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Does Steam Kill Bed Bugs?

From the Puffy Editorial Team | 4 min read.
Does Steam Kill Bed Bugs?

The scourge of bed bugs is one that many homeowners dread. These tiny invaders can be a significant nuisance and health risk. With many traditional treatment methods falling short or proving harmful to pets and humans, it’s crucial to explore safe and effective alternatives.

Does steam kill bed bugs? This article aims to answer this question in detail and guide you through the process if you decide steam treatment is the way to go.

Will Steam Kill Bed Bugs?

Yes, steam can be an effective method for killing bed bugs at all stages of their life cycle, from eggs to mature adults. The high temperature of steam destroys the protein within the bugs and their eggs, leading to their demise.

  • Effectiveness: Very high when used correctly.
  • Safety: Generally safe for humans and pets.
  • Environmental Impact: Eco-friendly.

Before delving into how steam kills bed bugs, let’s talk briefly about creating a bed bug-resistant environment. One excellent starting point is opting for a Puffy Lux Mattress, which comes with a hypoallergenic cover that adds an extra layer of protection against these pesky creatures.

How Does Steam Kill Bed Bugs?

When it comes to killing bed bugs, the mechanism of steam treatment is twofold: heat and moisture. Steam penetrates the hiding spots of bed bugs, destroying them through thermal shock and dehydration.

The Science Behind It

  • High Temperature: Steam treatment typically involves temperatures of at least 130°F.
  • Thermal Shock: The sudden temperature change is lethal to bed bugs.
  • Dehydration: Steam removes the protective waxes from the bug’s exoskeleton, leading to dehydration.

How Long Does It Take to Kill Bed Bugs With Steam?

Upon direct contact with steam, bed bugs can die almost instantly. However, reaching every bug in all their hiding spots may take time. A thorough steam treatment can take anywhere from 1 to 6 hours, depending on the level of infestation and size of the area being treated.

How Hot Does Steam Have to Be to Kill Bed Bugs?

For steam treatment to be effective, the steam’s temperature needs to be at least 130°F, although some experts recommend temperatures as high as 180°F for better results.

How to Kill Bed Bugs With Steam

Successfully using steam to eradicate bed bugs involves more than just running a steam cleaner over your mattress. Here’s a step-by-step guide to ensure you cover all bases.

Required Materials

  • A commercial steam cleaner
  • Safety gear, including gloves and goggles
  • Measuring tools to check temperature

Application Steps

  1. Preparation: Remove all clutter and vacuum thoroughly.
  2. Steaming: Use a commercial-grade steam cleaner to treat all potential hiding spots.
  3. Temperature Check: Use a thermometer to ensure the steam reaches the required temperature.
  4. Repeat: For chronic infestations, multiple sessions may be needed.

Check out Puffy mattress reviews from real customers and see how we compare with other brands.

Pros and Cons of Using Steam for Bed Bug Treatment

Pros Cons
Non-toxic Can be time-consuming
Environmentally friendly Requires special equipment
Kills bugs at all life stages May damage sensitive materials

Does Steam Cleaning Kill Bed Bugs?

Steam cleaning isn’t just for carpets; it can also be an effective way to kill bed bugs. The high heat and pressure from a steam cleaner can penetrate fabric surfaces, making it an ideal tool for treating mattresses, sofas, and even curtains.

Will a Steam Cleaner Kill Bed Bugs?

A steam cleaner can indeed kill bed bugs. However, it’s essential to use a commercial-grade steam cleaner designed for pest control for best results. Home-use steam cleaners may not reach the necessary temperature to be effective.

Will Steam from an Iron Kill Bed Bugs?

While the steam from an iron can kill bed bugs on contact, it is not the most effective method for treating an entire infestation due to its limited reach and lower temperature compared to commercial steam cleaners.

Additional Considerations

  • Spot Testing: Always perform a spot test to avoid damaging sensitive materials.
  • Caution: Keep the steam cleaner’s nozzle at least 1-2 inches from the surface to prevent scalding.

Use our store locator to find the closest furniture or mattress store near you and feel the cloudlike comfort of our Puffy Mattress in person.


The use of steam for bed bug eradication provides a safe and effective method, free from chemicals, and less harmful to the environment. In this comprehensive guide, we have given you all the information you need to tackle a bed bug infestation using steam treatment. Happy steaming!

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