How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs Permanently: 7 Ways To Kill Bed Bugs

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Pest Control | January 5, 2024

Looking for a fast solution on how to get rid of bed bugs permanently after having identified them from pictures and names?

You’re not alone. Bed bugs are notoriously yucky to find in your home, and the sad part is that they travel pretty easily, so they can infest the entire home in a very short space of time.

So, finding not only an effective treatment is key to controlling bed bugs for good.

This complete guide explains how to get rid of bed bugs permanently, including seven ways that are used by pest control pros, as well as a few options that you can get started with immediately.

How Do Exterminators Get Rid of Bed Bugs: 7 Ways To Kill Bed Bugs Forever

Traditional treatments of bed bugs are more effective when applied in situations of mild infestations, such as in single bedrooms, tiny houses, hotel rooms, or apartments.

Graphic that shows the different ways to kill bed bugs forever.

The less widespread the problem, the easier it can be contained and the more effective the treatments.

Fortunately, experienced exterminators have seen all levels of infestations and have the tools, apparatus, and knowledge of how to get rid of bed bugs once and for all.

#1: Heat Treatment

One of the most effective methods of eliminating a bed bug infestation is heat treatment, and it’s safe for pets and children.

It involves sealing and isolating the infected room for 8 to 10 hours or longer and turning on heaters or blowers to temperatures of around 120°F. As the heat sweeps through the room the bed bugs are drawn out of their hiding places, suffocate, and die.

Although extremely lethal for the pests, it becomes less effective in rooms that are larger than 2,200 square feet in size, and therefore repeated treatments may occasionally be necessary.

But if you have a significant infestation and just want to deal with it once, this is your best option, and the good part is that it doesn’t have a significant carbon footprint.

#2: Powder Insecticide for Bed Bugs

Contact pesticides from home improvement stores only work to a certain degree and it’s unlikely that a single application will sort out the infestation. This is where a powder insecticide for bed bugs is a superior treatment because it can be spread everywhere and set like a trap.1

Your exterminator will spray the powder around the legs of the bed, beneath the baseboard trims, underneath the edges of carpets, into outlet boxes, dust surfaces where they are suspected to travel between hiding places, and anywhere where they are likely to pass through on their way to and from open spaces.

This method is a definite long-term bed bug killer solution because as long as the powder is left undisturbed, the minute any bugs inadvertently make contact with it they will be killed off.

#3: Steam

Heat treatment for bed bugs, costs, and the requirement to completely block off and isolate a room for 10 hours or longer can deter hotel owners from using this method.

An alternative treatment for how to get rid of bed bugs in a mattress is to use steam.

A photo of a spraying tool for fumigation or insecticide.

(Image: Lach, Ron9)

The advantage is that the application can be targeted and the room does not have to be closed off. It is also a faster process as it takes seconds to penetrate into the folds and creases where they are hiding, and due to its portable nature, your exterminator will target all the places where he knows the bed bugs normally seek shelter.

#4: Exterminators

Exterminators understand the physiology of bed bugs. They know that once they have fed they can survive up to 10 months before having to feed again. That’s one of the reasons why they can keep themselves out of harm’s way for long periods until it’s safe to merge to feed again.

Get the pros to seal your mattress in what’s called an encasement bag that is equipped with special zippers that are bed bug escape-proof.

The bugs will not be able to get at you, will not be able to get out, and it will be just a matter of time before they are all dead.

#5: Diatomaceous Earth for Bed Bugs

The use of diatomaceous earth for bed bugs elimination is an all-natural powder substance that has the ability to dehydrate the pests responsible for giving you a bad night’s sleep by reacting as a desiccant that will absorb all their body fat, moisture, and oils to such a point of dehydration that they quickly die off.

Your exterminator will apply it by spraying or sprinkling it on affected areas and will instruct you not to clean any of those surfaces for about a week when you will then be able to wipe them down.

