How to kill bed bugs using steam (FAQs)

by nobugsonme on August 3, 2008 · 134 comments

Want to kill bed bugs on your own, or supplement your pest control firm’s work?

Steam works well.

This FAQ explains how a steamer can be a useful and cost-effective tool in helping you get rid of bed bugs in your home.

Vapamore MR-100 Primo Dry Vapor Steamer at Bed Bug Supply with f2 day shipping

Steam can be used to kill bed bugs on contact. Many professionals use it, often before applying residual pesticides and dusts, and sometimes in lieu of pesticides (where necessary). You can also use a steamer yourself, but we recommend doing your research. This FAQ provides information, links to further information, and examples of steamers and other tools.


  • If you plan to steam but are being treated by a pest control professional (which we recommend), you must clear this with them before using steam, and about when and where it is safe and useful for you to steam. If you use a steamer without clearing it with your PCO, you may clean away or render useless pesticide and dust treatments that have already been applied!
  • Besides, obviously, being hot enough to burn you, steaming has potential dangers related to the vaporization of chemicals; it can also cause mold growth.  Read the overview below and the recommended resources and take precautions in order to avoid harming yourself and your family. 

Essential information on technique for killing bed bugs with steam can be found in the following articles:

  • When it comes to eliminating bed bugs with steam, the article “Killing Them Softly” provides essential tips. (Most important: use the larger head on the steamer nozzle; Dr. Potter et. al. note that the smaller heads can simply spread live bed bugs around–very bad news.)
  • More technical tips on how to use steam to kill bed bugs from Stephen Doggett’s Bed Bug Code of Practice, 4th Ed. (2013) The relevant section is on pages 37-39.
  • Forum discussions tagged as “steam” and “steamers” may also be useful for fellow Bedbuggers’ experiences with steam.

Overview of advice culled from professional articles and forum discussions on killing bed bugs with a steamer:

  • Many if not all of our experts, and many DIY-ers on the forums feel that steam is useful in the fight against bed bugs.
  • Do your research first (see links above).
  • Steam is a contact killer that can kill both bed bugs and eggs.
  • Dry vapor steam is of the utmost importance: all steam methods increases the likelihood of mold growing in the home, but steamers labeled as producers of “dry steam” significantly reduce the mold potential.
  • You can steam most furniture, floors, baseboards, walls, ceiling, etc.
  • Do not try to steam electrical outlets.  Steam and electricity are not a good mix.
  • Many PCOs offer steam services, or you can do this yourself yourself as a complement to what your PCO is doing—but you should coordinate with the PCO about it.
  • Heat may break down the chemicals the PCO is using, thus undermining their residual effect. (Some PCOs use steam only and no pesticides. This would likely take a lot longer and require more repeat treatments.)
  • You should wear a respirator as noted in this BIRC article (click for PDF). Truthfully, we should be wearing respirators any time we paint a wall or handle any chemicals like pesticides, herbicides or bleach. But steam, specifically, is going to vaporize any chemicals on surfaces, be they pesticide or household cleaning products, etc. PLEASE NOTE: the respirator is not the same as a basic dust mask. It is specifically labeled for “paint and pesticide vapors.” I was able to purchase one at my local hardware store for 30 bucks.
  • Temperature is important. Steam must hit bed bugs directly. If you are purchasing a steamer, the manufacturer should list a temperature at the tip of being over 200F. It may also be possible to purchase an infrared thermometer (aka infrared laser thermometer) to check your steamer temperature at tip. Stephen Doggett’s Revised Bed Bug Code of Practice (see above) says:

    As with all equipment, the steamer must be properly maintained and the operating temperatures should be regularly checked with the aid of an infrared thermometer. Immediately after steam treatment the surface should be recording at least a temperature of 70 to 80 degrees C (=158 to 176 degrees F)

  • Steam is dangerously hot. Don’t forget to stay focused and safe.
  • This should be used as one piece of the integrated pest management puzzle. Professional pest control assistance and coordination with your landlords and neighbors (if applicable) is still essential in order to get rid of bed bugs in your building.

Key things to look for in a steamer:

  • Dry (or “dry vapor”) Steam
  • Heat at the tip is >200F degrees per manufacturer
  • Large water chamber to cut down on starts and stops in process
  • A decent length of cord (or purchase an extension cord)
  • A good warranty on the boiler

The most economical dry vapor steam cleaner we know of is in the $300 price range: Vapamore MR-100 Dry Vapor Steamer from Bed Bug Supply.  A number of Forum users have reported positively on the Vapamore MR-100, and the specifications look good. As a bonus, Bed Bug Supply sells it for under $300 with free shipping.  

You can also get the Vapamore MR-100 Primo Steam Cleaning System with Lifetime Warranty from
if you prefer. Mangycur used the Vapamore for several years, and had some frustrating experiences detailed here.

If you’re able to go up to the next price range, KillerQueen recommends the Vapor Clean Pro5 (formerly TR5) for consumers and uses a Pro6 himself (formerly TR6 see this post). The main difference between the two is that the TR6 (designed for heavy duty use) offers continuous fill. The Vapamore Pro5 or TR5, selling for about $599 as of April 2014, is about $200-300 less than the Pro6/ TR6, and will steam continuously for 1.5-2 hours. You can view VaporClean Pro5 and Pro6 as well as other steamers at Bed Bug Supply.

VaporClean Pro5 at Bed Bug Supply

Bedbugger experts Franco Casini in Italy and David Cain in the UK have long used and praised the Cimex Eradicator, a Polti steamer designed to kill bed bugs. It’s extremely hot and efficient at doing so. It became available in the US as of 3/2015, and is state of the art, if pricy ($1495 as of this update). Here’s a video of Franco demonstrating the Polti Cimex Eradicator.

Polti Cimex Eradicator

Bed Bug Supply writes,

“With a maximum tip temperature of 356 degrees Fahrenheit, this is easily the hottest steamer we have ever tested. There is also significantly less water vapor emitted by the Eradicator than by any other steamer we’ve seen, which means more heat penetration ability and less cleanup after the job is done.”

This is the hottest tip temperature we’re aware of at this price point or lower, and that makes for more efficient and thorough bed bug killing. Although it doesn’t have continuous fill like some other models do, the 2L capacity means you can steam for up to two hours without stopping.

The Cimex Eradicator may see some stiff competition from another Italian steamer newly available in North America: the Armato 9000 Commercial Bed Bug Steamer, which offers a tip temperature of 284F, 90-PSI steam pressure capability, a tank capacity of 1.1 gallons, and continuous fill — which means you can keep working and topping up the water. This steamer retails for just under $1000 from Bed Bug Supply.

Armato 9000 Commercial Bed Bug Steamer

Other user recommendations:

S mentioned using the WhiteWing Steamer in this thread; needtosleep also used it. The WhiteWing is not widely available now.  The LadyBug TANCS has also been used with success by some forum users, including Collette, and you can find it at (Though for that price, you probably want to go for the Cimex Eradicator, which wasn’t available in 2008.)

One pro recommended Amerivap steamers (specifically the Amerivap Steamax, which is available from Do My Own Pest Control for about $900.

Readers often ask about dry vapor steamer rentals. In the past, the firm Simplex in Québec rented the Polti VAP 2000, a dry vapor steamer, for $46 CAN per weekend — the link to this offer no longer works and has been deleted, but readers in Québec may wish to try calling the company.  wchicago reports that Clark-Devon Hardware in Chicago rents out the White Wing Steamer.

We’d welcome tips on other sources of professional dry vapor steamer rentals worldwide.

Mangycur used an AO R95 paint / pesticide respirator mask from her hardware store.
These are some similar Paint/Pesticide respirators from

Collette, a reader, shared her success story about using steam to kill bed bugs in her home. You can read it here.

Many thanks to Mangycur who wrote most of this FAQ, providing the helpful and succinct overview, suggestions about shopping for a steamer, and information about respirator use above.

Thanks also to everyone else who contributed information to this FAQ, including hopelessnomo, needtosleep, bugbasher, pleasehelp, Winston O. Buggy, Lieutenantdan, and S.

Please add additional links, suggestions, corrections in the comments below.

Here’s a video from Bed Bug Central’s Jeff White on using steam to kill bed bugs:

And here’s a second video from Jeff White, about how to determine if your steamer is effective in killing bed bugs:

Disclosure:  please note the links and banners above may be affiliate links, which means that if you shop through these banners and links, the store gives the site a small commission based on sales, at no additional cost to you.  It’s a way you can help support the continued running of  Please see our disclosure statement for more on this.

Minor updates: 1/2019


{ 114 comments… read them below or add one }

1 hopelessnomo August 3, 2008 at 9:48 pm

Great job, Mangy and Nobugs!

2 nobugsonme August 4, 2008 at 12:21 am

Thanks, hopelessnomo– and thanks for your endlessly helpful forum contributions, which in this FAQ include the Potter et. al. article and pointing us towards steamer rentals in Québec.

3 Matt August 11, 2008 at 5:00 pm

Thank you for the information. I just found out we had bedbugs yesterday(in our complex the building we were in was the only free one, guess not anymore) and let’s just say its been an adventure.

