How to Clean Carpet with Bed Bugs

Hey Everyone!

We’ve been getting a lot of questions about the best way to clean carpet with bed bugs.  If you have bed bugs then you will want to make sure and clean all of your floors.  Carpet can be particularly difficult to clean because bed bugs are tiny and can hide between the threads.  Don’t worry, we’ll give you all of the information you need to kill any bed bugs that may be hiding in your carpet!

We’ve made this video (part of step 6) that shows you how to use diatomaceous earth and a vacuum to kill bed bugs.

 

We recommend that take the following steps to get rid of bed bugs in carpet:

  1. Make sure that you have a vacuum clean that uses a bag to collect debris.  A bag-less vacuum like a Dyson or Rainbow is not a good idea because you’ll want to seal all of the debris that you have vacuumed up and throw them away.
  2. Spread diatomaceous earth over the floor where you will be vacuuming.  This will help kill any bed bugs that may be in the carpet and and bed bugs that you happen to vacuum up in the process.
  3. Vacuum thoroughly.  Go over every square inch of carpet at least three times.  More is better.
  4. In an abundance of caution you’ll want to repeat steps 2-3.  Spread more diatomaceous earth and vacuum it up.  You can’t be too careful here.
  5. Next, take the vacuum outside and remove the vacuum cleaner bag full of debris from your vacuuming.  Place the bag in a plastic garbage bag and tie it shut.  This will ensure that any bed bugs you have vacuumed will not re-infest your home.
  6. After that, we recommend using a carpet steamer or shampooer to clean your carpet.

Good luck!  Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the process.

 

Posted by Cameron Wheeler

60 replies
  1. Beaver
    Beaver says:

    Ok so moving a friend in to help his family out gave us bed bugs because they never told us of the infestation that they had. I am a family of 5 and am buying this house while living here even though it still needs a lot of work, this is not a perfectly sealed house. I guess my question is ….. If I leave all of our possessions in this house and bomb the hell out of it come back and DE everything and continue this process how long would it have to be vacant to get rid of this problem? How long can these bed bugs live with out a host and with back to back to back to back to back to back bombing through out the entire house, under house and in attic space?

    Reply
    • ZappBug
      ZappBug says:

      Hello Beaver,

      We don’t recommend applying your own pesticides for bed bugs. We have seen too many instances of misuse, and pesticides are very dangerous chemicals even when used properly by an experienced professional. If you choose to do this against our advice please be extremely cautious and follow all warnings and use guidelines on pesticides exactly. We cannot emphasize enough that you must exercise an abundance of caution whenever using any pesticides as they can lead to grievous injury or death.

      If you can afford it we recommend contacting a local pest control company to do a full house heat treatment. They will bring in large heaters and heat each room to safely kill the bed bugs.

      We also recommend using food or pet grade DE, but note it can take 7-10 days to start working after the bed bugs have been in contact with it. Without any treatment Bed Bugs can live up to 5 months without a host.

      Please let us know if you have any other questions.

      -The ZappBug Team

      Reply
    • jana goforth
      jana goforth says:

      90% isopropyl alcohol kills them on contact. SATURATE everything also if its hot outside, take all furniture out after spraying and wrap in BLACK plastic and leave for a day or two so they get HOT. heat kills them as well. its a nightmare!!! my bed bugs came wrapped up neatly in BRAND NEW FURNITURE!!!! you can never be careful enough!! best of luck

      oh, and POISON POISON POISON after you’ve killed them

      Reply
    • ZappBug
      ZappBug says:

      Hello Yoan,

      We would recommend using the steam cleaner first. The heat from the steamer will help kill the bed bugs quickly and on contact. The DE takes several days to work and needs to sit so bed bugs can crawl through it. Please let us know if you have any other questions.

      -The ZappBug Team

      Reply
    • ZappBug
      ZappBug says:

      Hello May,

      We believe all pesticides should be used by professionals and recommend calling a pest control operator in your area to find out what they use.

      -The ZappBug Team

      Reply
  2. Kim
    Kim says:

    Sorry have been treating since april til now
    Also wht can i use in my shampooer or steam cleaner so kills thm

    Reply
    • ZappBug
      ZappBug says:

      Hello Kim,

      Just make sure the steam cleaner can get up to at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit and you can heat treat the spots you are steaming. We don’t recommended using any pesticides as you should always leave that to the professionals.

