Does Steam Cleaning Kill Bed Bugs? A Complete Overview

Bed bugs can be troublesome! If you haven’t seen them yet or you are not aware of how resilient they can be – you’re lucky. How do we get rid of them? Does steam cleaning kill bed bugs? These are among the top questions people want to know.

If applied correctly, the steaming method can kill bed bugs no matter what stage of development they are in. Please also take note that the quality of steamer is a deal breaker here. If you’re not using the right one, your efforts won’t have any impact on the situation, and the bug outbreak will continue to get worse.

The most advisable is a commercial steamer with at least 1 gallon of capacity and has the option to control steam volume. We are not really against the DIY lifestyle, but it takes more than just your regular domestic clothing steamer to pull this off.

A carpet cleaning machine is also commonly used by people troubled with bed bugs though it is not built for that purpose. It doesn’t support the high temperature required for killing bed bugs.

The steam cleaner is one of those expensive appliances that make you think twice before exercising your right to spend your money and purchase anything that will make your life a little easier. It is, however, a one-time purchase and its value for money aspect is simply remarkable. The machine is durable and known to last for decades.

How Does Steam Cleaning Kill Bed Bugs?

The process is simple and no rocket science. Steamers deliver extremely high temperature to the places where bed bugs love to hide. Please take note that we are talking about an extreme temperature of up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit here.

This technique is far more effective when the bed bugs are on the surface. If in between cracks, this is still useful but may not be that effective. To be sure, we recommend that you measure the temperature of the surface being steam cleaned.

An infrared thermometer is ideal for this purpose. Steam the area again if the temperature of the surface is below 160 Fahrenheit.

The Process & Some Important Tips to Follow

How does steam cleaning kill bed bugs? The manufacturers’ guideline for the use of steamers should always be practiced. To make your hunt more effective, we recommend the following steps coupled with a few important tips. Let’s read on…

  • The first step will be to attach a nozzle to the steamer. Steamers usually come with 4 – 5 nozzles. Select the one which is triangular in shape, as it tends to help with the temperature. The others will work as well just move the nozzle gently where you think the bugs might be hiding.
  • The ideal temperature that does the job is 160 – 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything below this range will not hurt the bugs, while anything above this range is likely to damage the surface you are steaming. Use an infrared thermometer for surface temperature measurement. If it is low, move the thermometer slowly, if it is too high move the thermometer faster.
  • The surface can be moist, but it should never be wet. In case it is, find the switch that can control the amount of steam. Most steamers come with this.
  • The steamer should be used on all possible hideouts of bedbugs – areas where you have spotted them and areas where they might be hiding, since they tend to grow faster than we think. You wouldn’t want to be surprised by bigger bedbugs, right?
  • Use a fan to dry out the area once you’re done with your mission.
  • It is also important to follow the instructions on how to cool down and store the steamer.
  • Please keep in mind that though it seems like you might have won this battle, the war is not yet over. You will have to repeat the process a couple of times to completely get rid of these pesky bedbugs. Those that came in direct contact with the steam might be goners, but those who managed to stay hidden in cracks or those that ran away are still there and one day be ready to hit back hard!


Does steam cleaning kill bed bugs? Yes, they do, but you have to be cautious on how you handle them. The point mentioned below will help you in this regard.

  1. The user manual that comes with each of these steamers is there for a purpose. It is not there to be thrown away or kept aside. We strongly recommend our readers to go through the manual and follow directions well.
  2. The machine you’re using is under pressure – keep this in mind while refilling or while using the steamer.
  3. The steam is extremely hot and is meant only for bedbugs and not for humans. We advise our readers to keep the tool away from children’s reach even when it is not in use. Additionally, make sure that you keep it away from your body as steam contact can cause some serious burns.
  4. It is always best to test your machine and the steam before you actually direct it to the surface of any fabric. If the fabric has microfibers, it is always recommended to steam in their direction.
  5. It is perfectly all right for the steamer to throw out some hot water when you first use them or even after quite a long time. Therefore, please be cautious upon using a steamer as this hot water can be dangerous for certain fabrics. We recommend our readers to point the nozzle at some towel so that it collects that hot water safely.
  6. In the nozzle set, you will find a pinpoint nozzle as well. It is not to be used for bed bugs as it tends to just blow them away as well as all your hard work.

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