How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs from Your Mattress (Updated)

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs from Your Mattress

Last Updated on October 1st, 2019

Bed bugs were once public health hazards and their incidence have declined around the mid 20th century; however, bed bugs have evolved resistance to common insecticides.

Bed bugs are also known to readily and easily transport from one place to another especially to unsuspecting travelers who stay in hotels or apartments.

When you find bed bugs on your mattress, do not panic! There are easy ways to get rid of bed bugs from your mattress.

The following steps may be tedious, but if you will just resolve to follow through, you will realize that you just cannot put a price on getting sound sleep on a bed-bug-proof bed.

1. Begin by stripping of your bedding from your mattress and bagging them in sealed garbage bags to prevent bed bugs from escaping and infesting other parts of your home.

2. Take your bags directly to your washing machine and carefully unload your bedding inside, taking care to reseal the bags. Wash the beddings using the hot water setting.

3. Dry the bedding under the high heat setting if possible. This will kill and bed bugs and eggs hiding in your sheets and covers.

4. While your laundry cycle is running, remove your mattress and box spring from the bed frame then use a vacuum to remove any bed bugs, shells, fecal droppings, or eggs that may be present in the seams and folds in your bed.

5. While you could use most regular vacuums for this step, the preferred vacuum model is one that collects bed bugs into a sealed HEPA filter to make sure that nothing gets out. Read our post can bed bugs live and hide in your vacuum cleaner

6. After you’re done going over the bed with a vacuum, you should follow up with a steamer.

While the vacuum may have done a good job covering the surfaces of your bed, only a steamer can effectively penetrate deep inside your mattress, box spring, bed frame, headboard, and footboard to kill bed bugs and eggs that are hiding inside.

7. Once your bed has been steamed and left to dry, spray the joints of the bedframe, headboard, and footboard with a contact spray. This will kill bed bugs quickly and then evaporate, leaving no residual protection.

8. Follow up with a residual spray to fill those cracks and crevices with the residue that will kill bed bugs for several weeks.

9. After your bed has been fully treated and left to dry, use sealed and certified bed-bug-proof mattress encasements and box spring encasements to protect and seal off your bed.

This will prevent bed bugs from entering or escaping your mattress, reducing the potential for hiding places that they can reside in.

10. Once your encasements have been applied, you put the mattress and box spring back on your treated bed frame and put your clean and bed-bug-free bedding back on your bed.

Treating your bed inside and out and encasing your mattress and box spring are very important steps; however, it is recommended to go an extra step further. You need to stop bed bugs from reaching your bed and climbing back up.

Your mattress, box spring, and bed frame are the most common hiding places for bed bugs, so it’s the best place for you to start your treatment, but do not stop there because bed bugs don’t hide only in your bed; they are also likely in your furniture, closet, even your walls or floors – anywhere close enough for them to detect the carbon dioxide and body heat that you emit in your sleep.

  • Start by isolating your bed from other places of contact. Bed bugs can’t jump or fly so they have to crawl up something to reach you. If your bed has hanging skirts, tuck them in or remove them.
  • Remove any unnecessary pillows and any storage under the bed.
  • Move your bed away from the floor.
  • Now that you have isolated your bed while you sleep, the only way for bed bugs can reach you while you sleep is by climbing up the legs. You can stop them from climbing by placing climbing interceptors under each leg. As bed bugs attempt to get to you, they will climb up the interceptors and then fall into the pitfall where they can’t escape. With this stops in place, you can stop the bed bugs from reaching your bed and monitor their population over time without ever being bitten.

Treat deep cracks and crevices along your baseboards, windowsills and furniture with a vacuum cleaner then again with the high pressure steam cleaner

Remember to move the nozzle slowly – no more than an inch per second to make sure that all bed bugs are adequately exposed to the heat.

Set up long-lasting defenses to ensure that any infestation is finished off.

Use contact spray, residual spray, and residual powder into potential hiding places of bed bugs such as baseboards, cracks and crevices, behind nightstands, along the edges of any carpet, and even inside electrical plugs.

It is not only bed bugs that can be lurking in your mattress. The key prevention which is also a solution in itself is to keep your mattress clean.

