9 Tips to Keep Your Home Bed Bug Free

Bed bugs are gross, but they are not known to spread diseases. But this doesn’t mean they are not a health risk. Bed bugs can bite you, leading to itching, sores, and even infections. And — now for the gross part — bed bugs also leave carcasses, feces, and bloodstains all over your home, which is not pleasant and can be a risk to your health. Here are nine tips to keep your home bed bug free…

1. Know the signs — to keep your home bed bug free

First, it’s important to recognize the signs of a bed bug infestation. Then you will really know if your home is still free of these disgusting pests, or not… And if it is not, you can be more proactive in getting rid of, and preventing, further infestations

Here are the most prominent signs:

  • Live bed bugs
  • Bed bug carcasses
  • Brown smear marks (feces)
  • Red smear marks (bloodstains)
  • Clusters of milky white capsules (bed bug eggs)

Also, remember that bed bugs thrive beyond your mattress. You should look for these signs all over your home, including bags, carpets, curtains, furniture, piles of undisturbed fabrics, and even stuffed toys.

2. Cleaning often will keep your home bed bug free

Many homeowners believe they have bed bugs because they have dirty homes. But this is not necessarily true. Even clean homes can have bed bugs. As long as there are animals and humans to feed on, bed bugs can thrive. They are also great hitchhikers, so you can easily get them from college dorms, hotels, offices, and even bus seats.

With that said, it’s still a good idea to clean your home regularly. This way, bed bugs will have no opportunity to thrive, even successful hitchhikers. Vacuum all surfaces regularly, including the inside part of your bed frames.

3. Don’t ignore fabrics

If you want to keep your home bed bug free, don’t ignore fabrics like carpets, curtains, and clothes. Bed bugs like to stay in areas that you don’t often disturb because these areas keep them safe. Piles of clothes that have been in your closets for a long time undisturbed are good spots for bed bugs and their eggs.

Make sure to “disturb” these piles by washing them once in a while. Bed bugs can die in the water in your washer. Even if they survive, they can still die in the heat in your dryer.

Keep your home bed bug free by regularly washing fabrics.

4. Be careful of college dorms and offices

Bed bugs are great hitchhikers. They can get a ride from you or your personal belongings. And when you get home, they can start an infestation there. Some of the most common areas where you can get hitchhikers are college dorms and offices. People from different walks of life come and go in these areas, so this is not surprising. Some of them are bound to bring items infested with bed bugs.

Before being too comfortable in your new college dorm or office, make sure to look for the signs of a bed bug infestation first. For college dorms, books, bookshelves, and mattresses are common hotspots. For offices, the hotspots are cubicles and upholstered furniture, especially those in common areas like pantries.

5. Inspect hotel rooms before settling in

Many people think that hotels are the bastions of cleanliness. But they are essentially the same as college dorms and offices. They may have hitchhikers because many different kinds of people come and go to these places.

Inspect your hotel room first before settling in. It’s even better if you can isolate your luggage until you are sure the area is free of bed bugs. Check the mattresses, bedside tables, sofas and chairs, curtains, and walls. If you suspect they have bed bugs, inform hotel staff immediately.

6. Have sturdy luggage

As you may have noticed, preventive measures outside your home are just as important as those inside your home. Another preventive measure is to have sturdy luggage whenever you are outside. Hitchhiking bed bugs like to hide in folds, and folds can be abundant in soft bags. Use sturdy pieces of luggage with minimal folds and gaps.

However, sturdy pieces of luggage are still not completely immune to hitchhikers. You still have to inspect them regularly, especially the corners and zippers. The clothes inside them are also good hiding spots. You can consider wrapping your clothes in plastic bags as an extra layer of protection.

7. Isolate and clean your luggage when you get home

When you get home after traveling, it’s still a good idea to isolate your luggage first, just in case it has bed bugs. Don’t bring your bags inside your home immediately. Let them stay in your driveway, garage, or any area that is away from the main parts of your property.

Use a vacuum cleaner. And then throw away the contents of the vacuum cleaner in a garbage can outside of your home. In case there are bed bugs, at least you are putting them in a garbage can where they can’t cause an infestation. If you have a steam cleaner, that’s even better because bed bugs are vulnerable to heat.

Keep your home bed bug free by isolating your luggage after traveling.

8. Check secondhand furniture before buying

The secondhand furniture you buy in thrift shops can also introduce bed bugs to your home. Inspect them thoroughly before you even buy them. The most common secondhand furniture that can bring bed bugs to your home are mattresses, upholstered pieces like sofas and chairs, and wooden pieces like cabinets, drawers, and nightstands.

Also, remember that bed bugs are small creatures. They are only about 5-7 mm long. You can easily miss them. It’s a good idea to still clean, steam clean, or vacuum secondhand furniture before putting them inside your home, even if you have heavily inspected them.

9. Get help from the professionals to keep home bed bug free!

Sometimes, luck is just not on your side. No matter how hard you try to keep your home bed bug free, these pests can still find their way into your property. In case this happens, it’s best to call pest control professionals. Bed bugs are complicated pests, so DIY approaches are not going to be effective most of the time.

It will take multiple treatment sessions spread across a few weeks to completely get rid of bed bugs.

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