      -The ZappBug Team

      Reply
  3. Kim
    Kim says:

    This is first time ever dealing with these bugs,it has been challenging to get rid of thm for at first didnt realize thts wht was biting me,we bought hot spot spray,we bought bed bug raid spray,which neither seemed to do what they said would do,we then bought bag of Harris Diatomaceous Earth food grade says bed bug killer,traps for bed posts,we placed the DE on carpet all around bed under bed parts of the carpet,cracks walls and floor meets,bed frame,we also bought a mattress protector after discovering tht we had issue with bed bugs,the Harris DE says will kill all after 48hrs,did we make a mistake by not vacuuming after the 48hrs,becuz their was a bug on mattress protector,Ive not slept in my hed in over 2wks,my husband hasnt slept in our bed in 4 days,Ive got a new mattress protector and pillow protectors coming tht have the bed bug barrier,and a new metal bed tht requires no box springs for they are included and our metal like the bed frame.Ive wanted to vaccuum up the DE thn take my steam vac or shampooer after and then put more DE down,should we put the DE all over our carpet as well,It seems tht we have only seen n or killd abt 6-10 since been treating from feb to now.It also is just our bedrm,we searchd and lookd for any signs in rest of the home and its not shown any signs.any help will appreciate becuz i want to sleep in my bed agn and not have worry abt bugs crawling on me n biting me also,and Ive not wantd company coming visit due to this and been embarassed have no one to go to for advice or help

    Reply
    • ZappBug
      ZappBug says:

      Hello Kim,

      It sounds like you are taking a lot of the first steps. We would recommend following our 8-step approach to help you. We have had a lot of success with this process. First step is making your bed a safe zone so you may sleep well again. Also remember that DE can take a couple of weeks to start working. DE kills bed bugs on contact, so bed bugs need to crawl through it. Hope this information helps you and if you have more specific questions we would love to help.

      -The ZappBug Team

      Reply
    • Marie
      Marie says:

      I’m sorry you have been dealing with that. I have also been dealing with bed bugs since January and was told by terminex that I have no bug activity. And now have started getting bites again. Which I have allergic reactions to and get skin infections. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.

      Reply
      • Mike
        Mike says:

        It is horrible. We got them traveling to Maryland from a hotel and brought them home with us. Had never encountered a bed bug in my 33 years of life , and thought it was a spider problem at first. Then went nuts on the dog with flea stuff, cause it just HAD to be fleas. Then my children(4 of them) started having multiple bites and we’re scratching at school to the point a social worker made contact. That’s when I researched a ton, and inspected my house thoroughly and discovered a full grown adult bug. This is the short version of this. And this was in September. My children have exacerbated the issue with serious lack of care or attention. They are literally vectors /feeding stations for these butthole bugs. I have spent thousands of dollars removing carpet and installing laminate flooring, new drywall and paint, caulked new trim and casings. Replaced furniture with minimal fabric/crevices and hiding areas. Bed cases, pillow cases, traps, steamer, DE, everything but the heaters. I had to develop a strict schedule for specific procedures in order to control this situation, and here I am eleven months later, still messing with these things. All clothes and dressers quarantined in a clean area absolutely free of bugs, still afraid to put belongings back in the home. It appears extremely minimalist. Kids can’t have toys in the house, or books , it has been horrible. I went broke over this, lost my job due to the loss of sleep being so paranoid about being bitten, as I have a very negative reaction to the bites, like extreme swelling and they seem to sweat? Kinda weird. Anyway, this is my SHORT rant. I don’t tell anyone about it either. Don’t let friends come over. I have absolutely isolated and alienated myself from the world out if a sense if shame and embarrassment. I wish I had spent all of that money on the heaters they use, but I figured 3 grand would be wiser spent on improvements rather than equipment. I was wrong.

        Reply
        • T
          T says:

          My understanding of having bed bugs is that the heat treatment may drive the bugs out but they likely then only come back, needing somewhere to feed. Which with the price tag it carries didn’t seem logical. The suggested treatment was heat and insecticide to ensure any eggs and returning bugs are eradicated. Of course companies that solely deal in insecticide treatment cite that as best and those that only deal in heat treatment cite that as best. I did get a very honest person who empathised with my sleepless, stressed state and advised insecticide treatment. This was way cheaper through my local council (UK) than the pest control person who came out initially, granted this was within two hours and on a weekend.
          I got bed bugs after being an airbnb host. Fortunately for me I never got them in my room, but I have had to be the body to lure them out of the guest room to ensure the professionally sprayed insecticide was effective. I too had allergic reactions which made it easy to know if they were still there. On nights when I really needed to sleep I took drowsy antihistamines…I found the anticipation of being bitten almost as bad as the being woken up with itchy bites, plus all the things you cite contributing to the stress.
          Unfortunately my lodger downstairs also got the bed bugs and still has them seven months on. I can only assume he either brought them in or they crawled there if a suitcase was left in hallway. Initially I did all the cleaning but he has taken over and isn’t as fastidious as me with cleaning his clothes, which makes me slightly worried they’ll spread… he does have a lot of clutter also. Since August we’ve been using feed grade D.Earth as a non-toxic, organic option. The coarser one can cut our skin (dries it out) so it’s not advisable especially with children. It does create a lot of cleaning, but if you’re doing that anyway it’s an extra half hour or so dependent on room size.
          It has been an exhausting time, and I utterly sympathesise with your situation. i hope you are able to get rid of them soon.

