Bed Bugs: Eliminating Them From Your Mattress

Written by: Andjela Kastratovic
Updated: 04/20/2023

If you’re here to learn how to get rid of bed bugs in a mattress, we’ve got you covered. 

Everybody loves their bed. It’s a safe and comfortable space where you spend your time resting. But the bad news is that bed bugs might also love your bed. 

Let’s see how you can eliminate them! 

What Are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are small, oval-shaped insects that live in your bed. 

When we say small, we mean really small, although you can see them with the naked eye. A bed bug is around 5 mm long and only a couple of mm wide, with flat bodies. You might think that it’s just some dirt or an apple seed. 

Also, they’re brownish-red and don’t have wings, but they are fast. 

Bed bugs are nocturnal, so you likely won’t see them during the day. That’s when they hide. However, bed bugs spend their nights roaming around the infested mattress and feeding on human or animal blood. 

Many people wake up in the morning, notice these tiny, red, itchy bed bug bites, and say to themselves, “Oh, it was probably just a mosquito.” But they could have a colony of bed bugs living in their home. 

Although bed bugs don’t transmit diseases, their bites are still uncomfortable. The females can lay many bed bugs eggs, which are super small and hard to see, making them hard to get rid of. 

Where Can You Find Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs hide well, so they can get into many crevices and parts of your bed where you won’t see them. 

Bed bugs aren’t something that just show up in your home. Most of the time, you can get a bed bug infestation from an item you brought into your house that already had bed bugs. 

It might be from second-hand furniture, spending a night somewhere with bed bugs and bringing them home on your clothing, or even from hotels. 

You could also get bed bugs if your neighbors have bed bugs that they’re not trying to eliminate. 

And even though they’re called bed bugs, your mattress isn’t the only place where they could live. You could find bed bugs in your frame, box springs, carpets, all the other furniture, and even electronic devices. 

Unlike relatively common dust mites, bed bugs aren’t creatures you can live with. It’s time to learn how to get rid of them. 

Signs That Your Mattress Has Bed Bugs

The thing about bed bugs is that if you don’t see them with your own eyes, you’re likely to attribute any possible early signs to something else instead of them. 

Random red itchy marks? Probably a mosquito or a spider. 

Your bed smells weird? It’s probably just time to clean it. 

However, these are all possible signs that you have bed bugs, and they won’t just go away. As the bugs continue to reproduce, it’ll just get worse. 

That’s why you must watch out for the early signs of bed bugs. Here’s what you should keep an eye out for: 

  • Red and itchy bed bug bites that you only notice in the morning
  • Bloodstains on your bedding
  • Little dark spots and reddish stains on your bedding from bug excrement 
  • Shredded skin and yellow eggshells 
  • Your mattress has a weird, musty odor
  • Living or dead bed bugs 

Most of these things seem normal initially, which is precisely why bed bug infestations are dangerous. 

If you notice any or all of them, it’s time for the next step. It’s time to learn how to get rid of bed bugs in your mattress. 

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in Your Mattress

The right time to get rid of bed bugs is when you notice any signs of their activity. Because if you let it be, it will get worse. 

This is our step-by-step guide on how to get rid of bed bugs in a mattress.

Identify the Infested Areas

Before you get to cleaning and dismantling your furniture, you need to investigate and identify bed bugs in a mattress.

Remove all of your bed sheets and take a good look at your mattress. There’s a bed bug infestation if you notice any small, reddish, dead, or live bed bugs.

You could also find visible bed bugs in little clusters or see their eggs, droppings, or shed skin. If you can’t see them, feel free to use a magnifying glass.

And don’t just look for them on the surface level. Bed bugs will find a way in if there are any crevices, parts where the fabric folds, or even rips on the mattress. 

And most importantly, start with your mattress and check out other furniture, carpet, and walls. Bed bugs travel all over your home, and the mattress isn’t the only infestation site.

Once you’ve investigated the affected areas closely, it’s time for the next step. 

Clean Everything

And we mean everything. 

