Bed bugs have once been associated with squalid and unhygienic living conditions, commonly infesting old, moldy beds, furniture, and carpets.
Today, we know that, rather than poor personal hygiene, bedbugs are more likely to spread as these pests jump from one infested item to another, making their way around by means of travelers, pets, and personal items. In fact, high-density population areas are more likely to have bed bugs.
Washing clothes, taking regular showers, and keeping your home clean and disinfected can certainly discourage bed bugs to grow and thrive. But can a vacuum cleaner help you get rid of a bed bug infestation?
Yes, it can. According to the University of Minnesota, vacuum cleaners can certainly help reduce the number of bed bugs, particularly so if there are groups or clusters of them. While not 100% effective, it does capture a lot and contributes greatly to keeping down the bed bug population at home.
Why Bust Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are nasty little critters. They multiply quickly, they’re sneaky, and they come at you when you least expect them to– while you’re sleeping.
Bed bugs are small, flat, and parasitic, feeding on you (your blood, specifically) while you’re asleep. While bed bug bites don’t usually transmit diseases, they do cause itching and, to a degree, loss of sleep.
Welts resulting from bed bug attacks look similar to mosquito bites but tend to stick around much longer– perhaps a week or even two. These bites are incessantly itchy, causing you to scratch hard and scratch often.
So while not terribly dangerous, bed bugs can be crazy annoying. Especially so if you have an infestation on your hands.
How Do I Ensure That I’m Vacuuming Bed Bugs the Right Way?
Using your vacuum to suck up bed bugs is almost just how you’d use it normally at home, just with a few added considerations so you don’t haphazardly spread bugs about your stuff.
Here are some key tips that you should follow to make sure you capture the most bugs possible and thus minimize the risk of further spreading and infestation:
- Use a strong suction as much as possible Use the crevice attachment to concentrate on nooks and crannies where bed bugs can hide and wedge themselves in.
- Don’t press too hard against the fabric. This way you don’t “flick” bed bugs and eggs off of the mattress, furniture, or carpet instead of capturing them
- Once you’re done, make sure you also remove the bed bugs from the vacuum, so they don’t escape. Remove the vacuum bag and seal it with tape. Then place this into another plastic bag and seal this one as well. You can then dispose of the bag in the trash.
- If the vacuum model does not use bags, empty and discard the contents into a sealed plastic bag. You should also wash the receptacle with hot, soapy water to make sure any stragglers are killed as well.
- Filters should also be detached from the vacuum to be either washed or discarded and replaced with a new filter.
- If you’re using your vacuum in another location for bed bug control, place tape over the nozzle to keep bed bugs from escaping. Discard the contents when done as indicated above.
- Repeated vacuuming will help control an infestation. Bed bug eggs are usually hard to remove, and adult bed bugs congregate in areas that have been previously infested. Check and re-check these areas to help reduce the bed bug population in your home.
- Supplement with laundering, heat, or freezing– these all help kill bed bugs as well.
Best Vacuum Brands vs. Bed Bugs
What are some of the top vacuums for bed bugs out in the market today? If you’re thinking of picking up a brand new model for the purpose of sucking out bed bugs from your home, consider some of these recommended brands:
- The SharkNinja Navigator Lift-Away Deluxe NV360 Upright Vacuum Cleaner
- The Atrix Lil Red Canister HEPA Bed Bug Vacuum AHSC-1
- The Kenmore 81614 Bagged Canister Vacuum
- The Atrix Bug-Sucker HEPA Backpack Vacuum
- Housmile Anti-Dustmite UV Vacuum Cleaner
A Final Word About Vacuuming Bed Bugs
Using your vacuum to clean up a bed bug infestation is one thing, but if you want to keep your home bedbug-free, preventative measures must be in place as well.
Bed bugs are commonly transmitted from one place to another via travel, hitching a ride in the seams and folds of luggage and overnight bags, as well as folded clothes and other personal items you might have brought back home from your trip.
So, you might want to keep your luggage away from your bed or sofa after coming home from a trip, such as in the garage. Carefully inspect anything that comes into your home for the first time (such as second-hand furniture, carpets, toys, etc.). Inspect your bed whenever you change sheets. Wash travel clothes immediately once you get home.