I have a garment steamer and steamed my mattress last night(which i actually do on a regular basis, steam plumps old foam back up just an fyi for those old couch cushions!) and it wasn’t a HORRIBLE infestation that I could tell, but i’m glad to find out that it can help.

4 bedbugs78 October 7, 2008 at 11:49 am

Does anyone know if this steam product is dry or wet vapor?
Shark Steam Blaster?

5 jcl08 October 12, 2008 at 9:57 pm

Has anyone ever used this?

Euroflex Monster SuperClean SC60-S Steam Cleaner

6 gonebugcrazy October 21, 2008 at 9:53 pm

Does anyone know where to rent dry steam cleaners in NJ?

7 nobugsonme October 21, 2008 at 11:40 pm


Sorry, no. But if you find a source, please let us know.

8 gonebugcrazy October 22, 2008 at 8:45 am

I guess I will have to go into more debt to get one. Do you know of anywhere to buy them instead of so I could get one quickly?

9 nobugsonme October 22, 2008 at 9:14 am


I have not shopped in brick and mortar stores for dry vapor steamers. I would decide which one you want and call the manufacturer (you should be able to google the company for the number) and ask about local retailers.

10 biteme October 22, 2008 at 11:26 am

August. Now I have morgellons disease. Been told by 4 doctors I have delusional parasitosisor scabies. They are in my nose freaky blue and red streaks on my skin and man I am infested inside and out. I sllep maybe 24 hrs a week lost 20 lbs,weigh 95 now.worse summer and fall ever…I have had the worst summer and fall of my life. My neighbor told me when she was moving that there was an outbreak of lice, scabies and bedbugs at her complex. Great! i was in her car 2 weeks prior and those critters which I didn’t even know existed took over my apt. cat, bed, bathroom and I swear they were,in my frickin’ fridge. My cat was messed up went 2 vet for 2 weeks when it was being sprayed. I got sprayed 3 times at 2 week intervals. I put my stuff in storage and have been staying with A FRIEND ever since end of

11 biteme October 22, 2008 at 11:31 am

The bugs are worse when in front of computer and tv. Certain food makes them come alive..don’t eat carbs or fruit or sadly my only fun a few mos back during this hell….booze : > (

12 biteme October 22, 2008 at 11:38 am

Get an H2o mop man, if u order off tv u get a great little handheld steamer. $100.oo hell they’re 100 alone here at walmart. might as well get the greoovy little steamer too!

13 nobugsonme October 23, 2008 at 12:59 am

biteme said, “The bugs are worse when in front of computer and tv. Certain food makes them come alive..don’t eat carbs or fruit or sadly my only fun a few mos back during this hell….booze”

biteme, this does NOT sound like bed bugs to me. Have you had your problem identified as bed bugs?

And re: Steamers, per the FAQ:

“Temperature is important. … If you are purchasing a steamer, the manufacturer should list a temperature at the tip of being over 200F. It may also be possible to purchase an infrared thermometer (aka infrared laser thermometer) to check your steamer temperature at tip.”

A lot of the cheaper steamers do not hit such temps. I suspect floor steamers/mops are among them. You simply don’t need the 200 degree F temps to clean floors. You do need the output to be at about 200 F to hit the bed bugs with high enough heat to kill them.

14 nobugsonme October 28, 2008 at 2:55 pm

Added parenthetical query and reference to Doggett on measuring the surface temps. after steaming, to this section:

Temperature is important. Steam at 120 F must hit bed bugs directly. (Editor’s note: Does 120F provide an instant kill?) If you are purchasing a steamer, the manufacturer should list a temperature at the tip of being over 200F. It may also be possible to purchase an infrared thermometer (aka infrared laser thermometer) to check your steamer temperature at tip. Stephen Doggett’s Revised Bed Bug Code of Practice (see above) says:

As with all equipment, the steam machine must be properly maintained and the operating temperatures should be regularly checked with the aid of an infrared thermometer. Immediately after steam treatment the surface should be recording at least a temperature of 70 to 80 degrees C (=158 to 176 degrees F)

15 Doug Summers MS October 28, 2008 at 8:49 pm

A couple of ideas to add

Some respirators will have removable filter cartridges. The apppropriate filter cartridge will say “Organic Vapor” (OV) on the side. Ideally there should be a P100 filter ahead of the OV cartridge. (P100 / OV)

A highly experienced PCO I know recommends Amerivap steamers.

Dry steam refers to a hotter steam with a lower moisture content that is produced by steam units that utilize a pressure tank design to raise the nozzle temps.

16 nobugsonme October 29, 2008 at 12:25 am

Thanks Doug!

17 afraidtosleepinmybed22 February 18, 2009 at 5:09 pm

are there any good steamers for under or around $200?

18 nobugsonme February 18, 2009 at 10:59 pm


Experts recommend dry vapor steamers because regular (non-dry vapor) steamers are more likely to cause mold problems. Mold can be very serious and can cause health problems. The cheapest dry vapor steamer we’ve seen recommended is the Reliable T630 which we’ve seen advertised as low as $399 (shipping included):

Reliable T630 Enviromate Steam Cleaner with 11-Piece Accessory Kit

People have used less expensive (non-dry vapor) steamers, but mold can be an issue. Some models also may not emit steam which is hot enough.

19 afraidtosleepinmybed22 February 19, 2009 at 2:37 am


Hi! Thanks for your reply. I’ve got another question. That model that you mentioned, where is it made (concerned about recall of products made in China)? How long do those steamers last?

20 afraidtosleepinmybed22 February 19, 2009 at 2:53 am


Got another question. Since these 200 degree reaching steamers are a pretty big investment, what other jobs around the house can they be used for other than aiming heat where BB might be hanging out? (Wanna make sure I’ll be getting my money’s worth–I’m a poor college student.)

21 afraidtosleepinmybed22 February 19, 2009 at 2:58 am


Two more questions. How often should the steam be applied? Are these machines made to be used in a daily manner or to they tend to break after a while?

22 Synergy February 20, 2009 at 11:28 am

I read a bunch of reviews on the reliable t630 steam cleaner, and a few others on a steam cleaner site. The website says the t630 is made in Italy, they’ve also got one that can be used all day called the t730a, it’s got a continuous refill feature. The main complaint on both of them seems to be the small brushes wear quickly, but they offer additional ones on the website.

23 nobugsonme May 6, 2009 at 12:46 pm


I apologize for not responding sooner.

Killing them Softly and the Bed Bug Code of Practice (both linked to in the FAQ above) provide more details on how long and how steam should be applied.

As for longevity, we have not had reports back on how long these machines last. However, I think daily steaming is probably overkill. Even dry vapor steams could cause mold problems (though probably not nearly as easily as a non-dry vapor steamer). If you are treating for bed bugs, steaming carefully once a week with a dry vapor steamer might be something to aim for.

24 Sam Hubert July 22, 2009 at 11:40 am

Here’s something that’s working for us. Caulking. Every space where the wall meets the floor.
Take off molding, spray, caulk- replace molding then caulk again

25 James August 14, 2009 at 5:38 pm

hey guys listen this steam cleaner is the best steam cleaner if your tryna fight bed bugs …. instead of buying the 500 $ top of the stuff. Just buy that one and invest your money into some good pesticide and covers for your bed. Come on ppl dont u guys have degrees. lol Bed buys die @ 120 this goes 2 266 degrees.

write me back and tell me how much of a good help i was, like some kid from brooklyn put me on thank you james………

26 nobugsonme August 18, 2009 at 12:07 pm

HI James,

The steamer you linked to, the Monster SC60, will probably kill bed bugs just fine — the key to this is hitting the right temperature.

The problem is that many steamers can cause mold and other damp-related problems, which can be very serious and damaging to home and health (worse than bed bugs, even!)

We recommend “dry vapor” steamers. The seller on AMAZON is listing this item as a “dry steamer.” Is it really a “dry vapor” steamer? We do not know at this time. We would welcome more information from the manufacturer, but could not easily find it online.

27 never_again August 29, 2009 at 12:18 pm

I was just told by a PCO to get a steamer… he said, “you can get one for $80” … just use water and alcohol. I take it the $80 -$150 steamers are the non-dry ones and the $400-$500 are probably the dry vapor ones. It makes sense, the one that is better cost a lot more =)

But my question is, w/ a steamer do you always use water + alcohol? Could using alcohol in a non-dry vapor steamer make it a little more dry in the end because alcohol is a drying agent?

28 nobugsonme August 29, 2009 at 7:24 pm


Please read the section of the FAQ above entitled “Essential Information” — I think These resources will provide you with better advice than your particular PCO. I am not sure why your PCO recommends filling a steamer with alcohol. 91% alcohol is a contact kill. But so is steam.

