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How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in a Mattress: Step-by-Step Guide

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in a Mattress: Step-by-Step Guide


Aoife O.
Jul 17, 2020

A bed bug infestation can quickly take over your home and while they’re not dangerous, they’re certainly a nuisance. Waking up with red itchy marks on your skin could be a sign of bed bugs but there are other visual clues to look out for.

Let’s talk about signs of bedbugs and the best bed bugs treatment.

How Do You Know if You Have Bed Bugs?

Signs of bedbugs include:

  • Bed bug bites (red itchy bumps up to 5cms in diameter) found on any area of the body, unlike mosquito bits that typically bite exposed skin only. See your doctor if you have severe bites or itching or if you suspect you're having an allergic reaction to bed bug bites.

  • Blood on your sheets
  • Bed bug droppings (dark spots)
  • Reddish stains from crushed bed bugs
  • Small, pale yellow eggshells and shed skin

Signs of bedbugs infestation can be found on:

  • Your mattress
  • Bedframe and headboard
  • Any other furniture
  • Cracks in the walls
  • Carpets/rugs

Do Bed Bugs Live in Carpet?

Don’t be fooled by the name bed bugs, they can live in most household items; beds, mattresses, closets, linen and linen closets, couches, dressers, carpet, and electronic items. Thankfully, there are many bed bugs on mattress treatment and bed bugs on couch treatment to clear your home of those nasty bugs.

See your doctor if you have severe bites or itching or if you suspect you're having an allergic reaction to bed bug bites.

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

Bed bugs are small but can be seen with the naked eye. Pictures of bed bugs on mattress show them to be a small bug with an oval brown body. They survive on the blood of humans and animals, after feasting on their victim, the body becomes engorged with blood and will take on a more red tone.

Thankfully, they don’t have wings so you won’t see any flying around your bedroom. although, they do move over surfaces at a quick speed. Bed bugs can thrive in favorable conditions, feasting on your blood before each shedding and laying hundreds of eggs.

Bed bugs are mostly active at night and will bite your skin when you’re at your most vulnerable, sleeping.

Close-up of a bed bug on a mattress

What to Do if You Have Bed Bugs

If you realize you have a bed bug infestation, don’t despair. Sneaky bed bugs can enter your home from second-hand mattresses and furniture, luggage, clothing, and pets. It’s doesn’t mean your home is dirty, it simply means you need to put your rubber gloves on and reach for the bed bug treatment.

Clear Up Clutter

To begin treatment for bedbugs, remove items such as stuffed animals, toys, blankets, electronics, and any other item that is not a permanent fixture in the room.

Launder Infested Garments and Linens

The first step to getting rid of bed bugs is to launder your linens, blankets, pillowcases, pillows, soft toys, clothes, and garments. Take note of the care instructions on the label and wash on the highest heat the item can handle. When transferring the items from the bedroom to the washroom, wear rubber gloves and don’t use your usual laundry basket, use a plastic trash bag and throw the bag in the trash outside when you’ve transferred every item.

Dismantle Your Bed Frame

Your bed bugs on mattress treatment will be incomplete without dismantling your bedframe. Bed bugs can hide in the smallest of places. If your bed frame can be taken apart, it’s worth taking the time to search every inch of the frame to find any hiding places. Use a flashlight and a magnifying glass to help you get a better look. A box spring mattress base is not immune from hiding bed bugs, so search every inch behind the fabric.

Remove Dresser Drawers

Furniture is a favored hiding place for these critters. Remove all your clothes from dresser drawers and closets. Take out all the drawers and pull the furniture away from the wall if you can. Remember to always use your bed bug treatment products on your furniture as well as your mattress.

Clean the Area

Use a stiff brush on your mattress and furniture (or other infested areas) to dislodge the eggs. Vacuum the items and the entire room. Ensure you get into every corner, every crack on the wall, every seam on the mattress. It may be best to vacuum more than once and be sure to dispose of the vacuum bag carefully and keep your vacuum outside of the house, in a garage, or the garden until you’ve had a chance to disinfect the vacuum.

