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How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs on Mattress: Proven Solutions

Close-up shot of bed bugs on mattress

Bed bugs are notorious pests that infest various hiding places in our homes, with mattresses being one of their favorite habitats. Bed bugs on mattresses are not only a nuisance but also pose health risks, as they feed on human blood and can cause allergic reactions. A bed bug infestation can be a significant concern, as these pests are notoriously hard to exterminate.

Bed bugs are small, flat, brown insects that hide in the folds and crevices of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards. They can also find refuge in clutter, loose wallpaper, electrical outlets, and even luggage.

These pests are nocturnal and come out at night to feed, leaving behind signs of bed bugs such as blood stains and a musty odor.

Getting rid of a bed bug problem requires a thorough understanding of these pests and their habits. Females can lay hundreds of eggs over their lifetime, which are as tiny as a speck of dust.

These eggs, along with the adults, must be eliminated to effectively end an infestation. This is often best achieved with the help of professional exterminators and pest control companies but there are many steps you can take to eliminate these pests, especially if you have bed bugs on mattress.

Read on to learn exactly how!

What Are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are small, brownish insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals. They are nocturnal pests that invade our homes and create a bed bug infestation.

Macro of a bed bug

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

They are incredibly adept at hiding, making their detection a challenging task. Their favorite hiding places are in the folds and seams of mattresses, box springs, and bed frames. They can also be found in cracks and crevices around the room, such as in the headboard, loose wallpaper, and even electrical outlets.

Bed bugs do not fly, but they can move quickly over floors, walls, and ceilings. Females can lay hundreds of eggs over their lifetime, each about the size of a speck of dust, often depositing them in secluded locations. These eggshells can be found in places like drawer joints and mattress seams.

Bed bug bites can cause a range of symptoms, from no physical signs to small bite marks, allergic reactions, and even psychological effects.

A musty odor, similar to a wet towel, is sometimes associated with bed bug infestations. Despite their tiny size, bed bugs can cause a significant bed bug problem if not dealt with appropriately.

5 Ways To Know If Your Mattress Has Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are pesky insects that can cause a major infestation in your home, specifically in places like your mattress, box springs, and bed frame. Here are five ways to detect a bed bug infestation in and around your mattress:

  1. Look for physical signs of bed bugs. These may include blood stains on your pillowcases or mattress seams, and dark spots of insect waste where bed bugs might hide. A flashlight and magnifying glass can be helpful in spotting these signs.
Dark spots on bed sheets are a sign of bed bugs

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

  1. Check for a musty odor. Bed bugs release pheromones that can produce a sweet, musty smell, often associated with infestations.
  2. Inspect the hiding places. Bed bugs can hide in cracks, crevices, and folds of your mattress, headboard, and bed frame. They can also hide in drawer joints, under loose wallpaper, and behind electrical outlets or picture frames.
  3. Watch for bed bug bites. Bed bug bites are often red, itchy, and found in a line or cluster on your skin.
  4. Look for bed bug eggs or eggshells. They are tiny, about the size of a pinhead, and white. You might also find molted skins in the affected areas.

Do I Have To Throw My Mattress Away If I Have Bed Bugs?

No, you do not necessarily have to discard your new mattress if you have a bed bug infestation. However, tackling a bed bug problem can be a daunting task.

These pests are notorious for their hiding places, often found in mattress seams, box springs, bed frames, headboards, and even drawer joints. They leave signs of bed bugs like blood stains, eggshells, and a musty odor.

So, before you consider throwing away your mattress, try these steps to eliminate the bed bugs.

7 Steps To Getting Rid Of Bed Bugs In Your Mattress

Bed bug infestations can be a nightmare, literally. Here are seven steps to help you combat this problem.

Step 1: Launder Your Linens

Hand removing beddings for laundry

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

If you suspect a bed bug infestation, your first step should be to launder your linens.

Start by removing all your bedding, from the mattress seams to the headboard. Carefully place everything into a plastic bag to prevent the pests from spreading to other areas.

Then, wash your linens in hot water and dry them on the highest setting on your dryer. The heat will kill any bed bug eggs and adult insects.

Step 2: Vacuum And Repeat

Hand using vacuum cleaner in bed mattress

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

The second step to tackle a bed bug infestation is to vacuum thoroughly. Use a vacuum cleaner to meticulously clean the infested areas. Pay special attention to mattress seams, bed frame, box springs, headboard, and all hiding places such as cracks, crevices, and folds.

Don’t forget to vacuum curtains, carpet, and drawer joints too. Bed bugs, their eggs, and eggshells can hide in the smallest nooks.

After vacuuming, immediately seal the vacuum bag in a plastic bag and dispose of it in an outdoor trash bag to prevent re-infestation. Also, remember to clean your vacuum cleaner thoroughly to eliminate any pests that might have been missed.

This process should be repeated often to ensure that you catch any bed bug eggs that may have been missed in the previous cleaning. Remember, females can lay hundreds of eggs in their lifetime, and missing even a few can lead to a resurgence of the infestation.

Vacuuming is an effective way to reduce the number of bed bugs and can help in making professional extermination more effective.

Step 3: Take Your Bed Frame Apart

Vacuuming bed frame infested with bed bugs

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

In the battle against a bed bug infestation, one effective strategy is dismantling your bed frame.

Start by removing your mattress and box spring. Check the mattress seams and inspect the box springs for signs of bed bugs, such as tiny eggshells and blood stains. A flashlight and magnifying glass can be helpful tools for this task.

