Across the United States, bed bug infestations caused not only household damage but its extermination also inflicted irreversible environmental harm. DDT and other potent pesticides used after the World War II eliminated almost every single bed bug, but it also threatened the species of bald eagles as well as the potable water supply of the citizens. The EPA had taken its stand against illegal pest control chemicals while mandating homeowners and exterminators alike to use only approved products or a non-chemical bed bug solution if possible.
The good news is that more and more households are switching to the greener choice to handle the infestation. However, you should keep in mind that there’s no single potion to eradicate the pest in just a snap of a finger. All these will take time but it will cut the risk of chemical exposure that, as studies suggest, causes different gastrointestinal and respiratory complications.
To my surprise, there are many options that you can use if you opt for the non-toxic and chemical-free approach. Here are some that you can easily use at home (some are effortless) without the need to spend on chemicals.
1. Dissolvable laundry bags
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After traveling, you might have been too unlucky to have bed bugs hitch on your luggage. This means that you have to isolate your clothes and every fabric you brought to prevent an infestation. Such thing could be hard to do as the bugs are too small to see and it can crawl on a new hiding place even before you had the chance to see.
A pest exterminator could actually recommend that you use dissolvable laundry bags like the AliMed Medical Action laundry bags during your travel. You should seal every piece of clothing inside so when you come home, you simply have to toss it into the washing machine. There’s no need to open the bags as the container will easily melt into the water without leaving harmful chemicals. This is an amazing non-chemical bed bug solution, take it from me.
From the makeshift tuna can with water into commercially available traps, interceptors are used to monitor a household for a possible infestation. These are special dishes made of slippery plastic without the need to add water or any chemical to retain the bugs inside. Such dry condition also makes it a good tool to block the bugs climbing on the feet of the bed and other furniture.
The likes of ClimbUp and Aspectek are just some of the common commercial options nowadays mainly because they come in sets. Interceptors have to be placed on multiple spots in the house to gather more bugs. However, this isn’t an option if you want to eradicate the population fast and without using other methods.
3. Steam cleaning
Each non-chemical bed bug solution is deemed to have very low potency in killing bugs. This could be true at some point but not if you use steam cleaning. Utilizing a steam cleaner will pair heat and boiling water to eliminate the bugs burrowing on the deeper layers of the mattress. This is best for thick, stuffed materials that you have constant contact with.
Steam could be as hot as 115F that’s enough to kill the pest. Even professional exterminators use this approach on houses that have light to moderate infestation. Another good thing about steam is it can reach tiny crevices where the pest would seek harborage when the steaming process starts.
Keep in mind that steam cleaning is a slow process that requires time and patience.
First off, vacuuming isn’t the only answer if you’re intending to eradicate the whole infestation. Still, the sucking effect of the machine would pick up bugs in the open as well as those that are hiding on the surface level on mattresses and couches. This is definitely a non-chemical bed bug solution but you have to ensure that you practice proper disposal of the bugs. The pest won’t die inside, and if you left your vacuum sitting after the session, the bugs can simply crawl out and continue their bloodsucking lives.
One thing you can use is a plastic bag inside the vacuum. After the session, you can pull the bag and tie it firmly to trap the pest. You can also add DE or boric acid on the bag so the critters will die upon contact.
5. Mattress encasement
Mattresses are the number hiding spots for the bugs. It’s thick and rich in seams that are easy to penetrate and burrow beneath. Also, mattresses aren’t cleaned regularly and this undisturbed nature lets the bed bugs reproduce in a very pest-friendly surrounding.
If you want to protect your precious cot from the crawlers, use mattress encasements. This specially engineered case blocks allergens, irritants, and tiny insects from penetrating the mattress and starting an infestation.
SafeRest is by far the topnotch choice among households as thousands of users attest to its efficacy. It comes in different sizes and it’s made to block bugs, dust, mites, and even water. This is a lab-tested encasement that has a Velcro strap for added fit in case the zipper accidentally opens. The encasement has micro-zippers that even bed bugs can’t penetrate.
