The very mention of bed bugs sends most people running for the hills screaming, “Where did they come from? And most importantly, how do you get rid of them?”
The simple answer to that question is: a steam cleaner. Bed bugs cannot live when blasted with steam at between 117 and 122 degrees Fahrenheit (1).
So how do you choose a steam cleaner that kills the bugs and refreshes the mattress? Our comprehensive list will give you the information you need to make the best choice for you and your home.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are creatures that can live on the blood of humans or other animals. They are flat and brown until they gorge, and then they become rounded and red (2).
They feed every three to 15 days, then find a safe place to rest and digest their food (your blood). The bugs secrete an agent that says where they can be safe and congregate there. They hide in the deep crevices in the mattress and only come out to feed when you’re in bed.
Even if your home is spotless, bed bugs can find a way in through used furniture or even in luggage or a bag that has visited an infected area. One pregnant female can produce 3000 adults in three months, so it can quickly become a problem.
Is a Steam Cleaner the Best Option?
When you first discover a bedbug infestation, you may feel like throwing your mattress out immediately. But if that mattress is nearly new and cost thousands of dollars, you may want to think again.
The next thought would be getting some chemical-based products to put all over the mattress to kill them. However, this is not a good idea if you don’t want to sleep on a mattress filled with possibly harmful chemicals. It’s not recommended.
There are a countless number of alternative treatments available. But they’re usually complex, costly and utilize severe chemicals. So it’s best to hire a professional in this case. But how can you tackle the issue yourself?
Experts recommend employing a steam cleaner to exterminate these unwanted pests without harmful chemicals. Those who specialize in the dispatching of bed bugs actually recognize this as part of a constructive plan of treatment (4).
So the most sensible thing is a steam cleaner. Even better? One especially manufactured to deal with the eradication of these horrible creatures.
Will a Steam Cleaner Kill Bed Bugs?
The answer to this question is a resounding yes! Bed bugs may be intelligent creatures. They know where to hide to maximize their own lifespan, and know when dinner has arrived in the form of you. But they can be eradicated successfully (5).
There are a few caveats to that answer, though. Just sending a jet of steam to an area won’t kill them; the steam needs to penetrate at least 0.75 inches into the mattress. So it needs to be concentrated for a period of time (following manufacturer’s instructions) (6).
Choosing the Best Steam Cleaner for Bed Bugs
Of course, you want a steam cleaner that kills bed bugs safely and effectively. But you also want a machine that will make your job easier and be worth your time, money and effort. So here’s what you need to consider when shopping.
To be able to rid your mattress of these pesky things, the temperature needs to be at least 117 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit and can be in excess of this. Bed bugs cannot live after being blasted by steam shot at this temperature.
Thankfully, most good steam cleaners can reach these temperatures easily. What’s more, they can maintain them for the life of the tank of water.
2. Size of Tank
If the tank runs out of water mid-clean, you’ll have to stop. The one thing you don’t want is to keep running back and forth for more water, and then waiting for the machine to heat up again. So, aim for a cleaner with a large tank.
Be sure to choose a machine with as many accessories as you can — you want a sound investment. This means you can use your steam cleaner for a range of other tasks. For one, you could steam clean your whole house without added chemicals that can damage upholstery or create health hazards.
The one accessory that is vital for steaming beds is a triangular nozzle. Most good steam cleaners are packed with a broad, pointed nozzle for dealing with upholstery and many other surfaces. Use this nozzle, but be sure to fix it in place before turning the machine on.
4. Weight of Machine When Filled
The weight of the steam cleaner when full of water is important for portability. Being able to maneuver the machine, lifting it from one place to another, is a concern for many purchasers.
5. Length of the Electricity Cord and Hose
This is, in our opinion, as important as the weight. A short cord means the machine has to be near an electrical point all the time. Couple that with a short hose and the machine is just not feasible.
In summary, a long cable and long hose are essential to make the bed bug-killing project easier.
