Finding your bed’s been infested by hundreds of tiny little parasites is never a happy discovery. As one of the most common and unwelcome guests in our homes, bed bugs can spell the end of a peaceful night’s sleep sooner than you can count to three.
Despite being almost undetectable to the naked eye, they’re quick to make their presence known with their blood seeking ways. As anyone’s who’s been the object of one of these nasty little critters affections will know, a few days of waking up to a fresh new cluster of bites will have you reaching for just about anything to get rid of them…which brings us nicely round to the subject of bleach.
For lots of people, bleach is the go-to weapon of choice against anything that comes into their home without an invitation. But does it work against bed bugs? And even if it does, should we be using it?
Does Bleach Kill Bed Bugs & Their Eggs?
The short answer to the question of whether bleach is a great home remedy that can kill bed bugs and their eggs is yes. Bleach (or sodium hypochlorite, to give it its full name) is a powerful, potent chemical that in the right quantities, will kill just about anything you throw it at, bed bugs included.
If you can entice every single bed bug out of the many nooks and crannies they love to hide in, give them a good soaking in bleach, and then empty another few bottles over the bed and its surroundings to kill any eggs, then sure… you‘d be safe to assume that bed bugs won’t be causing you any more grief.
But therein we run into a problem, a problem that as it turns out, isn’t the only one to spell trouble for bleach-botherers.
Bed bugs love nothing more than a good game of hide and seek. You can seek them here, you can seek them there, but the chances of you locating and bleaching every single one (not to mention identifying where they’ve laid their eggs) is nigh on impossible. Even if you manage to find 99.9%, it only takes one undetected pregnant female to undo all your good work.
But let’s assume you somehow manage the impossible and douse the full infestation. What you really should be asking yourself now is a) whether what you’ve done is safe, and b) whether there was maybe a better way to deal with the problem.
Is Bleach Safe?
Bleach works because its potent. Strong and deadly, it leaves dirt, grime, and pests quivering in its wake. But if it’s strong enough to kill, is it really safe to be throwing around with reckless abandon? In a word, no.
Not only can bleach damage your mattress and wreck your bed linens, it can cause all manner of health problems, including skin irritation and respiratory problems. It may be a cornerstone of the bathroom cabinet, but if you’re using it in any kind of quantity (and especially on materials you’ll be coming into direct contact with), you’re asking for trouble.
Given its efficacy and easy availability, no-one’s going to deny it’s tempting to reach for a bottle and go to town on those bed bugs. But believe me, there are easier, safer and altogether better ways of dealing with the problem than that.
The Best Way to Kill Bed Bugs
The best way of killing bed bugs is not to do it yourself. Pest control officers have ways of dealing with pests that go way beyond our normal, civilian way of thinking. They may be expensive, but they get the job done- quickly, efficiently, and without you having to get down and dirty with a single bug.
But let’s face it, not all of us have the means to call in the experts every time a pest sets up camp in our home. Fortunately for those who don’t, there’s an easy way you can tackle the problem without spending a fortune in the process.
First of all, identify and seal off any cracks in the walls where the bed bugs may be hiding. Do the same with any nooks and crannies in the bed frame, baseboards, and any bedroom furniture.
With a stiff headed brush, sweep the carpets and beds using short, hard strokes to displace any eggs and bugs that may be lurking.
Remove all bed linen and clothes from the room and wash them at the highest possible temperature… if you’ve any garments that are unlikely to survive highs of 130 °F, chuck them. If you have one (or can get one) using a steam or heat cleaner on any infested linens can also help.
Vacuum every single vacuumable thing in the room, paying particular attention to any holes or crevices. As soon as you’ve turned the vacuum off, remove the vacuum bag, seal it in a plastic bag, and then get it as far away from you and the house as you can.
Cover your mattress and pillows with bed bug proof covers. As well as killing any last remaining critters trapped inside, they’ll do a grand job of making sure they never return.
If the infestation is particularly heavy, you may have to consign yourself to dumping any upholstered furniture and the mattress.
As bed bugs can lay dormant for some time without feeding, treat the area with a spray or treatment aimed at bed bugs. Don’t be tempted to use any household products or treatments that don’t specifically say the words “kill” and “bed bugs” on the label, no matter how tempting.
If you’ve missed any eggs the first time around, you might have to repeat the above steps a couple more times. The average bed bug egg takes around 10 days to hatch, so missing just a couple could result in a few more visitors turning up a week or so down the line. But don’t give up… keep persevering, and pretty soon you’ll be sleeping tight without a single bed bug for company.