Have you ever spent a night in bed tossing and turning only to wake up in the morning with those brutal red rashes that leave you itching throughout the day- reminding you of the night’s struggle?
If yes, then you truly know what we are talking about. BED BUGS! Those insanely tiny creatures that enter your bedroom as uninvited guests and disrupt your peaceful sleep. Fortunately, we have shared 30 home remedies to get of bed bugs in this article.
Bed bugs are extremely tiny creatures almost invisible to the naked eye who find a home in mattresses, cushions, rugs, carpets, your wardrobe, old furniture, or any place that is warm and moist. And once they settle and establish their empire, it is tough to get them going. Their large numbers can be dangerously harmful in degrading your stuff and causing damage that can cause you dearly, besides those red rashes.
Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?
You may be a fanatic cleanliness freak keeping your house spick and span, but these tiny little bed bugs can find their way into your abode in the most elusive ways, that only leaves you wondering, HOW and FROM WHERE?
Well, your house may not have been their breeding place in the first instance, but they may have marked their entry from your garden, or as carriers on your clothes, boots, jackets or luggage coming in from hotels, someone’s house or a piece of old furniture bought in from the garage sale.
With their ultra-slim contour and minuscule size, they can easily creep between cracks, folds, and crevices without you having to spot them. And guess what? Now, your sweet home and bedroom are theirs too-and here begins the cold war between YOU and the nasty BED BUGS!
Signs That Bed Bugs Have Infested Your Home
Though these little monsters may be nearly invisible, yet they leave behind various trails signaling that they have entered your house and started on their mission of massive damage.
So, how do you know that the infestation has begun? Watch out for these signs…
- Red rashes on your skin: Bed bugs love to suck blood up your arms and legs leaving behind trails of red rashes and an annoying itch that bothers you for some time. Unlike mosquito bites, the bug bites are seen in groups with tiny red spots and slight inflammation.
- Rusty spots and stains: Wondering why your washed bed linen still shows up that pesky little dots or red stains? Well, those are your blood stains from last night’s treat enjoyed by the bugs. Alternatively, it could also be a sample of their blood, leftover after they were squashed by you in the encounter.
- Black grainy dots: Yuck! This is the worst signal you could ever find. Because that means that the bed bugs not only had a good feast on your mattress but they also pooped and shed their skin out. Beware, for they are in an advanced stage of the settlement now.
- Specks of egg-shells: If you spot those light, flaky ivory-colored dusty material on your bed, furniture, carpet or wardrobe then be ready to welcome more bed bugs in your home because they are signs of baby eggs and a new addition to the bug family.
- Creeping bugs: Once the bed bugs are comfortable in your space and enjoy their daily treat of blood and dirt they grow fat, bigger, and can be spotted by you creeping in the mattress folds or the edges of the bed. Not a pleasing sight for sure, but a tell-tale sign that the infestation is serious!
Home Remedies to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Now that you are sure, that your house is invaded by bed bugs, what do you do? You have two options either use chemical disinfectants to kill them or resort to harmless home remedies to banish the bugs out of your house. While the former method is expensive and exposes you and your stuff to harsh chemicals, the latter is less expensive and chemical-free.
Therefore, we place our bet on harmless and effective home remedies that can be tried with common kitchen ingredients and stuff lying on your storage rack. See which one works for you…
The first step before trying any other remedy-remove the clutter from your house using a good vacuum cleaner. Remember, bed bugs love to rest and multiply in nooks and corners of your mattresses, sofas, and wardrobes. Use a good hose on your vacuum that sucks these little filthy creatures out of their hidden den. Once done, make sure that you empty the hose, not in your backyard but far, far away from your house so that they do not find their back.
Using Heat and Cold Method
Bed bugs are tiny creatures with a weak skeletal system. They cannot withstand extreme temperatures like too much heat or cold.
To subject them to extreme heat, wash your bedding, bed linen, mattress cover, cushion covers, stuff toys, and other casings in hot water or the washing machine with a temperature setting of 140⁰ Fahrenheit or above. This will kill the bugs and sanitize your stuff preventing further damage.