6. Time to Warm Up
This is also important as the time it takes to heat needs to be within a few minutes, not longer. The longer it takes to reach the correct temperature, the more electricity it uses.
7. Safety Features
There are no standard safety features, only the manufacturer’s recommendations and instructions on how to use it. However, these must be followed to the letter. Remember, hot steam can damage you, your furniture, your carpets, etc., should the instructions not be adhered to.
When investing in a machine like a steam cleaner, knowing there’s a warranty to fall back on should you have any problems is essential. Ensure the company offers product support and guarantees when you first purchase it.
The Best Steam Cleaners for Bed Bugs of 2020
We’ve looked at the requirements for the extermination of the unwanted and distressing little bugs. Now the burning question is: which machine is best for you?
To help you make an informed decision, we have compiled this comprehensive list of the five best steam cleaners for the eradication of bed bugs.
We examined customer feedback and explored the industry professionals’ advice. With that knowledge, we bring you five machines for your perusal.
1. Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner
This machine is efficient and exceedingly reliable. It’s second to none when it comes to the task of cleaning and sanitation without any harsh chemicals.
The Dupray has been designed with simplicity, robustness, and its excellent performance as key features. It exudes the cleaning capacity of a much larger unit.
The cleaner can effortlessly obliterate grime and eradicate 99.9 percent of unwanted germs while protecting your health.
This model comes with an array of useful accessories, meaning you can use it in every room in your home. Not only will you kill any bed bugs, but you’ll also have shiny surfaces.
Why We Love It
This machine uses no fancy products to clean, only tap water. It has amazingly powerful steam temperatures of up to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Unsurprisingly it sanitizes, disinfects and kills up to 99.99 percent of all germs and pathogens.
It will blast those bed bugs so you don’t have to worry about them anymore.
Large Tank Capacity
The tank on the Dupray Neat Cleaner holds a generous 54 ounces of water. It takes an amazing 7 minutes to heat up to full temperature and produces up to 50 minutes of cleaning time.
If this fails to cover all the tasks at hand, it fills up easily with a time saving integrated funnel.
Useful Unit Properties
This unit is lightweight and portable, weighing in at 9 pounds. Most parts are guaranteed for two years, but the boiler is guaranteed for life. It puts out an impressive 50 pounds per square inch and gives you almost an hour of continuous steaming power.
The machine also comes with a retractable handle.
Long Hose and Electric Cord
The beauty of this machine is the length of the cord. A generous 16-foot long cable and a hose length of 6 feet 6 inches are a great help. These are invaluable for reaching into corners or high places.
To complement the cord, this device has an integrated wrap. Smooth-rolling wheels and a compact-sized machine makes this a favorite of many.
Lots of Accessories
Included are 18 attachments, including a 3-foot extension. There is everything in the bundle to clean your home from top to bottom. You have all you need for eliminating grease, germs, pathogens and, oh yes, those nasty little uninvited critters, bed bugs.
It is one of the most revered steam cleaners on the market, and will be your best friend for years to come.
Keep In Mind
No Water Gauge Level
The biggest con that customers have commented on is the fact that there is no water level gauge to say when the tank is running low. You may be just getting into some deep cleaning when the steam stops due to the water running out. Filling and re-heating also takes a bit of time, so you’ll have to be patient.
However, this is a feature that’s only found on a select few steam cleaners, so don’t expect it on every model.
|Cord Length||16 feet|
|Tank Capacity||54 ounces|
|Heating Time||7 minutes|
|Accessories||18 piece kit|
2. PureClean XL Rolling Steam Cleaner
With the PureClean XL Rolling Steam Cleaner, you get a heavy-duty machine for a fraction of the cost. This doesn’t mean you lose out on any features either. It still manages floors, upholstery and more without the large price tag.
It’s neat and has easy-roll wheels and a range of attachments that cover all tasks. Weighing in at just under 16 pounds, its wheels certainly come in handy.