There are many resources you can find online to guide you on how to clean your mattress, but never hesitate to call for professional help too.

Further reading and an in depth guide on bed bug removal, see this guide here

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in a Mattress

About the Author:

Madeline Lauria

Madeline Lauria graduated from Duquesne University with a bachelor’s degree in English and journalism. She was the news editor at «The Duquesne Duke,» an intern at Creative Nonfiction and published in the school’s literary journals, «Off the Bluff» and «:Lexicon.» Lauria currently works as a freelance copywriter in Elmira, N.Y. and a crew member in The ALT Project.

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There are several methods possible for getting rid of bed bugs in a mattress. However, if there are bed bugs in a mattress, chances are that they are other places as well—including the box spring, actual bed posts, headboard, baseboards, carpets, bed linens, clothing, and any other small spaces that a bed bug might be able to hide. Throwing out your mattress will not solve your problem. The bugs also live in the bed itself as well as cracks and crevices surrounding your bed. They can also hide in couches, chairs and anywhere else a bed bug might find an opportunity to feed. Moving to another apartment probably won’t get rid of them, either, because they travel fairly well. However, take heart. These steps can help you to get rid of them.

See also:  Marble bug insect

The 8-Step Approach – How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

Have Bed Bugs? Check out our FREE, 100% effective 8-Step Approach to eliminate bed bugs from your home.

Hi, I’m Rose with ZappBug. Do you have bed bugs? My first word of advice to you is DON’T PANIC. You can get rid of them and we are here to tell you just how to do that.

There are several ways you can get rid of bed bugs. The easiest, but most expensive option is finding a professional to do the job for you. This will save you a lot of time and energy. However along with cost those who want to avoid pesticides are often out of luck. Professional heat treatment is an excellent alternative to pesticides and there are many companies that now offer full resident heat treatment, which we highly recommend if you can afford it. Unfortunately, it usually costs several thousand dollars, outside the price range of most people. As an alternative we have developed an 8-step do it yourself approach, that we offer in this video series and the accompany articles on our website. It provides information how you can treat your own items with little cost as possible. Although these 8-steps will require patients and hard work you can rest assure knowing at the end you WILL be bed bug free.

If you are interested please check out the links below to get started.

ZappBug also makes portable heat treatment solutions that work great alongside our 8-step approach. Easy to use, inexpensive, and a great way to save your furniture. Whatever you decide to do remember, DON’T PANIC. You will get rid of your bed bugs and we are here to help you along the way.

Next: We will be moving on to step 1, creating a safe zone. Please click here or check out the link in the description. You can also look at full 8-step approach on our website. Where we include additional information as well as links to all our videos.

Thanks for watching.

8-Step Approach

Learn how to get rid of bed bugs in 8 steps with this do-it-yourself method. We’ll show you everything you need to know to become 100% bed bug free. Learn more now!

Get Help From A Local Professional

Getting rid of bed bugs yourself is difficult. Contact a trusted local pest control company to do the job for you.

Bed Bug Shopping List

We’ve created a comprehensive shopping list for the do-it-yourself, 8-Step Approach. Find everything you need to get rid of bed bugs in your home.

Overview of the 8-Step Approach of Getting Rid of Bed Bugs

ZappBug is here to help! On the following pages we have created a free, easy guide to do-it-yourself bed bug treatment. Treating your own bed bug infestation is accomplishable so long as you are willing to put the work in and remain diligent.

Our 8-Step process is a summary of all the techniques we’ve tried and found effective in getting rid of bed bugs. While we include a variety of solutions in the 8-step process the easiest and most cost effective solution we can recommend is heat treatment. Heat treatment has several benefits: unlike with pesticides, bed bugs are not able to acquire a resistance to heat treatment over time, and will die within minutes at 120F. Since this temperature is relatively low it is safe for the majority of household goods. Our ZappBug products are portable and cost effective heat treatment solutions, with the ZappBug Heater ($199 including shipping), ZappBug Oven 2 ($349 including shipping) and the ZappBug Room ($1499 including shipping) available now to easily treat your home. The methods presented throughout the 8-step process can be used in conjunction with these products or by themselves if you find that even the ZappBug is outside of your price range. Professional pest management is also a great solution if this sounds like something you don’t have the time or patience for and if you can afford it. There are a growing number of pest control companies that offer full house (or apartment) heat treatment, and many others who use portable heat treatment solutions alongside chemical treatments. For more information on finding pest control professionals in your area please check our referral page.

