Isolating your bed basically means cleaning the bed bugs off your mattress and linens, and then building traps that prevent remaining bed bugs in the room from crawling up the legs of your bed and re-infesting it. Isolating your bed won’t get rid of your bed bug problem, but you will be able to sleep again at night neck pain pillow.
Before We Get Started…
Your bed bug exterminator should get involved in this process. Exterminators have chemicals that kill any bed bugs hiding on your mattress, box spring, headboard and frame. So, depending on what your pest control tech tells you, some of these steps may not be necessary for you to do on your own. Again, clear the following plan with the expert before you begin.
What You’ll Need
- Zippered dust-mite encasements for your mattress, box spring and pillows. These are basically large
- bags that are designed to keep dust mites inside the encasement – but they also keep bed bugs inside. Find them at allergy supply stores.
- Wide duct tape.
- Contractor grade trash bags (not lawn and leaf bags, but the thick contractor grade trash bags, at least two or three mils thick).
- Wide double-sided tape.
- Bed lifts to raise your bed off the ground (these are little stands that you set the legs of your bed frame into to raise it off the ground). Find them at your local bedding/linen store. Note that if your frame is already fairly high off the ground (like a foot or more), you don’t need the risers.
- Four metal bowls large enough to place the bed lifts in (heavy duty plastic bowls are fine, too. Either way, they have to be unbreakable). Pet stores have nice metal bowls that are ideal for this.
- XXL Ziploc bags
- Food-grade freshwater diatomaceous earth. Also known as DE, diatomaceous earth is an abrasive mineral powder that kills bed bugs and other crawling insects by scratching open their skins, which dehydrates them (they die after a day or two). This stuff is razor wire for bed bugs – they will be able to crawl through it, but the damage they suffer is deadly. You can get DE everywhere: online, your local garden center (gardeners use it to kill pests, sometimes marketed as ant killer), or pet supply stores (food grade stuff is sprinkled on pets to kill fleas). Make sure you don’t get swimming pool grade diatomaceous earth – that is the wrong stuff. Also, get a dust mask while you are at Home Depot – you’ll wear it as you are dusting around your bed. A note about DE: While considered generally safe, you need to carefully read the label and follow all safety instructions. Wear a dust mask or respirator when applying.
- Murphy’s Oil Soap. Murphy’s is a wood cleaner made by Colgate-Palmolive that also has pesticide properties. You can find it everywhere. Buy the spray bottle.
- A new set of white sheets, pillowcases and covers. You are going to replace your existing bedding with new white linens, to better spot any fresh bed bug fecal spots or blood.
- New pillows: Your current ones might be infested, so let’s start over with new ones.
- Optional: Something that kills bed bugs on contact. Rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle will do it. You can dilute the alcohol with a bit of water to make it last longer – 9 parts alcohol, 1 part water.
What to Do
Step 1: Clean your Linens and Bedding
First you need to pull all the bedding off your bed – sheets, mattress cover, comforter, pillows and pillow cases. Everything. These are infested with bed bugs, so you need to immediately stuff them into the trash bags and tie the bags off.
Now wash every item in hot water. Don’t let those infested linens touch other linens or clothing items. Then dry them on high (at least 140 degrees) for 4 hours, or two complete drying cycles. When done, put each item into an XXL Ziploc and seal it.
Put your pillows in a contractor bag, seal it, and throw it in the trash. Cleaning a pillow thoroughly is tough, so you’re better off starting with a new one.