Don’t Hire Carpet Cleaners to do Pest Control
10/16/2018 – Written By Brandon Kirk
There are several times every year that Hydro Clean gets calls to clean carpets and upholstery by customers who should call an exterminator instead. We receive these calls at Hydro Clean Carpet Cleaning because people mistakenly believe that cleaning carpet and upholstery with a steam cleaning machine will help them, get rid of a bed bug infestation.
Even truck mounted steam cleaning equipment will not get the water hot enough to kill bed bugs and their eggs. Most of our machines clean at around 220-240 degrees Fahrenheit. While it is called steam cleaning, the more accurate term is hot water extraction.
According to an article posted at http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/pdf/bb-heat1.pdf “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”
While our carpet cleaning systems operate at higher temperatures, a carpet cleaner cannot sustain that kind of heat in one area for that amount of time. The suction of the machine may remove most of the bedbugs and their eggs. However, there will be no way to guarantee that they will all be removed. Therefore, the infestation will continue, and the customer has wasted their money on a half measure.
We are Cleaners, not Killers.
A licensed pest control company (exterminator) that specializes in bedbugs is the best choice if you have the misfortune of bringing home bedbugs. This could happen when you go on a business trip or move into a structure that is infested. It can happen to anyone regardless of their income, location or level of hygiene. Imagine you are traveling, and your suitcase is stuck under someone else’s luggage in the belly of an aircraft. For hours your suitcase could be exposed to bedbugs that hitch a ride on another traveler’s luggage.
It happened to me.
About 4 years ago I was on a trip and stopped in Grand Junction Colorado for the night. I stayed at hotel and woke up the next morning covered in bites that took weeks to heal. Arriving home, I stripped down in the garage and did not bring my clothes or luggage into my house. If your home is infested, you will need to call in a specialist. Exterminators use heaters (not steam) to keep the room temperature above the killing point for bedbugs for an extended period. In some situations your pest control professional will use a combination of spray or powder insecticides formulated specifically for bedbugs. This is helpful if wall insulation prevents the heat from fully affecting areas that the bugs might retreat into.
Carpet cleaners use steam cleaning to destroy dust mites, making your carpet and upholstery (including mattresses) look and smell great. They should not however 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 bedbugs, we refer the caller to a licensed pest control company. We will not allow our employees to knowingly enter a home with bedbugs. 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 bedbug free. Calling carpet cleaners to do an exterminator’s job will not fix the problem and will waste your hard-earned dollars. Thank you for reading. I hope this article is helpful.