Any expert would tell you that cleaning is a must for your pest control plan and even the most powerful chemicals would be useless without it. That said, choose the appropriate bed bug steamer can be a pretty challenging task. We are here to help you narrow down your choices! We have explored the strengths and weaknesses of the most popular steamers and give you a step-by-step guide on how to kill bed bugs using a steamer. On top of that, we have looked into the question of whether a regular household steamer can be used to get rid of bed bugs.
Steamers deliver temperatures that kill bed bugs on contact and, therefore, should be used where these pests are hiding. While these devices are more effective on exposed surfaces than fabrics, crevices, and other hard-to-rich areas, they can still eradicate a large portion of bed bugs in the hard-to-rich areas. Make sure that your steamer works with temperatures 160°F and above so that it could kill bed bugs.
What is the best steamer for bed bugs? The McCulloch MC1275 model is a heavy-duty cleaner that works great on all types of floors — tile, granite, wood, laminate, and others.
How to Use Steamers to Kill Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are one of the most insidious pests that can infiltrate one’s home. Once you’ve experienced a bed bug infiltration, there are very few cost and time-effective ways to keep them from taking over.
Bed bugs tend to live in groups, and typically hide in mattresses, headboards, box springs, and other pieces of bedroom furniture that allow them to access humans at night in order to sustain themselves.
Eventually, bed bugs will continue to move throughout the rooms in your home and may even spread to your neighbors’ homes if given the opportunity.
You’ll need to be diligent in ensuring every nook and cranny is freed from every single bug in order to ensure they won’t continue to breed. While there are many suggested ways to rid your home of these creatures, steaming is one of the most efficient and accessible methods for doing so. What’s more, if done correctly, it is the method with the smallest amount of cleanup and room for error.
In fact, according to the University of Minnesota, “steam is a very effective method for killing bed bugs.” That is, provided one is following the proper steps. When it comes to eliminating bed bugs through steaming, one should be sure to follow this step by step guide or risk letting bed bugs continue to run rampant in their home.
Getting Rid of Bed Bugs Using a Steamer: Step-by-Step Plan
- Choose the right cleaner. Be sure to utilize a commercial cleaner. The cleaner should be able to hold at least 1 gallon of water and come with steam volume control. While it might be tempting, you should not use a carpet cleaner. It is likely the carpet cleaner will not be hot enough, completely negating all of your hard work. The temperature should be able to be set between 212-230°F, with the output temperature ideally between 160 and 180°F.
- Utilize an infrared thermometer as you are steaming to ensure the steaming temperature is within the proper range. Too low of a temperature will not kill the bugs, while too high will damage the surface.
- Attach a pinpoint nozzle to a steam wand, as this will allow you to move quickly. You should steam 1 foot, or 30 cm, at a time, and be sure to cover this distance every 10 to 15 seconds according to Purdue University.
- Avoid mold. Be sure to use a low-moisture vapor or a dry steam cleaner as these produce less moisture which helps not to cause mold or water damage.
- Select the the right temperature setting. While steaming, check to make sure the temperature is within the correct range. Additionally, as you pull the steamer away, make sure the fabric is damp, not wet.
- Be sure to use the steamer everywhere. It will be effective in up to 3/4″ of fabric. Any bed bugs not touched by the steam will likely survive, so do not be afraid to steam more than once.
Are Household Steamers & Cleaners Suitable for Bed Bug Control?
While household carpet cleaners will likely not be strong enough to rid your home of bed bugs, purchasing a steamer or cleaner that is capable of getting into the correct temperature range will be more than effective.
As long as your steamer is capable of boiling your water to the temperature of 212-230°F and getting the output temperature between 160 and 180°F, your steamer will be powerful enough to tackle a bed bug infestation.
Be sure to check the specifications of your steamer carefully, or take a look at some of the steamers recommended below.
Best Steamers for Bed Bugs | Reviews
Below, you will find a review of the four best steamers for bed bugs at a price ranging from $40 to $200. You may choose a model that effectively treats all kinds of floors — wood, tile, laminate. There is an option that is most suitable for cleaning car interiors, including seats, door jams, and surfaces. If you need to treat larger areas, opt for a steamer with a high-capacity tank that holds up to 64 ounces of water at a time.
1. McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Cleaner | Best for Floors
The McCulloch is a heavy-duty cleaner meant to clean grout, wood flooring, tile, laminate, and more. Able to hold up to 48-ounces of water at once, the McCulloch will be able to provide 45 minutes of steam time after needing just 8 minutes to reach maximum temperature.
This steamer comes with 18 accessories, including a jet nozzle ideal for targeting hard-to-reach areas and ridding one’s home of bed bugs. The McCulloch’s power cord has an impressive reach of 15.7 feet, with the provided steam hose reaching over 9 feet.
The McCulloch is capable of reaching temperatures that kill bed bugs. Users should be sure to keep pointed toward the bed bugs in the correct temperature range for the recommended amount of time, keeping the steamer in the same spot for no longer than 1 minute.
2. McCulloch MC1385 Deluxe Steam System | Best High-Capacity Steamer
The variable steam control of this McCulloch model makes it one that cannot be beaten. The precision of the MC1385 will help you win your fight against bed bugs easily. Able to hold up to 64 ounces of water, this steamer will warm up to maximum temperature at the 12-minute mark and provide 120 minutes of steam continuously.
Those looking for a steamer that they can use dynamically around their house after they have finished ridding their home of bed bugs will likely prefer the MC1385. Equipped with 23 accessories, including a jet nozzle, extension rods, brushes, mops, and more, the MC1385 is essentially the only steamer one would ever need to purchase.
Able to heat water up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, the MC1385 is capable of reaching the temperatures necessary to rid your home of bed bugs.
3. Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner | Best for Car Interiors
This Dupray model steamer is compact and portable, making it easy to use when tackling multiple areas of your home at once. This steamer is capable of heating water much past the point necessary for getting rid of bed bugs, allowing for temperatures of up to 274 degrees Fahrenheit.
With the capability to clean, sanitize, disinfect, deodorize, and degrease multiple surfaces in your home, you likely will not regret this purchase long after the bed bugs have fled your home.
The Dupray can provide you with steaming services for up to 50 minutes consecutively, with a 54-ounce tank. Its hose is able to extend over 6 feet, ensuring you can cover substantial ground without straining yourself as you clean or disinfect your home.
What’s more, the Dupray provides low-moisture, superheated steam, putting this model in the ideal range for getting rid of bed bugs.
4. PurSteam Handheld Pressurized Steam Cleaner | Best Multi-Purpose
This steamer comes equipped with a 9-piece accessory set, making it a useful steamer purchase overall, even outside of bed bug purposes. The PurSteam is able to warm up within a short 3 to 4 minutes. What’s more, the PurSteam is capable of reaching temperatures between 212 and 289.4 degrees Fahrenheit, making it more than suitable for killing bed bugs.
This handheld steamer is compact and easy to use, allowing one complete mobility when trying to steam tough to reach areas of furniture. Able to hold up to 250 ml of water, the Pursteam will likely last the duration of your steaming efforts without there being a need to refill it.
This steamer is designed to tackle grease spots in kitchens and bathrooms as well as de-wrinkle bedspreads, drapes and more, making this an extremely versatile steamer.