29 never_again September 5, 2009 at 12:55 am

I just read the FAQ and there wasn’t any info pertaining to my question about alcohol + steamers. Different strokes for different folks? Not to rock the boat, but it sounds like combining alcohol with water would make a make an even more effective contact killer and help to dry the water faster. Maybe its not conventional, but is there proof that it won’t be equally/more effective? or possibly make non-dry steamers a little ‘dryer?’ I can see that using it on wooden floors or beds would probably ruin the varnish, but that doesn’t stop you from clothing and mattresses and couches.

30 nobugsonme September 5, 2009 at 1:05 am


If you read the resources under “Essential Information” above (“Killing them Softly” and Stephen Doggett’s suggestions), you are looking at the recommendations of the world’s experts on killing bed bugs with steam. Hot dry vapor steam is a perfectly effective contact killer and does not need improving on with the addition of alcohol.

It’s not about rocking the boat, you are of course free to do as you wish, but I can’t advise on whether it will work well, and not damage anything. I would personally not try and improve on these experts’ recommendations with additions such as alcohol. Why bother?

31 bugworries November 10, 2009 at 12:16 am

Okay I got a question for you guys…. my low rise building has been completely 100% pest free… a woman moved into the vacant unit upstairs only 1 week ago and I have now seen several cochraches and now tonight caught an evil little critter i identified via web pic as a bed bug!

What is the likelyhood that the new neighbour and the new pests are related? do they even travel that quickly?

32 nobugsonme November 10, 2009 at 1:18 pm

I don’t think anyone can say whether bed bugs came from your new neighbor.

It is fully possible that you had bed bugs in your apartment for a while and never saw one or felt a bite — they hide easily and very well, are rarely seen, and many people receive no reaction to their bites.

Since this is off topic in a FAQ about steam, let’s please continue this conversation in our Bedbugger Forums!

33 ashly November 10, 2009 at 5:45 pm

how the hell do you get rid of these bed bugs

34 ashly November 10, 2009 at 5:45 pm

for free

35 nobugsonme November 10, 2009 at 7:17 pm


That’s not easy.

Depending where you live, if you rent, the landlord may be responsible for treatment.

In any case, please come to the forums to discuss this further:

36 nobugsonme November 12, 2009 at 10:53 pm

Added Jeff White’s BBCTV episodes on using steam to kill bed bugs and evaluating the bed bug-killing effectiveness of your steam cleaner.

37 Mike November 12, 2009 at 11:05 pm

For those who arent ready to blow $500 on a steamer. 200F is not necessary, test for yourself. Hot Tap water in bucket, throw in a bug, see if it dies on contact. Test temperature with thermometer. Hot tap water is usually 120 or less. Better yet, catch a bug, put in jar, test your cheap steamer to see if it does the trick. If not, return it. Also, who cares about potential mold when youve got real bedbugs. One problem at a time.

38 nobugsonme November 12, 2009 at 11:11 pm

Sorry, Mike, but you’re wrong. A $500 steamer may not be necessary, but hot tap water (or even boiling water) is not the same.

First of all, mold is a real and serious problem both for your health and for the value of your property. Look into mold remediation (which is not DIY!) and you will learn about what a mess a little (or a lot of) extra water can do to your living environment.

Dry vapor steamers make it possible to kill bed bugs with steam and with less water being applied (especially if you use the technique experts recommend of a towel on the steam wand).

Secondly, 120 F does kill bed bugs. But when you’re applying 120 F to the surface of things, you have to understand the bed bugs living in the crevice or under the surface are not encountering killing temperatures. And remember also that 120 F water does not stay 120 F for very long. You’d have a hard time applying water at killing temps to your home.

Experts such as Jeff White recommend steamers which emit steam at over 180 F and the closer to 200 F the better, so that you have a good chance of bed bugs being killed.

39 Mike November 13, 2009 at 3:49 am

My points are: 1) 200F is overkill; 2) cheaper steamers will reach killing temperatures; 3) dont believe everything people tell you, especially “experts”, you should test things on your own, particularly if its easy and cheap to do so.

The bucket of water mentioned above was a temperature test to highlight that even an acute (1sec) exposure to ~110-120F will kill a bedbug on contact. The more affordable steamers have temperature outputs much greater than this. Much greater. If concern is with losing heat in crevices (which applies to all steamers), i dont know how deep and gaping your crevices are, but people having common sense will judge if sealing those with filling or using the steamer is sufficient.

As for the mold issue, youre right, moisture can enhance mold growth.. In fact i hear a lot of things require water to grow. And i hear water comes from places other than steamers. Most people are not idiots. As long as you dont steam the crap out of your drywall or curtains so that its sagging under its supports, you wont have a problem. Thats the beauty of water, it evaporates.

Dont spend $500 needlessly. Do your own test at home and determine for yourself if a $40 walmart steamer will suit your needs.

40 nobugsonme November 13, 2009 at 7:08 pm

Mike, your test does not prove much of anything. You don’t need a bucket of 120 F tap water to kill a bed bug you’re looking at; your shoe or the back of your hand will do it.

41 Mike November 13, 2009 at 10:57 pm

I thought we were having a discussion on the temperature of steam needed to kill bedbugs, and therefore the requirements of purchasing a $500 steamer. Some have argued that the more affordable steamers do not produce steam with enough heat to kill the bugs, and hence you should buy the $500 steamer.

If this is indeed the discussion, then clearly an issue for debate is: what is the required heat to kill bedbugs? Follow so far? How would you test that. Would you set your house on fire and measure the internal temperature, or perhaps shove a dirty bug in your oven or frying pan. No. For obvious reasons, those experiments are not feasible.

I elected to dip a bug in a bucket of hot water. The water temperature you can control (meaning you can test a range of temperatures), remains relatively stable and can be easily measure with a thermometer. Am I making sense to you? The purpose of the water, again, is to test the effect of elevated temperature on the viability of a bedbug. Viability means whether or not it lives or dies.

So now comes the conclusion. Bedbugs upon contact with 110-120F water (or 110-120F steam or 110-120F chocolate pudding or anything of that temperature) will die.

42 Sara November 14, 2009 at 12:04 am

Mike, love the last sentence, for some reason, i picture Andrew Zimmern dining on scolding hot, chocolate pudding dipped, bed bugs soon! I appreciate you knowledge though, am hoping to test the oven out soon, don’t really have ANY more $$ for something like the packtite, so am only taking with us, what i can boil or burn(burn as in the dryer, high heat for at least an hour) but basically boiling water is instant death?… they don’t need to be exposed to boiling water for a certain amount of time, correct? it’s instant?
As for using the oven in leu of the packtite, 120 degrees in the oven for how long? the packtite cycle is 4hrs from the videos i’ve seen, would i need that amount of treatment time, if for example i am trying to do it for my fiances work boots?

ANy advice is appreciated.

43 Mike November 15, 2009 at 3:07 am

Sara, its good to know that there are still people in the ether who can read and understand the topic of a discussion.

Dont use the oven on anything you put alot of value in. The temperature is hard to control and you can easily end up burning whatever you put in it. As with a turkey, youll also find that heat from an oven will not penetrate thick materials very easily (ex. folded linens and folded clothes) and can burn the outside while leaving the middle still cool. I think work boots would be ok, only because its made with durable leather and the air can circulate inside the shell to acheive a uniform temperature.

Scalding water will kill a bug on contact. These bugs and their eggs are small enough that brief contact to scalding water will equalize their innards to the same temperature, cooking their innards and busting their vessels. Although a full bathtub of scalding water can sterilize many items, it is not easy or fun to wring dry everything once youre done.

Steam is great cuz its not messy and it has good penetrating power. You can also use it to clean things that bug poison cant get at. The issue up for debate was what temperature output is sufficient to do the trick, and therfore if buying a $500 steamer is necessary. For clothes and linens, i would recommend using a hot iron with the steam setting on. My clothes dryer is a piece of crap, so i have nothing to say about that technique.

44 nobugsonme January 8, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Added wchicago’s suggestion for a White Wing rental in Chicago (Clark-Devon Hardware). Thanks wchicago!

45 ImbitingyouNOW February 15, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Ladybug makes 2 or 3 steamers that have “dry steam”. They are expensive ($1,400-$1,900). I think if your going to buy a quality steamer (White Wing, Lady Bug) you should do so with the idea that you will use the steamer for more than killing bedbugs. Most use them to do one of two things, if not both 1) sanitize and/or disinfect surfaces in the home, or 2) clean without the use of chemicals. The quality ones, and I stress quality, can do the aforementioned including killing mold, mildew, dust mites, use to clean bathroom tubs in lieu of chemical solutions, disinfect kitchen countertops. kill weeds in sideways cracks, eliminate pet odors from “accidents”, eliminate odors from upholstered furniture. Whatever you do, don’t throw money away on a $100 “steamer”, it won’t do any of the above. Do research online, search amazon as well as companies that cater to people with allergies.

46 BronxBugged April 27, 2010 at 1:40 am

i can’t believe how much these steamers cost. any one know of work stanley steemer would do for something like bb’s?

feels like a lifelong process and we’ve only begun. oh joy for the commiseration of humanity.

what a nightmare we’re all joining in together here.

