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Top 6 Best steamer for bed bugs
Bed bugs are pesky little insects that love to hide in cracks and crevices and come out at night to feast. They’re not just annoying, they can also cause serious skin irritation and other unpleasant issues for people with asthma or allergies.
Luckily, there’s an easy solution!
Did you know that you can use steam treatment to solve your bed bug problem? Steam cleaners produce incredible heat and pressure which are very effective at killing bed bugs and their eggs.
With so many different models of steamer available, it can be hard to choose the best one. To give you a helping hand, we tested all the options on the market to find the best steamer for bed bugs!
Our Best Pick!
McCulloch MC1270 Portable Power Cleaner
Everyone in the pest control world knows about the MC1270 Heavy Duty Steamer and a quick search on Amazon will show you literally tens of thousands of positive reviews. We had long been curious about getting our hands on the MC1270, especially as McCulloch has brought out a new bigger, more powerful model, the MC1375 (see number 4 on our list).
After getting hold of the 1270 and taking it for a test steam, we have no choice but to admit, it’s well worth the hype.
Upon opening the box, we found that the steamer came with a treasure trove of different attachments which would make cleaning time a breeze. The MC1270 came with everything from mop pads to a brass utility brush, but while these are no doubt useful for cleaning, we were only interested in its ability to eliminate bed bugs quickly and effectively.
To that end, the MC1270 has a large capacity tank of 48 ounces but it still managed to heat up in less than eight minutes. We were impressed with its 15ft power cord and its 9ft nozzle, all of which gave it a longer reach compared to some of the other steam cleaners we trialed. As well as this reach, the MC1270 has smooth-rolling wheels, and along with its relatively light 1o lb weight, these make it very portable.
Once we got down to the actual steaming, it was clear to see why so many people consider this the best bed bug steamer available on the market today. We followed the manufacturer’s instructions and hit each spot of our test mattress with one minute of continuous steam. The results were excellent, and after treating the entire mattress, we had no further bed bug problems for weeks after.
Despite the effectiveness of the MC1270, we do have one small gripe, and that is there is no way to control the steam pressure of the hand jet nozzle. While this may not be such an issue for killing bed bugs, it may cause some problems if you are using the steamer for more delicate jobs like detailing cars.
For pest control uses, however, the MC1270 is still the best steam cleaner available today.
At a Glance
#1 McCulloch MC1270 Portable Power Cleaner
#2 Steamfast SF-370 Canister Cleaner
#3 Vapamore MR-100 Primo Steam Cleaner
#4 McCulloch MC1375 Canister Steam Cleaner
#5 Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner
#6 PurSteam Handheld Steamer
Steamfast SF-370 Canister Cleaner
The first thing we noticed when unboxing the Steamfast is that it looked an awful lot like the MC1275. The Steamfast also came with a 15ft power cord, quality wheels, and a 15 part accessory set including a smooth surface squeegee, a brass brush, and every other fixture you would need to clean your entire house (although the quality wasn’t up to the standards of the McCulloch’s.)
In terms of performance, the Steamfast was also comparable with the McCulloch steam cleaner. It has a 45oz water tank and we were able to get the steam temperature up ready for use in eight minutes. We found the Steamfast was very effective in killing bed bugs and destroying their eggs as they are killed at temperatures above 122 Fahrenheit and this steam cleaner easily delivers temperatures far exceeding that.
We treated each spot on our mattress for one minute and we were really pleased with the results. One thing that we particularly liked was that the steam gun is quite pointy so we were able to get into all those nooks and crannies where bed bugs love to hide.
There are some issues with the SF-370 steam cleaner. First of all, we found that the steam lock feature was quite fiddly and would often stick on continuous steam. Also, as mentioned above, the accessories and attachments seem quite cheaply made, and we weren’t surprised to find online reviews saying that many of them were not fit for purpose or broke after a few uses.
Despite these issues, we were still very impressed and believe that the SF-370 is one the best steamers for bed bugs available, and at a very affordable price.