Caulk and Seal

Caulk and sealant are quite similar methods of sealing up holes and cracks around wires and pipes that come through the floor and walls. A caulk is more rigid than a sealant and could be prone to cracking, while a silicone sealant gun is watertight and will not react to fluctuation in heat in the room. Silicone sealants can give off strong fumes when applied so take care to ventilate the room before, during, and after treatment.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs


You can buy sticky traps that will catch the bugs but they will not do anything for the eggs left behind. Therefore, a better bed bug extermination technique will kill the bugs as well as the eggs.

Aerosol Insecticides

A bed bug spray can be used at the infestation site, under the bed, and on any other furniture in the room. Ensure proper ventilation, remove linens, soft toys, pillows, blankets, and clothes from the room. Spray around windows, doors, and under the furniture too, check the instructions on the can first.

Dust Residual Insecticides

A dust residual insecticide has a longer residual life, easy to use, and is low cost. It is mainly used for surfaces that are not exposed, such as cracks and attic space. Best to use both aerosol and dust insecticides for bed bug extermination.

Organic Treatment Products

If you want to avoid harsh chemicals while ridding your home of that nasty bed bug infestation, there are many plant-based alternatives containing neem oil that will work. They will kill the mature bugs, nymphs, and eggs just like the aerosol and dust products.

Call a Professional

If you are dealing with a particularly out of hand invasion, it may be best to hire a bug exterminator. A professional will have all the tools and equipment needed for the task. All you have to do is make a call and let them handle it. If you’ve attempted to handle the bed bug infestation on your own but they have reappeared, a professional will have stronger methods of removing those bugs for good.

Bed Bugs on a Mattress Treatment

Check Your Mattress

Getting rid of bed bugs on a mattress is possible. However, if there are any tears or holes in the mattress it may be unsalvageable, and getting a new mattress could be the best solution. If you're buying a new mattress, it's also smart to invest in a mattress encasement or mattress protector.

Use a Stiff Brush to Scrub Mattress Seams

A stiff coarse brush is to be used on the mattress seams as eggs could be lurking there. Ensure you’re wearing rubber gloves and scrub every inch of the mattress.

Vacuum Your Bed and the Surrounding Area

Vacuum the mattress, base, under the bed, headboard, and entire bedroom. Dispose of the vacuum bag outside and keep the vacuum outside until you’ve had a chance to sanitize it.

Encase Mattress and Box Springs in a Zippered Cover

After treatment, you could encase the mattress and box spring in zipped covers to prevent any stray bugs from getting out. Keep the covers on the mattress and base for at least one year.

Use a Steamer

A steamer can be used to treat a bed bug infestation if you’re concerned with using chemicals. A steamer will kill germs, bugs, bacteria, and will help to clear stains too.

Bed Bugs on a Couch Treatment


The bed bugs on couch treatment begin with removing cushions and blankets from the couch. Take all removable covers off the couch and wash on high heat. A spin in the dryer will help to disinfect the covers and cushions but check the label on the item first.


When getting rid of bed bugs from a couch, vacuum the entire couch and be sure to get into every crevice and under the couch too. Dispose of the vacuum bag outside and keep your vacuum outside too until you can disinfect it.


Steam cleaning can be used on almost all surfaces and your couch can also benefit from professional steam clean. If you’re not too keen on chemicals, a steam cleaner could be a viable alternative.

Couch Encasement

A couch encasement could prevent any bugs from escaping, when they have no human or animal blood to live on, bed bugs will typically die off in an encasing within one year.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bug Eggs

The best way to kill bed bugs eggs is to follow the course of chosen treatment more than once. Since the eggs are so tiny and not seen with the naked eye, it’s easy to miss a small crevice as you clean. To thoroughly eliminate those critters, follow the protocols a few times.

Tips for Getting Rid of Bed Bugs FOR GOOD

  • Clear clutter and remove small items
  • Launder soft toys, pillows, linens, and blankets
  • Perform the treatment regularly over a few weeks, more than one treatments is always best
  • Always treat the surrounding area too
  • Monitor the affected areas closely
  • Consider calling a professional if its a particularly large bed bug infestation
  • Disinfect your mattress with this guide

Disclaimer: Nolah does not provide medical advice. All resources on the Nolah blog, including this article, are informational only and do not replace professional medical counsel. Talk to your doctor about any health, mental health, or sleep-related issues.

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