Revealed: Will a Steam Cleaner Kill Bed Bugs?


Bed bugs are a persistent nuisance, notorious for their ability to infest homes, hotels, and other spaces where humans reside. These tiny blood-sucking pests can hide in various cracks and crevices, making them difficult to eliminate using traditional methods. Among the arsenal of pest control techniques, steam cleaning has emerged as a promising option for combating bed bug infestations. But the question remains: Will a steam cleaner effectively kill bed bugs?

Understanding Bed Bugs and Their Resilience

Before delving into the efficacy of steam cleaners, it’s crucial to understand the nature of bed bugs. These reddish-brown insects feed on the blood of humans and animals, typically at night while their hosts are asleep. Despite their small size (about the size of an apple seed), bed bugs can cause significant psychological distress and discomfort.

Bed bugs possess remarkable resilience, making them notoriously challenging to eradicate. They can survive for months without feeding and are adept at hiding in narrow spaces, such as mattress seams, furniture joints, and electrical outlets. Conventional insecticides may not always penetrate these hiding spots effectively, leading to incomplete extermination.

How Steam Cleaners Work Against Bed Bugs

Steam cleaning involves the use of hot, pressurized steam to eliminate pests and sanitize surfaces. When directed at bed bug-infested areas, steam can effectively kill these pests in various life stages, including eggs, nymphs, and adults. The high temperatures generated by steam cleaners are particularly effective at disrupting the bed bugs’ cellular structure, leading to their demise.

Temperature Requirements:

For steam to be effective against bed bugs, it must reach temperatures above 140°F (60°C), as bed bugs begin to die at temperatures exceeding 113°F (45°C). Professional-grade steam cleaners are capable of producing steam at temperatures well above this threshold, ensuring thorough eradication of bed bugs.

Penetration and Reach:

One of the advantages of steam cleaners is their ability to penetrate cracks, crevices, and other hard-to-reach areas where bed bugs commonly hide. The pressurized steam can reach into mattress seams, baseboards, carpet edges, and upholstery, effectively targeting bed bug harborages that may be inaccessible to other treatment methods.


Unlike chemical insecticides, steam cleaners offer a non-toxic alternative for bed bug control. Steam leaves behind no chemical residues, making it safe for use in homes with children and pets. Additionally, steam can sanitize surfaces, reducing the risk of bacterial and fungal contamination associated with bed bug infestations.

Steps for Using a Steam Cleaner to Kill Bed Bugs

To maximize the effectiveness of steam cleaners against bed bugs, it’s essential to follow proper procedures and techniques:


1. Declutter: Remove clutter from the infested area to expose hiding spots and facilitate steam penetration.

2. Vacuum: Thoroughly vacuum surfaces to remove debris and bed bug eggs, reducing the population before steam treatment.

3. Inspect: Identify key harborage areas such as mattress seams, furniture joints, and baseboards where bed bugs are likely to hide.

Steam Treatment:

1. Select the Right Steam Cleaner: Choose a steam cleaner with adjustable temperature settings and attachments suitable for targeting narrow spaces.

2. Preheat the Steam Cleaner: Allow the steam cleaner to reach the desired temperature before use, ensuring maximum effectiveness against bed bugs.

3. Direct Steam: Slowly pass the steam cleaner over infested surfaces, focusing on areas where bed bugs are suspected to be hiding. Pay close attention to seams, folds, and cracks.

4. Maintain Contact: Maintain steady contact with the surface while applying steam to ensure sufficient heat exposure to bed bugs.


1. Monitor: After steam treatment, monitor the infested area for signs of bed bug activity, such as live bugs, shed skins, or fecal stains.

2. Repeat if Necessary: Depending on the severity of the infestation, multiple steam treatments may be required to achieve complete eradication.

3. Preventive Measures: Implement preventive measures, such as encasing mattresses and regularly inspecting furniture, to prevent future bed bug infestations.

Factors Affecting Steam Cleaner Effectiveness

While steam cleaners can be highly effective against bed bugs, several factors can influence their efficacy:

Steam Temperature and Duration:

1. Higher Temperatures: Steam cleaners capable of producing higher temperatures are more effective at killing bed bugs.

2. Extended Exposure: Longer exposure times may be necessary to ensure thorough heat penetration, especially in dense materials like mattresses and upholstery.

Steam Delivery:

1. Pressure and Volume: Steam cleaners with higher pressure and volume can deliver steam more forcefully, increasing its penetration into cracks and fabrics.

2. Attachment Quality: The design and quality of steam cleaner attachments can affect their ability to target bed bug harborages effectively.

Infestation Severity:

1. Size and Scope: Large or severe bed bug infestations may require multiple steam treatments and complementary control measures for complete eradication.

2. Hidden Harborages: Extensive infestations with bed bugs hiding in inaccessible areas may pose challenges for steam treatment.


In conclusion, steam cleaners can be a valuable tool in the battle against bed bugs, offering an effective, non-toxic, and environmentally friendly approach to pest control. By harnessing the power of high-temperature steam, these devices can penetrate hiding spots and eliminate bed bugs in various life stages. However, successful bed bug eradication requires thorough preparation, proper technique, and, in some cases, repeated treatments. When used correctly and in conjunction with other control methods, steam cleaners can play a crucial role in achieving long-term relief from bed bug infestations.

Related Articles

Welcome to BestFloorScrubber – your premier online destination for top-rated floor scrubbers. Discover unparalleled cleaning efficiency and expert reviews to make informed decisions for pristine floors. Elevate your cleaning experience with us!

Copyright © 2023