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How Do I Choose the Best Bed Bug Steamer?

Ken Black
Ken Black

Choosing the best bed bug steamer means taking into account a variety of factors, including the type of steamer, the capacity, heat output and possibly other issues of convenience and dependability. While all steamers may be able to kill at least some of the bed bugs, some will do so more effectively than others. Further, some steamers are safer and can provide a healthier environment, especially for those with allergies. While price may be a factor as well, other features may outweigh that consideration.

For many, one of the most important factors is whether the steamer is considered a dry vapor steamer. While no steamer will be completely dry, a dry vapor bed bug steamer will significantly reduce the potential for mold as a result of treatment. Steamers utilizing a dry vapor system will generally list that directly on the box or supporting documentation. If you are unsure whether a model is using dry vapor, you may want to ask.

Bed bug bites may be numerous and clustered in a specific area.
Bed bug bites may be numerous and clustered in a specific area.

Another important feature is finding a bed bug steamer that will kill the bugs quickly and easily by making sure the temperature is 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93.3 Celsius) at the tip. While bed bugs cannot survive temperatures as low as 120 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 49 Celsius), the higher temperature means more areas are likely to receive a lethal temperature dose. Further, the higher the temperature, the more quickly and easily the bugs will die.

Bed bug bites may cause itching all over the body.
Bed bug bites may cause itching all over the body.

The reservoir capacity of the bed bug steamer is also something that can help make the job quicker. Steamers tend to use a great deal of water, and if you are treating more than one area, then starting and stopping to fill it up could be a time-consuming, tedious, and heavy process. Finding one with a larger capacity will cut down on the need for refills. Some models can even hook to a water source, and continuously refill as water is being used.

Bed bugs tend to live in areas that are generally hard to reach, in between bedding and in the folds of mattresses and other materials. Therefore, the steamer should include a number of attachments that make getting into those tight places easier. Attachments may have a broad area for distribution over an entire mattress but should also include some tools with finer points. Those specialized tools make getting into smaller crevices easier.

Although this will not apply if renting a bed bug steamer, making sure the equipment has a good warranty is important if purchasing one. The warranty should be comprehensive, or at least cover the boiler mechanism, which is an expensive component of the machine. Warranty information should be listed on the box or the documentation coming with the machine. A sales associate should also be able to tell you what the warranty would be.

Discussion Comments


There are other measures you might want to take in addition to using a steamer when attempting to get rid of bed bugs.

Simple rubbing alcohol like you buy at the local drug store is a good solution for killing adult bed bugs. Pour the alcohol in a spray bottle and spay the liquid liberally on the areas where you have seen bugs.

Often times the infestation occurs in beds. In addition to mattresses, be sure to check all bedding items carefully. Anything that can be laundered should be washed immediately.

It's important to check all areas near where you have seen the bed bugs. If they are in your bed then check any items under the bed. Shoe boxes, shoes and all those other items that get pushed beneath the bed can make good homes for bed bugs.


Who knew bed bugs were a real thing? When I was growing up, my parents and grandparents would often use that old expression, "Good night, don't let the bed bugs bite." I had no idea bed bugs actually existed.

Since I have learned that bed bugs do exist, one of the common opinions I hear expressed by other people is that bed bugs are associated with poverty. However, through reading, I have learned that bed bugs can infest any home regardless of how much money the residents have.

Bed bugs only need a way into a home. Some of them attach themselves to humans, and they are also often transported in luggage. There are many cited cases where the bugs hid in the luggage of guests at hotels and hitched a ride into the guests' homes via their travel bags.

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    • Bed bug bites may be numerous and clustered in a specific area.
      By: Jürgen Fälchle
      Bed bug bites may be numerous and clustered in a specific area.
    • Bed bug bites may cause itching all over the body.
      By: Dmitry Lobanov
      Bed bug bites may cause itching all over the body.