What do you do with stuff that cannot go in the washing machine? Try the other punishing method. Subject it to extreme cold. Pack the stuff in plastic wraps to avoid moisture and place it in the freezer with the ice-cold setting. Once you leave them for 24 hours, take them out of the plastic wrap, jiggle them well to shake off dead cells and bugs.
Using Hot Steam
This is another effective method of applying external heat on large pieces of furniture, bed, and upholstery that cannot be washed. Use a hot steam cleaner set at high temperatures (about 140⁰ Fahrenheit) and run it over carefully over the infested piece like the bed, sofa sets, upholstered chairs, and your bean bag. Make sure that you move the cleaner safely in all directions giving no chance to the bugs to run from one corner to the other.
As evident, bugs have fragile skin and a soft skeleton that cannot sustain a harsh or rough blow. Diatomaceous Earth with its natural sand-like grains is rough, sharp, and abrasive causing damage to the bed bugs. Sprinkle a generous amount of this earth on the bed mattress and affected areas with special attention to folds and edges. Leave it on for about 24-48 hours. Then using a vacuum, suck out all the debris including the dead bugs. While diatomaceous earth is not harmful to touch and smell, yet due care should be taken if you have children or pets at home.
An alcohol solution with 90% concentration serves well to kill bed bugs and their eggs. Fill the dilution in a spray bottle and spray the solution whenever you spot the bugs or in nooks and crannies to keep the loathsome creatures away.
Now is the time to use all those little packets of silica gel that you found in shoe boxes and food products to keep them dry. Open those packets, grind the silica material, and spread it over the infected area. If you have kids and pets at home, avoid this remedy as direct contact and inhalation of silica can be harmful.
Borax powder which is commonly used to combat ants, works effectively in suffocating bed bugs too. When you sprinkle some borax powder on your mattress or affected area, the fumes from the acidic salt suffocates the bugs leaving them dead. However, once applied, leave the powder on the surface for at least 24 hours before you see the desired result.
Scented Dryer Sheets
If you are the kind one, who does not want to dirty your hands in homicide, then this is an effective method. Use dryer sheets with a strong scent or smell. This will disturb the nostrils of the bugs and drive them away from the infested areas to find a new spot for settlement. While your mattress may become bug-free, be ready to spot the bugs soon in your wardrobe or the adjoining recliner.
Another temporary solution to banish the bed bugs. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda and see how it dries out the tiny creatures. Then use a vacuum to clean the debris away.
Besides adding taste to your Chinese cuisine, vinegar can do wonders in fighting against bed bugs. Use undiluted vinegar in a bottle spray on your mattress, furniture and upholstery ensuring a good spray in every corner and crack. Then follow the drill and pull out the dead bugs using a vacuum.
Double-Sided Adhesive Tape
Use the double-sided sticky tape along the base of your bed. This prevents bugs from climbing uphill and making a base on your mattress. However, this works only when you keep all blankets, quilts and mattress cover away neatly folded, not hanging and giving secondary way to these little creatures.
An instant hack, when you are too lazy to uncoil the vacuum and running short of time to try other home remedies. Acting as a mini vacuum, your hair dryer can pull out bugs and dead cells from your mattress and sofa instantly. However, this trick works best for small infected areas only.
Hard Bristled Brush
Just like you brush off your pet’s hair from your coat and carpet, similarly use a broad, hard bristled brush to brush off bed bugs and dead larvae clinging on to your bed or upholstery and missed by your vacuum cleaner.
A concentrate of hydrogen peroxide, commonly called bleach is also used as a contact killer to get rid of bugs. However, a spray of this liquid can leave behind stains on your piece of ecstasy causing more damage. Therefore, try your hands at other remedies before giving this one a shot.
