Not many things will make your home feel dirtier than a case of bed bugs. Although it might seem like carpet and upholstery cleaners might be able to solve your bed bug problem, it’s not your best option. Keep reading to learn when carpet cleaners can help and when you should call an exterminator.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are small, brownish bugs that survive off the blood of animals and humans. No matter your level of hygiene or where you live, bed bugs can unexpectedly tag along on luggage, clothing, or furniture and enter your home. When you have an infestation, you will likely wake up with bites. Often, these bites will turn into itchy welts. It is important not to mistake these bites for mosquito bites.
Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation
If you are not sure whether or not you have a bedbug infestation, there are a few clues you can look for:
- Tiny bloodstains on your sheets
- A musty odor that bed bugs emit from their sweat glands
- Spots left by bed bug excrement, feces, egg shells, etc.
Although these signs of a bed bug infestation are helpful, it can be difficult for an untrained eye to confirm it’s a case of bed bugs.
How Are Bed Bugs Killed?
The best way to kill bed bugs is to use heat for an extended period. According to the article, Using Heat to Kill Bed Bugs, “Bed bugs exposed to 113°F will die if they receive constant exposure to that temperature for 90 minutes or more. However, they will die within 20 minutes if exposed to 118°F. Interestingly, bed bug eggs must be exposed to 118°F for 90 minutes to reach 100% mortality.”
The Difference Between Exterminators and Carpet Cleaners
An exterminator is your best option to kill all the bed bugs effectively. Exterminators use heaters to keep the room temperature above the killing point for bed bugs for an extended period. In some situations, your pest control professional will use a combination of spray or powder insecticides explicitly formulated for bed bugs. This is helpful if wall insulation prevents the heat from fully affecting areas that the bugs might retreat into.
On the other hand, carpet cleaners use steam. While it is called steam cleaning, the more accurate term is hot water extraction. Although this process technically gets hot enough (220-240 degrees Fahrenheit), carpet cleaning technicians cannot expose each spot for the time required to exterminate the bed bugs.
Carpet cleaners use steam cleaning to destroy dust mites, making your carpet and upholstery (including mattresses) look and smell great. Though there may be bed bugs in the carpet, they should not advertise in any way that they can kill bedbugs or fleas. Advertising that as a benefit could in effect place the carpet cleaning company in the category of exterminator. Exterminators are in a completely different industry with different training, hazards, OSHA and EPA compliance, certifications, insurance and licensing.
Call the Professionals
If you do experience an infestation, please do not call a carpet cleaning company or try to treat it yourself. When Hydro Clean Carpet Cleaning receives a call about bed bugs, we refer the caller to a licensed pest control company. We will not allow our employees to knowingly enter a home with bed bugs. The risk of bringing them back to the office or carrying them home is not worth the risk.
Hydro Clean Carpet Cleaning technicians are always happy to clean your carpet, upholstery, area rugs and tile. However, if you detect an infestation, please call us only after a licensed pest control company certifies that your home is bed bug free. We’d love to make your home feel clean and like new again.