Couple that with a 16-foot cord and extendable hose and you have a durable, yet compact machine, which rivals the more expensive models.
Why We Love It
Heavy-Duty Quality With Lower Price Tag
This machine comes under the affordable banner. And there is no need to buy anything additional, as this machine can do it all. Its performance is up there with the more expensive models.
It is ideal for both inside and outside the home. You can count on it to clean barbecues like a dream — windows and floors will also look new again.
The PureClean XL cleaner comes with a generous five-year warranty. This should give you peace of mind should anything break within that time.
Keep In Mind
Puts Out a Lot of Water
It appears that this machine may put out more water than steam sometimes. Therefore, to kill bed bugs, treatment must be done in the morning. This ensures that your mattress is dry enough to sleep on that night — unless you have a spare room, of course.
|Cord Length||16 feet|
|Tank Capacity||50 ounces|
|Heating Time||10 minutes|
3. McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner
This machine is a royal among steam cleaners. It deploys a massive 43 pounds per square inch of steam pressure, killing bugs without the use of harmful chemicals and eliminating stubborn pet odor.
Along with the 9-foot long hose, it comes with 18 different attachments. These include a nozzle that delivers a jet stream that you can use to focus on the stitching of the mattress and other items of furniture. This is a familiar place where the bed bugs are known to amass.
Why We Love It
Continuous Steam Time
The large tank holds 48 ounces of water and heats up within 8 minutes. This amount of water will deliver up to 45 minutes of sustained steam.
The process of killing bed bugs is very slow. Typically, the steam has to be held onto the mattress for some time to ensure they’re dead. Leaving one egg or live bug can cause a re-infestation within weeks.
So the continuous stream for 45 minutes is much needed for this job. The water in the machine heats up to a temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit — ideal for killing the bed bugs and their unborn offspring (eggs).
Great Attachments, Electric Cord and Hose Length
The 15.7-foot long cord and long hose allow for a good reach. The reach is a great feature, as it eliminates the need to constantly move the machine while steaming.
Accessories are versatile and include floor mops, nylon brushes, scrubbing pad and a squeegee to name but a few.
An added bonus is the lockdown trigger that continuously delivers the stream of steam. This is a great feature if you don’t want finger cramps from holding the button down for long periods.
Keep In Mind
Low Steam Power
Customers report that the steam is not enough to clean ovens and anything that requires extreme steam power.
Spare Parts Not Easily Accessible
Parts for repair are not easily available. So do your research before buying to be sure parts are freely available where you live. Multiple customers lamented that they couldn’t source them in their area, although they may be available by post.
|Cord Length||15.7 feet|
|Tank Capacity||48 ounces|
|Heating Time||8 minutes|
4. Steamfast SF-370WH Multi-Purpose Steam Cleaner
Lightweight and easy to use with a 1500 watt motor is the order of the day for this machine. Using ordinary tap water, this machine gives a deep clean, getting rid of pests and odors without a problem.
The Steamfast cleaner comes with 15 attachments, each one for a different task. It even includes a steam mop for sealed floors. This cleaner also has an integrated cord storage facility, but nowhere to store any tools.
It easily fills with a large capacity tank, taking 8 minutes to heat up and giving 45 minutes of continuous steam. This lightweight model may be compact but is still a strong contender in the steam cleaner table.
Why We Love It
At just over 8 pounds, this is a super light steam cleaner — perfect for multipurpose use. This is a unit you can carry around the house without much effort. Of course, we do not recommend carrying this when full of hot water.
Thankfully though, carrying this device around doesn’t have to become a mainstay. The long cord minimizes the number of times you need to move the unit.
High Quality and Affordable
We think this is an effective and quality piece of equipment for a fair price. Granted, the number of tools may not be quite as many as the previous models reviewed. However, it’s still as versatile in what it can do.