47 nobugsonme April 27, 2010 at 8:35 am


I know it can seem daunting at first, but you will not have bed bugs for a lifetime. You can get rid of them. I would encourage you to keep a positive attitude if at all possible. Bed bugs can be a pain in the you know what, but they are not the end of the world.

The Vapamore MR-100 Dry Vapor Multi Use Steam Cleaner mentioned above at $300 has been recommended by a number of forum users. It dispenses the recommended dry vapor steam. This method needs to be used repeatedly because it is a contact killer, though it can be very effective, especially if teamed with dusts and/or pesticides.

As I understand it, Stanley Steemer steams your carpets. Here in NYC, I have seen special introductory offers of $99. Even if they did something to kill bed bugs elsewhere besides carpets, you’d quickly run up $300 in costs. And they don’t do bed bugs.

Some PCOs do use steam, for people that are able to and want to hire a professional.

48 once bitten May 16, 2010 at 4:07 pm

I bought a clothes steamer for $60 from Bed Bath and Beyond. I used it, water only, to steam couch pillow casings (otherwise have to be dry cleaned), suitcases, and backpacks. (For pillow casing stuffing, I put the stuffing into a plastic bag and sprayed Sterifab generously and sealed it up. Still waiting to reinstate after 5 months of bed bug freedom.)

I tested the steam on a live bed bug. Put him in a white ceramic bowl and steamed him from about three-four inches away. Within 2 seconds he spazzed out, little feet flailing, and within 5 seconds he was dead. Deeply satisfying to watch by the way. I don’t know the temp of the steam as it came out of the nozzle, but it’s a consumer grade portable clothes steamer that you can get anywhere.

It’s important to remember that the killing temperature of the steam happens at or very close to the nozzle. Anything further away than a couple of inches wont be hot enough. Think about how close you can hold your hand away from the nozzle before you sense it will scald you.

49 SYED K GHAZI May 26, 2010 at 3:55 pm

i have bed lots bags in my appt. i try lots pcs and spray . it didwork at all .
iwant try your steam tech.. i want rent steamer . they say itCoast $39.00+tax.
i am 55year old on medical diablity , had two heart attack . i live by my self alone .
i cant move much.
i want some professional to do it . when i nquire it coast $200/hour that i cannot
afford . can you sugest what to do

50 nobugsonme May 26, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Hi Syed,

I am so sorry you are going through this.

Are you renting your apartment? If so, it is probably your landlord’s responsibility to hire a licensed professional to provide pest control to get rid of the bed bugs. That’s our understanding of the law in Chicago. If you are renting and having trouble getting your landlord to help, please call Metropolitan Tenants Organization’s hotline (773-292-4988 Mon-Fri 1-5 pm or fill out this form). They can advise you on legal rights for tenants and what to do.

If you own your apartment, you are probably responsible for treatment. Since you are on medical disability you may have access to a social worker. If so, they should be able to advise you on assistance available for people who are disabled and need assistance with pest treatment for bed bugs. If you do not have access to a social worker, you should ask your doctor (tell him/her about the bed bugs and how you need help). Calling any local agencies which help people who are disabled might help, and it might also help to call your Alderman’s office.

If you own a condo, remember that neighbors may also have bed bugs (they travel back and forth easily) and so your condo association will need to look into this issue. If all infested units are not identified and treated at once, the problem may persist for a long time.

I really hope you are able to get some assistance because I know how hard bed bugs are to get rid of.

Also, I removed your second post because you posted your name and full address. This site does not collect reports of infested addresses. You CAN report your bed bugs on the Bed Bug Registry, and I checked and noted that no one has reported your building yet, even though other units may be infested along with yours.

Go to to post a report about bed bugs in your building.

51 Christina June 22, 2010 at 12:35 pm

I cant even see my computer screen because Im crying so hard…I own a 3 family home and my 2nd floor tenants were too embarrased to tell me their problem. They threw all thier furniture out one day (which I found odd) and dragged them through the hallway. One month later Im am waking up covered in bites.
I called terminex and it will cost $9000 to exterminate my whole house. Im a single mother and cannot afford even part of that.
I own a steamer but I already sprayed chemicals and now I need a respirator so I dont breath in these vapors.
I called the health dept and they cant help me financially.
Im spotless!!! and totally skeeved by this!!!
I cant wake up another day with these welts all over my body…Im losing my mind!!!

52 nobugsonme June 22, 2010 at 1:11 pm


I am sorry you are going through this. I firmly believe that the government should assist homeowners and landlords who cannot afford good bed bug treatment. Without this assistance, it is difficult to get rid of bed bugs. Unfortunately, in this economic climate, the government is also not in a position to help.

I strongly encourage you to repost your message on our FORUMS where you will get more responses and reach more readers, including bed bug pros who may have better advice for you. (Most people don’t read comment threads on older posts or FAQs.) You can sign up (with an anonymous username) and post to the forums here:

You may also need to consult local laws. In some localities, landlords must hire licensed pest control firms to carry out treatment.

53 Morgan J. June 23, 2010 at 10:15 am

I totally understand Christina’s pain and I’m also tearing up right now. We got Bed Bugs from my stupid uncle who my Grandmother allowed to move in. He knew he had Bed Bugs, but did not tells us, it’s the reason he moved out of his old house. He stupidly brought all his clothing and now, we have an infestation. The horrible part is, my Grandma’s a horder! I’m only 18 and I spent most of my money on a Steam Shark, but it’s small. We can’t afford an exterminator, so I’m trying to find ways of eliminating them myself. We use Bed Bug sprays and bombs, but I still see them running all over my room. It freaks me out and upsets me deeply because I’ve never had this kind of problem before and no one else seems to be doing anything, or even worrying about it as much as I am. The bad part is, my cousin plans to visit at the end of July. We haven’t seen her in a few years and I really do NOT want her to get those little vampires because it’s the most horrible thing I’ve ever been through. And I definatly don’t want to take them to college with me!
I really can’t take this anymore, I’m starting to think we’ll have them for the rest of our lives!

54 tony July 1, 2010 at 5:50 pm

I believe this is the right way to kill them….unfortunately i do not think the only steamer i can afford is an handy stemer….
do u think is good enough?

55 nobugsonme July 1, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Hi Tony,

I am not familiar with that steamer.

And I am not an expert on steam. However, the key thing with steamers seems to be the temperature.

Per the post above:

Temperature is important. Steam at 120 F must hit bed bugs directly. (Editor’s note: Does 120F provide an instant kill?) If you are purchasing a steamer, the manufacturer should list a temperature at the tip of being over 200F. It may also be possible to purchase an infrared thermometer (aka infrared laser thermometer) to check your steamer temperature at tip. Stephen Doggett’s Revised Bed Bug Code of Practice (see above) says:

As with all equipment, the steamer must be properly maintained and the operating temperatures should be regularly checked with the aid of an infrared thermometer. Immediately after steam treatment the surface should be recording at least a temperature of 70 to 80 degrees C (=158 to 176 degrees F)

A second issue is dampness. A dry vapor steamer helps avoid too much dampness, and if yours does not produce “dry vapor steam,” you will want to be careful not to cause mold problems.

But beyond that, my understanding is that the key issue is whether the steamer is hot enough to kill bed bugs.

56 lala July 3, 2010 at 9:50 am

clean your mattress with alcohol. it keeps them away. also, im using hot shot bedbug spray. its reduced the number but not all of them.

57 nobugsonme July 3, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Lala, If you’re going to eliminate bed bugs completely, then spraying alcohol and Hot Shot is probably not going to be enough.

Also, spraying alcohol does not “keep bed bugs away” — it is just a contact killer. And it is far inferior to steam as a contact killer, since steam can penetrate cracks to a degree.

58 TT July 5, 2010 at 10:01 am

I have been dealing with bed bugs over 8 months now and im very frustrated. I have bought new mattresses ,covered them in the protective covers ,washed everything in hot water and still im am dealing with them since last October. Not to mention i have been through about 3 comforter sets and im almost on my fourth. I have contacted a local exterminator and he did positively identify that they were bed bugs but i cant afford what they are wanting to charge me i used sprays found in the store and I ve cleaned like crazy! Im about to get rid of my bed frame head board and foot board because i believe that is where they are hiding now.Is it true that if I leave it outside for a few days they will die? I live in Las Vegas, NV so it gets to at least 110 on a daily basis Please Help! I need answers Im at my wits end!

59 nobugsonme July 5, 2010 at 11:57 am

Hi TT,

Sorry, I know how stressful this is.

Unfortunately, bed bugs don’t just infest the bed, but other furniture and the structure itself are likely infested. Tossing beds out is not a solution (and is not even necessary in most cases).

110 F is not quite high enough to kill bed bugs. (Thermal death point is 45 C or about 113 F, and most professionals applying heat aim for 120 F to be sure of killing all life stages of bed bugs.)

Remember that the core of the item(s), not just the surrounding temperature, must hit killing temperatures, and stay elevated at those temperatures for an hour or more. (I would aim to get the core of the item to 120 F and sustain that for 1+ hours.)