Vapamore MR-100 Primo Steam Cleaner
The Vapamore MR-100 is another steam cleaner that comes with a big reputation. We had seen this device in the number one spot for many steam cleaner reviews so we were curious to see how it would measure up against the Steamfast and the McCulloch.
Straight out of the box, it is definitely a good-looking device, with the yellow color reminiscent of heavy-duty machinery. However, the MR-100 is nice and compact, standing at only 15″ tall, and with its 10.5 lb weight, and quality wheels, it is a very portable steamer.
Like many of the other steamers in this guide, the MR-100 came with all of the extra goodies needed to give your home a deep cleaning such as a scrub pad, fabric brush, and a soft cushion brush, but we put these aside and started steaming.
We were immediately impressed with this steamer’s water tank. At a massive 54oz, we were able to get sixty minutes of steaming done before it needed a refill. Even this wasn’t much of an inconvenience because the M-100 heated the water faster than any of the other full-sized steamers we tested.
Results-wise, this is an excellent choice for eradicating bed bugs. If we had to nit-pick, we found the attachment to the jet gun a little weak so you may need to take care that it doesn’t break.
McCulloch MC1375 Canister Steam Cleaner
Like its little brother, the MC1275, the McCulloch MC1375 is a serious steamer that comes with the ringing endorsement of thousands of happy customers. This is a heavy-duty steamer with the same 48oz tank capacity as the MC1275, but with around 90 minutes of maximum steam time, the MC1375 has some serious performance advantages.
Out of the box, the MC1375 looks mean and ready to go! Its black and electric yellow colors make it look like a hornet about to go to war. It comes with a 20 part accessory pack for steam cleaning with a floor mop, all the brushes you could want, and all of them, well-designed and constructed.
We were really impressed with both the wheels and the extra-long 18 ft power cord making the MC1375 very portable and easy to use. In terms of killing bed bugs, it did everything that the MC1275 did, and with its 45 minutes extra steaming time, it was a really convenient device.
If you look back at our review of the MC1275, you will see that the only negative we found is that there was no variable steam control. McCulloch has rectified this in their new model and you now have total control over the steam pressure. This is more an advantage for cleaning than bed bug steaming but it is still a positive improvement that McCulloch has made.
And so why isn’t the MC1375 our number one pick? The honest truth is, it very well could have been. This steamer does everything that the MC1275 does but with a greater steaming capacity and some other little tweaks. If we were being ultra-critical (which we are), 10 minutes to heat the steam is a long time, and while this is offset but the extended max steaming time, it is still one of the slowest out of all the devices we tested.
Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner
The Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner is another device that comes highly recommended online and we have also seen it at the top of many people’s lists of the best steamers available.
Starting off with the specs, the Dupray’s water tank is a massive 54 oz which is matched only by the Vapamore MR-100. Despite this, the Dupray offers just 50 minutes of steaming, and while this is more than the majority of the other steamers we tested, it is a little surprising it isn’t more considering the size of the tank.
We were impressed with the 16 ft power cord and the length of the hose, and at only 9 lb, it was so easy to move around the house. Another huge positive was how quickly the Dupray was ready to go, taking only 7 minutes to heat up before we could start steaming.
As with all the steamers in this list, the Dupray came with a treasure trove of attachments, and they all seemed well-made. When it comes to killing bed bugs, there is no doubting the effectiveness of this machine, and all-in-all, there is very little to dislike about the Dupray.
If we have one gripe, it is that the Dupray doesn’t have a continuous steam function so we had to hold the button down the whole time. This could become uncomfortable if you have hours of steaming to do.
PurSteam Handheld Pressurized Steam Cleaner
We really wanted to try out a portable device and everything we read online about the PurSteam pointed to this being a powerful handheld steam cleaner. Bed bugs can get into all kinds of nooks and crannies so being able to get right in there with the handheld device can make sure that you don’t miss any of the little critters.
