The streets of Paris have recently been infested with bedbugs, causing panic and disgust among residents and visitors. Videos of these insects have taken over ICT Tokwhere travelers show how these tiny bloodsuckers swarm hotels, public transport and even cinemas.
If you’re worried about these pests making their way from the City of Love into your bed, we’ve put together some tips to help you get rid of them. CNET has a studio filled with mattresses we’ve tested over the years, so we know exactly how to keep them pest-free.
What are bedbugs?
Bedbugs are small, oval insects that are reddish-brown in color. At a younger age, they may be translucent and invisible to the human eye. Adult bedbugs may be easier to detect, especially on light-colored bedding. Like fleas and ticks, bedbugs feed on the blood of animals and humans. Despite the name, bed bugs aren’t just found in beds – they can also be found on anything made of fabric, such as couches, chairs, curtains, and clothes. If there are bedbugs on your mattress, you may even feel them crawling on you. You may not feel the bite, but it may leave itchy red bumps.
What causes bedbugs?
Bedbugs love to prey on people and animals, so they are sure to hang out in places with lots of people, such as hotels, restaurants, and public transportation. They are most likely going to your home by hitchhiking with a purse, backpack, luggage or clothes. If you like to save money, remember to check any used furniture you buy before you bring it home. Bedbugs love crowded spaces, warm temperatures and fabrics.
“Bedbugs can multiply quickly, and swollen, red and itchy bites are not something you want to deal with on any level,” says David Rubin, a product expert at the company Doctor of sleep. “The best way to prevent them is to keep your home and bedding as clean as possible. Don’t leave a mess where bedbugs can hide and breed,” he added.
8 tips to get rid of bedbugs on your mattress
If you suspect that your mattress may have bedbugs, follow the tips below.
Dry, wash and dry your bedding and bedding
Remove sheets, pillowcases and bedspreads and place them in the dryer at at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Bedbugs cannot survive at such high temperatures, so it is best to eliminate them and any eggs before washing. After completing the drying cycle to kill insects, wash the bedding at the highest temperature and dry as usual. If you want to take it up a notch, you can use a detergent specifically designed to combat bedbugs.
Vacuum the mattress thoroughly
Use a vacuum cleaner hose to vacuum the mattress (avoid using a brush attachment as eggs and bugs can hide in the bristles), paying particular attention to seams, crevices and folds. Be sure to empty your vacuum cleaner outdoors in a sealed bag and dispose of it in your outdoor trash bin.
Use a steam cleaner
Steam devices produce enough heat to kill bedbugs and their eggs, so you can effectively clean your mattress with a steamer. Make sure you steam through all the folds and crevices of the bed.
Invest in a mattress cover
Mattress covers are specially designed to trap bedbugs and prevent them from escaping or feeding on you and other pets. This helps control an existing bedbug infestation and prevent it from starting.
Use diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous earth is a food-grade silica powder that causes dehydration and death to bed bugs. Sprinkle the mattress with a generous layer of diatomaceous earth, leave for an hour, then vacuum. Although DE is taken into account safe for human consumption, inhalation may be dangerous. When contacting DE, use gloves and a mask and ensure adequate ventilation of the room.
Check the bed frame
Even if your bed frame isn’t made of fabric, these critters can hide in cracks, small crevices, and even the legs of the frame. Wipe the smooth surfaces of the bed frame, then steam and vacuum all parts containing fabric.
Use error interceptors
Insect traps are small plastic dishes placed under the legs of the bed frame to trap bedbugs. These traps do not use pesticides, but rely on the bedbugs finding climbing on smooth, slippery surfaces a challenge. Once they get into the interceptor, they cannot get out and will eventually die. One little study found that bedbug repellents were 96% effective in homes with a range of low to severe infestations.
Reach for pesticides
If you’ve tried everything but can’t get rid of the bed bugs, consider using a pesticide specifically formulated for bed bugs. Be sure to look for EPA-approved products that are safe for indoor use. Spray the mattress with insecticide according to the instructions on the product label. Avoid direct skin contact with treated surfaces and allow the mattress to dry thoroughly before covering it.
Too long; I did not read
Getting rid of bedbugs is not an easy task. However, by washing your bedding and using a few products, you can control and eradicate most infestations. If you are concerned about bedbugs on your old mattress, you may want to consider purchasing a new one. Be sure to eliminate any infestations in your home so that they do not migrate to your new bed.