Bed Bug Basics #2: Sleep Good Tonight – Don’t Let The Bed Bugs Bite!

Used Mattresses may contain bed bugs Orin Zebest (1)

In the Bed Bugs Basic Facts and Identification, you learned how to recognize the signs of bed bugs. You also learned about what they looked like and can now identify them.

Next, we are going to cover how you can solve a bed bug issue for the night so that you can have a good night’s sleep.

Bed Bugs: Sleep Tight, Don’t Let The Bed Bugs Bite!

Unfortunately, if you are reading this you are probably struggling to sleep with bed bugs in your room.

There’s a fix!

  • Don’t move to the couch to avoid bed bugs. They will follow!
  • Pull the bed 1 foot away from the nearest wall
  • Pull off all the linens, blankets and pillows
  • Put them in a garbage bag and tightly tie the top
  • Take linens to the laundry room and empty the bag into the dryer
  • Dry on high heat for 30 or more minutes
  • Vacuum all the crevices around your mattress, box springs, and bed frame
    • Be especially careful if you don’t have a HEPA certified vacuum
  • Move anything that is touching your bed or under your bed at least 1 foot away
  • Keep bedbugs from climbing up the legs of your bed by placing the legs in plastic containers
  • Wrap your mattress and box springs in saran wrap to temporarily protect you from bites
  • Replace your linens. Allow nothing to hand near the ground, wall, or other piles of stuff.
Bed Bugs change size and color as they feed
Bed bugs change size and color as they feed.
Photo Credit

Step 1: Don’t Move To The Couch!

But first, if you have bed bugs, there are several things that you should not do. Do not move to another room to sleep for the night.

That won’t solve the problem.

The bed bugs or at least some of them will follow you. As a result, you will infect multiple rooms in your house.

This will make treatment more expensive and more work.

Step 2: Pull The Bed One Foot Away From The Nearest Wall

Next, pull your bed away from the wall. Bed bugs love to stay in very small spaces. That means that you probably have bed bugs in your curtains, behind the light and electrical fixtures, and even in the baseboards of the room.

Pulling your bed away from the wall will limit the number of ways that bed bugs can reach you. Move your bed out at least 1 foot from the nearest wall or furniture.

Don’t allow anything near your bed that the bugs can climb up. This includes chairs, piles of clothes, or other things.

Step 3: Pull Off All Linens, Blankets, And Pillows

After that, pull all the linens off your bed. This includes your pillow, sheets, and blankets. If you have a mattress skirt, pull it off also.

  • Sheets
  • Skirts
  • Pillows and cases
  • Stuffed animals or other things you (or your kids) sleep with

Step 4: Put All Linens In A Garbage Bag And Seal It

Put everything in a garbage bag and tie it tight. You can use a twist tie or tightly knot it.

This step is vital because if you simply carry your linens and blankets to the laundry room, you will spread the bed bugs throughout your house.

Don’t use thin, easily torn garbage bags. Make sure that you are using ones that won’t allow bed bugs to get out during transportation.

You can also double bag your laundry to make sure that the bugs stay contained.

Encase clothing in bags before taking it to the laundry room

Step 5: Dry On High Heat At Least 30 Minutes

Throw everything in the dryer on the highest setting. Let it run in your dryer for at least 30 minutes. If you have time, you can wash it first with hot water.

Bed bugs can stand high heat, but the sudden change in temperature will kill them. They need sustained heat for at least 30 minutes to kill them.

You will see captured, dead bed bugs in your lint tray after the cycle is completed, but you won’t see all the bugs. That’s because some may still be stuck to your laundry.

Step 6: Vacuum All The Crevices Around Your Mattress, box Springs, And Bed Frame

Next, get out your vacuum. This step should be done very carefully. You will need to vacuum everywhere around your bed and box springs. Pay specific attention to the seams around your mattress.

Pull back the bottom cover on your box springs. Vacuum out all of the corners, nooks, and crannies. Everyplace there is a small crevice, vacuum it.

Vacuum around your bed frame including the corners, spaces where screws and nails go, and slots where boards meet. These are prime areas for bed bugs to hide.

Bed bugs can fit into an area thinner than a credit card. Even a screw hole can house dozens of bed bugs.

So, it’s important to realize that you might transmit bed bugs vía your vacuum. The best vacuums to use to stop the contamination of bed bugs to other parts of your house is a HEPA approved vacuum.

HEPA vacuums are made so that everything vacuumed up is contained in the vacuum bag and can’t get out.

Other non-HEPA vacuums may spray out bed bug eggs through the filter since they are so fine. They may also have cracks and crevices that will hide bed bugs for future contamination.

If you don’t have a HEPA vacuum, then make sure that you take out the vacuum bag, seal it in a trash bag, and leave it in an outside dumpster. You will also want to spray down your vacuum so you can kill any roaming bed bugs on your vacuum.

Step 7:  Move Everything That Is Near Your Bed (Including Storage Under)

If you need a good night’s sleep, you need to make sure that the only way to you is through your bed legs. Protected the legs will protect you!  

Chairs, bed storage, under the mattress drawers, music, dressers, and everything else that is near your bed should be moved at least one foot away.

You must eliminate all pathways that bed bugs can crawl onto your bed. Bed bugs can’t fly or jump, but they are excellent climbers.

Not only can they climb the walls, but they can also climb curtains, dressers, chairs, piles of CDs, books and other personal items. Move everything away.

Do not have anything stores under your bed either. This will create a bed bug haven!  

Allow nothing to hand near the ground, wall, or other piles of stuff.

Bed bugs can hide in shoe seams.
Photo Credit: louento.pix Flickr

Step 8: Keep Bed Bugs From Climbing Up The Legs Of Your Bed

Keep bed bugs from climbing up your bed legs. There are two ways to do this.

One popular method is by using either office or moving tape.

It is only a temporary measure to help you get a good night’s sleep. First, tape the lower 4 inches of your bed legs with the sticky part of tape faced out. This will slow down the bed bugs and keep many of them out.

A more effective way is to use plastic dishes such as sour cream containers. The plastic dishes must have high sides on them. Put the legs of your beds inside the dishes. Bed bugs have a very difficult time climbing up plastic.

This will keep the bugs in your carpet and not biting you during the night.

Step 9: Wrap Your Mattress And Box Springs

Next, wrap your mattress and box springs in saran wrap. Wrap it each time so that ½ of the width of the saran wrap covers the previous wrap. This creates a solid plastic barrier between your box springs and your mattress and you.

A bed bug cover is ideal for long term protection. They are created to keep bed bugs from getting into or out of your mattress. Saran wrap will only protect you temporarily.

Step 10: Put Back Your Newly Dried Linens

Next, put your linens and blankets back on your bed. All bed bugs in the linens will have been killed (eggs also).

Tuck everything in and don’t let anything hang low to the ground.


Taking these steps should give you a good night’s sleep, but it won’t stop your bedbug problem. You still have bedbugs on your box springs and mattress and they will get out of the saran wrap and continue to multiply. If you want to learn how to permanently get rid of bed bugs, then continue onto Bed Bug Basics #3.

You’ll learn what treatments work and what don’t. You’ll also learn what the professionals do to get rid of bed bugs and why it takes multiple treatments.

Feature Image Photo Credit: Orin Zebest Flickr

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