If you believe you may have an infestation of bed bugs in your home, it’s important to take proper action as quickly as possible. Don’t live with the stressful problem of bed bugs, but don’t spend thousands of dollars on replacing your mattress.

You can get rid of Bed Bugs in just four easy steps.

Kill Bed Bugs In The Bed

First things first, strip your bed of all sheets, pillow cases, and any other bedding materials. Seal these in plastic garbage bags to keep bed bugs from escaping and affecting other parts of your house. Wash these in the washing machine on hot water setting. If the bedding allows, dry the sheets on high heat. The heat treatment will kill any bed bugs or eggs hidden within your bedding.

Use a vacuum to remove any bed bugs, shells, eggs or fecal droppings from the seams of your mattress, pillows, box spring and along the bed frame. Use a high-pressure steamer — if you don’t own one, you can rent these from your local hardware store — to get deep into the mattresses, box springs, headboards and other parts of the bed to kill bed bugs and eggs upon contact.

Leave the mattress and box spring to dry, and spray down the joints of the bed frame, headboard and other hardware with a contact and residual spray. These sprays will kill bed bugs immediately and in the long term. Follow the labels on these sprays for proper, safe and efficient usage.

After the mattress and box spring are dry, you should encase them in a bed bug sealed container. This step is crucial as it prevents bugs from entering or escaping the mattress and box spring. You should leave these on for a minimum of 18 months to ensure that any bed bugs still inside have died. You can still use your mattress and box spring on your traditional bed frame while they’re encased in the sealed container. Finally, you can put your laundered bed clothes back on.

Make Your Bed Anti-Bed Bug

Bed bugs can hide in all sorts of cracks and crevices so, it is important to develop a way to keep them out of your freshly treated bed. Move your bed away from points of contact — the walls, nightstands, etc. — and tuck in any hanging skirt or sheet. Remove storage from under the bed that could touch the frame. If your bed frame doesn’t have legs, it is important to invest in one — at least until you’re bed bug-free.

Steam and Clean

Bed bugs can hide in some tight space in your home including wood cracks, books, furniture, baseboards, carpet, and nightstands. It’s important to clean, vacuum and steam any area a bed bug would likely be.

Begin by getting rid of any clutter in the room. Things like clothes, books, and other belongings shouldn’t be left in piles on the floor as they make great hiding places for bed bugs and their eggs. Seal these items in garbage bags and store them away from the room. Clothing picks up or removed from the dresser drawers should be dried on high heat for at least 45 minutes — just like your bed clothes. Clothing you don’t usually wear should be tightly sealed and kept away from the room.

Vacuum and steam along the baseboards, window sills and the edge of the carpet. When finished, the bag or canister should be immediately discarded to limit the exposure of bed bugs to the rest of the home. The steamer — again, rentable from places like Home Depot or Lowes — can also be used to treat sofas, chairs and other furniture.

The Cracks and Crevices

 The finishing touch on this four-step program is to set up a long-lasting defense for any eggs that may hatch in the coming weeks. Use both contact and residual sprays and powder to ensure that you cut down the population of bed bugs in your home and prevent bed bugs from spreading over time.

Contact sprays kill bed bugs quickly but evaporate shortly after which leaves no long term protection. Spray this along the baseboards, drawers, cabinets, night stands, etc.

Residual sprays will offer a more long-term solution against bed bugs and their eggs. Use this on cracks and crevices throughout the room, on cushions and bases of sofas, chairs, and edges of the carpet.

Remember: These sprays shouldn’t be used in areas you’ll touch, walk or sit on. These sprays are designed to treat hiding spots, and bed bugs tend not to hang out in open areas.