We hope that this guide is informative and wish you luck in your fight against bed bugs!

Step 1: Create a Safe Zone

In this step we show you how to make your bed into a Safe Zone, completely free of bed bugs and proofed against re-infestation. This will allow you to get a good night’s sleep without getting bitten and to feel safe in your own bed.

Step 2: Dealing with Your Personal Belongings

Bed bugs are so small they can hide in just about anything. In this step, we show you how to make sure all of your personal and household items are bed bug free.

Step 3: Dealing with Large Furniture

This step is a continuation of Step 2 above, but we’ve broken out large furniture into its own separate section because the large size presents unique challenges. We show you how to effectively get rid of bed bugs from your large furniture.

Step 4: Use Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is an all natural, powdery substance that acts as a desiccant. It is an extremely helpful tool in both eradicating bed bugs and proofing your home against re-infestation. In this step, we show you how to apply diatomaceous earth in strategic areas in your home to stop bed bugs in their tracks.

Step 5: Sealing Cracks and Crevices

Because bed bugs are so small they can use nearly any crack or crevice as a path of travel or as a harborage to live in. In this step, we show you how to seal up cracks and crevices to prevent this.

Step 6: Floors and Walls

In this step we show how to effectively remove any bed bugs that might be lurking around your floors and walls. We explain how to choose the correct vacuum and carpet shampooer for the job, and we explain proper vacuuming techniques to ensure that you are effectively removing bed bugs and not accidentally spreading them around.

Step 7: Consider Using Pesticides

Pesticides can be helpful in getting rid of bed bugs but it is extremely important to realize that pesticides alone will not eliminate them entirely. At best, they are only one tool in fighting bed bugs. In this step, we look at the pros and cons of pesticide use. If you do decide to use pesticides, we explain which pesticides are most effective and which to avoid.

Step 8: Visiting Friends and Family

A bed bug infestation can feel very isolating. Friends and family may not want you to visit them for fear that you will accidentally bring them bed bugs. In this step we show you a method to guarantee that when you leave your home, no bed bugs are inadvertently tagging along with you. You will be able to assure your friends and family that you are not bringing along any unwanted guests.

Disclaimer: Some of the procedures outlined in this guide may be dangerous and should be undertaken at the readers own risk. Readers should consult all material safety data sheets for any products they use in their own attempts at pest control and consult with the manufacturers of all products regarding best usage practices. This guide should be construed as theoretical advice. ZappBug and its employees will not be held responsible for any injury due to the advice offered herein. This guide cannot be construed as formal advice and ZappBug will not be held liable in any instance of an action resulting from this story. This disclaimer assigns the readers all responsibility for their own decisions.

How To Avoid Hotel Bed Bugs

Bed bugs live where people congregate: homes, apartments, schools, offices, and hotels. They can be found in any travel accommodation, from the most luxurious resorts to the cheapest motels.

See also:  Heat vs Chemical Treatment for Bed Bugs: 12, 000 Treatments Done!

Traveling this year? Make sure you don’t bring home an unexpected souvenir (in the form of a bed bug) from your trip. Read our guide below on how to avoid bed bugs in hotels and vacation rentals.

Pack Properly

The biggest risk of staying in a hotel with bed bugs isn’t being bitten during your stay (although no one wants that), it’s bringing bed bugs home with you and creating an infestation in your own home.

Follow these tips when packing to protect your belongings and your home from being introduced to bed bugs:

  • Use hard-sided luggage without zippers: Bed bugs are attracted to cloth and are small enough to maneuver their way through most zippers.
  • Seal all items in large Ziploc bags inside your suitcase: Keep these bags sealed and as air-tight as possible while in the hotel room. If the bag is not air-tight, it is not bed bug proof! Travel space bags will also work and are easy to roll in your suitcase.
  • Keep luggage off the floor: Use a luggage rack, preferably a metal one, to keep your luggage off the floor of the hotel room during your stay. Bed bugs are not attracted to metal and are more likely to infest your suitcase if it is left on the floor, bed, or dresser.