I am not saying it would absolutely not work to put your headboard (etc.) in the desert summer sun. The Nevada desert is perhaps one place where this might work. What I am saying is that you cannot rely on this method to get rid of bed bugs. Ideally, you use a thermometer with a probe placed at the center of an item (impossible with a headboard).

It will not likely eliminate your bed bugs, but you may decrease their number. If you want to try it, I would fully seal the item in plastic (in an airtight manner) before going outside, to avoid spreading bed bugs around your home en route. That is really important. You do not want to make your home’s bed bug problem worse.

Steam can be effective per the FAQ above. If you want to steam your headboard and footboard, you should disassemble them into their smallest components (since bed bugs can live in the tiniest cracks).

Ultimately, you need to treat your home thoroughly and aggressively. A professional with good knowledge of bed bugs can almost always do this more quickly and more safely than you can. If you really can’t afford one, please do your research on pesticides. OTC products are unlikely to be enough (and do not use a bug bomb!) A combination of steam (preferably dry steam as above), dusts, and pesticides, properly and carefully applied, can work well.

Please come to our active user forums if you need support or more suggestions from myself or others. (Few readers come to the comments on old posts.) The forums:

60 KICA July 13, 2010 at 11:44 am

WOW, Sad to say but it feels good to know that I am not the only one going through this, for al long I felt I was such a bad mother for allowing these suckers to my home.
I was cleaning all day long washing sheets 3 times a week, mopping with bleach and spraying Raid around the edges of the room. At first I did not want to talk about it, because I felt people would see me as adirty person. But it got so bad I had to start asking and seeking help, I now can sleep, and wake up with no bites. This is what I did and apperantly it has worked.. First my husband and I took the sheets, covers and washed them in boiling water then put them outside to dry, we then took the beds apart and took them outside and left them in the sun for about 6 hours. We sprayed them with a pressure hose in all the cracks and them sprayed the beds with Raid. We also put a white power call “Diatomaceous Earth” that we bought at a pet store here in Bakersfield called (Cls Pets) we put the powder on the floors on the mattress and in between the box frame and matress. Another thing we did is spray the beds with the “Nix” that is used for head lice and bed bugs we also put the Raid bombs in each room and also called the pest control, they came out twice now and i have seem a dramatic change now I am having to find something to steam my beds so the pest control can come out again. Hope this info help someone out there.

61 nobugsonme July 13, 2010 at 6:25 pm


Please do more reading before you continue to self treat your home.

If you have a landlord, they may be responsible to treatment (you need to check the local laws; a tenants’ organization can often help).

If you must self-treat, you need to know that bug bombs are a VERY bad idea. They do not solve bed bug problems and do make them worse.

Also, you should be very cautious in applying diatomaceous earth. It should not, for example, be placed on top of a mattress. Please see our DE FAQ which offers suggestions and links for further information.

You should never spray products on your bed which are labeled for this purpose (is the Raid labeled for this?)

There are safe and effective ways to self treat, though it is very difficult to get rid of bed bugs without experienced, knowledgeable help, so we recommend that if at all possible.

Please come to our active user Forums if you would like more support or suggestions.

62 marina July 14, 2010 at 11:35 am


I am based in Brighton, uk. its been a while i had a good night sleep and its getting worse and worse . i tried to get contract bedbug cleaners , but they only offering sprays and charging astronomical figures which i cant afford. i am glad i came through this website. now i wanna buy a good streamer myself and do it as per suggestions . would you be able to recommend any of these good steamers available in uk?.. any help is highly apreciated .

thank you vey much for your time.

63 Saoirse July 15, 2010 at 12:38 am

would a steam iron work ? what about a blow dryer ?

how ’bout a thorough vacuuming first….then the steam iron followed by the blow dryer ?
and always keep vacuuming …….and see what happens –for the matresses-do it a couple of days in a row……….the vacuum stirs them UP,then gets them..steam iron’s HOT,then the blow dryer is HOT and drys out the mattress as well-

i remember one time 1 kid came home w/headlice and those “kits” cost too much for us here… i soaked her hair/scalp wth apple cider vinegar….and then shamppoo’d it,and used a hot comb then the blow dryer and searched for those nits—hardly any,think the vinegar loosed them—and did this for 3 days and the problem was solved-

with these damn bed bugs,etc— daily vacuuming SHOULD get rid of them-might take a while but how could they keep reproducing if you’re getting rid of them on a daily basis ?

64 nobugsonme July 15, 2010 at 10:35 am


A steam iron would probably work if it made contact with the area. However, it would be hard to apply an iron to the cracks where the wall meets the floor.

If your bed bugs were hanging out in the open, you probably could vacuum them up. (We like Mark Sheperdigian’s trick of attaching a length of tied off panty hose to the end of the suction tube, to collect bed bugs which can then be easily disposed of in a safe manner.) However, bed bugs are very difficult to eradicate because you generally can’t find and remove them all.

Please come to our active user Forums if you would like to discuss this further. You’ll get more responses there.

65 nobugsonme July 15, 2010 at 10:45 am


We’re not sure what’s available in the UK. However, David Cain (of is active on our forums, and may have suggestions. Try the Forums!

66 Bugging in New York July 22, 2010 at 10:50 am

How long do we have to suffer with this before some sort of department of health regulation is put into effect?! It’s just not right. The situation gets worse and worse while the exterminators and pesticide manufacturers get richer and richer. I saw on the news this morning a piece on why it’s not getting better. It’s simply because the residual effects of the pesticides used these days is poor!!!! This because “environmentalists” have a problem with using the stuff that actually works!!! This problem was eradicated years ago because more aggressive treatments were given. Now due to increased travel and migration, unfortunately, it’s back. So while we continue to scratch, suffer anxiety from sleepless nights and be displaced for the sake of BUGS, as USUAL, bureaucracy gets in the way of what’s best for the people!!

67 nobugsonme July 24, 2010 at 12:05 am


I agree that NYC officials need to do more to fight bed bugs.

But do you have a suggestion for a health regulation that could be enacted which would eliminate this problem?

68 Laura July 26, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Can someone recommend the most efficient approach to preventing an infestation?

My husband came home from Long Island yesterday afternoon, left his suitcase by the back door, left clothes from the trip in the closet, and realized this evening he had bed bug bites on one arm, and he is gone out of town again. From what I have read so far, there could be one or more bugs that traveled with him on his clothing or suitcase, and possibly have found a home in his truck and now our own home in the short 11 hours he was here!

I stripped the bed to wash the linens as recommended, and I found evidence of a casing, but no bugs – yet. Some clothing is going out in the trash, but I must wash a lot of clothing at this point, since some items came in contact with the possibly affected items. And, I have vacuumed.

There are several of us in the room – people and cats…and I would like to head this off ASAP. So, how do I efficiently prevent a problem? And by the way, we are heading out of town. How do we know we aren’t carrying any if we only think there may be the beginning of a problem?

69 nobugsonme July 27, 2010 at 11:33 am

Hi Laura,

Sorry you’re dealing with this. We have a FAQ on what to do if you have been exposed to bed bugs outside your home, and it may help,
though it may be too late for some recommendations.

Here are some possible scenarios:
Your husband may have been exposed to something besides bed bugs.
He may have been exposed to bed bugs and bitten, but may not have brought them home.
He may have been exposed to bed bugs and brought them home. (Bite reactions can take up to 9 days to appear, though reactions often seem to occur in a day or a few days).
He may have been bitten by something else in your home.
He may have been bitten by bed bugs in your home, though they may have come in with him, or may have been there already. Unless he saw them in a hotel or other location, you can’t be sure this is how you got them. (That he is the only one reacting to bites does not mean no one else has been bitten.)

That’s a lot of possibilities. If he travels a lot, then this is certainly a risk factor and a likely route to infestation.

Since the contents of the case have been moved around the home, it is too late to contain any bed bugs there. (It would not hurt to seal the suitcase and other items he brought home in airtight bags

At this point, you need to know if you have bed bugs. I recommend using some methods from the Detection FAQ. We have heard reports that Bed Bug Beacon monitors (mentioned in the FAQ) do work, but you should run it for two weeks at least. Canine scent detection can also work well, however, you must ensure you hire a team where the human verifies any dog alerts visually. Many do not do this. Read our bed bug dog FAQ for more on this.

I recommend reposting your message to the active user forums, where you may get more input.
Finally, it is really good you’ve sprung into action and are concerned, but don’t panic. You may not have bed bugs in your home.

To avoid them in future with a traveling spouse, you might look into a Packtite, which is basically a case you put your stuff (including a suitcase or briefcase) into and bake the items (the killing point is 113 F but Packtites go a big higher) to render them bed bug free.