          Reply
      • Lela J
        Lela J says:

        I am going tru the exact nightmare you ae. I’ve been told I don’t have any more bugs also, but I can’t sit in one chair or the sofa in my house without getting bites and them crawling on me.

        Reply
        • M
          M says:

          Hi Lela

          I know how it feels, I have spent £2k on 4 pesticide sprays and heat treatment and still have them. The treatment is guaranteed but they’ll only come back out if I catch one…if I knew where they were hiding I would have got them myself. Also they didn’t need any proof before taking my money in the first place!

          This weekend I will try the DE and I’ve been steaming daily anyway (just can’t seem to get them) we have them all through the house. My next step was to get laminate floors and new furniture but after seeing mike’s post I’ll re-think it!

          I’ve been going through this since the beginning of August.

          Good luck, I hope you get rid of them.

          Reply
  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I purchase active guard in Amazon to cover all the beds..even sofa bed.
    It has an ingredient that kill bed bugs as the try to crawl up the bed there is a video on you tube to show how it works and was recommended by the exterminator. I have on box spring too..I use the diatomaceous earth around outlets also and put outlet plugs in.

    Reply
  5. Miya
    Miya says:

    I have a 9 month old who’s just starting to walk so play time and crawling on the carpet is apart of her daily routine. Is DE safe to use with my child being around it?

    Reply
    • ZappBug
      ZappBug says:

      Hello Miya,

      As every child’s health varies, we recommend checking with your pediatrician before using.

      The ZappBug Team

      Reply
    • Anonymous
      Anonymous says:

      the grades vary Miya – the feed grade is organic and some people even ingest it, but others are coarser and can cause cuts in the skin. I was given this by one pest control person after two treatments with cimitrol were not fully effective. I then researched it and got the food, then the feed grade, but I would ring up and speak to the company you may get it from and doctor/pediatrician.

      Reply
  6. Judith
    Judith says:

    This is a life saver. Being a thrifty fellow, I love DIY solutions to everything and I’m glad you posted this. I’ve been having this itch, for the past few days, and thought that it might come from bed bugs. I’ll give this solution a try and see what happens. Quick question though, are all DE the same or should I just buy it from you, to be on the safe side.

    Reply
  7. Chad
    Chad says:

    I read that DE should not be spread over the carpet but instead lightly sprinkled along baseboards&shouldn’t be vacuumed AT ALL unless s hepafilter is used even tho it’s “safe” if food grade is used,too many conflicting stories about DE on the internet

    Reply
  8. Shelby Manning
    Shelby Manning says:

    I just moved into my new apartment and as soon as I laid on my bed I started getting itchy and saw bed bugs crawling on my pillow, I do not have any money left over since I had to use it all for the apartment. I texted the landlord this evening and I’m waiting on his response. I was told that rubbing alcohol works to get rid of them is that true? Also what do I do if the landlord doesn’t want to help us. It’s an apartment in a building and I’m pretty sure that others that live here suffer from the same issue. In that being said I believe that an exterminator needs to come and treat the whole building. This is such a pain in my butt, I’m pregnant and my baby is due in December please please help me to find a way to get these things out of my house!!!!

    Reply
    • ZappBug
      ZappBug says:

      Hello Shelby,

      We are sorry to hear your new place is infested. First off, yes, Bed Bugs die with direct contact with rubbing alcohol, but that won’t rid your place completely. Purchasing Diatomacous Earth to put around your apartment would be a better option. It is not a pesticide, so you won’t have to worry about any harmful effects since you are pregnant. Here is a link to our section about DE. If you haven’t viewed our 8-step approach to getting rid of bed bugs, you should start there. Also, since you are short on funds and might not be unable to afford a ZappBug unit we suggest using a dryer that gets above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, it will take longer but it will work.

