Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to get rid of and they spread quickly if they aren’t properly dealt with.
Professional mattress cleaning can help prevent and control infestations. Unfortunately, on its own, it’s not enough to completely kill bed bugs.
Bed bugs in South Africa
Bed bugs have been making headlines due to a massive infestation in Paris in 2023. Apparently, nowhere in the French city was safe and many travellers cancelled visits to the French city.
Sadly, the Paris infestation wasn’t an isolated incident. There has been a global resurgence of bed bugs due to increased population density and a rising resistance to insecticides.
The unwelcome pests are an issue in South Africa too, where they’re common in households and hotels.
Bed bugs are different from dust mites, which are also found in mattresses. Bed bugs are parasitic bugs that feed on the blood of warm-blooded mammals.
There are two species commonly found in South Africa – Cimex hemipterus and Cimex lectularius.
Signs of bed bug infestation
The clearest sign of a bed bug infestation is waking up with itchy bites. The bites are usually small, red and itchy. They tend to appear in a line or a row where the bug bit in succession.
Some people react badly to bed bug bites, with swelling and a rash in the affected area.
Other signs of bed bugs include small dark spots of excrement and blood spots from bites on sheets. You may notice an unpleasantly sweet smell from the bugs.
Unlike mites, bed bugs are visible to the naked eye. The average bed bug is four to five millimetres long. You’ll be able to see live bed bugs and their shed skin.
Bed bugs might not be restricted to your mattress or bed. They like to lurk in headboards, carpets, skirting boards, cupboards and bedside tables.
Does steam cleaning or hot-water extraction kill bed bugs?
Exposure to high heat does kill bed bugs but this heat has to be at least 48 °C. To be effective, the heat must make direct contact with the bugs and be continuous.
Steam cleaning and hot-water extraction are very hot cleaning methods but they’re unlikely to exterminate all the bed bugs on their own.
At best, these methods can help keep the bed bug population in check. More extreme methods are needed to exterminate them entirely.
Why it’s time to call exterminators
Much like high heat cleaning methods, DIY techniques can help control a bed bug population but it’s extremely unlikely to get more than a percentage of the bugs and their eggs.
Common DIY techniques include washing bedding on a high heat or sprinkling your mattress with diatomaceous earth, which has a desiccating effect on the pests.
Bed bugs like to hide in skirting boards, under floorboards, in cupboards and even inside electrical sockets. These areas must be treated at the same time as beds and other soft furnishings.
Exterminators can treat an entire room or house to ensure the infestation is killed off in one go.
Carpet and mattress cleaners are not exterminators
Professional carpet and mattress cleaners use steam cleaning or hot-water extraction to clean and sanitise specific areas or mattresses, curtains and carpets.
These methods are good at focused cleaning and sanitising, but they aren’t designed to cover big areas.
Exterminators use methods that can heat an entire room for an extended period to kill off bed bugs. They also use sprays and powder insecticides that are designed to kill bed bugs.
How professional mattress cleaning can help
Once the exterminators have treated the space, there will be dead bed bugs, shed skin and faecal pellets left over.
Professional mattress and carpet cleaning will eliminate the dead bugs and their eggs, and remove any possible traces of pesticide.
In any case, it’s recommended to have your mattresses professionally cleaned every six months to a year for optimal hygiene.
How we clean mattresses at Chelsea Cleaning
We hope we’ve helped you understand the answer to the question – does professional mattress cleaning kill bed bugs?
At Chelsea Cleaning, we use hot-water extraction to professionally clean mattresses. This method is very effective at cleaning and sanitising without introducing harmful chemicals.
We start with high-powered vacuuming to remove any loose dirt and allergens. Stains and marks are treated with industry-leading formulas and emulsion cleaners.
We then use a steam cleaner that uses hot-water extraction to clean and sanitise the mattress. This method also eliminates dust mites, allergens and mould.
Finally, we vacuum the mattress again and allow it to thoroughly air dry.