To be brutally honest, there's absolutely nothing nice about bed bugs. Not only is the prospect of these household pests crawling all over you as you sleep pretty disturbing, but the bites that you may experience as a result of them are very unpleasant, too. Do not cry yourself to sleep tonight, we can help you get rid of them.
Whether you've recently been backpacking and suspect you may have brought some unexpected guests home with you, you've moved into a rental property only to discover your second hand mattress is riddled with the critters, or you're concerned about what could be living in your child's uni accommodation, follow our tips to get rid of them... fast. Find more tips on how to clean a mattress in our guide.
- Find tips on keeping your home clean over our cleaning hub page
Can you see bed bugs?
Before you can start tackling bed bugs, you'll need to know, once and for all, whether you have an infestation. As it's highly unlikely that you'll ever see your bed bugs, here are some sure fire signs that you could be dealing with the little critters:
- If you wake up in the morning with super itchy skin that you didn't have when you went to sleep, this could be a sign that you have bed bugs. You may also notice a rash made up of small, red spots across your body.
- You may spot small bloodstains on your bedding, along with rust coloured spots of bed bug excrement. If you have dark bedding, this may be more difficult to spot.
- If you manage to find where the bed bugs are hiding, you may also spot small eggs, or evidence of them shedding their skins.
- There may be a musty smell hanging around your space, this is something that bed bugs release.
Where bed bugs hide themselves
How do bed bugs get into your home? It might be that they have come in with luggage (stayed somewhere infested?), clothing or in already-used beds or furniture. They like to hide in groups – and if they've infested your mattress you can be pretty sure they're living in the bed frame and headboard, too.
How to get rid of bed bugs
The best solution for getting rid of bed bugs might be to replace your mattress entirely. This is a big investment, though, so first:
- Take a stiff brush to the mattress, then vacuum it thoroughly and regularly. Empty the vacuum cleaner immediately into an outdoor bin.
- Do the same for the bed frame and all around the room where you've found the bed bugs.
- Wash all your bedding, clothes, curtains and any other soft furnishings on a hot wash (minimum 60ºC) and, if you have a tumble dryer, on a hot setting.
- Anything else around the bed – toys, cushions, clothing – all need to be hot-washed, too.
- Alternatively, place your sheets and bedding in the freezer for three to four days – this will kill the bed bugs.
- Keep on top of cleaning – this means regularly cleaning and vacuuming your space. And if you have a carpet, you might think about giving that a deep clean while you're at it.
- Get a mattress protector. This acts as a barrier between the mattress and your bedlinen. Remove it every time you wash your bedding and hot wash it too. Take advantage of the stripped bed to brush and vacuum it (as above).
- Look for places bed bugs can hide (bear in mind they're the depth of a credit card) and fill those gaps – even peeled wallpaper is a potential home for them.
- Keep the room where you discovered the bed bugs impeccably clean and clutter-free – bed bugs can survive for months without feasting.
From there, we'd recommend taking the following tips into account:
- Get in touch with your landlord, local council, or pest control unit who can offer professional advice. Often you won't be able to rid yourself of bed bugs entirely, with shop bought solutions.
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