How to Vacuum a Mattress for Bed Bugs?

vacuuming a mattress to get rid of bed bugs

In this article, we will answer the question: How to Vacuum a Mattress for Bed Bugs?
Are you concerned about bed bugs infesting your mattress? Vacuuming your mattress is an essential step in combating these pesky pests. By following a few simple steps, you can effectively eliminate them and prevent their spread.

In this guide, we will walk you through the process of vacuuming your bedding for these pests and provide tips on where they hide within a mattress. Additionally, we will address common questions about bed bug infestations, including whether you should discard your mattress, how to protect your mattress against them, and signs that indicate the presence of bed bugs.

Stay informed and take action to safeguard your sleep environment from these unwelcome intruders.


How to Vacuum a Mattress for Bed Bugs?

To vacuum a mattress for bed bugs, follow these steps:

  1. Begin by taking off all bedding, including sheets, pillowcases, and mattress covers.
  2. Use a stiff brush or a crevice tool attachment to dislodge any bed bugs, eggs, or droppings on the surface of the mattress.
  3. Vacuum the entire surface of the mattress, paying close attention to the seams and edges where they often hide. Use a vacuum with strong suction and a HEPA filter to ensure effective removal of all bed bugs and debris.
  4. After vacuuming, use a steam cleaner to treat the entire surface of the mattress. The steam should reach a temperature of at least 160°F to effectively kill bed bugs and their eggs. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using the steam cleaner.
  5. Ensure that the mattress is completely dry before replacing it with fresh bedding.


It’s important to regularly vacuum and steam clean your bedding to prevent bed bug infestations or control existing ones.

If you want more general vacuuming tips for bed bugs, you can have a look at our Vacuuming for Bed bugs article.


Where Do Bed Bugs Hide in a Mattress?

Bed bugs can hide in several places within a mattress, including:

  • Seams and piping: Bed bugs prefer tight spaces, and the seams and piping of a mattress provide hiding places.
  • Underneath the mattress label: They may hide under the label or tag on the mattress.
  • Tufts and folds: Mattresses with tufted or folded areas are favorite hiding spots for bed bugs.
  • Box spring: They may hide in the box spring under the mattress.
  • Within the mattress itself: They may hide within the layers of the mattress, making them difficult to detect.


Thoroughly inspect all areas of a mattress for these parasitic invaders if you suspect an infestation.


Do Bed Bugs Always Live in a Mattress?

No, they do not always live in bedding. While mattresses are a common hiding spot for these bloodsuckers, they can also be found in other areas of a room, such as:

  • Bed frames: Bed bugs may hide in the joints and crevices of a bed frame.
  • Headboards: They may hide in the crevices and folds of a headboard.
  • Furniture: They can hide in other furniture, such as chairs and couches.
  • Baseboards and moldings: They may hide in the cracks and crevices around baseboards and moldings.
  • Electrical outlets: They might also conceal themselves in electrical outlets, so be sure to inspect those as well.

Thoroughly inspect all areas of a room for them if you suspect an infestation, not just the bedding.


Is it necessary to dispose of my Mattress if I have a Bed Bug Infestation?

Having bed bugs doesn’t always mean you have to dispose of your mattress. You can get rid of these pests through a combination of cleaning, vacuuming, and insecticide treatments. Also throwing away your mattress does not ensure the end of the infestation as they could be hiding elsewhere. However, in severe infestations, heavily infested mattresses may need to be discarded and replaced.

If you are considering discarding your mattress, it’s important to take steps to prevent these pests from spreading to other areas of your home. Wrap the mattress in plastic and clearly label it as “infested with bed bugs” to prevent others from taking it. Additionally, before disposing of the mattress, thoroughly inspect and treat any other areas of your home. Where they may be present, in order to avoid reinfestation.


How to Protect My Mattress Against Bed Bugs?

Here are steps you can take to protect your mattress against bed bugs:

  • Use a mattress encasement: Use a specially designed mattress encasement that completely covers your mattress, sealing in any existing bugs and preventing new ones from entering. Choose an encasement labeled for bed bug protection.
  • Regularly inspect your bedding: Regularly check your bedding for signs of bed bugs, such as small reddish-brown bugs, shed skins, or dark spots.
  • Vacuum your mattress: Thoroughly vacuum your mattress using a vacuum cleaner with a crevice tool attachment. Thoroughly examine seams, crevices, and other possible hiding places for them.
  • Use bed bug interceptors: Place bed bug interceptors under the legs of your bed to trap any bugs attempting to climb onto the bed.


Avoid bringing used furniture into your home: Before bringing used furniture into your home, inspect it carefully to avoid transporting bed bugs unknowingly.


How can I determine if my mattress is infested with bed bugs?

