Using a Vacuum to Kill Bed Bugs, and Choosing the Best One
Bed bugs are a nasty problem. They come in huge numbers, multiply quickly, and can be hard to spot. Hiding in tiny cracks and crevices, they can be found in places like your mattress, box springs, couches, armchairs, and even piles of clothing. Their bites are nasty, leaving red, irritating bumps anywhere your skin is exposed at night while you sleep. And this issue doesn’t only happen to messy people – in fact, the cleanest homes can be susceptible to bed bugs. While insecticides and other chemical sprays do the job of killing them, there are other ways to get rid of your infestation. One way you can do this is with a vacuum cleaner.
Table of Contents
Does Vacuuming Even Work?
If you’ve got bed bugs, picking them out one-by-one with your fingers isn’t really going to be an option. And even though sprays do work, you’ll still want to be able to get rid of the dead bugs sitting around your home. This is where a vacuum comes in.
Vacuums use a high amount of suction to bring up dirt and debris from a floor. It can suck even tiny particles out of carpet fibers, including insects.
When it comes to bed bugs, the concept is easy: suction them up off of a surface and out of your home. It’s also a good way to get rid of their eggs and fecal matter – a huge step in controlling your infestation.But since not all vacuums are created equal, you’ll need to choose wisely.
With so many sprays on the market, it can be hard to trust which one will actually give you results. Click here to learn more about the best pesticides for bed bugs.
How to vacuum up bed bugs
It’s not as easy as running a vacuum over your floors. Bed bugs like to hide, after all, and so you’ll have to do some investigating and deeper work to get rid of them.
There are some things to remember when it comes to vacuuming bed bugs:
- Suction: Since these bugs can really cling to surfaces deep inside hiding spots, you’ll want a vacuum with a good amount of power. Look for one with a motor of at least 110 volts, with 120 and up being preferable.
- Find them: You should be able to see bed bugs with the naked eye, although it might be tough if they’re really hiding. Look in the seams of mattresses and furniture, rips or tears in the fabric, and even deep wrinkles. Their eggs won’t be as easy to see, but they’re going to be in the same areas the adults are lingering.
- Take action: Use the vacuum’s crevice wand and run it along seams, wrinkles, crevices, and pretty much anywhere in your home you can think of that bed bugs might be hiding. Go over these areas at least twice. Run the vacuum over the regular carpets in the rest of the house. Repeat the process daily until your infestation is under control.
What to look for in a steam cleaner
Why use a steam cleaner? It’s not quite the same as a vacuum, after all. The goal with a steam cleaner when it comes to bed bugs is to use its heat to kill. Since vacuuming alone won’t necessarily kill bugs, using a steam cleaner can be a great way ensure your problem is taken care of quick.
When you’re shopping for a steam cleaner, keep these in mind:
- Heat: Bed bugs can be hard to kill, but one way to make sure they die is with heat. You’ll need a temperature of 160-180 degrees in order to kill them.
- Penetration: Since bed bugs can sneak in through a tear in fabric and hide inside a mattress or piece of furniture, it can be impossible to vacuum them up. With a good steam cleaner, the heat produced by it will penetrate through the fabric and into the bug’s hiding spot. Look for one that can penetrate ¾” into the surface, and at least 2” into crevices.
- Moisture: You want a machine that produces a good amount of steam, but not so much that it leaves your furniture and bedding soaking wet. Too much moisture can cause staining and possibly mold.
You’ve heard of bed bug sprays, but what about strips? They’re a surprisingly easy thing to use. Click here for more information on bed bug strips.
Can Bed Bugs Stay Alive Inside a Vacuum?
The short answer is, yes. Although a bed bug is tiny and a trip through a vacuum cleaner would be a crazy and dangerous one, they can ultimately survive it. This means that once you vacuum them up, they could potentially crawl through the hose, out the nozzle, and into your home once more. But, there are ways to combat this.
One way is to get a vacuum with a bag. Bagless ones are more convenient and handy to have on an every day basis, but when it comes to bed bugs, using a bag is the way to go. As soon as you’re done, seal the bag’s opening with tape, then zip into a large ziplock bag and throw into the outside trash can. If you need to use a bagless vacuum, empty the canister directly into an empty garbage bag, then immediately seal shut and throw away outside. Wash the vacuum canister in very hot, soapy water immediately afterward.
Using a steam cleaner is great when it comes to killing bed bugs, but it can also be dangerous. When steam comes out it is usually upwards of 200 degrees F, which is hot enough to burn your skin. As you’re using a steam cleaner, make sure to keep it pointed away from your face, other people, and pets.
A HEPA filter in your vacuum is also a good thing to look for when you’re dealing with bed bugs. These types of filters are heavy duty and trap particles inside the vacuum, meaning that the bed bugs would have a very hard time crawling past it and back out into your house again.
The Top 3 Vacuums
Every major retailer seems to carry vacuums, so which ones are good enough for bed bugs? You definitely don’t want to mess around; getting something good for this kind of job is essential.
Here’s three of best vacuums you’ll find for it:
- Atrix Lil’ Red HEPA Bed Bug Vacuum: This smaller-sized vacuum is light enough for you to carry around the house with you, yet carries a strong 1200 volt motor. It uses HEPA filter bags and comes with all the accessories needed for furniture, stairs, floors, and carpets.
- Kenmore 600 Canister HEPA Vacuum: This lightweight vacuum uses a HEPA bag to trap dirt and bed bugs, while ensuring the powerful suction you’ll need to get the job done.
- Atrix Bug-Sucker HEPA Backpack Vacuum: What’s more convenient than wearing a vacuum on your back? Not only is it easy to lug around, but they also make it easy to get bugs. Coming with tons of attachments and a HEPA bag system, this product is ideal for sucking bed bugs out of your home.
While bug sprays work well, there’s areas you can miss. This is where a fogger can help. Go here for more details on bed bug foggers.
The very best vacuum for bed bugs
But with all the products out there, which one is the best? Most brands will claim theirs is, so how do we know? After much research, there are definitely some products that stand out more than others. And the winner is Hoover Platinum Collection HEPA Upright Vacuum.
The feature that stands out about this Hoover is its power. Because bed bugs are very good at clinging to fabric, they can be hard for any vacuum to pick up, which is why you’ll need one with a strong motor. This vacuum comes with attachments and uses a HEPA bag system which is great for bed bug control. Also, it includes a smaller canister vacuum for smaller jobs.
So when you’re dealing with bed bugs and trying to think up a treatment plan, consider vacuums. Not only do they pick the insects right out of your furniture, they’re also fast, convenient, and get the job done.
You can find further details of Bed Bugs Control here.