How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs with Heat Treatment (2022)

Heat treatment is one of some popular techniques people use nowadays. It is safe, works well, and doesn’t leave any chemicals or substances that are dangerous to us. This is one of the standard treatments that pest exterminators use. They use it on a pretty big scale that needs quick treatment.

Bed bug heaters really work and can kill bed bugs quickly at the right heat temperature. Normally, heat treatment doesn’t damage books, electronics, etc as long as you set the temperature right. However, not all regular heaters can kill bed bugs. Here, you need the right one to do that job.

So, let’s find out more about bed bugs heater in the following discussion.

how to get rid of bed bugs with heat treatment
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs with Heat Treatment

What is a bed bug heater?

A bed bug heater is a specifically designed heater to kill bed bugs at your house. This kind of heater is purposely used as heat treatment to kill bed bugs in all of the cycles, including nymphs and eggs. This heater releases heat at the right temperature to kill bed bugs, nymphs, and eggs completely.

There is some bed bugs heater in the market that you can get easily at quite competitive prices. Some of the heaters out there are professional favorites. So, it is as same as they use in doing their job. Well, it means that you can do it yourself. By doing this job a few times, you may get some experience too, then.

Do bed bug heaters really work?

If you are asking whether the bed bug heaters really work or not, then the answer is that bed bug heaters really work effectively. Bed bug heaters completely work as long as you know how to use this tool and pick the right one. There are tons of products, that claim themselves as the best, yet it is not what it is. So, pick it carefully.

Some ineffective bed bug heaters come from regular heaters such as kerosene heaters that don’t reach the minimum level of heat to kill bed bugs. There is a minimum heat temperature to kill bed bugs and eggs which is 113°F (45°C). It takes a few hours to kill both adult bed bugs and their eggs.

That is a very hot temperature for the stuff you put around. So, be careful when you do the heat treatment. Make sure there are no flammable or easily broken by heat things around during the treatment.

How to prepare for bed bug heat treatment

Basically, this method is called desiccation which is a technical term used to describe extreme drying. Desiccation is completely destructive for bed bugs. This is why the very first thing you need to notice is that do not ever wash the stuff if you are intended to do heat treatment. Just let them dry no matter how dirty they are because you can clean the stains after the treatment is done.

Then, the heat treatment depends on two important factors; temperature and time. At a lower temperature, you need more time while at a higher temperature, you need less time to kill bed bugs. So, how hot to get rid of bed bugs?

  • At 113°F (45°C), it takes 90 minutes to kill adult bed bugs and 8 hours to kill bed bug eggs.
  • At 118°F (47.7°C), it takes 2 minutes to kill adult bed bugs and 90 minutes to kill bed bug eggs.
  • At 122°F (50°C), it takes 0 minutes to kill both adult bed bugs and bed bugs eggs.

Current research suggests that heat at 122°F (50°C) – 122°F (51.6°C) is effective and safe to kill both adult bed bugs and their eggs.

Next, it also depends on the scale you use. It is a waste of time if you use a hair dryer to kill bed bugs in a room. So, in the next section, I would like to share how to get rid of bed bugs with heat that you can do on your own. Now, let us start with the clothes dryer method.

How to get rid of bed bugs with heat treatment

Clothes dryer method

The main tool you can use at your house is your clothes dryer which can reach at least 125°F or above. This method is useful to clear some items that are made from fabric, leather, wool, etc. In this case, let me remind you again that you are not allowed to wash those items first. Our main goal here is desiccation. The wet condition will slow it down.

There are some things you need to prepare before doing the treatment.

  • A clothes dryer that can heat to at least 125°F or above.
  • Meat thermometer
  • 3 dry towels for testing dryer temperature
  • Mesh laundry bag

Then, there are two main steps you need to do this method which is testing and using the dryer. Let us start with the first step which is testing the dryer level.