Keep In Mind
Customers have reported that the pressure is low and cannot manage some of the tougher jobs. Although the tank holds 45 ounces, the pounds per square inch rating (between 20 and 40) is not as good as other machines on the market.
Despite the low pressure, however, the heat still remains. So this device can still kill off the bed bugs and any nasty germs and pathogens lurking in corners.
One problem reported with this cleaner is the noise it makes. Although not as noisy as some, it is still recommended to wear earplugs or earmuffs in tight spaces. The high pitched reverberation has been reported as being piercing in small areas.
|Cord Length||15.4 feet|
|Tank Capacity||45 ounces|
|Heating Time||8 minutes|
5. Vapamore MR-100 Primo Steam Cleaning System
The last, but far from the least in our lineup is the Vapamore MR-100 steam cleaner. Highly rated as the “Best Steam Cleaner in Class” by a noteworthy digest, it is one of the more expensive machines out there.
After seven years of reviewing customer feedback and hours of testing, the factory team came up with a newly designed Vapamore MR-100. It has been designed with new attachments meant to help the ease of use and perform better than ever.
What they achieved was a product of a standard unlike any other — fittingly called it the MR-100 Primo. In the Italian language, Primo means “first,” and Vapamore translates as “the love of steam.”
Why We Love It
Large Capacity Tank
With its 54-ounce stainless steel tank, it gives up to 60 minutes of continuous steam. This is one of the longest steam times you will find on a cleaner of this type. It has a 1500 watt heater and has been noted to be easy to use.
The steam cleaner is also supplied with a water level dipstick so you can make a mental note of how long you have left.
With its lifetime warranty on the boiler and all electrical parts, it is quite the machine for bed bug elimination. Any owner of a Vapamore is guaranteed a quality machine and friendly customer service for life.
Along with the large tank and the high temperatures, it comes with some very handy tools.
These include a triangular brush and a gun and hose for directed steam cleaning. There are also microfiber floor pads, jet nozzle, scraper, nylon brush for grout and many more.
Also included are a measuring cup and a funnel for ease of filling the water tank. It also comes with a replacement O ring set. Finally, to keep all of these safe and in one place, a storage bag is supplied.
Keep In Mind
This an expensive piece of kit if you’re just going to kill some bed bugs. However, with all the attachments and long-term warranty, it can become an important piece of your home cleaning kit. Then it’s well worth the investment.
Long Heating Time
While it may not be much more than the standard, a few minutes really does make a difference. After filling the tank, you’ll have to wait 11 minutes before this machine is ready to go full power.
|Cord Length||18 feet|
|Tank Capacity||54 ounces|
|Heating Time||11 minutes|
Detailed Comparison Chart
|Product||Best||Cord Length||Tank Capacity||Heating Time||Accessories||Weight|
|Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner||Pressurized||16 ft||54 oz||7 min||18-pc||9 lbs|
|PureClean XL Rolling Steam Cleaner||Heavy-Duty Cleaner||16 ft||50 oz||10 min||18-pc||15.85 lbs|
|McCulloch MC1275 Steam Cleaner||Heavy-Duty Steamer||15.7 ft||48 oz||8 min||18-pc||10 lbs|
|Steamfast SF-370WH Steam Cleaner||Lightweight||15.4 ft||45 oz||8 min||15-pc||8.4 lbs|
|Vapamore MR-100 Primo Steam Cleaner||Award-Winning||18 ft||54 oz||11 min||21-pc||10.5 lbs|
Bed Bug War
After reviewing the top five best bed bug steam cleaners, it is time to start blitzing. There are, admittedly, lots of choices out there, but hopefully you know what to look for now. We hope you find one to renew peace and harmony on your mattress.
The steam cleaner you choose to kill bed bugs is down to you and your personal choice. You may want to use it for other tasks in the home — after all, it’s a convenient and healthy way to clean.
Overall, look for the most important features to you, whether it’s longer steam time or better portability. And with your new steam cleaner, the bed bugs will be gone in no time.