Organic Cleaning Tips for Getting Rid of Bed Bugs

Written by danielle hill
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Organic Cleaning Tips for Getting Rid of Bed Bugs
Organic bed bug sprays eliminate the insect invaders without irritating their human hosts. (ANTI-MOSQUITO AND ANTI-BUG SPRAY. OPEN AND CLOSE. image by Maxim_Kazmin from Fotolia.com)

Bed bug infestations typically require an exhaustive house cleaning, including bed linens, clothing and carpeting, items for which natural and non-toxic products are a necessity. Familiarity with organic bed bug removal products, together with a solid understanding of bed bug life-cycles and a thorough action plan, can help to send the bed bugs packing.

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Non-Toxic Laundering Options

In treating a bed bug infestation, all potentially infected items need a thorough cleaning, which includes discarding or isolating items in airtight containers for up to 18 months. Launder bedclothes and all linens in close proximity to the infestation in hot water, at least 48.9 degrees Celsius. Organic, non-toxic laundry soaps are acceptable since any bed bugs will die by the hot water regardless of the soap you use. According to the Dry-cleaning and Laundry Institute of Laurel, Maryland, most “dry clean only” items can safely tumble-dry at 48.9 to 71.1 degrees Celsius for 10 to 20 minutes, thereby killing any bed bugs. You can steam items too sensitive to launder at such high temperatures. Plain water vapour will likewise kill bed bugs by temperature alone, requiring no toxic insecticides. However, the steaming methods do not work for all items; steaming mattresses or anything that does not dry out easily may cause mildew or mould problems.

Organic Cleansers

It is inadvisable to treat an infected mattress or bed linens with any type of insecticide. However, when treating carpeting, bedside tables and other bedroom items and spaces, a few organic, non-toxic cleansers can kill bed bugs without negatively affecting human inhabitants. Food-grade diatomaceous earth, or crystalline silica, will kill bed bugs without harming humans. Organic bed bug products frequently combine diatomaceous earth with pyrethrins, compounds derived from a variety of chrysanthemum. While pyrethrins are naturally occurring compounds, high levels of exposure can cause minor discomfort or nausea to humans. OSHA recommends no more than 5 milligrams per cubic meter in workplaces, based on eight daily hours of exposure.

Bagging and Isolating

While non-toxic cleansers can combat bed bugs when combined with high heat or when used in limited quantities, certain items, such as an infected mattress, may require another tactic. You can "burn off" bedbugs on smaller items. Leave any items that easily encase in airtight bags in strong direct sunlight for at least one full day. The trapped bed bugs will die from the extreme heat. As when washing in hot water, the temperature inside the container must reach 48.9 degrees Celsius. Alternatively, in cold locations, bed bugs exposed to temperatures below 00 degrees Celsius, over several days, will also die. Isolate any items not adequately cleaned or heated for the maximum bed bug lifespan. Enclosing the mattress within an impenetrable casing will trap and kill any bed bugs inside. To ensure that all bed bugs die, containers and bags must remain sealed for at least one year and preferably 18 months, the length of a full bed bug life-cycle.

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