How To Use A Steamer To Kill Bed Bugs: A Definitive Guide

Ugh, bed bugs!!!! Just the thought of these things gives me the creeps. Have you ever seen a close up photo of one of these things? It looks like something out of the movie Alien!  Bed bugs are just as resilient as they are gross.

When you discover bed bugs the first thought is that you should move or burn the house to the ground. Then you start to think rationally and decide to call an exterminator. This is expensive and they use all kinds of chemicals that you do not really want.

Today I am here to tell you that you can get rid of bed bugs all by yourself. I just so happen to know what bed bugs Kryptonite is and that is a good blasting with a steamer. This kind of heat kills them and their eggs.

Vacuum The Area

vacuuming the bedroom

Before you use your steamer, you should get the vacuum out and give the area near the bed a good vacuuming. If you have a bagged vacuum cleaner throw the bag in the trash once you are done.

If you have a canister one make sure you empty it outside of your house so that you are not just letting them fall onto a new area of carpet. I would actually recommend you give the canister and the filters a really good clean after you have done this just to be safe.

The best type of vacuum cleaner is one that is designed for pet hair. These vacuums are powerful and tend to have attachments that allow you to really get into tight spaces and give them a good clean.

There is no point taking the vacuum upstairs to suck up some bed bugs and then leaving it downstairs so they can make their way out of the vacuum and onto the living room carpet! As soon as you are done vacuuming, get rid of the waste and never in the garbage can in your house.

Kill Bed Bugs With Steamer

Make sure you read the instructions of your steam cleaner. You want this thing as hot as it will go. It is best to have a towel on hand to get rid of any water runoff.

While your steamer is heating up water may build up near the nozzle, wipe this off before you use it or the water will drip onto what you are steaming. I would recommend steaming the curtains, bed, and carpet. Start from the highest point which will be the curtains and work your way down.

You can use the steamer on plastic and wood, but make sure you do not get it anywhere near where there is power sockets or an appliance like your TV. These suckers have already taken your bed, do not let them make you break the TV too.

Use The Right Attachment For Your Steamer

steaming your bed

I know firsthand that there is a lot of temptation to go in like a maniac and just start blasting everything in sight with the steamer. Most steamers have different nozzle attachments and the one you want to use is the largest one possible.

This is not so you can cover a larger area, but so that you actually kill the bed bugs. If the nozzle is really thin, the pressure will be really high, so high that instead of killing the bed bugs it will just blast them someplace else.

Some steamers allow you to control the pressure of the blast. This is worth doing as it is not the force of the steam that is killing the bed bugs, but the steam itself. I would recommend that you take your time and use really controlled movements as you are steaming.

About an inch per second and roughly two inches above the surface is the sweet spot where you will be making sure each bed bug and egg gets a good blast of steam. There is nothing wrong with going over areas a second time if you are really paranoid and worried that you have missed a spot.

The Drying Game

Once you have finished steaming the surfaces that needed steaming, make sure you give them time to dry. This is especially true for the bed. Try and leave the windows open and let some fresh air help you out.

If you do not allow your bed to dry fully and you put things like a sheet and pillows back on it, you are running the risk of allowing mold to start growing. I would recommend that if you are using a steamer to kill bed bugs that you do it in the morning so you give your bed plenty of time to dry.

Use Bed Bug Spray

That is right we live in a world where there is such a thing as dedicated bed bug spray. You want to get one that is designed to be as friendly to people as possible.

Friendly to people, but a harbinger of death for bed bugs is what you want. Give the areas you have steamed a spray with the bed bug spray to really make sure none of those little pests have managed to survive.

Once you have used the steamer to kill the bed bugs and then used the spray, leave it a few days and break out the magnifying glass (or just take a real close look) and see if you notice any signs. If you do repeat the process.

The steaming that you did before would have worked, but there clearly were a few survivors. There will be far fewer bed bugs now and hopefully, the second time around will get rid of any stragglers that managed to survive.


Using a steamer is by far the best and most efficient way for you to kill bed bugs. Calling in an exterminator is a huge inconvenience not to mention expensive.

Chances are buying a steamer is way cheaper than calling in an exterminator. It is very easy to do and even if it does take a couple of tries, you will eventually get rid of them all.

I think having a steamer in the house is a great thing as it can be used for many things, especially cleaning stubborn areas. The fact that you can also use a steamer to kill any nasty bed bugs that have found their way into your home is a nice bonus.

This post was last updated on January 18th, 2021 at 06:51 pm

  • David Baldwin says:

    I live in a 1 bedroom apartment. My living room has paneling on the wall behind where I sit and watch tv. Should it be steamed where the pieces and connected? I got rid of sofa a couple weeks ago, maybe the bugs are coming from the wall baseboard.

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