Everything You Need To Know About Non-Chemical Bedbug Treatment

D.P. Taylor
Written by D.P. Taylor
Updated December 17, 2021
Woman asleep in her bed at home
Photo: Ninadaksic / Adobe Stock


  • Insecticides are generally ineffective on bedbugs and harmful to humans.

  • Cleaning up clutter can take away prime bedbug environments.

  • Heat and cold treatments can get in cracks and crevices.

  • Diatomaceous earth is safe and causes bedbugs to die by losing moisture.

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A bedbug infestation is one of the worst things a homeowner can deal with, so if you've got one, you know it's time to take immediate action. However, most people don't like the idea of toxic chemicals covering the places where they live and sleep. Fortunately, you don't have to use insecticides. In fact, non-chemical options may be the most effective way to get rid of bedbugs. This guide will break down what non-chemical bedbug treatments are available and when they might be most effective.

Why Chemical Insecticides Are a Bad Idea for Treating Bedbugs

Bedbugs aren’t typical insects. These hardy creatures can resist most insecticides, and their eggs are virtually unaffected by these substances. But that’s not the only reason to avoid chemicals when treating bedbugs. They like to hide away in clutter and can often be found infesting beds and box springs, so using insecticides isn’t a good idea because of their toxic effects on humans. As a result, many people turn to non-chemical options for treating an infestation.

Top Non-Chemical Methods for Treating Bedbugs

There are many options for attacking a bedbug infestation that don't involve chemicals, and they can be very effective if employed right.

1. Cleaning Up Clutter

Woman cleaning bedroom and putting away clothes
Photo: Halfpoint / Adobe Stock

Cleaning up all the clutter in your home is one of the best first steps you can take to tackle bedbugs. It's a good idea in general, and it takes away some of the areas bedbugs like to hide. Doing so will expose them and make it easier to treat them. So pick up clothes lying on the floor and keep them in sealed bags. And throw away items you don't use anymore.

2. Heat Treatment

Heat is a far better way to kill bedbugs than insecticides because these insects can resist chemicals, but they die easily from heat (their thermal death point is around 114 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit).

As a result, a pest control professional may use a steam cleaner to tackle a bedbug infestation. These steamers can be used on mattresses, floorboards, and anywhere else without the risk of damage.

You might go even further and use a thermal heating system to raise the room's temperature to that range for about an hour. This ensures the heat gets into every crack and crevice in the room. However, you may have to call around to find a pest control company that has such a system.

3. Cold Treatment

You could go the other direction and freeze the bedbugs to death using what’s known as pressurized carbon dioxide snow. Basically, a pest control company uses a machine with a pressurized cylinder that blasts a "snow" mixture at -108 degrees Fahrenheit that, like the steam, gets in hard-to-reach areas such as baseboards and box springs.

4. Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is essentially dust made from the skeletons of microorganisms known as diatoms. This dust sticks to bedbugs and absorbs a layer of wax on their bodies, which causes them to lose moisture and die. It's entirely safe for use and non-toxic. But be careful not to purchase the type of DE used for swimming pool filters, which is dangerous for inhalation.

Call a Professional

Contact a pest control professional near you to get a consultation. They may recommend other non-chemical techniques to deal with your infestation. The pros can look at your home and your specific infestation to recommend some next steps and provide tips to prevent future bedbug infestations. Depending on what you're dealing with, they may recommend one of the solutions above or a combination of several options.

If the infestation is limited enough, they may only need to clear a few areas of clutter and do some vacuuming. If it's more extensive, it may be a longer job with some more in-depth treatments. The cost of a full bedbug home treatment is $1,000 to $2,500. The best way to put your mind at ease is to get a pro on the case today.

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