Aside from being expensive, some commercial pesticides pose health threats to the occupants of the property. This is where DIY solutions to remove bed bugs become handy as it can be tailor-made using household items. Some of these items are ingredients to your favorite meals. It’s just a matter of knowing the abrasive properties of the substances that will work on killing the bugs.
Here, I listed some of the common and highly effective home remedies you can utilize during an infestation.
NOTE: These won’t yield absolute extermination. If the bed bug infestation is massive, it’s always best to seek the help of professionals.
1. Steam Treatment
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If you’re one lazy person who resorts to steam cleaners than washing your clothes, it’s likely that you already have a powerful tool against the bed bugs. This pest can’t endure high temperatures as their thin and small bodies can easily dry up. Set your steam cleaner in a minimum of 113F and you’re golden. However, check for the heat resistance of the material you’re planning to treat.
The steam would seep through the fiber of the fabric and it can reach bed bugs that are hiding in the depths of the material. You can use the steam treatment on carpets and other fabrics and furniture but not on electrical outlets. It’s an added edge if you have different accessories and attachments for your steam cleaner.
2. Baking soda
Baking soda has high pH levels that when bed bugs are exposed to it, their body moisture would be sucked out. The powder also has microbial properties that are abrasive and lethal for bed bugs. You can sprinkle the baking soda on fabrics affected by the infestation. Let it sit for a few days and avoid using the clothes with the treatment. Vacuum it afterward and wash the fabric if need be.
Technically, baking soda is salt crystals. If viewed under a microscope, it’s like spikes of salts but too tiny so it feels soft in the human hands. Interesting DIY solutions to remove bed bugs, huh?
The good thing about using baking soda is it won’t irritate the skin and it’s not poisonous to humans and pets. Still, watch out for large ingestions that may upset the stomach of your furball.
3. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper stings the mouth and it’s obvious that it will be even more lethal to the tiny bugs. The strong smell of the powder would ward off any bugs and if ever they come in contact with it, they will die from the anti-microbial properties. However, avoid overusing cayenne pepper as it can sting the eyes and skin if applied too close to fabrics and beddings.
Another choice you have is mixing it with grated ginger and oregano. Boil all of these in water and use the juice as a spray. This will have a strong smell that will send bugs crawling away from the treated area. The best part is that this solution will give your room an aromatic smell.
4. Vacuum Cleaner
If you can’t find them, suck them out of their harborage! Bed bugs hiding near the surface of the infested material are easy to pull out using the vacuum wand. Run the vacuum on the carpet and along the baseboards that the pest usually uses as pathways to navigate around the house. Don’t forget the box spring and the surrounding spots near your bed.
It’s advisable to get a vacuum that will allow you to empty it outside. If not, use a plastic bag smeared with DIY solutions to remove bed bugs. This is so the pest would die inside the vacuum and you can dispose of the plastic without worrying that the bugs could escape and crawl back.
5. Double-sided tape
Double-sided tapes aren’t strong solutions but if used with other DIY remedies, this would be a tricky way to trap the bed bugs. Stick double-sided tapes on the legs of your bed or any part in contact with the wall and the floor so the bugs will get stuck on the adhesive when they try to climb up and crawl on your skin.
Make sure to change the tapes from time to time as the sticky side could accumulate dust and it would no longer be effective in reducing the risk of getting bed bug bites.
Take note that double-sided tapes can no longer stop bed bugs already present on your bed. You’re not apt to cover your skin with double-sided tapes, right?
6. Essential oils
The relaxing oils have an abrasive side! The likes of clover, neem, orange, rosemary, tea tree, and cedar oil can be diluted on water and used as DIY solutions to remove bed bugs. You can also use tea tree oil while washing your clothes. A few drops of this oil are enough to bring anti-bacterial protection on the fabric that will serve as an insect repellent.
Orange oil, on the other hand, is the real deal if you want the most potent choice among these oils. It’s a concentrate extracted from orange peels and contains very high d-limonene contents. This acidity is proven to have a lethal effect on insects like bed bugs. You can place a few drops on the foot of your bed, the headboard, and the box spring. Avoid skin contact as orange oil can cause irritations.
If you don’t have time to mix household solutions, just surround your bed area with lemongrass. This has a high acidity level and the smell is what bed bugs hate. Placing a few torn leaves inside your pillow and mattress would help lessen the bites. You can also put some leaves where you suspect an infestation.
For more potent DIY solutions to remove bed bugs, you can purchase a bottle of lemongrass oil that you can dilute in water and use as a spray. You can even apply diluted lemongrass, lavender oil, tea tree oil, and thyme oil on your skin so the bugs will surely spare you a night from the bites. Such formula won’t just dodge new attacks, it will also ease the itching and infection of the previous bites.
Utilize lavender powder, soap, or oil to send the bed bugs away. The smell of this aromatic oil is disgusting for the bugs and it will send them running and it can even cause death among handfuls of members of the colony. You can also place fresh lavender leaves on your bed area for added security against bed bugs.
If you can’t find fresh lavender or oil, just dilute lavender soap in a cup of water and use it just the same. This may only work as a repellent so if you want to kill more bugs, pair it with other methods here like steam treatment or vacuuming.
9. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is one of the most popular DIY solutions to remove bed bugs as it’s easy to apply and it doesn’t pose any health risk to the occupants of the house. This is non-toxic and non-chemical but a potent answer to pesky bug infestations.
Just sprinkle DE on cracks and crevices as well as the edges of the room that can serve as pathways for the bed bugs. You will observe effects after 10 days as the bugs would bring the DE into the colony and dry out in the process. This dust is safe to use even in food preparation areas in your house.
10. Peppermint leaves
Aside from its oil, peppermint leaves are also powerful bed bug repellent and killer. You just have to crush the leaves until some juice is extracted. Sprinkle this around the affected room and the bugs would surely die in the harsh nature of the juice or it will crawl away due to the smell.
Always replace the leaves that already lost its effect and vacuum the area to remove the dead bodies of the bugs. Repeat the process until you observe a drastic decline in the bed bug population on your property.
These DIY solutions to remove bed bugs are effective if you do it right. Always remember that these are best for small infestations. If the problem is beyond the power of household items, seek the help of a professional exterminator even before you end up with skin infections and damaged beddings.