There is a significant death rate of bed bugs of over 90% and, even though it is not instant, no chemicals that may affect any human occupants are used, and as a form of indoor pest control its effectiveness cannot be disputed.3

#6: Chemical Application

The most common method of pest control is the use of chemical applications which,  although often less expensive than heat treatments, can still cost up to $775 for an average room across the nation.

Some of the most effective ones contain pyrethrins which are pesticides that are used to control several types of insects and are derived naturally from some species of chrysanthemum flowers.

Your exterminator will spray the substance around the room while wearing protective equipment, ensuring that the room is sealed and there will be no leaks. And then when the bugs and other insects come into contact with or ingest it, they will become paralyzed and die as a result

This form of chemical treatment is generally the best option if you want to minimize even the slightest risk of re-infestation, and is usually safe for children and pets if briefly exposed to it. However, your specialist will advise you not to go back inside until the pesticides have dried, which can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours, and the house has had a chance to air out properly.

#7: Spot Treatment

Spot treatments involve targeting specific sites where the bugs are suspected of being or known to frequent.

It is often a preferred method to avoid any allergic reactions to other forms of treatments as the chemical pesticide comes in the form of a foam and is not easily air-borne when applied.

Your specialist will inject the concentrated substances into even the smallest crevices, around your bed frames, into the electrical outlets, and spray it onto mattresses and couches without any fear of ruining the fabrics.

It kills them within 30 minutes but can also take a few hours. Fortunately, the effectiveness lasts for up to 4 weeks and gets those bugs that are even resistant to pyrethrins.

How To Check for Bed Bugs and How To Find Bed Bugs During the Day

Due to their diminutive stature and their almost ninja-like skill at hiding in the smallest of spaces, bed bugs can be just that kind of bug that you can’t quite get your eye on and who are just too darn hard to kill.

It is this strong survival mechanism that makes knowing how to get rid of bed bugs permanently so difficult, and it’s also so important to know how to check for any signs of them.

Graphic that shows the different DIY bed bugs solution.

Because of their flattened bodies, bed bugs are particularly fond of hiding in the gaps and crevices that surround places where you may spend a lot of time sleeping, and that includes the couch, how to check for bed bugs there, and your favorite reclining chair.

Mattresses, box springs, headboards, footboards, bed frames, and everything else within a five- to eight-foot radius of the bed are all fair game, and if it’s comfy for you it’ll be comfy for them.

With supreme patience, it is possible to identify the adults when they break cover to scurry from one hiding place to the next, even in broad daylight.4 If you fail to capture any visual sightings, look for small red stains and dirt-like specs on your mattress, carpets, or couch.

When traveling to unfamiliar hotels, don’t be shy about lifting up the mattress to check underneath and even inspect the behind the baseboard, and the spare pillows in the closet.

Check every nook and cranny for any signs of minuscule broken eggshells, or even dead bugs. But even if you do find a few dead bugs, don’t believe that that’s all of them and they have died off.

You’ll soon discover, as the red itchy bumps keep popping up on your skin, that there is still an invisible horde hiding in plain sight, waiting patiently for you to settle down for the night next to them so they can start having their breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Bed Bug Bites

Repeatedly being bitten night after night is not one someone would call a fun experience. If you don’t know how to get rid of bed bugs permanently, you need to learn fast.

Not everyone who is bitten will experience the same level of discomfort.

Some victims feel absolutely nothing and won’t even display any outward signs that they have been bed bug bitten, while sensitive individuals may have a host of red blister-like bumps decorating their arms, legs, back, and neck. Anywhere that the bed bugs can latch on to your exposed skin.

Although this can be a clear sign that you have bed bugs, it has been verified by scientific studies that up to 30% of those bitten are completely unaware that they are being munched on, so this is not a reliable method of identification as infestations can be missed.

The one saving grace that should relieve any concerns relating to the infectious nature of being bitten by household insects like these is that bed bug bites are seldom harmful and are not known to spread any illnesses.7

Allergic reactions experienced by certain sensitive individuals are caused by the specific compounds in the saliva of bed bugs, and the best way to stop that from happening is to remove them from your bed. Permanently.