Next, disassemble your bed frame. Be sure to check the headboard, especially if it’s attached to the frame. Pay special attention to drawer joints, as they are common hiding spots.

Once disassembled, it’s important to again vacuum each part thoroughly with a vacuum cleaner, paying special attention to the cracks and crevices. Immediately seal the vacuum bag in a plastic bag and dispose of it in an outside trash bag.

Step 4: Use Insecticides That Are Safe For Your Mattress

Selective focus on insecticide for bed bugs in a room

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

One of the most effective methods is using insecticides. However, not all chemicals are safe for your mattress, box springs, or bed frame.

When selecting an insecticide, ensure it’s labeled safe for use on mattresses. Professionals recommend using products that have been tested and approved for bed bug extermination. Always read the labels carefully to understand how to apply the insecticide properly and safely.

It’s important to focus on common bed bug hiding places such as mattress seams, cracks, crevices, and folds. Also, pay attention to the headboard, frames, and drawer joints. Apply the insecticide carefully in these areas, ensuring you don’t miss any spots.

Even though insecticides can be effective, they may not reach all the pests, especially if they’re hiding deep within the infestations.

In such cases, consider seeking help from professional exterminators or pest control companies. They have access to more potent chemicals and the expertise to handle severe infestations.

Step 5: Steam Your Mattress

One of the most effective ways to combat a bed bug infestation is by utilizing hot water in the form of steam.

This method is especially effective as it penetrates mattress seams, folds, and crevices, common hiding places for these pests. The heat from the steam is lethal to bed bug eggs, and females, reducing the lifetime of the infestation.

Before you start, remove any clutter around the bed frame and box springs to avoid creating new hiding places for the insects.

Hand with blue gloves steaming the mattress

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Then, using a professional-grade steamer, treat the mattress, headboard, and bed frame thoroughly. Ensure to steam the frames, curtains, carpet, and even the drawer joints.

It’s important to note that while steaming, the temperature should be high enough to exterminate the insects but not too hot to damage your mattress or cause a fire hazard. Always read the labels of your steamer for safety instructions.

After steaming, encase your mattress and box springs in a plastic bag and leave it for a few days. This will ensure that any surviving bugs are killed.

Step 6: Encase Your Mattress And Box Spring In A Cover

In the fight against bed bug infestations, encasement of your mattress and box springs can be a vital step. By using a cover, these hiding places are sealed off, preventing further infestation and making extermination easier.

The encasement should be of a type specifically designed for pest control, with labels indicating its effectiveness against bed bugs. It’s important to ensure that the encasement is secure and fits tightly, as even small gaps can provide an entry point for these pests.

Remember, a new mattress isn’t a solution to a bed bug problem, as the bugs can simply migrate from the old mattress to the new one. Instead, focus on treating the affected areas and preventing further infestations.

Regularly monitor the encasement for signs of bed bugs, such as blood stains or a musty odor. If you find evidence of bugs, it’s time to call in professional exterminators. Bed bug extermination is a job for professionals, who have the necessary chemicals and knowledge to effectively handle the problem.

Step 7: Set Up Bed Bug Traps Around Your Bed For Monitoring

Once you’ve taken all the necessary steps to get rid of bed bugs on your mattress, consider setting up bed bug traps around your bed for monitoring.

These traps can be placed in potential hiding places, such as under the bed frame, box springs, and headboard. They can also be positioned near cracks, crevices, and folds where these pests might lurk.

These traps work by luring insects with heat or carbon dioxide, then trapping them on a sticky surface. This monitoring will help you determine the severity of your bed bug problem and whether professional exterminators are needed.

Selective focus of a bed bug on a cloth

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Remember, bed bugs can infest more than just your bed. They can also hide in carpet, curtains, electrical outlets, and even loose wallpaper. Therefore, setting up traps in these areas could also be beneficial.

Always follow the labels on any pesticides or chemicals used, and consult with pest control companies if needed.

How to Prevent Bed Bugs On Mattress in the Future

Bed bugs are notorious pests that often seek refuge in the folds and seams of mattresses. Preventing a bed bug infestation requires vigilance and a proactive approach.

Regularly inspect your mattress, box springs, bed frame, and headboard for signs of bed bugs. Use a flashlight and a magnifying glass to check for tiny eggshells and bed bug eggs in crevices, cracks, and drawer joints.

Man inspecting the mattress for bed bugs using a flashlight

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Maintain cleanliness by frequently vacuuming the mattress, carpet, and affected areas, then seal the vacuum bag in a plastic bag before disposing of it in a trash bag. Hot water wash and high heat in the dryer for your pillowcases, and any fabric that can harbor these insects, also help.

Eliminate clutter, which provides perfect hiding places for these pests. Consider using a bed bug-proof encasement for your new mattress and box springs, which traps these pests and makes their extermination easier.

If infestations persist, don’t hesitate to call in professionals from pest control companies. They have the necessary chemicals and insecticides, approved by labels for bed bug extermination, to handle the situation effectively.

Other Bed Bug Guides from Planet Natural:

How to Check for Bed Bugs (Guide for Home and Travel)

8 Most Common Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs (Complete Guide)

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Melissa Pino is a biologist, master gardener, and regular contributor for Planet Natural. Melissa's work focuses on promoting environmentally-friendly practices, helping people create healthy gardens and finding ways to achieve overall health and wellness.

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