      Second, each state is a little different on the Landlord laws. We suggest looking up your landlord laws of your state and looking over your lease and seeing if there was anything stated about bed bugs. Also, here is a link we found helpful http://www.bedbugsupply.com/blog/faq/bed-bugs-and-renters-is-your-landlord-responsible/

      I hope this information was helpful, if you have any further questions please feel free to ask.

      The ZappBug Team

      Reply
    • Erica
      Erica says:

      91% alcohol or higher will kill them. I recommend scrubbing everything with it. The walls and all the creases in the home. However, due to you being pregnant, I wouldn’t advise you doing it because of the strong smell. Spray the bed in it as well. If you have any small holes in your bed, you may as well toss it. It’s gard, even for exterminators to eliminate them from mattresses with wholes. Repeat this at least twice a month until you are free. I know the struggle of these all too well. Congrats on the baby too!!

      Reply
  9. Dean Scott
    Dean Scott says:

    If a professional carpet cleaning company that uses hot water extraction (Steam Cleaning, Water Heats Up To 200 Deg.) is hired prior to having it treated by an exterminator. Will the carpet cleaning company be taking a chance bringing them to his own home or contaminating other customers homes?

    Reply
    • ZappBug
      ZappBug says:

      Hello Dean,

      There is always a chance, but with the high temperatures of the cleaning and as long as the cleaning company take proper measures to sanitizing their equipment after the carpet cleaning, we doubt there will be any cross contamination.

      The ZappBug Team

      Reply
  10. helpme
    helpme says:

    We are battiling a bed bug infestation.. my landlord refuses to do anything.. is there anything i can use to treat my home and seal out any that can come in from the neighbors apartment?

    Reply
    • ZappBug
      ZappBug says:

      Hello,

      Diatomaceous earth can be used to put in the crack of your walls. For information view step 4 of our 8-step approach to learn the benefits of Diatomaceous earth and how to apply it. If you have any other questions let us know.

      The ZappBug Team

      Reply
  11. Diana
    Diana says:

    I read somewhere that a carpet steamer wont get hot enough to help rid of bed bugs.. Is that true? Or does using the diatomaceous earth make a difference?

    Reply
    • ZappBug
      ZappBug says:

      Hello Diana,

      Carpet steamers get hot enough to treat objects on the surface, but wont be able to penetrate the heat deep enough to kill bed bugs living in something, such as inside a mattress. We always recommend using diatomaceous earth with any method of treatment you choose. It is a great safe and easy way to help ensure all bed bugs die. Let us know if you have any other questions.

      The ZappBug Team

      Reply
  12. Juanita Marie Reed
    Juanita Marie Reed says:

    Heres how i literally got rid of bed bugs after just a few months.

    I come into constant contact with bed bugs bc of my grandfather and is sister who doesnt want to listen to me on how to effectively remove them. I now have to carry a can of raid or hot shot bed bug spray in my van just bc i am the one who takes my papaw to the dr and to get his meds or the bank or just basically any running him and his sister need.

    When i noticed we had bedbugs in my own house i had noticed me and my four children had horrible bug bites all over our bodies, but i also had a dog so i thought it was just a bad flea infestation n started giving him those miracle pills that kills fleas on dogs along with wrapping our beds in plastic bc he slept with one of us every night ( he was such a sweet loving and protective guy), n it almost immediatly worked every flea that bit him died n our flea infestation stopped for a few weeks.
    Then i noticed we were getting bit all over again one morning we were all covered from shoulders to ankles. And that night after all the kids went to bed to my complete horror embarrassment n mortification i seen tiny lil bugs all over my couch i googled n was even more embarrassed n horrified.
    I started googling how to kill these bad boys n i felt at a vomplete n total loss bc it was saying its expensive and hard to get rid of them n even most exterminators (not that i can afford one anyways, i repeat i have 4 young childen) n it seemed horrible, i seen ppl using powders that didnt seem to work but just to control them, sprays areosol just regualr ones with squirt bottles, vacuuming, steaming wrapping n everything, nothing seemed to work for these ppl. And i noticed that most werent saying that they were doing all these differnt treatments at the same time. Hmmmmmmm so i thought hell might as well. Im pretty nifty single mom of four i have learned to be a plumber a mechanic for all my car needs n broken shift levers an electrician and even working on my washer when the pump was clogged. So heres what i done that worked miracles.