Here are signs that you may have bed bugs in your mattress:

  • Adult bed bugs: They have a reddish-brown color and are similar in size and shape to an apple seed. They can be seen on the surface of the mattress or hiding in seams and crevices.
  • Fecal stains: Keep an eye out for small dark stains on your bedding, commonly known as “fecal spots.” These stains are actually digested blood that bed bugs excrete after they have fed.
  • Shed bed bug skins: They shed their skin as they grow, leaving behind tiny translucent shells.
  • Bed bug bites: Bed bug bites appear as small, red, itchy bumps on your skin. You can find these bloodsuckers in close proximity to each other, forming clusters arranged in a line or zigzag pattern.



How Long Can Bed Bugs Survive in Bedding?

They can survive in a mattress for several months, depending on the conditions. Adult bed bugs can live up to a year without feeding. Whereas nymphs (immature bed bugs) can survive for several months without a blood meal. It’s crucial to take action as soon as possible if bedding is infested. In order to prevent the infestation from spreading and eliminate the bugs before they have a chance to reproduce and worsen the problem.


Best Mattress Against Bed Bugs?

There is no one “best” type of mattress that guarantees complete resistance to bed bugs. However, certain materials and designs may be less favorable to bed bugs than others. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Memory foam mattresses: Memory foam mattresses have a dense foam core that is less attractive to bed bugs compared to traditional innerspring mattresses. However, they can still find their way into the seams and crevices of memory foam mattresses.
  • Latex mattresses: Latex mattresses, made from a natural material, are hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites and other allergens. While latex may be less inviting to bed bugs than other materials, they can still find their way into the seams and crevices of latex mattresses.
  • Encased mattresses: A mattress encasement is a specially designed cover that completely encloses your mattress, preventing these bloodsuckers and other pests from entering. If you already have a mattress you like, adding an encasement can be an effective way to protect it against them.
  • Air mattresses: Air mattresses, typically made of PVC or vinyl, are not easily penetrated by bed bugs. However, they are less comfortable and durable compared to other mattress types and not a suitable long-term solution.


How to Vacuum Inside Your Mattress for Bed Bugs?

Vacuuming inside your mattress is a crucial step in eliminating bed bugs, although it can be a bit challenging. Follow these steps:

  1. Take off all bedding and covers from both your mattress and box spring.
  2. Use a stiff-bristled brush or plastic scraper to dislodge any bugs, eggs, or droppings from the seams and crevices of your mattress, paying extra attention to the corners and edges where they tend to hide.
  3. Attach the upholstery tool to your vacuum cleaner and use it to vacuum the surface of your mattress, focusing on the seams and crevices where they commonly hide. Move slowly and thoroughly to ensure effective vacuuming.
  4. Remove the upholstery tool and switch to the crevice tool to vacuum the edges and corners of your mattress, the prime hiding spots for bed bugs.
  5. After thoroughly vacuuming your mattress, immediately seal the vacuum bag or canister in a plastic bag and dispose of it outside your home. This prevents any captured bed bugs from escaping and reinfesting your living space.
  6. Repeat this process every few days for several weeks to ensure complete elimination of the bed bug infestation.


Please note that if you just performed a treatment for bed bugs, you may have to wait for some time to vacuum. To learn more you can check our article on how to vacuum after a bed bugs treatment.


Is Vacuuming Your Mattress Enough to Get Rid of Bed Bugs?

While vacuuming your mattress can be a helpful step in eliminating these invasive pests. It is however unlikely to completely eradicate an infestation on its own. Vacuuming can remove some bed bugs, eggs, and droppings from the surface, but it may not reach the deep crevices where they hide.

To fully eliminate a bed bug infestation, you should use a combination of methods. Including vacuuming, heat treatment, and chemical treatments. Vacuuming reduces the number of bugs in your home but should be used in conjunction with other methods for the best results.


Which Type of Vacuum to Use for Vacuuming a Mattress Against Bed Bugs?

When vacuuming a mattress to eliminate bed bugs, it is important to use a vacuum with strong suction power and a crevice tool attachment. A handheld vacuum with a HEPA filter and a robust motor is a good choice as it allows easy access to the crevices and seams where they may hide. Consider using a vacuum with a bed bug-specific filter to trap them and prevent them from escaping back into your home.

To learn more about the ideal vacuum for bed bugs, you can have a look at our Vacuum Buying Guide for Bed bugs.



In this article, we answered the question: How to Vacuum a Mattress for Bed Bugs?
Vacuuming your mattress is an important step in addressing a bed bug infestation, but it is not sufficient on its own. Vacuuming helps remove bed bugs, eggs, and debris from the surface of the mattress, but it may not reach deep hiding places. Therefore, it is crucial to thoroughly inspect and treat all areas of the mattress, including seams, crevices, and tufts.

To effectively eliminate these pests, it is recommended to combine vacuuming with other methods such as steam cleaning, heat treatment, and chemical treatments.