Inspect Your Hotel Room

Once you arrive at your hotel, perform a thorough scan of the room before bringing your luggage inside. Inspect the mattress, headboard, dresser(s), and nightstands before placing your personal belongings in the room. Using a flashlight, pay special attention to the seams and tufts of your mattress and the corners and seams of dresser and nightstand drawers. If you need to bring your belongings inside with you immediately when you arrive at the hotel, place your luggage in the bathtub while you conduct your search.

When performing your inspection, look for the following:

  • Tiny black spots (excrement) on linens
  • Blood spots on linens
  • Translucent light brown skin castings
  • Actual live bed bugs

If you find any of the above, either request a different room or move to a new hotel entirely! Repeat the inspection in your new location.

Don’t Forget the Bed Bug Spray!

We recommend packing some bed bug travel spray just in case you encounter a bed bug during your travels. Travel sprays are not meant to combat an infestation. Instead, they are to be used on your luggage to kill a token bed bug or two.

Steri-Fab is a spray used during the bed bug control process that also kills bed bugs directly on contact. The bottle is much larger than the bed bug travel spray bottle, but the product is just as effective.

Products needed for Step 3

Checking Out and Arriving Home

After enjoying a (hopefully) bed bug free vacation, perform two last checks to ensure the only thing you will be taking home with you are the memories of your trip.

When Checking Out

  • Inspect items closely for bed bugs or signs of bed bugs before placing them back into your suitcase.
  • If time permits, launder your clothing in hot water and dry in a hot dryer, then place your fresh clothing in air-tight Ziploc bags, and pack directly into your suitcase. The hot temperatures of washing and drying will kill bed bugs.
  • Spray bed bug travel spray or Steri-Fab in or around your suitcase to knockdown any potential hitchhikers.

Upon Arriving Home

  • Perform a quick scan of your luggage outside, perhaps on your driveway, before bringing luggage inside.
  • Inspect items one by one as they are removed from your suitcase for the final time.
  • Unpack clothing directly into your washing machine and launder in hot water and dry on high heat again.
  • Spray suitcase all over with Steri-Fab as a final precautionary measure.

Have you found any bed bugs upon your return home? Learn how to identify bed bugs, where bed bugs hide, and how to get rid of bed bugs with our 4-step bed bug guide.

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How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in a Mattress

By Sanchita Sen
Last Updated On April 23rd, 2020

If you wake up with irritated or inflamed skin, you may have bed bugs in your mattress. People often confuse bed bug bites with mosquito or some other insect bites, and then…

If you wake up with irritated or inflamed skin, you may have bed bugs in your mattress. People often confuse bed bug bites with mosquito or some other insect bites, and then they put off fixing the problem. But if there’s a cluster of inflammation on an exposed area of your skin, it may be caused by bed bugs.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering how to get rid of bed bugs in a mattress. In this article, we will show you how to spot bed bugs in your mattress, eliminate them, and prevent future infestation.

Enjoy 30% OFF any Amerisleep Mattress

What Are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are small insects that feed on blood. An adult bed bug can be 5 to 6.5 mm long and 2 to 3 mm wide. They are oval, reddish-brown insects with six legs and an antenna. Bed bugs can’t fly, but they can crawl very quickly.

These bugs hide under your mattress seams, the bottom of the bed, and in cracks or joints in bed frames, headboards, and footboards. They look for hiding spots close to their feeding ground. Bed bugs are commonly found in mattresses, hence the name “bed bugs.”

Bed bug eggs are like tiny specks of dust, difficult to spot and remove. The eggs hatch in 10 days producing nymphs, or baby bed bugs. These nymphs feed on your blood, and after every meal, they shed their skin. After shedding their skin five times, nymphs mature in six weeks. They are then ready to hatch more eggs on your bed.

How To Spot Bed Bugs in a Mattress

Spotting bed bugs may be difficult because they are tiny creatures that hide during the day. It’s best to look for them before bedtime when they are likely to come out of hiding. You’ll need extra light to spot these tiny insects. Also, keep an eye for bed bug bites on your skin.