Testing the dryer

This test will help you to set the right temperature before you do the desiccation by using the heat from the clothes dryer. Here is how to do that as follows:

  1. Put the 3 dry towels into the dryer
  2. Set the dryer level on high for about 20 minutes.
  3. Then, open the hot dryer quickly and put the meat thermometer in the center of the towels.
  4. Close the door and wait for five minutes.
  5. After five minutes, quickly check the meat thermometer you put in previously.
  6. If the temperature is 125°F or more, you can continue to use the dryer to kill bed bugs.
  7. If the temperature is below 125°F, increase the heat level or the length of time in the dryer.

In this case, two hours at 115° F will be enough to kill bed bug and their eggs. However, if you find that is impossible to even reach 115° F, then you can use a commercial laundromat or even a different dryer.

Using the dryer

Actually, it is so easy to use this method when you know that the dryer can reach the minimum heat temperature. It is just like you only need to put them into the dryer and set the time to reach the expected temperature. This method kills all the bed bugs from your stuff. The only thing you need to be aware of is that do not overfill the dryer.

Make sure all the items are tumbling. In this case, for example, if you want to clean your shoes too, you can put them inside the mesh laundry bag. Then, hang the bag closed inside the door. This technique can save your time and kill bed bugs at any stuff you have.

Hair dryer method

A hairdryer is completely useful to kill bed bugs with heat treatment. Generally, a hair dryer can heat between 80 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Here, heat at 140°F is more than enough to kill bed bugs because heat at 125°F can kill adult bed bugs and their eggs instantly. That is why you can use your hair dryer.

The hair dryer is useful to reach infested cracks and crevices, This method is also useful when the dryers and irons cannot deal with the infested stuff you have such as luggage, plastic furniture, headboards, and other hard items.

Well, here are the things you need to prepare for this method.

  • Hair dryer with a warm enough setting to kill bed bugs
  • Meat thermometer

In this method, there are two steps you need to do which are testing the hair dryer and treating the infested item. Just like the clothes dryer method, you surely need to check the heat first before applying the heat to kill the bed bugs.

Testing hair dryer

A heat dryer can heat up to 140°F but you surely need to check your hair dryer first because not all the products are built the same and have some standards. Here is how to test it as follows:

  1. Turn on the hair dryer
  2. Set it to the low speed and high heat
  3. Put a meat thermometer 2 inches from the dryer
  4. Wait for about one minute
  5. After that, check the thermometer
  6. Temperatures over 140°F are recommended

Treating infested item

The key to using a hair dryer is speed. It is just like you need to be patiently scanning the stuff with your hair dryer. The longer you direct the hot air, the more effective you can kill bed bugs. So, just do it slowly. And well, here is how you can do it.

  1. Turn the hair dryer on
  2. Set it at low speed and high heat
  3. Slowly direct hot air along the item’s cracks and crevices
  4. If the stuff has a pocket or other storage like luggage, just open it so you can reach it easily
  5. Be careful with escaping bed bugs

For better observation, if it is possible, you can use a white sheet as the ground layer or do the treatment in a dry bathtub. Sometimes, bed bugs are blown off and I know you don’t want them to escape. The bed bugs that may fall on the white and clean ground layer can be easily seen then.

Clothes iron method

The clothes iron can kill bed bugs and the eggs quickly as the iron plate reaches them closely. Your iron is completely useful to kill bed bugs that infest your clothing items such as fabric, leather, and wool. wallpaper, window blinds, etc. To do the treatment, you need the following items:

  • Clothes iron in good condition
  • Towel

Here, if you can’t get a towel, you can use other fabric that is quite large to cover the stuff you are going to ironing. The towel is important as the layer because in this treatment you need to set the iron at the highest temperature. Here is the detail.

  1. Place the tower over the item
  2. Set the iron to the highest temperature/steam setting
  3. Iron the thing completely. Don’t miss any spot
  4. To avoid damage, test a small part of the item first before you iron the whole area

Clothes iron can help you a lot to get rid of bed bugs with heat treatment, especially when it comes to dealing with fabrics, wools, etc. Here, make sure you do not wash them before the treatment.

What to do after bed bug heat treatment?