70 bugged September 24, 2011 at 11:37 pm

Hi All,
I have a Shark steamer. It’s the small portable kind w/ a long cord and attachments so you can steam upholstery and also direct focused spray into cracks,etc. It works well. I blasted all the baseboards and crevices in bedrooms and bathrooms. The bedbugs live in the bathroom too. This steam blasting forced out alot of buggy dirt which I cleaned up w/ toilet paper and flushed down the toilet. Then I don’t have to bag it up. If you bag the buggy refuse, use ziploc bags. I sprayed all the baseboards and mattresses and w/ a spray made of water mixed w/ 4 drops of tea tree oil. I will follow with a residual pesticide. I have used ‘Bug Stop’ from Lowe’s which is clear and kills fleas. If it kills fleas, it will kill bedbugs. I have box spring encasements and the bed wheels are in Climb up Interceptors. These have caught a few bedbugs, which is a good b.b. monitor. I sprinkled cat flea powder on the perimeter of the top of the box spring(under the mattress). Keep all bedding away from the floor and the wall. No headboards/footboards or else they can climb up. The bugs are very sneaky, but if you see little ‘roaches’ running around – that’s them.

71 OCD&FREAKING November 2, 2011 at 3:13 pm


72 OCD&FREAKING November 2, 2011 at 3:17 pm


73 KitKat November 5, 2011 at 5:12 am

Rest Easy™ Bed Bug Repellent Spray

– I bought that from BedBathBeyond- $10. It worked.
It was an all natural kinda thing and in the South East.. we have so much heat and humidity that the little terrors are resistant to the steamer!

If you get this stuff- make sure you have breathing space. That cinnamon and clove smell tickles the lungs.

74 nobugsonme November 10, 2011 at 3:41 am

Repelling bed bugs, we’re told, doesn’t really work.

First, it’s hard to find something that will repel continually without reapplication. I have read the testing data — if I am not mistaken, they tested repellency for 30 minutes. That’s not really long enough to say if it will work on bed bugs through the night.

The other issue is that repelling a structural pest is not necessarily a bright idea. If the product does work to repel bed bugs, it would be problematic because if you were able to repel bed bugs, you would be driving them into other rooms, or deeper into the structure. You’re not outside, so they’re not actually going “away.” Making them dig in deeper can just mean you have bed bugs in more parts of the structure and they’re harder to get rid of.

75 nobugsonme November 10, 2011 at 3:43 am

The Shark steamers, AFAIK, are not dry vapor steamers. The FAQ above explains why that matters. They cost a bit more, but may be worth it.

76 Sumer-Solver November 29, 2011 at 1:16 am

Yes, the US-DOH (dpt. of hlth) could [and should] develop and enact new legislation that would require by mandatory law that every state/city/town/village hall institute a “Bed Bug Removal Program” which would be comprised of a required ‘pesticide treatment program’ under professional guidelines. Such a mandate would possibly, in this economy, be of some expense to our government office budgets and therefore may require that U.S. citizens have their related taxation (i.e., property tax or other) raised in the interim period of eradication. Now if all citizens would inform the U.S.-DOH and the U.S.-DOB (dpt. of buildings) and the U.S. President that they would be willing to incur this temporary tax raise then a new bill to establish this service could well be formulated in record time.

Honestly, the citizens will somehow/someway have to bear some of the costs in resolving this issue. (Pls recall that it was an outpour from U.S. citizens in years past to our government officials that put a stop to the [outlandish] usage of ‘Chemical Spraying’ in the first place. Therefore Congress is not willing to reverse those rulings that followed that deluge too fast; and definitely not without proof that all procedures will ensure the safety of U.S. citizens.)

But the law could be enacted and stated as follows (if majority of citizens agree):
“Any U.S. state/city/town/village hall government office with any complaints from its citizens of a moderate-to-severe infestation of ‘Bed Bugs’ within any residential property, regardless of number of units (if mult-family housing) is now required under (i.e., U.S. Federal Mandate Ruling FCS-11 2011-66-23-0491) to institute, foster and maintain a “Residential Bed Bug Abatement Program” for a period extending not less than one month and up to a period of five years. Each residential case must be filed with the U.S.-DOB ‘BAP’ Representative in their local government office or online at http://www.___. Each case must be in complete compliance with program guidelines. and on and on it would go”

Now such a mandate should exist as I can see from all your comment’s that this issue is truly severe! I had no idea as I have not had to deal with such an issue – – yet! And I, like you, would love to see that our government do something to aide all its citizens in ridding our country, our nation, our homeland of this UN-Healthy issue. Therefore, I implore each reader here to contact your State Congressional Rep. and State House Rep. and Mayors Ofc. and Local Dept. of Buildings and Local Dept. of Health and begin letting your voices be heard!! Otherwise nothing, believe me, nothing, will ever get done. Heck, even our current President, although he has major issues to deal with, would pay attention if you all speak up. For no matter what happens any President will have to ‘approve or veto’ the bill as well.

So in all due respect to everyone currently suffering with this issue of Bed Bugs I will leave it up to ALL YES, Each & Every One of Y.O.U. to follow-through. This forum is a great communication venue, but in order to ‘nix’ (no pun intended) this issue you all must take action NOW – not tomorrow – NOW!

LAUS DEO (Praise Be To GOD) Stamped on a metal plate atop the very top of the Washington Monument since the 1800’s. ONE NATION UNDER GOD

77 dina December 5, 2011 at 3:03 am

I bought the Conair Fabric Professional Steamer and it’s specifically states that it kills bed bugs. The temperature goes up to more than 175 deg F per specs. We thought we got rid of the problem when we steamed the carpets and the baseboards. However, there were still bed bugs left crawling. We figured that there are bed bugs inside the baseboards. Do I spray in between? Use a blow-dryer.

All clothes should be washed if they were exposed to the infestation so they don’t travel to other parts of the house. I inquired from two pest companies. The cold treatment is about $800-900. The hot treatment starts at $1500 minimum.

With this cost, I guess we have to stand a few more bites until we fully eradicate in time.


78 nobugsonme December 9, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Hi dina,
I am not sure I know the answer to your questions. Please come to the user forums if you want more input on your steaming methods.
Remember that it’s not just the temperature the steam reaches, but how hot it is when discharged from the nozzle (see FAQ above).

79 camp buggy December 16, 2011 at 12:15 am

I tried RestEasy at the infested residential camp I worked at before I did my homework. I am not yet sure whether I react to bites and so can’t say whether it worked. I do, however, want to caution anyone who decides to try it to be EXTREMELY careful. When the directions say not to get it on you while wet, they mean it. I accidentally leaned on the bed frame before it dried and had a terrible topical allergic reaction to the repellant (had to jump into a cold shower and scrub with soap for 10 minutes to get the oils off and the swelling down…).

80 cindy December 23, 2011 at 12:12 am

You can negotiate cost with cash. Be sure to get their 90 day guarantee in writing. I negotiated $450 to $300. My moms house is infested. She’s done the do it yourself route now I’m stepping in.

81 bugbitcha May 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I just wanted to update you about how I have dealt with on-going BB’s in our apartment. After our initial infestation 3 years ago, we have done everything, and spent thousands of dollars. When we got bugs a third time after using professional exterminators, I checked out everything I could about steam, including everything on this website. We decided to treat bedbugs the same way we treat cockroaches; monthly. (we live in NYC in an apartment. its a part of life here) Last year we invested in a Vapamore steam cleaner. (based on reviews on this website) We started off by steam cleaning everything in the bedroom (all furniture, all bedding, everything), and laundered all clothing. We grouted every crack we could see. Then once a week for a month we steam everything again. We have been doing this for a year. As I prepare to do this months cleaning, I wanted to let you know that this method works. It is not that difficult, and your bedroom will be spotless.

82 george March 1, 2013 at 7:00 am

I just bought a steamer from home depo. It does shoot out steam with the temp of 220 degrees. So good for killing bed bugs. The only bad part is it last about a half hour before it needs refilled. You can find it on lows or it was only 140.00 dollars so you save a lot of money that way.

83 bugdroppings July 24, 2013 at 10:13 am

Is it safe to rent a steamer? Since presumably other customers will have used them for bb’s, do you not risk bringing them in or exacerbating the problem if you use a rented steamer?

84 nobugsonme July 24, 2013 at 11:27 pm

Hi bugdroppings,

I am not an expert, and it’s a good question, so please consider posting that question on our user forums:

85 liz August 16, 2013 at 3:15 pm

I am in the middle of trying to determine if there is a bug problem in one of our family member’s homes so found this website for the first time. We thought our family member had been bitten but after a visit to the doctor, we were told definitely it was in no way bites from bed bugs, but was something else. Meanwhile, after finding what looked like a bedbug, we are comparing it to the spider beetle and it looks more like that than a bedbug. So we are relieved that the bites are not from bedbugs and after pulling apart the sleeping area the entire day and triggering a massive allergy to dust, our family member is pretty relieved. But it is a reminder to be more vigilant and aware.

I did want to say, after reading the comment suggesting that the government step in and require companies and landlords to hire pesticide companies to get rid of infestations, I strongly disagree. Many people understand the health dangers of using these chemicals in the home and others have had their heads in the sand for years and seem to refuse to accept that they are big risks for everyone. Some people, like bugbitcha with a lot of research and determination will find a way to deal with them that is effective and has had repeated professionals who didn’t eliminate the bugs anyway. Let’s leave the government out of it and be responsible to figure it out and deal with it ourselves. As if the government was succeeding at so many other things they get involved in, when the main areas that they are responsible for, they are failing at.

