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Guarding Your Home: What Are Effective Strategies for Bed Bug Defence?

Author imageThe Mattress Warehouse

Bed bugs are unwelcome guests in any home, and they can quickly turn your sanctuary into a nightmare. These tiny pests can hide in the cracks and crevices of bedding, mattresses and furniture, making it challenging to get rid of them once they’ve set up shop. While professional extermination services are effective (and recommended), they can be costly. Thankfully, there are DIY solutions that are both affordable and efficient. 

In this guide, we will explore some strategies to help you combat bed bugs and reclaim your sanctuary, while also cautioning you against potentially harmful methods to avoid.

Understanding Bed Bugs:

Before we delve into creating our defence strategy, let’s take a moment to understand our adversaries. As per the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], bed bugs are small, reddish-brown insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals during sleep. 

Although bed bugs are not known to transmit diseases, their presence can still be bothersome. The CDC notes that their bites often result in small, red marks, which may provoke itching and disrupt sleep patterns. In some cases, the itching may result in excessive scratching, potentially raising the risk of developing secondary skin infections.

Avoid Ineffective and Hazardous Methods:

We should warn you that not all treatments will be effective. It is vital to steer clear of methods that are ineffective or potentially harmful. The United States Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] warns that substances like rubbing alcohol, kerosene, and gasoline may pose serious health risks to you and your family and can even catch fire with a spark or cigarette. Similarly, numerous total-release foggers, commonly known as “bug bombs,” are marketed for bed bug treatment. However, research indicates that these foggers are ineffective against bed bugs and pose various risks, warns the Department of Environmental Conservation for the State of Alaska.

It is crucial to prioritise safety by carefully reading and adhering to instructions when selecting and applying insecticides. While there is no “magic” spray for eliminating bed bugs, Professor Michael Merchant of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service emphasises that most commercial insecticides can effectively control infestations when meticulously applied directly to the insects and their hiding places.

Consider Non-Chemical Methods:

Non-chemical approaches can be highly effective in combating bed bugs while minimising exposure to potentially harmful substances. Bedbugs are susceptible to extreme temperatures and methods such as heat treatment and cold treatment have shown promise in eliminating these critters. 

  • Heat Treatment:

Heat treatment involves exposing infested items or areas to high temperatures to kill bed bugs and their eggs. Healthline recommends you wash your bedding and clothes in hot water (at around 46.11°C) for 30 minutes, followed by drying them on the highest heat setting for another 30 minutes. Alternatively, use a steamer on mattresses, couches, and other infested areas. For items that cannot be laundered, such as infested belongings, seal them in black bags and leave them outside on a hot day, when the temperature is around 35°C, or in a closed car. 

  • Cold Treatment:

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], it is possible to kill bed bugs with a cold treatment, although the effectiveness of this method varies. The challenge lies in the fact that home refrigerators often fail to achieve the required temperature to eliminate bed bugs. Healthline suggests sealing items infested with these pests in bags and placing them in a freezer set to approximately -17.78°C for at least four days to ensure that you won’t be sharing your bed with bed bugs.

Mattress Protectors:

A mattress protector alone does not eradicate an infestation – despite what the internet may tell you. Bed bugs are resourceful and may hide elsewhere. However, according to Kate Wong, mattress protectors effectively entrap bed bugs, particularly those residing on the mattress, and their uniform colour and minimal seams will help you detect the presence of these sneaky little critters.

If you have treated your mattress, you can prevent further infestations by covering your mattress with a mattress protector. Check out our Mattress Protector Buyer’s Guide for recommendations on the best mattress protectors. 

Dealing with bed bugs can be a stressful experience, but with the right tools and preventative measures, you can protect your mattress and keep these pests at bay. DIY solutions can help you sleep soundly knowing that you have taken proactive steps to defend against unwanted intruders. We recommend using heat treatment and a mattress protector. So, roll up your sleeves, start stripping down your bedding, and reclaim your mattress from pesky bed bugs for a peaceful and bug-free night’s sleep.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]. (2020, September 16). Bed Bugs FAQs. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/bedbugs/faqs.html

Merchant, M., Ph.D. (n.d.). Bed bugs: Do-it-yourself control options. Insects in the City. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Retrieved from https://citybugs.tamu.edu/factsheets/biting-stinging/others/ent-3012/

State of Alaska, Department of Environmental Conservation. (n.d.). Choosing an Insecticide for Bed Bugs. Retrieved from https://dec.alaska.gov/eh/pest/bedbugs/choosing-an-insecticide-for-bed-bugs/#:~:text=Foggers%20or%20%E2%80%9CBug%20Bombs%E2%80%9D,Most%20foggers%20use%20pyrethroids.

United States Environmental Protection Agency [EPA]. (2023, May 31). Do-it-yourself Bed Bug Control. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/bedbugs/do-it-yourself-bed-bug-control

Watson, S. (2023, February 26). How to Get Rid of Bedbugs. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-home-guide/how-to-get-rid-of-bed-bugs#maintaining-a-bedbug-free-home

Wong, K. (2012, January 23). Bed Bug Confidential: An Expert Explains How to Defend against the Dreaded Pests. Scientific American. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/bed-bug-expert-explains-defend-yourself/

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