Check for these Signs of Bed Bugs

Use a flashlight and magnifying glass to spot bed bugs. If you don’t find anything on the mattress surface, check the sides. If possible, remove your mattress from the bed base, standing it up on its side to check the bottom of the mattress. With the flashlight and magnifying glass, inspect the surface of your box spring, foundation, or platform as well. Look out for:

  • Brownish or reddish live bed bugs, maybe between 1 mm to 6 mm long
  • Tiny, speck-like pale yellow bed bug eggs, or eggshells
  • Yellowish skin shed by nymphs (young bed bugs)
  • Dark tiny spots from bed bug droppings
  • Reddish stains on your mattress from bed bugs that you may have been crushed while you tossed and turned at night

Look for Marks in Clusters on Your Skin

Unlike mosquitoes, bed bugs don’t transmit diseases. They suck your blood, piercing your skin with their pointed mouths. It may not hurt you when they pierce your skin. But their saliva can cause skin irritation and inflammation. You may notice a small, hard welt at the piercing site. These inflammations are often clustered together in a line.

How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs in a Mattress

It’s critical to get rid of bed bugs in a mattress as early as possible. If not checked on time, bed bugs will multiply, spreading the infestation. It’s easy to eradicate them when there are fewer of them. Carefully follow a few steps to remove the bed bugs from your mattress.

Wash All Your Bedding

Remove your bed sheets and pillowcases from your bed. Put all infested items in a big plastic bag and tie a knot on top. This will prevent bed bugs from crawling out of the bag while you take the bag to the washing machine. Wash your bedding in hot water and dry it on the high heat setting for at least 90 minutes in your dryer. Bed bugs die within 20 minutes of exposure to 118 degrees Fahrenheit, but bed bug eggs need 90 minutes of exposure to this same temperature.

See also:  Bed bug bites: Five signs to look for and how to get rid of them

Use a Vacuum Cleaner on Your Mattress

Vacuum your mattress thoroughly with your vacuum’s hose attachment. Using a brush may make the bed bugs stick to the bristles. Carefully vacuum your mattress, paying special attention to the areas under the seams where bed bugs may be hiding. Stand your mattress on its sides and vacuum the bottom of the mattress, too.

Vacuum the surface, sides, and bottom of the box spring or foundation as well. If you have a bed frame, it’s best to dismantle the bed and thoroughly vacuum all the parts, especially if there are any crevices or cracks. Finally, vacuum the whole bedroom floor.

Put the vacuum bag into a trash bag and throw it in a trash can outside your house.

Use an Encasement

Put a bed-bug-proof encasement on your mattress. Encasements are made of a special material bed bugs can’t bite through. The zippers of these encasements are made to be extremely tight, leaving no space for even a tiny bed bug to sneak in.

The encasement traps the bed bugs and cuts off their food supply. Even if bed bugs remain in your mattress, despite vacuuming, they die of starvation inside the encasement. Bed bugs can live for 10 to 20 days without feeding. Keep the bed bug proof encasement on for a year to ensure there are no chances of bed bug survival.

Other Precautions

These are optional steps you may take to be extra cautious about bed bugs. The following steps can treat bed bugs in the areas close to your mattress. Bed bugs usually live within 3 to 4 feet of your mattress. Taking these steps will make your bedroom free of bed bugs.

Keep Bed Bug Interceptor Cups

If you have bed frames, then keep bed bug interceptor cups beneath the bed legs. These cups contain pesticides for killing bed bugs if they try to crawl up to your bed from the floor.

Spray Bed Bug Control Insecticides

You may spray bed bug control insecticides (chemical or plat-based) on your regular or tufted headboard, footboard, bed frames, and other areas in the bedroom. Choose an EPA (Environment Protection Agency) registered product safe for indoor use. But be careful. Improper use of pesticides can have harmful health effects.

Use Bed Bug Steamers

Heat treatment from steamers can kill bed bugs. Bed bug steamers are specially designed to deliver temperatures up to 180 or 200 degrees Fahrenheit, killing bed bugs within 30 seconds of contact. These steamers come with a hose for reaching the hiding spots of bed bugs. Slowly glide the nozzle on all probable bed bug hiding spots. Bed bug steamers can be bought online or from home improvement stores.