The first thing that needs to be said is that the PurSteam is not a heavy-duty steamer. It is mostly intended for steaming clothes, so if you have a serious infestation, you are going to want to look at other choices on our list.
Despite that, we were very impressed with this handheld steamer, especially for people who travel a lot and want to sanitize their hotel beds. The device weighs only 1.5 lb, heats up fast, and is compact enough to fit inside a small suitcase.
All-in-all the PurSteam is portable, easy to use, and will help give you peace of mind when you go on a trip.
What should I look for in a bed bug steamer?
Using a steam cleaner to kill bed bugs requires continuous steaming so you should choose a heavy-duty steamer with a large steam capacity. The faster you can heat up the water in the tank, the faster you can get rid of pests so look out for a device with multiple heating elements. If it takes more than ten minutes, you may want to consider a different steamer.
In order to reach all the bed bugs in their hiding place, make sure that there is a narrow attachment so that you can get into all the crevices. If you also intend to use your device for steam cleaning, then you will need to consider other attachments and accessories too. These may include a rectangular floor tool, a scrub brush, and a microfiber cloth, all of which will help you to steam clean different surfaces and objects.
The heat required to kill bed bugs is 200 degrees and above, therefore the most important feature to look for is how hot the steamer is capable to going.
The bigger the water tank capacity, the less the tank will have to be refilled. However the bigger the tank, the longer it takes to heat up once it’s out of steam.
So before buying a steamer, think about how many areas could be infested and then steamed.
The higher the pressure, the dryer the steam. We would recommend looking for at least a PSI of 60 to ensure best results.
In addition to the temperature itself, there’s the matter of how long it takes to reach that temperature. Some of the steamers we listed can reach peak heat in just 10 minutes. You want to know how long it will take before you buy.
Look at the different types of attachments. The more attachments included means the best chance you’ll have of eradicating those bed bugs. Bed bugs are sneaky critters and will be hiding in areas which the average attachment won’t be able to reach.
Make sure the bed bug steamer has a large brush head. This allows you to be more efficient in your cleaning process, covering more space in less time.
By normal standards the cheaper something is the less durable it will be over time. Bed bugs are one of the more resilient pests to get rid of and often take several attempts. Although a steamer could be considered a costly purchase, they are one of the most effective methods for countering bed bugs.
A warranty provided by the steamer manufacturer is a rest assured way to ensure the product you purchase isn’t a waste of money. You want to have the option for a replacement or refund within the warranty duration.
Some manufacturers also provide a lifetime guarantee.
7 Advantages of using a Bed Bug Steamer
- Highly Effective for Bed Bugs: Steam is one of the most effective ways to get rid of bed bugs and their eggs.
- Non-toxic: Unlike some other pest control methods, steamers do not use any chemicals or toxic substances to kill bed bugs.
- Multi-Purpose Product: Steamers are great for killing bed bugs, but they are also useful for cleaning flooring, BBQ grills, ovens, and patios.
- Easy to use: Most steamers are easy to assemble and use, so you’ll be killing those bed bugs in no time at all.
- Long-lasting: Investing in the right bed bug steamer provides you with a long lasting and cost effective solution. Not only does it kill bed bugs, but is great at cleaning! When you partner that up with a product that has a 2-3 year warranty, it’s a no-brainer.
- Go Green: Protect the environment – Using a steam. Using heated water to get rid of bed bugs doesn’t cause any harm or danger to the environment
- Saves time and energy: A steamer will allow you to get rid of adult bed bugs and their eggs with very little effort, preventing headaches of alternative methods.
A step-by-step guide for using a bed bug steamer
- First, turn on the steamer and let it run until there’s plenty of hot water in the tank. This should take less than ten minutes but will vary depending on the model. You want to make sure that you can produce enough pressure before getting started, otherwise it will be much harder to get into those tight spots where bed bugs like to hide out.
