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Are you looking for bed bug steamers? Then you've come to the right place.
In this Pestions product review you can expect to learn:
- What bed bugs are
- How to kill them with steam
- Application tips and tricks
- Bed bug steamers
Top 5 Best Bed Bug Steamers
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are stowaways. They typically get into a house by jumping into a purse, coat pocket, backpack, box, luggage, or other objects, then crawling out again after reaching a new destination.
If you sleep in a hotel room that has bed bugs (this happens a lot, unfortunately) they'll get into your personal effects and ride home with
you, so having bed bugs doesn't mean your home isn't clean.
Bed bugs undergo five different stages in their life cycle once they hatch. As they grown they need to feed on something (usually you) in order to shed their skin – called molting. Once they're grown, they need to feed every 3-7 days.
However, they survive for months without feeding. They can hide in the cracks and crevices around the baseboards in a clean, vacant house, then come crawling out once the new occupant is moved in.
The adults are so small, about the size of an apple seed, that they can easily be overlooked during an inspection.
Bed bugs typically hide during the day and only come out at night to feed. Their bite is painless so sleepers don't feel anything and don't know they've got bed bugs until they start finding bite marks on themselves.
What Are Bed Bug Steamers?
Very few steamers are actually designed with killing bed bugs in mind. Instead, most Pest Control Operators (PCO) use commercial cleaning steamers. As long as the water reaches the minimum temperatures needed to kill the bugs it will work just fine.
Can You Kill Bed Bugs With Steam?
Steam is a great way to kill bed bugs. Temperatures of 160ºF to 180ºF are ideal. Make sure that whatever steamer you get will deliver heat in that range. As long as it does, it will work.
Steam will kill bed bugs on the surface of the bed, furniture, or walls. It should also be able to penetrate at least 3/4" into the fabric to get the
bugs where they like to hide. High pressure helps the steam penetrate down into the fabric.
The advantage of using steam is that there aren't any chemicals or pesticides to worry about. Modern pesticides are generally safe, but many people are still leery of them.
If that case, steam provides an alternate method of control that has a proven track record of success. It has the additional advantage of killing the eggs as well.
How Should You Use Steamers Against Bed Bugs?
- Many steamers heat the water to 200 degrees or higher. This can cause severe burns if it gets on you so be sure to use personal protective equipment to shield yourself from it.
- Sometimes steamers can spit out hot water when they're first starting up. Aim the wand into a folded cloth towel the first time you pull the trigger to capture any spillage. Do this after each time you refill the water tank or let the steamer sit without pulling the trigger for several minutes.
- Keep the pressure low. Many steamers advertise high pressure but this can actually blow the bed bugs away from the steam and allow them to survive. Lower the pressure either by adjusting the pressure setting or using a nozzle with a larger opening.
- Run the steam slowly along the seams in the mattress. This is where bed bugs will be found most of the time. You should cover about 12 inches per minute under ideal conditions. Moving any than that faster will let the bugs survive the steam.
- Keep the nozzle within 1-2 inches of the surface of the fabric. This prevents the heat from dissipating and ensure it will penetrate the fabric.
Top 5 Best Bed Bug Steamers Reviewed
As a quick recap, here are the bed bug steamers we looked at.
- Chemical free cleaning
- 48 ounce large capacity water tank
- 18 versatile accessories
This utilizes 43 PSI of steam pressure for chemical-free cleaning and bug killing. There are 18 different accessories, including a jet nozzle to focus the steam on the seams of mattresses and other furniture where bed bugs are known to congregate.
The water is heated to over 200 degrees Fahrenheit to kill bed bugs and their eggs. Measurements at the nozzle show 250º.
It has a 48-ounce water tank that quickly heats up in just 8 minutes. This will give you nearly 45 minutes of continuous steam.
Killing bed bugs with steam is a slow process so you'll need every minute of that time, and maybe even more. The quick heating time means you don't have to wait very long to get back to work.
