How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in a Couch

Bed bugs like to live close to where you spend a lot of your time, which is why bedrooms are often ground zero for bed bug infestations. But the second popular spot after bedroom?

That comfortable couch you like to laze around on. Industry surveys conducted by the University of Kentucky’s Department of Entomology found that 25% of respondents had infestations in their couches and chairs.

Which isn’t too surprising – after all, who hasn’t fallen asleep in the couch while watching TV?

As disturbing as it is to discover that you have an infestation on you couch – you can fight back. Ready to start taking your comfy spot back? Here’s how to get rid of bed bugs in a couch.

#1. Start with laundry

Remove all the removable cushions on your couch as well as the seat cushions from your upholstered chairs.

Strip off the covers and wash and dry them at the highest setting. Bed bugs will die at 113 degrees Fahrenheit if it’s sustained for 90 minutes or more. But they’ll die in just 20 minutes at 118 degrees Fahrenheit. Bed bug eggs are a little more resilient – to get rid of them, you need to expose them to 118 degrees Fahrenheit for 90 minutes to reach 100% mortality.

If you’re not sure how hot your dryer gets, run the dryer for at least 90 minutes to be on the safe side. You can run your cushions through the dryer if they fit, otherwise set them aside to be steamed.

You can also dry the bulkier cushions at the local laundromat – the commercial dryers there reach very high temperatures and are perfect for penetrating into the bulkier fabrics.

Heat Treatment for Bed Bugs

#2. Suck up the suckers

Just to be clear – vacuuming will not eliminate a bed bug infestation but it is a good method of bed bug control since vacuum can pick up a lot of bed bugs and their eggs, helping to keep the population down.

Plus, the vacuum gets rid of the gross signs of bed bugs – i.e. fecal matter and shed skins – that you probably don’t want lying around your couch.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in a Couch

Use an attachment so you can thoroughly vacuum the cracks and crevices of your sofa, especially along the seams and along all corners and edges. Once you’re done vacuuming, immediately place the vacuum bag in a sealed tight plastic bag and dispose of it outdoors so none of these bloodsuckers sneak back into your home.

#3. Steam them to death

We can wipe out another chunk of the bed bug infestation living in your couch with hot, hot steam.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in a Mattress

A professional heat steam treatment costs $300 to $1,200 but you can pick up a home steam cleaner that you can use again and again to clean and sanitize your house, even after you get rid of bed bugs. We recommend the Vapamore Primo Steam Cleaning System – it produces steam at a temperature of 214 degrees, which will kill bed bugs and more importantly, their eggs. At $300, it is pricey but it’s great quality and also comes with a lifetime warranty. 

Use the pinpoint nozzle on your streamer and wrap it in a washcloth to concentrate the heat at the tip of the nozzle. Again, focus on all cracks and crevices, especially along the seams.

#4. Spray to kill off remaining bed bugs

For sprays, you’ve got two options:

  • Chemical Spray. To kill off the remaining bed bugs – and to prevent new bed bugs from taking up residence on your couch, spray Bedlam Plus insecticide on the couch (or chair) – it’ll kill bed bugs as well as their eggs for two weeks after treatment. As effective as this is, feel free to skip it for a natural option (below) if you have children, pets or simply don’t want to use chemical pesticides in your home.
  • Natural Bed Bug Spray. Spray the couch or chair with a non-toxic bed bug spray like Proof 100% Effective Bed Bug Spray to kill the remaining bed bugs on contact. The only downside of natural bed bug sprays is that these can only kill bed bugs on contact but do not provide continuous protection.

#5. Bed bug traps to prevent re-infestation

Once you’ve killed the bed bugs living on your couch or chairs, prevent new ones from moving in by setting up bed bug traps under the couch and chair legs.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in a Mattress

If you’re couch isn’t off the ground, get some lifts to raise it so that the entire thing – except the lifts – are touching the ground.

Bed bugs can’t fly or jump so the only way they can climb aboard is by crawling. But they’ll have to go through the bed bug traps first and get stuck, preventing them from moving onto your couch.

More options to get rid of bed bugs in a couch

The steps above are helpful to take no matter in the case of any bed bug infestation, but if you have severe bed bug problems or have a couch that’s difficult to treat with the above methods, there are other options for eliminating bed bugs…

Get a sofa encasement and some bed bug killer

To kill off bed bugs in your couch, get a sofa encasement so you can completely seal your couch from bed bugs entering and escaping. Place Nuvan ProStrips under the couch – the underside of the couch is a prime living place for bed bugs – and then seal up the whole thing.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in a Couch

Leave it like that for one week and it will kill bed bugs and their eggs.

Keep in mind that dichlorvos – the active ingredient in Nuvan strips – is not safe for people or pets so use gloves when handling the strips. After the treatment is finished, open the windows and air out your couch with no people in the room.

If you prefer a natural option, Diatomaceous Earth (DE) or CimeXa Insecticide Dust works great as well.

To use DE or Insecticide Dust, evenly distribute a layer all over your couch. Use a dust dispenser to spread it across the surface of the couch and a paintbrush to work it into the corners and crevices. Then, seal the couch completely.

Keep in mind that these dusts are effective, but they take awhile to work since bed bugs must first make contact with it for the dusts to dry them to death from the inside out. Leave the couch sealed for at least 4 to 6 weeks and if you really want to be on the safe side – for a year. Bed bugs can only live up to a year without a blood meal so it guarantees that the bed bugs that somehow avoided contact with the dusts die from starvation.

Use the ZappBug Room

An easier, albeit more expensive, option is to get a large heat treatment unit – large heaters like the ZappBug Room are huge enough to fit in couches, as well as mattresses, chairs, and entire shelving units so you can get rid of bed bugs from pretty much everything you own in a couple of hours.

huge bed bug heater

The only downside is that these units are pricey – around $1,500 – but the price is comparable to renting one of these units. If your neighbors are also having bed bug problems, which is likely since infestations tend to spread – you can all chip in for a shared treatment unit.

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