Washing dirty stuff

Bed bugs infestation sometimes makes your stuff dirty because of the stains, shed, etc. When all the process of heat treatment is finished, you can wash all the dirty stuff because the bed bugs are dead. To get a better result, you can use special detergent to kill bed bugs just in the case that there are one or two survivors there. Make sure you wash all the stuff completely. Do not miss any spots because dead bed bugs and the dirt leave a bad odor.

Cleaning the room

Heat treatment doesn’t leave any residual substances but dead bed bugs. So, what you need to do is just as simple as cleaning the room. You can mop or sweep the floor. But, for the best result, you need to vacuum your stuff, especially the thick ones like your carpet. Vacuuming also helps you to remove all the dirt that bed bugs leave while they were there.

Destroying the bed bugs

After you finish the cleaning and washing, there must be some dead bed bugs you find. It is better to just simply burn them to ashes. So, you will not get any risk of survivors among the dead bed bugs there. Burning is the most effective way to vanish the rest.

Well, that is all about how to get rid of bed bugs with heat treatment. You can do those things at your house on your own. And then, feel free to share other tips and tricks you have here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I heat my house to kill bed bugs?

It is completely impossible to heat your house in order to kill bed bugs. Heating your house means that all the surfaces of walls, floor, sofa, furniture, etc should reach the minimum temperature to kill bed bugs. It also means that you should also heat deep down in the inner side of the side where bed bugs usually hide which is completely a hard thing to do. Some stuff you have are isolators that isolate the heat or in simple words just keep the heat outside the stuff.

How to heat up room to kill bed bugs?

Heating a room to kill bed bugs is not literally heating the room in your house. The expert pest exterminator will usually use a chamber that has various scales, starting from a small box to a big container. Here, they will place your infested stuff in the “room” which is actually a chamber to kill the bed bugs with heat. That is why sometimes it is called a “room”. Well, heating a room with a regular indoor heater is not effective to reach the minimum heat degrees to kill bed bugs.

Will heat treatment for bed bugs damage my home?

Heat treatment for bed bugs will not damage your house. Heat treatment in your house doesn’t mean that you literally heat the whole house and let all the things inside be heated. Heat treatment means you kill the bed bugs with the heat with various heating methods. The closest assumption you have may be the use of a box or chamber where you put all the stuff inside and heat them all. In this case, the space is limited and it is not the whole house is being heated.

Does bed bug heat treatment damage electronics?

Bed bugs heat treatment damages electronics when the heat reaches more than the limit the device can do. It all depends on the device’s durability. Some electronics parts can survive at a certain temperature while the other part doesn’t. Electronics with lower quality are usually made from cheap material that may easily melt at a certain temperature. So, it is important to read the manual of the devices first before you heat the devices.

Does bed bug heat treatment damage books?

Bed bug heat treatment does not damage books. Books commonly will come to the autoignition temperature and be burnt at 451 °F (233 °C) while to kill bed bugs we do not need heat at that temperature. It is still safe to do heat treatment to our books because bed bugs heater usually will not go that far in terms of heat temperature. Your book will still be safe, but you have to pay attention to the old books you may have there. The older a book, the more fragile the paper is.

Can a regular heater kill bed bugs?

A regular heater can not kill bed bugs since the heat temperature that this kind of product produce doesn’t reach the minimum heat level to kill bed bugs. Here, you need at least heat at 113°F (45°C) to kill both bed bugs and the eggs for a long time. So, it is not effective to use a regular heater to kill bed bugs. It is better to use or do other methods that can give you a much better result.

Can I rent a heater to kill bed bugs?

Can you rent a bed bug heater? Well, of course, you can rent a bed bug heater. Heat treatment for bed bugs has been becoming a popular method because it is effective, safe, and chemical-free. However, the price is quite expensive and you must not expect to do it so many times at your house, right? That is why there is a demand from people who want to rent it.

So, where can I rent a bed bug heater? Well, nowadays, there are some websites that offer it. So far, I see some websites that have some good offers for you as the customer. Just go to your browser and check it online. That is where to rent bed bug heaters.

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