Bed Bug Removal: How To Get Rid of BedBugs for Good

After the horrible discovery has been confirmed that you do indeed have bed bugs, you are going to want to know what kills bed bugs permanently and quickly.

Depending on the severity of the infestation, formulating and putting a plan of eradication into action might take several weeks or months before a satisfactory conclusion can be reached.

The number of bed bugs present, the availability of hard-to-reach places for them to hide, the presence of bed bugs in adjoining rooms, and the cooperation of all occupants of the house are all important considerations when estimating your overall chances of success.

And so is preparation.

Before any bed bug removal tactics are set in motion, the room has to be arranged in such a way that whatever methods are used to eliminate any bedbugs on mattress in one or more rooms will be more effective.

That process includes stripping down the bed, taking down drapes, cleaning out clothes from wardrobes, and vacuuming all the surfaces just with the hose attachment to get at all these hidden little critters.

Once you’ve done all that you can either try some home remedies for bed bugs or start researching local exterminator prices to see how much it’s going to cost you to call in the pros.

How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs Permanently at Home: DIY Bed Bug Treatment

As with other types of pests that take it upon themselves to invade your place of residence, there is no universal solution to the problem of clearing out these bad bed bugs.

Infestations that consist of just a few bugs, and that you have managed to confirm through observation and have also contained to one living area, can perhaps be managed by natural way to kill bed bugs that you can undertake yourself.

This is a brief list of what you can try in your do-it-yourself efforts to solve your new bed bug problem.

  • Starting with the baseboards and working your way to the mattress, box spring, and bed frame, give the whole room a good vacuuming from top to bottom, making sure you get into all the nooks and crannies using only the hose part of the vacuum cleaner.
  • Wash or steam clean all your clothes at temperatures on or above 120°F to kill off any bed bugs, and then store them in another room that has either already been cleaned or is not infested.7
  • Wipe all the surfaces down with alcohol. This includes all parts of the bed, inside and outside of closets, all the draws, the back of picture frames, and throw out anything you don’t need after tying them up tightly in plastic bags.
  • Sprays specifically for use against bed bugs can be purchased from hardware and home improvement stores. These pesticides are effective because they can get into those cracks and crevices that the alcohol rubbed onto surfaces or the vacuum suction cannot reach.

Apply the pesticide to any and all spots where you’ve noticed even the slightest trace of bed bugs or spotted them scampering around. Make sure to also spray the space around the bed, the floor, and the walls right up to the baseboards, since these are prime hiding spots for the pests to hide where they can stay just out of your reach.

Photo of 2 bed bug exterminators.

(Image: Miroshnichenko, Tima8)

Professional pest exterminators start their process out in a similar fashion based on the level of infestation, but they have more avenues and methods available to pursue on how to get rid of bed bugs permanently.

If One Room Has Bed Bugs, Do They All?

The long and short answer is: maybe.

It is a nightmare scenario to have every room in your home infested with bloodthirsty bed bugs, but they are fast-moving critters that can travel at speeds of up to 4 feet per minute and can go wherever a victim is staying still long enough to become part of their next meal.2

By hitching a ride on a person’s clothes, or primarily entering your home through second-hand furniture, they can easily and quickly be transported unnoticed from one room to another. Alternatively, they may quickly spread by just crawling from your room to the one next door.

This is because, despite misconceptions that bed bugs stay in one location, they are actually quite mobile and will go almost anywhere where they think they may locate a person to latch onto for a blood meal.

How fast bed bugs spread across your home is directly proportional to how soon you start treating them, or if you go into a state of denial and hope that they will just pack up and go away.

Waiting for divine intervention won’t help so you will need to know how to get rid of bed bugs permanently sooner rather than later before they spread to neighboring bedrooms, living areas, and even to the rest of your home.

Natural Bed Bugs Solutions (How To Get Rid of BedBugs Forever)

Desperation can lead you to try every solution you come across on the internet as you want your unwanted bed companions gone as soon as possible.

