Can a handheld steamer kill bed bugs ?

Handheld Steamer for bed bugs

The lethal temperature for adult bed bugs and their eggs is approximately 131 °F. ( 55 °C). The temperature for water to become Steam is 212°F (100°C). So steam will instantly kill bed bugs and their eggs on contact.  Handheld steamers or clothes steamers are able to reach above this temperature. So the answer is Yes.  A handheld steamer can kill bed bugs.

Handheld steamers do not have a powerful steam output compared to steamer cleaners. Bed bugs like to hide in tiny and hard to reach spots, such as cracks and crevices. Handheld steamer or clothes steamer might not be able to generate steam inside those tiny holes. A handheld steamer can kill bed bugs but for a total extermination of bed bugs it is preferable to go with a steamer cleaner.

Unlike Handheld steamers. Steam cleaners also have the ability to penetrate several centimeters into certain fabrics, which can be an asset when treating bedding or certain clothes, or if bedbugs are located inside a mattress.


How to kill Bed bugs with a handheld steamer

You should use your handheld steamer in every spot where bed bugs could be hiding. First of all, try to go through all the places that could nest bed bugs: the sheets, the box spring, the mattress, but also the floor, the night table, the headboard, the legs of the bed, baseboards, crevices in the wall if there are any.

If you have a conventional handheld steamer, start by setting it to the maximum temperature. It is recommended to apply it as close as possible to all surfaces surrounding potential bed bugs hiding places. For example, you can apply it against the seams of the mattress, along the legs of the bed, or even pass the tip of the handheld steamer in the tiniest spots. Be careful not to stay in one spot for too long, so as not to burn your bedding or furniture. Indeed, surface steamed should be damp and not wet to avoid excess moisture and future mold that could damage your belongings.
You should also move the handheld steamer slowly on the treated surface or item. To maximize heat penetration and ensure bed bugs extermination in the process.
There is no need to add anything additional except water or distilled water in the water tank of your handheld steamer. If you want to know more about this you can have a look at our article covering what you should add to water when steaming to kill bed bugs.

A handheld steamer can also be used to sanitize surfaces treated against the bugs with insecticides.



In addition to being practical and effective against bed bugs in all stages of life. Steam has other strong arguments. First of all, it is an ecological and chemical-free method, But it is also economical (only a little water and electricity are needed).

As we saw handheld steamer (Also called garment steamer) will kill bed bugs on contact due to the steam temperature point that is deadly to bed bugs. However a handheld steamer might not kill bed bugs in hard to reach spots such as cracks and crevices. For that, you will need a steam cleaner with a bigger steam output to kill bed bugs wherever they are in your home.

If you want to pick the right steamer cleaner to get rid of bed bugs. You can have a look at our in-depth Bed bugs steamer Buying Guide.