Even if we don’t have bed bugs, I’m ready to get a steamer and clean the heck out of our house this fall.

86 Eren October 3, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Has anyone tried the “Vapamore MR100” Trying to get rid of bed bugs. I don’t want to invest in something that might not work :/ I asked because the customer reviews are very contradictory. Some are 5 stars while others are only 1. Appreciate your help. Would I be able to rent a dry vapor steamer for less $?

87 Melissa S. November 7, 2013 at 9:06 am

Hi this is the second time tht we have ended up with bed bugs… I have a 3 yr old son and he is gettin bite badly on the arms and I dnt have 1200 to pay for the exterminator to spray or treat the bedbugs so I’m tryin to come up with an effective way to get rid of them…. My son Has a plastic car bed but it has a piece plywood to hold the mattress yesterday I pulled off mattress and turned the plywood over and there was sure enough bedbugs crawling all over it… 🙁 so I went to my bedroom and pulled the sheets off and sure enough there were black dots and bedbugs on every corner of my bed and on my mattress!!!!! Someone please help!!!! I have a steamer I have been using and have bought tons and tons of bottles of alcohol to use to spray as well!!! But I am a single miter with a child tht is 2 and I need to get rid of these nasty things before I loose my mind and before my child gets bit continualously…. Someone plz help me!!!! Idk what to do!!!! I’ve had a exterminator come and spray once but it’s been over 6 mths ago and now they are bk!!!!!

88 nobugsonme November 8, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Hi Melissa,

So sorry you’re dealing with this problem.

I think you will get more feedback if you post on our user forums which have many active readers including experts and people who have been there. It’s here:

I suggest copying and pasting your post there. (You have to register first.)

I am wondering if you rent and if so, if you have investigated the laws where you live? If you’re renting, in many places, the landlord is responsible for bed bug treatment. Where I am, in NYC, they generally have to hire a licensed professional. And while the experts in the forums may be able to give you further advice about self-treatment, it would be great if you were entitled to have a professional come in at the landlord’s cost.

89 BugsPissMeOff November 10, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Steam is definitely a useful tool in the fight against these little (expletive), but there are some things that need to be mentioned about using that method, such as the fact that it has to be applied very carefully to the affected areas – don’t just blast it onto something or you risk simply blowing still living bugs all over the house, steam may severely damage wood furniture even if the nozzle is wrapped in a towel, and be very careful not to accidentally let the steam come in contact with any part of yourself, as the pain is immediate and excruciating even through thick clothing and it will leave a big nasty blister that takes weeks to heal. In my experience steam works best on the eggs, as well as killing adult and nymph bed bugs hiding in office type chairs that can be placed outside while being treated, but is useless on wood furniture and not very reliable at killing bugs hiding in things like heavy couches and futons, as many bugs will be able to run onto the floor and out of sight as the items are turned on their sides to be properly treated throughout. Steam will however most definitely keep a bed bug infestation under control if used properly.

90 where to begin January 4, 2014 at 5:02 am

I moved into a apt, for elderly back in feb,ive had a few lil roaches but i got rid of them.last week an elderly lady was evicted who lived nent to me,now im freaking out.I found a black spot on my thumb I couldnt even scratch it off.I removed it with tweezers,and attached it to a bandaid.I ve been told recently these apts are infested with bedbugs.they are being renovated.but what are they doing with the bug problem.I was advised to report the problem to healthboard. Im moving because they changed age policy to 60 yrs old.of cource they are not telling new resident of infestation.I also have a rash on my hand,with small hole that wont go away.if you can give any advice,it will b grealy helpful.sincerely where to begin

91 nobugsonme January 4, 2014 at 9:40 pm

Hi Where to begin,

The very first step is to be sure you have bed bugs. It isn’t clear to me from what you wrote that you are certain you have bed bugs in your apartment. (It’s possible the black spot was from another cause.) Bed bug monitors may help confirm this. (See the Useful Tools page or the FAQs on how to determine if you have bed bugs).

Once you are pretty sure you have bed bugs (from visual evidence: bed bugs, cast skins, eggs or fecal stains), you can ask the building management to treat. If it is indeed a persistent problem in the building then you may need to try and apply more pressure. As you noted in some locations, the health board will take complaints. In others, there is a housing inspection department which will inspect rental housing and enforce laws. Call a local tenants’ organization or seniors’ advice organization [or even a nurse or social worker if you have access to one] for support in figuring out how best to seek assistance in your particular area.

Sometimes talking to other residents and working together can help bring more light to the problem and a swifter resolution. Some have even used the local media to help speed things along in such cases.

Please come to the forums if you have additional comments or questions or need support. We have an active user forum but few besides me will see comments on FAQs such as this.

92 plzgoawaybugZ March 17, 2014 at 11:51 pm

i bought a con-air steam cleaner for shirts and clothing for 60$[from target]it says right on it that it kills bed bugs and eggs! I just used it to clean my top mattress and around it..had to toss my box spring underneath because it was too infested to salvage. I cannot afford a professional. Do you guys think i’m safe if i keep steaming?

93 nobugsonme March 20, 2014 at 11:08 pm

Steam is an effective contact killer. However, as the FAQ above notes, it is labor intensive and in many cases will have to be repeated. If you are using a “contact kill” method such as this, you must find and kill every bed bug, or they will persist.

You may want to carefully supplement this with spray and/or DE treatment. If you can get a pro’s advice on what to use and where/how, it may help a lot. Follow all label instructions if self-treating and avoid bombs/foggers. Consider coming to our forums where you will be able to interact with other consumers and experts also.

94 bugbitcha March 28, 2014 at 12:41 pm

I am still steaming away. As everyone has pointed out, steaming is labor intensive, and needs to be repeated. Here’s the deal. In NYC, there is just no “getting rid of bedbugs forever” no matter what method you use. You get rid of them, then go to the movies, ride the subway or go to work, and lo and behold, you have them again. There is NO method that will guarantee to keep them out of your home. Many people are very lucky and never have had them. Some of us are not so lucky. I am choosing to be proactive, and yes, it is work. And yes it is effective, and yes, my bedroom is very very clean.

95 nobugsonme April 2, 2014 at 11:23 pm

Sorry that you have a recurring problem, but glad the steam is helping you keep control.
I bet it’s clean. No dust mites is a silver lining (sigh!)

96 Buggingout July 15, 2014 at 2:25 am

So, I have been reading this and many forums for the past few weeks, and now that I think I practically lost my mind; I’ve decided to up the ante and purchase a steamer. It will arrive this Thursday.

I have never experienced something this tedious and labor intensive, as I pride myself in up keeping my nyc apartment to white glove standards, color coordinating shirts in my closet and mopping for fun. With a bunch of DE on my wooden floors and a steamer to be delivered this Thursday; I’m losing more money and sleep.

My question is- when is the best time to steam? My PCO (well the building one) is coming in next Monday but does not seem too well versed on the bed bug matter. Would steaming right before he comes help out? Or can I start killing these little —- the minute my steamer comes in, as he does not offer me an answer.

97 NYCbugCrazy August 20, 2014 at 5:07 pm

I’ve tried to register on here, but no luck. Maybe someone can help me here? A home aide brought in bed bugs to our apartment. Three days after he started working, my mother, who never gets bit by anything started getting red bumps. I thought it may be mosquitoes since I have always been bitten by them and had started to. I noticed I was scarring more, but thought I was just being bit more. Until I saw something crawling across my pillow one night. Had an exterminator come in and couldn’t find anything, so they brought in a dog and it started going crazy when it sniffed the back pack the aide brought everyday and kept in out supply closet. He had this on top of my step-father’s wheelchair. The exterminators told him to put his bag out on the terrace right away, but he got a call from his agency and “forgot” to. I found out from his agency that he never told them what the exterminators had told them. They had also found some in the chair the aide sat in in the living room and my bedroom (I sleep on the floor) which is right next to the supply room. When we informed the agency, the case manager flipped out and said he had some stange bites on him and that they had started about 2-3 days after this same aide had gone in to speak to him. We’ve had the exterminators come in twice so far. I’ve thrown out all supplies, medicine, several wheelchairs, clothing, the chair, paintings and just about anything I thought may have come in any contact with this person. I’ve washed all other clothing in hot water and the hottest dryer settings. I’ve done the same with all blankets, pillows, bedding, sheets, everything I can get my hands on. I think they’re gone, but we can still feel them crawling over us and the itching is still driving us crazy. Every once in a while, we do see new red bumps appear, but the exterminator said this would happen for up to 10 days-2 weeks after he treated our apartment. I just hope they’re gone for good. I’m still cleaning, laundering, vacuuming, anything and everything to try and take care of this matter. I’ve submitted the bill to the agency since it was the aide (he failed to tell the agency, but did ask the exterminators how to clean his car) and the report they wrote does state that the dog discovered them coming from his back pack, and he failed to let them know as well and that puts their offices at risk as well. They are refusing to reply to my request they pay this bill and won’t take my calls. I’ve looked online but I can’t tell find any information on the rules for this in New York. Please help. I’m also scarred EVERYWHERE on my body and have to wear long sleeves, pants and everything else because people look at me like I’m diseased otherwise. I don’t have the money to pay for this and I’m exhausted trying to physically do all the other things alone as I have two elderly parents to care for. I’m about to lose my mind over all this. We also live in a co-op that is constantly monitoring our progress and has told us flat out that if other people report this, they will blame us and hold us financially responsible.

