seconds.

  3. Penetration: Steam effectively penetrates the cracks and crevices where bed bugs hide, reaching areas other treatment methods might miss.

  4. Control: Precise temperature control is mandatory to prevent damage to the treated materials and ensure the temperature remains lethal to bed bugs.

  5. Life Stages: Steam affects bed bugs in all life stages, from eggs to adults, ensuring a comprehensive treatment solution.

How Effective Is Steam in Killing Bed Bugs?

Steam treatment is known for its efficacy in exterminating bed bugs, including adults and their eggs. However, just like any other treatment, you must make an informed decision when using steam to kill bed bugs.

Pros and Cons of Steam Treatment

Weighing your options for bed bug treatment? Here’s a glance at the advantages and disadvantages of using steam treatment:



Effectiveness: Steam penetrates cracks and fabrics, killing bed bugs and their eggs.

Limited Reach: Steam may not penetrate deeply enough to kill bed bugs hidden deep in objects.

Safety: Non-toxic and safe for humans and pets.

Precision: Requires careful application to be effective.

Cost-Efficiency: Typically cheaper than hiring exterminators or buying expensive pesticides.

Time-Consuming: Takes time to treat all infected areas properly.

Environmental Impact: Eco-friendly, with no harmful residues left behind.

Equipment: Requires a steam cleaner, which can be costly.

Preparing Your Home for Steam Treatment

Getting your home ready for steam treatment is a critical step in the fight against bed bugs.

Steps Before Treatment

Before bringing in a steam cleaner, it's essential to perform a few steps to make the area accessible and safe:

  • Declutter: Start by removing any clutter around the bed, couches, and other areas where bed bugs are found.
  • Laundry: Wash all linens, including bed sheets, pillowcases, and blankets, in hot water and dry them on the highest dryer setting.
  • Disassemble Furniture: If possible, take apart bed frames and box springs.
  • Vacuum: Thoroughly vacuum the area. Dispose of the vacuum bag immediately in a sealed plastic bag.
  • Remove Sensitive Items: Move things that might be damaged by heat or moisture, such as electronics, paintings, and certain types of upholstery.
  • Inspection: Check areas where bed bugs hide, or eggs might be laid.

Steps During Steam Cleaning Process

Here’s a brief overview of how to kill bed bugs yourself:

  1. Prepare the steam cleaner.

  2. Start with visible areas.

  3. Target crevices and hiding spots.

  4. Tackle the baseboards.

  5. Cover upholstery and curtains.

  6. Revisit after the first session.

  7. Follow safety precautions.

  8. Let the area dry out.

Post-Treatment Care

Specific post-treatment steps are crucial following a steam treatment for bed bugs to ensure the area remains bug-free and prevents re-infestation.

Cleaning and Recovery

After employing steam to get rid of bed bugs, you should prioritize thorough cleaning and diligent ongoing maintenance as homeowners.

Here are suggested steps to enhance recovery and curb the risk of bed bugs returning:

Steps to Take

Recommended Action

Wash All Textiles

Ensure all bed linens, curtains, and clothing in the treated area are washed in hot water and dried on the highest setting possible.

Vacuum Regularly

Immediately dispose of the vacuum contents in a sealed bag outside your home.

Encase Mattresses and Pillows

Prevent them from reaching a host by trapping any remaining bed bugs with protective covers.

Seal Cracks and Crevices

Apply caulk to seal potential entry points, such as cracks in the floor and walls.

Monitor for Activity

Look for signs of bed bugs, such as small rust-colored spots on bedding or a sweet, musty odor.

Additional Treatments

Use bed bug traps and additional steam treatments or other control methods if signs of bed bugs persist.

DIY Steam Treatment vs. Professional Services

When considering young and adult bed bug eradication, you must balance the self-sufficiency of DIY steam treatment against the expertise of professional exterminators.

Can You Do It Yourself?

Attempting DIY steam treatment is appealing due to the potential cost savings and immediate action. However, it requires significant effort, knowledge, and time commitment.

By contrast, professional pest control services provide equipment and expertise. They understand the behavior and hiding spots of bed bugs, saving you time and uncertainty when learning how to perform the treatment effectively.

Here’s a comparison of how DIY steam treatment stacks up against professional services in terms of different factors:


DIY Steam Treatment

Professional Services


Upfront investment in a vacuum cleaner and steam equipment. Possible rental fees.

Typically higher initial cost but includes expert execution and often a follow-up visit or guarantee.


Relies on the user’s ability to apply treatment and reach all infested areas correctly.

Professionals bring experience and knowledge, which usually translates to a higher success rate.


Time-consuming learning curve and application process. Must fit into a personal schedule.

Professionals manage the process, generally more efficiently, and work is scheduled conveniently.

Time Commitment

May require multiple treatments over an extended period due to inexperience.

Usually more expedient with often quicker results, benefiting from a targeted, experienced approach.

Is It Time to Call the Experts?

If your nights have turned into a guessing game of 'bite or no bite,' it might be wise to tag in the professional pest control companies (like us, here at Native Pest Management).

We know the ins and outs of this pesky problem and have a battle plan ready. When steam and personal efforts aren't cutting it, a trusted exterminator is the ally one needs in reclaiming their fortress of solitude.