Can you use a steam iron to kill bed bugs? A Viable Tool for Battling Bed Bugs or Just a Myth? Unveil the truth behind their effectiveness!
You can find a viable solution on the internet regardless of the problem that you might be facing. Similarly, when looking for a quick and economical solution for treating bed bugs, there are many home remedies that you might come across. Bed bugs are something that you can not keep ignoring for a long while yet getting extermination done by a professional can be costly. Heat is considered the most effective way to treat bed bugs. Therefore, a popular home remedy came into effect for treating bed bugs using a steam iron. But the question remains, how effective and feasible is it? And can you use a steam iron to kill bed bugs? Learn more about the treatment option and other related information by going through this article.
Can You Use a Steam Iron to Kill Bed Bugs?
As mentioned earlier, heat can help you get rid of bed bugs quickly, and steam iron can create enough heat to kill them instantly. Ironing the mattresses in quick strokes after setting them to the highest temperature can help you get rid of most bed bugs. These pests are extremely sensitive to changes in temperature.
Exposing them to high temperatures disrupts their bodily functions and can lead to their death. At certain temperatures, the proteins and enzymes in their bodies denature, causing irreparable damage. Bed bugs are sensitive to heat, and they are typically killed at temperatures above 120°F (49°C). To effectively kill bed bugs and their eggs, it’s essential to expose them to sustained temperatures at or above this level. But it might not be helpful in completely eradicating bed bugs from the house. Here is why:
1. Restricted to Fabrics and Mattresses
You can only kill bed bugs present on the mattresses or cushions or something with a fabric material. But bed bugs can hide in the crevices of the walls, in household equipment, or in cupboards.
Although the majority of the bed bugs are present on or near the bed lurking for the host, they can still hide in small cracks and crevices. You can use a steam iron on fabric but not on the wall, which makes it difficult to completely eradicate the bed bugs.
2. Doesn’t Penetrate Deep Enough in the Mattresses
Even if you use steam iron for killing bed bugs on the mattresses, the heat is not high enough to penetrate deep into the fabric and kill bed bug eggs. However, this might help get rid of the adult bed bugs moving on the surface of the mattress.
In conclusion, you can use a steam iron to kill adult bed bugs and for instant relief until you get rid of all of them, including eggs. Spotting bed bugs can be challenging too, but bed bug bites are one of the signs that might suggest a bed bug infestation.
How to Use Steam Iron to Kill Bed Bugs
Using a steam iron to kill bed bugs can be a challenging and potentially hazardous task if you don’t do it correctly. Regular household steam irons may not reach the necessary temperature or produce sufficient steam volume to effectively eliminate bed bugs and their eggs. The most suitable type of steamer for this purpose is a dry vapor steamer. Follow these guidelines with caution when using steam iron to kill bed bugs.
- Ensure Proper Temperature: Check the temperature settings of your steam iron. It should have a setting that can reach and maintain temperatures of at least 120°F (49°C). This is the minimum temperature required to kill bed bugs and their eggs.
- Prepare the Area: Remove all bedding, linens, and clothing from the affected area and wash them in hot water to kill any remaining bed bugs. Seal them in plastic bags until you need to use them again to avoid re-infestation.
- Clean the Steam Iron: Ensure that your steam iron is clean and free from any residue or water additives. You want to use plain, clean water to generate steam.
- Steam Intensely: Slowly pass the steam iron over the infested areas. Make sure the steam makes direct contact with the bugs and their hiding spots, such as seams, folds, crevices, and mattress edges. Hold the steam iron in place for several seconds on each spot to ensure sufficient exposure to lethal temperatures.
- Use a Steam Diffuser: To help direct the steam more effectively, you can attach a steam diffuser or nozzle extension to the iron’s tip. This can help reach into tight spots and cracks.
- Be Patient and Thorough: Killing bed bugs with a steam iron is a slow and tedious process. Take your time to cover all the infested areas thoroughly. Keep in mind that steam kills on contact, so it may not penetrate deeply into certain materials where bed bugs might be hiding.
- Avoid Over-Wetting: Be cautious not to saturate surfaces, as excessive moisture can cause damage or encourage mold growth.
- Use Other Treatment Methods: While steam can be a helpful supplemental treatment, it may not be sufficient to eliminate a large bed bug infestation. Consider using additional methods like vacuuming, diatomaceous earth, or professional pest control services for comprehensive eradication.
Important Safety Considerations
- Steam irons generate extremely hot steam, and improper use can lead to burns or other injuries. Handle the steam iron with care and keep it away from children and pets.
- Ensure proper ventilation while steaming to avoid inhaling steam or potentially harmful substances released during the treatment.
- Be cautious with electrical appliances around water and moisture to prevent electric shocks or short circuits.
- For severe bed bug infestations, it’s highly recommended to seek assistance from a professional pest control service to ensure effective and safe eradication.
Please note that using a steam iron for bed bug treatment may not be as effective as using professional-grade steamers or heat treatments. Professional pest control services have the expertise and equipment needed to safely and effectively address bed bug infestations.
How to Differentiate a Bed Bug Bite from a Mosquito Bite?
Came across a bite or rash on the skin that appeared overnight? There is a possibility that it is just a harmless mosquito bite, but it might turn out to be a bug bite. Here is how you can differentiate between a bug bite and a mosquito bite.
This is the most challenging characteristic for differentiating between the two as they look pretty similar. Bed bug bites are red, puffy, and looks like a pimple. On the other hand, mosquito bites are light red to pink in color, small, and have a wound in the center.
This is one of the key ways for telling the bites apart. Bed bug bites usually occur in a pattern such as a line or zig-zag, while mosquito bites are random. Also, there is less possibility of mosquitos biting a lot in the same area.
Bed bug bites cause intense itching, which may develop into a persistent itch over time. Similar is the case with mosquito bites but the intensity of the itch depends on person to person.
4. Immediate Reaction
You may not feel or notice bed bug bites, as the bugs inject an anesthetic and an anticoagulant during feeding, which can temporarily numb the area and prevent blood clotting. Mosquito bites are usually immediately noticeable, as the act of biting can cause a sharp, stinging sensation.
How to Treat Bed Bug Bites?
1. Clean the Area
Washing the infected area with soap and water can help the spread of the infection. Use an organic soap that has no harmful chemicals to avoid further reactions.
2. Apply a Cold Compress
This will help in reducing the redness and puffiness of the bite. Apply a cold compress in the bug bite and avoid scratching it with your nails to stop infections.
3. Relieve Itching
- Apply a paste of baking soda and water to reduce itching.
- Aloe vera gel has a cooling effect and can reduce irritation.
- Lemon juice is also helpful in treating itchiness and reducing inflammation.
If you have extreme pain, you can either take some oral medications on the doctor’s recommendation.
Causes of Bed Bugs
This is the most common cause of bed bug infestation. Bed bugs can hitchhike on suitcases, clothes, bags, purses, etc. To avoid this, try using hard-sided luggage instead of the ones made with a clothing fabric. Also, separate your travel laundry and do not keep it unclean for longer durations.
2. Used Furniture
Another common reason for a bed bug infestation is used furniture. Always inspect if you buy any second-hand furniture and avoid picking up any furniture lying on the street.
How to Use Steam Iron for Bed Bugs?
Start ironing your bedsheets, pillow covers, comforters, blankets, and other bedding items with a steam iron. Then, throw it in the washing machine and run a normal cycle on heat settings. Let them air dry, preferably under direct sunlight, and store them away from other bedding items that you haven’t washed yet.