The 9-foot long hose gives you a lot of reach without having to constantly move the steamer. It has a lockdown mechanism on the trigger to deliver continuous steam.
A word of caution though. This steamer can give you third-degree burns if the hose breaks and unfortunately, it has a tendency to do that. Be sure to wear protective gloves and glasses when using it.
- 1500-watt pressurized steam cleaner
- 45 ounce water tank capacity
- 15 versatile accessories
This 1500-watt steam cleaner has a 45-ounce capacity water tank that quickly heats up to operating temperature in excess of 200ºF in just 8 minutes.
There is no need for harsh chemicals with this steamer. It has a long hose, allowing you to work without having to continuously move the main unit.
It has 15 different attachments, including a jet nozzle for steaming the seams of your furniture. The trigger mechanism can be put into a locked position to produce a continuous flow of steam without having to hold the trigger down.
The water tank is very easy to refill. The machine works quite well but there are some issues with the manufacturer honoring their warranty.
- Removes tough spots and stains
- 5 flex hose for hard to reach areas
This all-purpose, professional grade steam cleaner can handle the task of getting bed bugs out of your carpet and upholstery, killing them and their eggs with steam and heat. Although this is a carpet cleaner that uses clean solutions, it still produces enough heat to kill bed bugs.
It has a 5-foot flexible hose for cleaning stairs, upholstery, and area rugs. There are 8 different cleaning tools included with it as well as a special cleaning solution.
A long electrical cord, up to 22-feet long, and a 3/4 gallon capacity tank round out the amenities. It has a 2-year limited warranty and weighs less than 14 pounds.
You don't need the cleaning solution for killing bed bugs, but it can't hurt to use it to clean your mattresses at the same time you're getting rid of the bugs. The water tank is easy to empty and refill.
Cracked hoses seem to be the main problem with this machine. Keep your paperwork in case you need to get the hose replaced.
- 30% more steam flow
- Lightweight and portable
- Heats quickly in 3-4 minutes
This handheld steam cleaner comes with a 9-piece accessory set of extension, tips, and brushes. It heats up the water in the tank very quickly in about 3-4 minutes to over 200ºF, then releases a pressurized stream right where you need it to go.
It only weighs 2.2 pounds (before adding water), which makes it very easy to maneuver. The electrical cord is less than 10-feet long though, so you will probably need an extension cord.
Despite the low price this a quality machine that will do the job of killing bed bugs where they live. The small size means you'll have to refill the water tank more frequently than with a larger machine, so this is probably best suited for small or beginning bed bug infestations.
- Powerful and safe high pressure steamer
- Jet tip extension
- Easy to use and lightweight
This is a lightweight (2.6-pounds) handheld steamer that uses a combination of heat and pressure to kill bed bugs in the seams of mattresses and furniture.
The jet tip extension is well suited for this purpose. There are
several attachments for regular cleaning, and a fill cup to refill the water tank.
The water tank holds about 1 cup of water, but it heats up very quickly. If you're using a continuous stream, the steam will last for about 15 minutes. It occasionally spits out more water than it should, but this is a minor annoyance. You will need an electrical extension cord though.
This machine is good for small bed bug jobs when the infestation is just getting started. For larger jobs, you should look at a bigger machine.
Dirt Devil outsourced their assembly from China so there could be some quality issues from time-to-time.
Our Top Pick: McCulloch Steam Cleaner
There are a lot of bed bug steamers available on the market today.
They all have some good features, but only the best one can come out on top.
Overall, our top pick goes to the McCulloch Heavy Duty Steam Cleaner.
It has a 48-ounce water tank that heats up in just 8 minutes and delivers nearly 45 minutes of continuous steam.
The 9-foot long hose gives you a lot of reach without having to constantly move the steamer. A close second is the Steamfast Multi-Purpose Steam Cleaner which is nearly as good and powerful.