Some methods will work better than others for your particular circumstances and the level of hypersensitivity you may have to the chemicals in pesticides.8

Natural substances such as baking soda, neem oil, vinegar, or rubbing alcohol mixed with water are excellent treatments that will not exacerbate any allergies associated with breathing or irritate any skin conditions. They may require repeated applications so that no bed bugs survive at any stage of their life cycle as any unhatched eggs left behind will only restart the infestation quickly.

Diatomaceous earth is another pest-fighting household favorite that is natural and can be found in home improvement and hardware stores easily.

But the secret to how to get rid of bed bugs permanently in your home without calling in a specialist is to combine more than one treatment.

Why Are Some Bed Bugs Still Alive After Being Sprayed?

Any bugs that have survived a recent treatment cycle are often referred to as the walking dead.

They can sometimes be spotted by keen-eyed homeowners shuffling around 7 to 10 days later, fully exposed to a lethal dose but hanging on doggedly until the deadly toxins they have been exposed to have time to take full effect.

This might be confusing to the buyer when they are first spotted, but this phenomenon could be because the bed bugs were partially shielded or didn’t receive a direct dose.

Another possibility is that the few remaining bugs left behind may literally have been out of the room when it was disinfected and wandered back in at a later date. In this particular instance, follow-up visits will be necessary to clean out the surviving remnants.

How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs Permanently

There is always a chance of re-infestation after treating for bed bugs. There is no way to prevent a bed bug from returning to your house on a person or their possessions after treatment with either conventional or heat methods.

Even companies that provide professional extermination services often have to do two treatment sessions in an effort to get every single last pest. In New York alone, the resurgence of bed bugs and other household insects has spawned well over 1,000 businesses and countless pest management professionals.

For your regular homeowner who has had bed bugs and wants to block them from ever returning the task is even harder.

Setting up a schedule that involves regular inspections and preventative treatments with products like baking soda or a vinegar and water solution, will show that you have learned how to get rid of bed bugs permanently just like the professionals.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs Permanently

How Do Bed Bugs Die Naturally?

The way to help them to die naturally, and a clean method of how to get rid of bed bugs permanently is to cut them off from their food source and starve them to death. If they are sealed within a mattress encasement bag they will be cut off from being able to feed and slowly die off.

What Kills Bed Bugs Instantly?

Rubbing alcohol or vinegar mixed with water are two lethal methods that when sprayed directly onto bed bugs will kill them instantly.

What Chemical Kills Bed Bugs Permanently?

Pesticides with the compounds pyrethrin or pyrethroid are fatal to a wide range of insects as well as bed bugs and are widely found in over 2,000 products on the market.

What are the Bed Bug Exterminator Costs for a Room?

How much does a bed bug exterminator costs will vary on the level of infestation and the type of treatment used, but on average the costs on average are between $250 and $500.

How to Find a Good Pest Control Company?

To get a reputable pest control company, read reviews online, ask friends and neighbors for recommendations, and then enquire how long the company has been in business for and if you can speak to any customers of theirs in your local area.4


1The Great State of Alaska. (n.d.). CHOOSING AN INSECTICIDE FOR BED BUGS. Division of Environmental Health PESTICIDE CONTROL PROGRAM. <>

2Gripp, S. I., & Quesada, C. (2022, June 30). Biology, Habitat, and Management of Bed Bugs. Penn State Extension. <>

3Kard, B., Wright, R., Shelton, K., & Luper, C. (2017, March). Household Pest Control. Oklahoma State University Extension. <>

4The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. (n.d.). Choosing And Working With A Pest Control Company. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. <>

5Shindelar, A., & Kells, S. (2014, May 15). Laundering Items to Kill Bed Bugs. Let’s Beat the Bug! <>

6University of Minnesota. (n.d.). Household insects. University of Minnesota Extension. <>

7Young, A. (2022, April 14). Insect Bite Hypersensitivity. UC DAVIS Veterinary Medicine. <>

8Miroshnichenko, Tima. Pexels. Retrieve from <>

9Lach, Ron. Pexels. Retrieve from <>