    Step 1. Diatomaceous earth food grade
    Yes this works great go buy a big bag maybe two depending on ur house size of diatomaceous earth. Take a clean funnel like u use for pouring oil and put that funnel in the top of a 20 oz. Mountain dew bottle ( and 20 oz pop bottle works) n then funnel the diatomaceous earth in until it is 3/4 full of the powder. Stab holes in the upper part of the bottle close to the lid and a few in the lid. Flip over your couches take the bottom covering off if u have it to where the complete inside is showing all the wood frame n crevices we cant normally see and start gently squeezing the bottle to completely cover all the wood paying close attention to try and get as much of it as u can into the tiniest cracks and crevices this should take a few bottles for a couch and a bottle n a half for a love seat then put some on the floor where ur furniture sits. Then sit ur furniture up right and do the same thing as long as its the cracks u dont hve to put it where u actually sit just lift up the back cushions n pull out the bottom cushions at the same time and put the powder in those cracks as well under the arms and everything (my couch cushions dont remove they are permanently attached) and please dont forget to use on ur bookshelves and inside ur box springs n mattresses of ur mattresses are like mone and one sided and dressers and night stands all ur furniture should be done on the inside and underneathe like ur couches and bed mattresses an box springs should all b individually wrapped as well. N then cover ur sofa up with a plastic furniture bag that zips or just use plastic and duct tape like me im cheap n dont have alotta spare money. Then take the one gallon bed bug spray and spray the entire perimeter of all ur walls kitchen, cabinets bedrooms bathrooms door ways and yes even all the carpets in your house allow the spray to completely dry and then take and bag every stitch of clothing and bedclothes and coats out of ur closets and off ur beds and dressers bc you will b taking them to a laundro mat. Now make refill ur pop bottle with the diatomaceous earth again and start where the walls meet the floors and work your way all around and towards the center of the carpets in all the rooms all rooms. Work the powder into the carpet with a hand brush or just a broom then repeat. I have four kids so i constantly have to run my sweeper no matter how much i wanted to leave the powder in my gloors so i just had to keep reapplying it and if a spill happened i used a towel and a blow dryer to dry it quickly n then reapplied. But the diatomaceous earth should stay in the carpets for at least 2 weeks so try to vacuum only once a day perferibly at night n then reapply just one coating and then work it in with ur broom. Now ur couches and beds should b covered with the plastic but at least once a week open a small portion of the pkastic or unzip just a little and use the aerosol bedbug spray to get most of the outside of the couches mattresses and box springs.

    On the first day after u have wrapped ur furniture and powdered absolutely everything in your house including your closets. Take all ur clothes to the laundry mat ( i went to one that was open 24/7 where there was rarely a worker seen and nobody was there bc of my embarrassment and the ammount of laundry i had) wash all clothes in hottest water and make sure to dry for and hour to an hour and a half on highest heat. After finished keep your stuff in the bags bc there is more at home to do!!!!!

    As for kids toys and kitchen appliances you have a few options all my kids toys went into my bathtub i had filled up with hot water including 4 giant pans of boiling water ( even ones with batteries lol) and i dumped bleach on them n let them soak for 2 hrs per tote for each kids n let them sun dry on a sheet ouside. Prob not the best idea for toys with batteries bc it corroded them but i hated the sounds of truck sirens anyways and i cleaned away all vorrosion in the toys with a metal tooth brush thingy n unfortunatley they all still work lol now u can just take ur battery poweres toys and appliances and put the in totes and spray the crap out of it with the aerosol bug spray and then put the lid on it and seal the tote with duct tape and leave closed and spray every week for a year just to make sure u killed these immortal bedbugs so i used the quickest option available to me bc after all the sprays qnd powder and plastic and duct tape i bought i was completely broke and couldnt afford totes. No u should b able to bring in ur clothes after u take ur dressers apart and put powder on the inside and just spray a good ammount of spray into the actual drawer itself where u put ur clothes. Put away ur clean clothes n hang them like normal since ur beds are covered in plastic make ur beds like normal. From this point on all u need to do is keep powdering ur floors regularly for a few months sometimes less. I hate anytype of parasite and even though i consider my bedbug problem light as i had only seen them on couches and beds not in closets or carpets or dressers i still treated everything bc when u start treating those bad boys will runn u may see them or not but they will run to keep from dying i compmetely got rid of them in two months but now im extremely paranoid of getting them again so i do keep my furniture and beds covered in plastic i did eventually up grade to zippered bags for couch love seat and mattresses and box springs bc they can get expensive and now i just put pretty little couch covers on my couch and live seat which mattresses and couches is there favorite places to live bc thats where we humans their food mostly are when its night time and when they are awake bc they are nocturnal.

    On the first initial and most important and physically exhausting treatment i truely only spent 100.00 flat out bc i fear parasites and since i had a lot extra which is never bad i was able to even keep up on my weekly treatments as well for two months.

    Reply

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