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Bed bugs and steam cleaners - a lady cleans a stripped mattress with a steam cleaning machine.

Bed bugs And Steam Cleaners: A Match Made In Heaven.

Bed bugs. They may bring up images of Victorian flop houses or far-flung hostels but unfortunately, they are not something confined to days gone by or teenage gap years. They are in our homes, on our buses and in our hotels: the UK saw a 65% increase in bed bug infestations in the past few years and that number continues to grow. So what, if you run a hotel, guest house, airbnb or care home, are you supposed to do to avoid and control the recent influx of the much-detested bed bug? Duplex has you covered. 

Are hotels liable for bed bugs? 

Bed bug season is upon us once again: The season of the bed bug begins as Summer nears and ends around Halloween, coinciding neatly with the period of time when most of us are travelling, holidaying and bringing home wanted and unwanted souvenirs: bugs! 

While unpleasant, (and definitely a cause for negative customer experience and reviews) there are actually very few legal requirements for hospitality locations with regards to bed bugs. This lack of specific regulations means that for years there has been little impetus for rigorous checks and vigilance against the bugs, probably why we are seeing an influx of them now.

Don’t be mistaken: if a guest sees or is bitten by bed bugs on your property, you can bet that your business will suffer. In an already competitive sector, and in our online ruled world, negative reviews and even the rumour of bed bugs can be ruinous for hoteliers across the country. 

The best offence is always defence and we have the silver bullet for all of your bed bug problems: steam cleaning machines. 

Does steam kill bed bugs?

Bed bugs hate heat, but love body temperature! Eww!!

There are so many old wives’ tales out there for effectively ridding your room of bed bugs, but today we are answering the question ‘Does steam kill bed bugs?’

As fond as they may be of the warmth of humans, bed bugs cannot withstand extremely high temperatures. All it takes to kill them is exposure to steam of at least 48°C. This is one of the reasons why the Duplex range of commercial steam cleaners is a safe and effective way to eliminate both bed bugs and their eggs.

Bed bugs can also be treated with insecticide spray, however, this comes with its own set of problems. Many bugs have now built up a resistance to many popular forms of insecticide and the chemicals themselves are less than desirable for use around humans and animals. When used, it has to be removed and neutralised before the bed and pillows can be used so a second clean may be needed to make sure the user does not get any adverse effects from the bed bug treatment.  

Steam application, however,  is chemical-free, reaches better into narrow nooks and crannies, penetrates through fabrics and is not toxic so it provides a more eco-friendly solution to the problem.

Bed Bugs and steam cleaners: your secret weapon

If you own or run any kind of lodging – whether for tourists, residents or short-term lets, bed bugs are an issue that can be easily controlled – with the right machinery and a consistent routine!

For bed bugs, steam cleaners are the way to go.

As resilient as bed bugs may seem, upon direct contact with steam, bed bugs can die almost instantly. 

By opting for Duplex steam cleaning for bed bugs, you are ensuring that:

  • Your cleaning is eco-friendly and chemical-free so will not expose guests and pets to insecticides.
  • Your steam is effectively killing any live bed bugs and eggs without the need for chemicals.
  • Your cleaning machine is powerful enough to penetrate deep into any soft surface and comprehensive enough on hard surfaces to rid your room of any signs of bed bugs.

Tips for using steam cleaning on bed bugs 

Reaching every bug in all their hiding spots may take time and a thorough steam cleaning treatment can take anywhere from one to several hours, depending on the level of infestation and size of the area being treated.

It is important that the steam nozzle is applied slowly over the area to be treated so that the steam has enough time to heat and penetrate deep into the surface. Work from top to bottom on all surfaces within a room. Doing this with steam will also help kill bed bugs lurking on curtains or blinds (which should be steamed first) as they may drop off and have another going over when you move on to the lower-lying objects such as beds, pillows, upholstered chairs, sofas and finally carpets and hard floors including all edges and skirting.

Once eliminated, bed bugs can only re-infest if brought into the room on people’s clothing, but more usually luggage, so a regulated checking system should be in place to keep on top of any signs of bed bugs before they become an issue. 

How to know if your room has bed bugs

Apart from actually seeing them or being bitten, bed bugs are usually detected once they have reached a high enough volume for humans to detect their peculiar musty smell. 

With the explosion in bed bug reports in recent years (both in actual numbers and in media fueled hysteria, thanks to the ability for news to go viral online) some have reached out to less orthodox solutions: such as making use of unique scent super-skills of dogs, with sniffer dogs being employed to detect the early signs of a bed bug infestation. In a similar way to drug and airport security dogs, these wonderful canines are being used in hotels and homes across the country, and are even outperforming their human counterparts who have to use sight alone.  

Don’t have a sniffer dog to hand? Here’s how to check a room yourself:

 Bed bugs are sneaky and when introduced into a room, like to make themselves comfortable. It is vital that you check all around the room -not just the bed- for any signs of infestation. Bedbugs can also be found hiding in: 

  • The bed: start where they are most likely to be. This is because of the warmth, moisture and general detritus left behind by sleeping humans. 
  • Furniture; especially if it is upholstered. Check all the dark corners and gaps that you would normally avoid. Bed bugs love the dark!
  • Wardrobes: check the floor and the corners, as well as any gaps, nooks or cracks in the wood itself. 
  • Luggage and luggage storage: after their eponymous love for beds, the bugs love clothing and luggage can be a real breeding ground for any infestation. Check both the luggage itself and where it may be regularly stored by guests. Check all seams, cracks, straps and corners. It goes without saying but thoroughly check and hot-wash the contents found inside a suitcase.
  • Bedside cabinets: check the corners and bottom of the drawers, as well as around the edges of the wood and under and peeling coatings on the exterior.
  • Walls: the less obvious of places, but check any cracks in the walls or tears in wallpaper for pockets of bed bug colonies. This is especially important if the bed is up against a wall.

In all of these places you are looking for live bugs, but also any shed exoskeletons, blood spots or tiny reddish-brown spots – the blood-fueled faecal matter of the common bed bug. Eew.

Final thoughts

Duplex is known the world over for its performance cleaning machines, providing specially designed solutions for the latest in cleaning issues. Bed bugs are just the latest in a long line of problems that Duplex machines are there to solve. 

Get in touch or book a demonstration to see our bug-busting steam cleaners in action. 

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