In short – yes. Bleach can kill bed bugs on contact using its sodium hypochlorite content which oxidises and softens the bugs’ hard outer shell or body. And as a result, the bed bugs become vulnerable and die.
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Bleach is a strong solution concentrate that can damage your furniture, curtains and fabrics. They also release slightly harmful fumes which is harmful to the human body if too much has been inhaled. Here are the general steps to consider when you do a bleach application at home:
#1) Declutter the room that needs to be treated with bleach.
The first step before applying any treatment would be to remove all clutters. Throw away or move out around the treatment area to prevent any accidental splash or spillage of the bleach that could damage their surface and even its integrity. Mattress and pillow covers should also be removed.
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#2) Separate items that can be washed from those that cannot
Separate all linens and items that may be washed and proceed to soak them in regular detergent and water to kill any residential bed bugs. [May: It is also wise to wash your clothes after treatment and dry them in hot air is possible].
#3) Ventilation & Self protection
Open a window or door before you start to spray to avoid the bleach fumes from accumulating inside the room. Wear a respirator mask and goggles to prevent inhaling of the fumes and to protect your eyes.
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#4) Begin bleach application
Mix bleach concentrate in water and apply treatment using a spray bottle. Covering any area where bed bugs should reside. Remember, bleach is only effective in killing bed bugs on contact, hence watch where you are spraying and try to get it on bed bugs directly.
#5) Test for results & Prevent future infestation
When treatment is completed and the area is cleaned out, consider placing bed bug traps and interceptors on the feet of your bed frame, chairs and tables. This will allow you to trap the bed bugs if any are still alive, hence allowing you to gauge if a second treatment is needed (bed bug interceptors can also help provide first hand alert should there be a future bed bug attacks.. Also consider investing in bed bug pillow and mattress covers to protect your mattress from future infestation. The mattress cover also traps any surviving bed bugs from escaping and re-attacking you.
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Can Bleach also kill bed bug eggs?
Yes, bleach also works to kill bed bug eggs the same way it does killing the adult ones.
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These pests can lay up to five eggs daily, and each bug can lay up to 500 eggs in its lifetime! Imagine how many bed bug eggs are on your mattress. The eggs are usually laid in tight crevices and cracks, and along the edges of your mattress.
How to tell if bleach is working?
Try vacuuming the treated area to check for presence of dead and live bed bugs in the vacuum bag or dirt container. Also do manual checks on the mattress, cracks and crevices in walls and the floor using a magnifying glass or LED UV flashlight. The bed bug interceptors/traps mentioned in Step 5 above is also good in helping to gauge.
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While bleach does work in killing bed bugs and their eggs, it might not be the most effective solution to get rid of bed bugs. There are a lot of bed bug products designed specifically to deal with these tiny pesky pests that do not cost a bomb. For very serious infestation, consider pulling the plug by hiring professionals and replacing the infested furniture (i.e. mattresses, Sofa).
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As with any pest infestation, the post treatment preventions are the most crucial. Make more effort to monitor the situation and practice good habits (i.e. check the wheels of luggages when you just returned from overseas to see if you might have accidentally brought any back from the hotel room).