Call a Professional Exterminator

Depending on the intensity of the infestation you can either get rid of the bed bug problem yourself or call a professional exterminator. Pest control companies may charge anywhere between $500 to $1500.

Steps To Prevent A Bed Bug Infestation

Bed bugs need warmth and blood to survive and can be found on any furniture or upholstery. No matter where they are found, they find their way to your mattress. They have easy access to food there and a warm environment. Follow a few steps to prevent bed bug infestation.

  • De-clutter your bedroom, reducing hiding spots for bed bugs
  • Seal cracks on the baseboards, walls, and electrical outlets where bed bugs may sneak in or hide
  • Continue to use a bed bug proof encasement on your mattress
  • Regularly vacuum your mattress, bed bases, bed frames, headboards, footboards, carpets, curtains, and other upholstered furniture, removing bed bugs if any
  • Check for bed bugs in your hotel room to avoid bringing them back home with you
  • Wash clothes in hot water immediately after returning from a trip
  • Avoid keeping luggage on your bed; bed bugs may travel by sticking to your bags
  • Inspect second-hand furniture for bed bugs, before buying

Should I replace an infested mattress with a new mattress?

No, you don’t necessarily have to replace a mattress if it’s infested with bed bugs. If the infestation hasn’t gotten out of control, you can remove or kill the bed bugs in your mattress by vacuuming it. Then, put a bed bug proof encasement over it to keep it protected.

Buying a new mattress may not be the best solution if your room still has bed bugs. Bed bugs will come out of their hiding places at night to feed on your blood and infest your new mattress all over again. If all attempts at removing bed bugs fail, then you’ll need to buy a new mattress. But before buying, ensure your house is completely bed bug-free.

To prevent bed bugs from crawling out of your infested mattress, wrap it with heavy-duty plastic and seal with duct tape before disposing of it.

Can bed bugs come back?

Yes, bed bugs can come back. One pregnant bed bug left behind can lead to reinfestation of 300 adults and 1000 new eggs in just three months. You have to be vigilant post-bed bug treatment. Don’t remove your encasement for at least a year. Follow up with regular vacuuming of the whole bedroom, including your bed.

Do hair dryers effectively kill bed bugs?

The heat from hair dryers can kill bed bugs on contact. But they don’t reach temperatures as high as bed bug steamers. You have to keep the heat on each bed bug for several minutes before they die.

Can I sleep in my bed after bed bug treatment?

You may continue to sleep on your mattress after vacuuming it and putting a bed bug proof encasement on it. Even if there are live bed bugs underneath the encasement, they are trapped inside and can’t bite you. Without feeding on your blood, they will die inside the encasement.

If you spray chemical or plant-based insecticides on your mattress, we recommend checking the instructions on the package. Some may require you to stay away from the room for 6 to 8 hours or more after spraying.

Can essential oils be used for bed bug treatment?

Essential oils such as clove, lavender, lemongrass, peppermint, thyme, and cinnamon can be used as an additional step to prevent future infestations. Dilute the essential oils with water and spray on your mattress. Bed bugs can’t stand the strong smell of these essential oils. But essential oils alone are not an effective treatment to prevent infestations.


It’s a common misconception that bed bugs are found in unclean surroundings. Even if you have a clean home, you may experience a bed bug infestation. Bed bugs travel from an infected area to your home, hiding in clothes, bags, or purses. Sometimes bed bugs may crawl from one apartment unit to another in multi-unit apartments with shared walls.

Bed bugs thrive in a warm environment with access to their food source. Mattresses are their perfect hiding spots. You can’t control the entry of bed bugs into your home, but you can prevent their growth with effective bed bug control methods.

This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.

About the author

Sanchita Sen is a full-time writer focusing on the sleep health and mattress industry. She is a former journalist who has written numerous articles on the healthcare sector. Some of the topics she has covered include how to lucid dream, fever dreams, melatonin for sleep, and best gel memory foam mattress. Sanchita holds a Master of Arts in Communications from Convergence Institute of Mass Media and Information Technology Studies. She is also a published author, who seeks inspiration from both real life and the world of fiction.

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