Tea Tree Oil
This essential oil with its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties is a safe bet to try. It is neither harmful in exposure or inhalation and can, therefore, be sprayed generously. While its strong scent can put off your children, it is equally deterring on the sweat odor absorbed by your mattress which attracts bed bugs. As a result, it distracts bed bugs and makes them less active rather than killing them altogether.
A pleasant fragrance for you but a suffocating one for the poor bed bugs. Yes, the strong odor of lavender is disliked by bugs suffocating them to death. Use a good amount of lavender oil spray on your bed, pillows and cushions or you can use a lavender soap to wash off your linen.
Black Walnut Tea
Don’t throw away those dipped tea bags of black walnut tea. They can help you banish bugs from your house. Yes, black walnut tea is a good insect repellent and the used tea bags can be placed in the infested areas to drive away those little creatures.
Another essential oil and herb that deters insects including bed bugs. With its strong smell, it curbs and discourages the growth of bed bugs in your house. The leaves may be scattered in the affected areas or the oil may be used individually in a spray bottle or along with a mixture of lavender oil.
With its tiny, sticky hairs, bean leaves serve as the perfect flytrap to catch bed bugs and similar little fleas. The exoskeleton of bed bugs is soft and they get easily trapped in these leaves.
This herb effectively keeps away bed bugs like other essential oils. The leaves can be boiled to extract the solution, which can then be added to your bathwater. This way the little critters will not be attracted to your body smell. Besides this, the solution can also be sprayed in the infested area.
Though found mostly in the wetlands, this herbal plant that is a good insect repellant comes in small packets. You can empty the contents of the pack to prepare a solution and spray it on the little nasty bed bugs and all-around your house.
The fresh, strong smell of mint serves as a good remedy to keep away bugs while refreshing your house with its cool, fresh smell. Place a few leaves of the plant in between mattress folds, seams and edges. You can also place a bunch of these leaves in your wardrobe or bookshelf to discourage bugs from munching on your favorite novels.
Thyme does not kill bed bugs but it surely repels them. The fumes from a burning branch of thyme with a cloth wrapped around it can banish those little filthy creatures and deter them from returning. However, this practice should be repeated every few weeks for the best results.
With strong acidic content, this herbal plant can kill bed bugs and its larvae, rather than just driving them away. Bugs hate the strong smell of this plant and its sharp smell ultimately suffocates them to death.
Clove or clove oil has the same effect as lemongrass. With is a strong streaky smell, it acts as a good insect repellent and deflects the little critters from hiding in nooks and crannies.
Extracted from the brightly colored chrysanthemum flowers, this natural herb attacks the nervous system of the little bed bugs leaving them unconscious or close to being dead.
Orange Oil Mix
A natural essential oil extracted from the orange plant, it has a sweet, sharp and citric smell that works heavily on the fragile system of bed bugs. Combine the oil with a lit mix of compost tea and blackstrap molasses in a spray bottle and apply at regular intervals for best results.
A parasitic fungus that does its work in a short time. It feeds on bed bugs, reducing their numbers, making them less fertile and leaving them weak and incapable of moving around.
A good contact killer that works best when combined with ground ginger and oregano. Combine one teaspoon of the pepper with the oils of ginger and oregano and strain the mixture. Add it to a spray bottle filled with water and spray on the infected area frequently.
A spray of cinnamon oil with its strong, sharp and aromatic smell can deter the little bed bugs from returning to the same place. It does not kill bed bugs but is an easy remedy that wards off the little creatures without stinking or leaving your bedroom with a foul smell.
With so many hacks by your side, it is time you stop renting your sweet home and cozy mattress to these offensive critters. Pick an effective home remedy from the above list and say goodbye to these uninvited sleep mates today.
The Bottom Line
Once you get rid of them, make sure to keep them out of your mattress, try to clean your mattress periodically, and zip it up with a quality bed bug repellant bed cover. Vacuum all the surrounding surfaces including bedding, curtains, carpets, and furniture. Also do make sure to check bedbugs while visiting a hotel when you travel so that they stay away from your home.