Contrary to their name, bed bugs don’t just reside in beds but also on couches and other couch. If you suspect the presence of bed bugs in your couch, you want to quickly get rid of them. So, in this guide, I will show you step by step how to get rid of bed bugs fast on a couch.
This guide includes identifying a potential infestation, bed bug treatment methods, and prevention tips. Keep in mind that you may need to repeat the elimination process several times until your home is completely free of bedbugs.
How to get rid of bed bugs fast on a couch
Below are the safest and most reliable methods professionals use to get rid of bed bugs fast on a couch:
1. Wash the couch
This method does not require professional bed bug services. Just remove all cushion covers and wash them at the highest temperature possible. Set your washing machine to 113°F for 90 minutes to kill the bed bugs. If you want to speed up the process, set it to 118°F for 20 minutes.
Dry the covers and cushions on the hottest setting possible. If you are unsure of the maximum temperature, run the dryer for more than 90 minutes to be safe. If the cushions are too big to fit in the dryer, set them aside for steaming.
Bed bug eggs are more resilient than adults, so to ensure 100% mortality, heat treat your belongings at 118°F for 90 minutes. According to the Department of Entomology, Virginia, under optimal conditions, egg mortality is low and approximately 97% of the bed bug eggs hatch successfully.
2. Remove the bugs with a vacuum
Contrary to popular belief, vacuuming alone is not enough to get rid of bed bugs fast on a couch before they spread to other rooms. It is merely one aspect of a comprehensive process to control the infestation and reduce their population. However, it does help to eliminate any visible signs of bed bugs, such as shed skin and fecal matter.
To vacuum your couch effectively, attach an accessory that can reach cracks and crevices. Follow the instructions provided by your steam manufacturer carefully. To enhance the effectiveness of the nozzle, wrap the tip with a microfiber cloth and secure it to the wand using rubber bands. This will help distribute the steam’s pressure and raise the temperature at the nozzle’s tip.
When steaming the couch, make sure to direct the nozzle into every nook and cranny.
Steam all flat surfaces to eliminate eggs, remove any excrement stains, and sanitize the fabrics. The fabrics should be damp, not soaking wet, and it may take up to 24 hours for the couch to dry completely. To hasten the drying process, a fan can be used to circulate the air, but direct heat should not be applied as it poses a fire risk.
After vacuuming, immediately place the vacuum bag in a sealed plastic bag and dispose of it outside to prevent any bed bugs from escaping.
3. Steam bed bugs to death
Steam cleaning is the most effective and environmentally-friendly way to permanently eliminate bed bugs and their eggs on contact.
You will need a powerful and lightweight steam cleaner built to effectively kill bed bugs. The hot steam can penetrate deep into the cushions, reaching bed bugs in any hiding spot.
Investing in a steam cleaner is a wise decision as it provides a thorough steam treatment that can be repeated until your couch is completely free of bed bugs. Additionally, it can also be used for cleaning and sanitizing your home of other bugs, making it a multi-functional tool.
4. Apply chemical spray to your cushion
For any remaining bed bugs, chemical sprays can get rid of bed bugs fast on a couch and prevent new ones from developing. However, these sprays are not recommended for households with children or pets, as they may be exposed to harmful chemical pesticides.
A safer alternative is to use an all-natural bed bug spray, which kills bed bugs on contact without leaving any residual effects.
Another option is to use diatomaceous earth to get rid of bed bugs fast on a couch, which can be sprinkled in potential hiding spots to kill bed bugs once they come into contact with the powder.
5. Use bed bug traps
To avoid a repeat infestation, use bed bug traps and place them under the legs of your couch. You can use this bed bug trap that mimics the human body.
If your couch is in direct contact with the ground, use risers to keep it elevated.
Since bed bugs cannot fly or jump, they will have to crawl through the traps, effectively blocking them from re-infesting your couch.
6. Invest in bed bug covers
An alternative solution is to use a bed bug cover for your couch. In the case of a severe infestation, you can apply additional bed bug killers on the couch before encasing it. This will prevent them from escaping and stop other bed bugs from crawling onto the couch.
7. Install bed bug interceptors
In order to get rid of bed bugs fast on a couch, use plastic bed bug interceptors under each leg. These interceptors are multi-walled plastic cups with a smooth coating that prevents bedbugs from climbing up the legs of the couch. They can be easily obtained in stores and online.
Placing plastic bedbug interceptors under the legs of your couch can also provide insight into the extent of the infestation. By monitoring the number of bedbugs captured daily, you can gauge the severity of the problem. Keep the interceptors in place for up to a year for optimal results.
Meanwhile, here are some reasons why your bed bug interceptors won’t work.
How to know if couch has bed bugs
If you have observed itchy bumps on your skin after lying on your couch, particularly on your back or legs, or small blood spots on your clothing or upholstery, you likely have a bedbug infestation. The only way to confirm this is to conduct a comprehensive inspection.
Due to their small size, with adult bedbugs being only about the size of an apple seed and the younger ones even smaller, they can be challenging to spot. To perform an effective inspection, you will need the following tools:
- Rubber gloves
- Sturdy plastic item such as an old credit card
- Double-sided tape
- A magnifying glass
Having these items at hand will make it easier for you to detect and confirm a bedbug infestation.
With all the necessary tools at hand, begin by wrapping the credit card with double-sided tape. This will aid in accessing tight spaces, such as seams, and capturing any bedbug evidence.
If your couch has a slipcover, remove it and inspect it for signs of bedbugs. If you suspect an infestation, place the slipcover in a heavy-duty plastic bag to prevent the spread of insects to other items. Take out each cushion and inspect it thoroughly. Check every seam, edge, and zipper using the sticky credit card and flashlight. If you notice any bedbug activity, place the cushions in a bag.
Next, inspect the crevices along the frame of the couch or chair and turn it over to check its underside. Bedbugs often hide in dark areas and only come out to feed when humans are present.
Signs of a bedbug infestation
If you observe any of the previously mentioned signs, it confirms that you have a bedbug infestation, and it’s necessary to take action to eliminate it.
a. You have seen bedbugs
Adult bedbugs are oval, flat, and have a reddish-brown color. If they have fed on human blood, they will appear plump. Nymphs or newly hatched bedbugs are nearly transparent and very small, making them difficult to detect.
b. You found their eggs on your couch
Bed bug eggs are milky white and smaller than a grain of rice. They can be found in dark crevices and cracks, where they remain undisturbed until they hatch.
c. Tiny blood stains on couch
The presence of fresh or dried blood spots on couch may indicate that bedbugs have been feeding and are active in the area.
d. Insect skins
Bedbugs progress through maturity by molting their exoskeleton at least five times. The cast-off exoskeleton resembles a live bedbug, but has a more translucent look and is no longer active.
e. Black spots
The waste produced by bedbugs manifests as small black spots or narrow black streaks.
When to call for professionals to get rid of bed bugs fast on a couch
If you still detect bed bugs in your couch or other areas after cleaning and washing, it is advisable to call in a professional exterminator.
Hiring a pest control company will provide peace of mind knowing that experienced professionals are handling the bed bug treatment. While it may be costly, it is the best option when bed bugs have been found in multiple areas, not just the couch.
If the above steps have been successful and you want to prevent re-infestation, you can use an encasement to protect your couch. The encasement is made of high-quality, bed bug-proof fabric and features a zipper with a hook closure to prevent bed bugs from entering or exiting the couch.