- Once the steamer is ready, cover the surrounding area with plastic sheeting for protection.
- Next, fit the narrowest nozzle extension to get into the cracks and crevices where bed bugs like to hide.
- Focus the steam on each small area in order to systematically eradicate the bed bug infestation. This will usually take around one minute of continuous steaming but may vary according to which steamer you are using.
- Once finished with your work, throw away the plastic sheeting and wait for everything to dry. Once they are ready, vacuum your treated sheets, sofas, and upholstery to remove all the dead bugs and their eggs.
Frequently asked questions
Bed bugs are small, brown insects that feed on blood. They typically live in mattresses, box springs, headboards, and other furniture. They live on animals and humans, often feeding at night when their hosts are asleep. Bed bugs can multiply quickly by laying eggs which hatch into nymphs that can reach maturity within just two months for females and one month for males.
This makes a bed bug infestation difficult to eradicate through vacuuming or other pest control tactics like sprays or powders. In some cases, bed bug bites have been known to cause anaphylactic shock – a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction – but these effects are very rare.
The best bed bug steamers are simply steam cleaners that are used for regular household and industrial cleaning. As well as their usual steam cleaning jobs, the devices can be used to kill bed bugs, eggs, larvae, and other insects with a combination of high heat and high-pressure steam. These pests are often found living within upholstered furniture, mattresses, carpets, curtains, and clothing but a powerful steam cleaner will eradicate them on contact. The heat alone usually kills the bed bugs but the steam pressure can also cause the bugs and their eggs to burst open.
Using a pressurized steam cleaner is a relatively new but extremely effective way to get rid of bed bugs. Steam cleaners kill bed bugs by blasting the bugs with high-pressure, hot steam. Water is heated in the steam cleaner boiler until it evaporates and is then sprayed through the steamer nozzle at very high pressure. This kills adult bed bugs, their nymphs, and their eggs, and also destroys their food sources like traces of blood or tissue.
The reason why it is so much more difficult to deal with bed bugs than other types of insect or rodent infestation is that they are just so small. Even an expert bed bug inspection may not find bed bugs but that doesn’t mean they are not there. Steam cleaners are very effective because they produce conditions of such high heat and steam pressure that even concealed bed bugs will be killed anyway.
Furthermore, you don’t need to use any harsh chemicals to treat bed bugs and dust mites which makes steaming bed bugs environmentally friendly and safe for your family. One thing you need to make sure of is that you steam the surface for long enough. Many steamers suggest at least one minute of continuous steam is necessary to kill bed bugs and destroy their eggs.
While you may already have a clothes steamer for your laundry, they are usually not that effective for getting rid of bed bugs. Many steam cleaners now come with attachments specifically made for tackling bed bugs in hard-to-reach areas around beds or other furniture where they tend to make their home. These specialized devices are usually the most effective bed bug steaming solution.
When choosing a device, you should always look for a multi-feature steam cleaner and you will be able to use it both for pest control and for deep cleaning your home. The best steam cleaners have variable pressure controls so that you can change the settings for different uses. Treating bed bugs and steam cleaning your carpets may require different pressures so keep that in mind when you are setting up your device.
Steam treating bed bugs and steam cleaning, in general, is most effective on soft and upholstered surfaces such as carpets, sofas, box spring mattresses, curtains, and bedsheets. You can steam clean hard surfaces too, but this won’t eradicate bed bugs or other pests which only hide and feed on soft surfaces and materials. If you are unsure about whether your steamer will be safe or effective on a particular surface, check the instruction manual or message the manufacturer for more information.
To sum up...
We know how difficult it can be to choose the best bed bug steamer with so many options available. Our top seven picks all provide an effective solution for bed bugs, ticks, and dust mites, as well as chemical-free cleaning for your mattresses and upholstery. These reviews are for informational and educational purposes, and only reflect our personal opinions, but we genuinely believe these are the best steam cleaners available on the market for solving even the most serious bed bug problem.