98 marla October 21, 2014 at 7:56 am

Yes will the shark streamer work on killing bed beg and where can you a mattress cover for the bed I seen so that suppose to be for bedbugs

99 Neil Wilson November 26, 2014 at 12:37 am

Steam works well, as long as your are thorough and diligent. A common mistake that I learned – keep the pressure turned down low. If you have too much pressure, you can blow the bugs and/or the eggs off of the surface before they get the heat from the steam. If you cannot adjust the pressure, you can use a cloth or towel to disperse the steam as the original post stated.

Steam is steam meaning you don’t necessarily have to spend hundreds or thousands for a fancy steamer. The biggest advantage of a nicer unit is the speed which you can work. The smaller laundry type steamer will still get the job done and you can pick one of those up for $30 – $40. It just comes down to what your time is worth to you.

Hope this helps!

Neil Wilson
KC Pest Away

100 Honey Bug December 9, 2014 at 4:46 pm

Hi Neil,
We recently had guests at our home who told us a few days after they left that we should vacuum the floor to prevent getting their bed bugs. I vacuumed thoroughly, laundered everything that could be removed in our house and sprayed alcohol on all soft surfaces. That was about two weeks ago. Last week my husband had a few bites, so we searched for any signs and found nothing. This morning, I saw a bug crawling on the bed and it does resemble a bed bug from what I could tell. It wasn’t clear, so I am assuming it has been feeding. Since we know the timeline and do not yet have an infestation, I would love to know a sure-fire way to prevent them from spreading. What would you recommend? Also, we are supposed to visit their house in a few weeks and would love to know how to keep them from coming back with us! Thanks!

101 Nobugs December 9, 2014 at 5:36 pm

Honey Bug,
I recommend you copy and repost your message on our active us on our active user forums as you may get a faster response and/or more perspectives. Click the forums link in the navigation menu at top.

102 severbugafobeia July 28, 2015 at 10:26 pm

After dealing with these things little nightmares; I struggle as a man. The hair one my body twitches and I’m up looking for bugs I don’t sleep much anymore. I tried the diy steam and a concentrated psychic chlorination methods back to back. ” steam, chlorination, and then steam ” and then everything out into the yard. Every piece of furniture and inch of this house. and setting up diy heavy producing co2 traps I researched how to produce co2 for a couple days “recommended, if nothing else it keeps them out of your walls.” I caught maybe a 200 this way but instantly reduced the number of bites we were getting.

I recommend the pro’s, but do your research on how they are killed and the best methods to use be an expert there are a lot of crappy services. Question them like a your were the government. If they are just going to spray they are doing nothing but spreading them around the house and your waisting your money.

I killed thousands of these bugs, but the big money I paid to have the pros come in was well worth it. They only found a total of 43 in the whole house and not one egg “large five bed and an office” I hunted and killed for two weeks solid before I gave in. That was about 3 years ago and I still have a twitch when I see a small egg looking speck, a black dot or a small bug. Everything has to inspected and cleaned. Next time I kill it with fire and buy tickets to mars.

103 severbugafobeia July 28, 2015 at 10:30 pm


” I tried the diy steam and a concentrated psychotic chlorination methods back to back.”

104 Dora July 31, 2015 at 11:23 am

Wonderful article! We are linking to this particularly great article
on our website. Keep up the great writing.

105 Jenna August 1, 2015 at 12:40 am

I already owned a $50 steam mop and couldn’t afford these better steamers so I decided to try it. It worked wonderfully. If you can afford a better one great, but I know many people can’t. Good Housekeeping reviewed even the least expensive steam mops and they all exceed even the lowest temperature to kill the bugs.

106 Timothy August 12, 2015 at 3:35 pm

Trying to kill or eradicate an infestation with steam is silly. At best it can keep the homeowner busily occupied so they wont think about their infestation while awake. Water is a solid method of eradication. Just separate the beds and isolate them so nothing touches the floor or bottom of the legs while sleeping. Place water bowls under the legs and go to sleep, the bed bugs will come and drown since they cant jump or hop. Of course, you’ll probably have to start with new beds but this will work. Forget the steam it just a way to kill them like stepping on them but it has no chance of eliminating the whole problem…

107 nobugsonme August 12, 2015 at 3:57 pm

Thanks for commenting. However, I think you understood the point of this FAQ.

This FAQ does not suggest people only use steam and nothing else, though some here have done this successfully with a lot of elbow grease.

Many PCOs use steam before applying dust and residual pesticides. It’s a great contact killer. I am surprised you are not aware that this is a valid protocol, since your URL directs to a pest control website. Since your company uses “green” methods, I am surprised steam is such a silly idea to you.

I am not a pest pro, however, re: your suggestions about isolating the bed with cups of water: interceptor traps are cheap (can even be free– we share instructions in our FAQ on monitors) but unlike water, will catch bed bugs trying to crawl on or off the bed, rather than deterring them. That seems like a plus to me.

108 sandy January 7, 2016 at 12:52 am

h20 elite mop goes up tp 250 degree go see the comercial add on youtube and yes it getssss so hot
wouldnt use that on my matress tho in case of mold since its not dryvipor but just buy a bedbug matress protector , leave the dust in it , thats what i did also for my submatress go 2 at uhaul for 10$ that is only nylon and 2 more at fwalmart to be extra safe but was 40$for a quuen
after i vaccummed home steamed everywhere , wash and dried ill my cloths for 40 min hot trmperture and im bedbug free

109 nobugsonme January 13, 2016 at 3:28 am

Glad to hear it, sandy!

110 Jeri Lynn June 23, 2016 at 3:13 pm

Got a steamer… Not sure I’ll use it tho after reading these comments. We have sprayed with Bedlam, bought two new mattresses and still got em. We were BBQ free for about a week only! I woke up last night itching on my neck…. Well one if these SOB’s had bit me about 6 times! Had to go to work with fn bites!
Our Pesticide man doesn’t want us to use steam, but sprays don’t seem to help! And we can’t afford $3,000.00 to have our house basically burned down! I ‘m losing it! Sleeping on couch no fun!! So disheartened and depressed!!

111 George Scarnati June 25, 2016 at 10:43 am

For those still wondering about the proper temperature to kill bed bugs, the professional recommendation of around 200 degrees for a steamer is better. True, bed bugs die in 120 degree water, but water is denser than steam and thus kills them faster. For example, which would burn you faster, sticking your hand in an oven heated to 300 degrees or sticking your hand in boiling water at 300 degrees?
Temperature is juat a measure of how fast molecules are moving, so denser substances like liquids feel hotter than gases because there are more molecules touching you. I believe steam is classified as a gas, and it changes to a liquid after its temperature lowers to a certain point (but at that point it would be too cold to kill anything I think).
So, when deciding what temperature to kill bed bugs with, keep in mind:
1. Hot water kills them at 120 degrees F, so go higher than that because steam is a gas.
2. Professional heat treatments get to about 150 degrees using a gas, and those have to run for several hours before everything is dead.
3. You have to reach all of the crevices that the bugs are in, which means either higher temps than you’d normally need or prolonged steaming (which is bad because it causes mold).

So buy the steamer with a higher temperature. It’s needed if they are in any kind of furniture like sofas or beds.

112 Rich October 25, 2016 at 2:56 am

If you put books in your oven at 120 it melts the glue. My books hav never been the same.

113 recordaras July 6, 2017 at 10:47 am

Our PCO recommended the $100 Wagner 915 steamer – surprisingly enough they have switched to those from the more expensive Vapamore units as the techs preferred them for size and portability reasons. He mentioned that they only usually get a year’s use out of the Wagners vs 3+ years with the Vapamore, so it’s not a cost savings measure, but I figured I’d go for the Wagner since if it’s good enough to work for them, it should be fine for us. Also, the PCO was able to completely eradicate an entry level infestation in our home last year using that little Wagner, so we know it works well.

While it’s not a “dry steam” unit per se, and it annoyingly sprays water out when you first hit the trigger (I keep a dishpan by my side and spray in there till steam comes out), it really is much more dry than I expected. I wear glasses, and have had no issues with those fogging up or with the air in the room getting humid. If you spray the top of the mattress directly, it becomes warm to the touch, but not damp. If you continuously spray steam in one location some drops will develop. Overall, if mold/excess humidity is already an issue in the home it might make sense to splurge for the true vapor models, but for most people this seems to be a good option. If I had to do it over, I think I would have paid a bit more for the Vapamore to do away with the annoyance of having to “flush out” water first, but if you’re looking for an affordable option I thought I’d add that to the list.

114 nobugsonme July 18, 2017 at 1:05 am

Thanks, recordaras!

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