6. Heat treatments
During an advanced infestation, the previously listed methods might not work. You will need a more abrasive, non-chemical bed bug solution to reach the bugs regardless how deep the crevice they are hiding in. One method that exterminators would recommend is the use of heat. During the treatment, the infested room or house would be sealed and heated using special machines and fans. The temperature could be up to 140F that can cause some household items to melt, combust, or explode if not secured beforehand.
The treatment would last from one to three hours. Fast, but it will yield a higher success rate than using pesticides on the same timeframe. You would need to vacate your house during the treatment as the heat is detrimental to human health.
7. Clutter reduction
One obvious reason why bed bugs get to hide in a house for a long time without being detected is the amount of clutter that occupies a large space in the household. Clutter creates tiny spaces that bed bugs can use to hide, and if it’s undisturbed, the infestation would take place.
If you already called for a professional extermination service, start picking up some stuff that’s been left for long on your floor. Grab some dissolvable laundry bags mentioned earlier and toss all the fabric into it that’s littering your household. The next step is to free the under part of your bed with nasty trash and prepare yourself for the possible harborage already taking place on your old shoes, magazines, or forgotten socks.
It’s important to dispose of the clutter properly to avoid the bugs from spreading in another room or the neighborhood.
8. Weekly laundering
Make it a habit to wash your sheets weekly to remove the bed bug population that’s already establishing harborage on your bed. Use essential oils while you launder to give your sheets a repellent characteristic once it’s in use again. Schedule a weekly laundering for your clothes to avoid it from adding to the clutter on your floor.
This way, you can kill a part of the population of the bugs with a non-chemical bed bug solution. Doing the laundry regularly is just a preventive measure and you have to employ other methods to observe a drastic decline in the critters’ presence. Besides, it will save you from the mountain of dirty clothes that you’ll have to deal with when you already run out of clothes to wear.
9. Ceiling fan
The reason why bed bugs keep on biting you at night is the amount of carbon dioxide your body produces. Another thing is the body heat that attracts the crawlers to your skin. They have sensors that can detect heat like a thermal-imaging camera and launch an attack as soon as you turn off the lights at night.
You can use a ceiling fan to diffuse the carbon dioxide that your body emits and to reduce the concentrated body heat. Again, this isn’t a single solution to the problem and you still have to practice other extermination methods to eliminate the whole population.
The ceiling fan could be mounted right above your bed or you simply place a stand fan directly on your body before you sleep.
10. Dry ice
If you want to trick the bugs using their own guilty pleasures, you can make use of dry ice on a dog dish. This produces carbon dioxide that bed bugs find irresistible. Once they climb on it, there’s no way that they can get out of the trap. You only need a small amount as the bugs aren’t really that big and the smoking effect might be a bit bothering if you use a large chunk. Also, never drop the dry ice on water if you don’t your room to turn into a sea of clouds.
Place the dry ice on top of a cloth so the bugs can climb the slippery dish. If you want, you can place this on the interceptors that you’ll buy for a foolproof result. Avoid skin contact if possible as dry ice can still irritate the human skin as much as it’s an effective non-chemical bed bug solution.
11. Opened windows
Stagnant air retains a high level of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere of a room or house. By opening the window or doors, you let the fresh air to wash out the CO2 the human body emits. Carbon dioxide makes a room’s temperature shoot up that will, in turn, make your body an even attractive subject for bed bug bites.
To add, opening the windows will let the sunlight penetrate to dry the moisture that may cause molds that is far more dreadful than the critters.
Environmentalists would cheer upon knowing that more and more households are choosing a non-chemical bed bug solution to eradicate the pest in their house. All I listed here make a difference during an infestation but don’t expect that it will wipe out the pest in just a short time. Do it consistently and ask the help of an exterminator if the pest is too much to handle.