How Does Steam Cleaning Kill Bed Bugs?

If you are like us, the mention of bed bugs makes your skin crawl.  Bed bugs are disgusting and typically incredibly hard to get rid of once there is an infestation.  Most people will grab the chemicals and start trying to annihilate bed bugs but it can be hard to get them all, particularly when they are imbedded in fabric or upholstery.  And, bed bugs are slowly but surely becoming resistant to chemical cleaners and pesticides as they are routinely exposed to it.  That means that your efforts may all be in vain!  Don’t panic and start nervously scratching yourself – all is not lost.  Steam cleaning cleans and disinfects but it can also actually kill bed bugs and help you on your quest to completely eradicate an infection.

Steam cleaning uses only water heated to a high temperature (typically over 200 degree Fahrenheit or more) so how is it possible that it can kill bed bugs?  Steam cleaning is not only as effective as chemical cleaners, it is often more effective and a lot more safe and eco-friendly.  Pest Control Technology explains how steam can be used to eliminate bed bugs, “If bed bugs have a weakness, it’s elevated temperature. Temperatures of about 120°F are lethal to most insects provided they cannot escape to a cooler location. The advantage of steam is that heating is intense and immediate, killing both bugs and eggs on contact.

The types of steamers used for bed bug treatment are like those used for sanitizing floor drains. When targeting bed bugs though, the less moisture emitted the better, especially when treating mattresses and other slow-drying materials where mold growth is a possibility….When using steam, it is important that the bed bugs be exposed to lethal temperatures. Ideally the steamer head should be moved directly over the surface being treated. Holding the steam head farther away might only give the bugs a warm moist bath. A good way to confirm that lethal temperatures are being achieved is to use a digital infrared thermometer. Instantaneous temperature readings can be had by pointing the device at the area just treated. Alternatively, one can hold their hand several inches from the steam head and slowly and carefully move it closer. Vapor too hot to touch is what’s needed to kill bed bugs and eggs on contact…Steam can be used to treat almost any area where bed bugs are found or suspected. Logical places include beds, couches and recliners, baseboards and carpet edges, beneath and within nightstands and dressers and floor areas (especially under and around beds).”  Kill bed bugs without a single harmful chemical cleaner or pesticide in the quickest and most efficient way possible – using a steam cleaner.

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