It would be best to clean your mattress and everything else surrounding it. 

Bed bugs don’t just live in your mattress; they’re relatively easy to transfer to the rest of the room or your whole home. 

Take all the bedding from the mattress and all the clothes you might have lying around your room, and put them in plastic bags or a big trash bag. Don’t just put them all in a laundry basket and take them to the washing room. This could only further spread the bugs. 

Once you’re ready to wash all those items, use hot water. as hot as possible. It would be best if you didn’t use insecticides on this, but keep in mind that some clothing items also shouldn’t be washed with hot water. 

Next, it’s time to clean your infested mattress. Also, you can use a stiff brush to scrub mattress seams. 

Cleaning the entire room is essential because those bugs can scatter from the mattress and hide elsewhere. You need to remove every place where they could hide. 

Also, remember to wear rubber gloves when you do all this.


It’s time to vacuum! But don’t use the brush end of your vacuum cleaner because the bugs could hide in it. 

Vacuum all surfaces with the vacuum hose. If you’re lucky, you’ll pick up most of the bugs and their eggs. 

Remember to vacuum the floor, the bed frame, and everything else, not just the mattress surface! 

And finally, bed bugs can still live in your vacuum. When you’re done vacuuming, empty the vacuum bag, put the contents in a plastic bag, and immediately throw it out. 

Investigate the Bed Frame

After you clean and vacuum everything up, take a close look at the bed frame. 

Remove the mattress from the frame and check all crevices for a possible bed bug infestation. 

And don’t end by just looking. You should get your tools out, dismantle the bed frame for easy access, and look into the little sections so you don’t miss out on any bugs or bed bug eggs. 

Bed frames can actually be filled with bed bugs. And if you have a big and complicated bed, it might be even worse. The bugs can hide in the upholstery and all of the little elements. This can happen to other upholstered furniture.

And bed frames aren’t the only ones to blame! Bed bugs could also hide in your box spring. If you use a box spring, make sure to check it out thoroughly.

Use Insecticides (or Hire a Professional Exterminator)

Now you’re ready to kill bed bugs. There are several ways to do this, but some are better than others. 

Here’s how to get rid of bed bugs in a mattress with different products.

Sticky Traps

You can get these traps in most stores, but remember that they’ll only kill bed bugs, they won’t affect the bed bug eggs. 


If you’re looking for a bed bug treatment, use aerosol and dust residual insecticides. However, remember that not every insecticide is safe for your mattress, and always follow the instructions. Keep the room open and ventilated, and cover all surfaces with the bed bug spray. You’ll need to let it air out for a few days. 

Go Organic

If you aren’t a big fan of harsh chemicals, look for organic solutions to your bed bug problem. Plant-based solutions with neem oil are the most common and work best. 

Call a Professional

And finally, if all else fails, it’s time to call the pest control company.

If you didn’t manage to get rid of these pests by yourself or don’t want to do it alone, you need professional bed bug extermination.

Many people only call pest control companies when the bed bugs are too much for them to handle, but the sooner they’re dealt with, the better! 

Steam Your Mattress

You could also use a steamer to get rid of bed bugs. This is essentially hot water, which is usually deadly for a typical bed bug. However, you should steam your mattress sparingly because too much steam could harm the mattress materials. It’s generally not something that can completely treat the bed bug problem, but it can help.

Use a Mattress Protector

Last, put a mattress cover over your mattress to prevent any further problems. A full encasement should work fine to prevent bed bugs from getting to your mattress. 

Tips for Avoiding Bed Bugs

And if you realized that you don’t have bed bugs but this article made you want to avoid them altogether, we have some tips for you. 

Here’s how you can prevent bed bugs from living in your home. 

  • Keep your bedding, mattress, and the entire room clean 
  • Keep an eye out for bed bugs if you have had them before
  • Please don’t bring any second-hand furniture to your home before you clean it or investigate it for signs of bed bugs 
  • Use a full mattress protector 

Remember that you can get bed bugs from unlikely places, like hotel rooms. Sometimes, you just need to notice the signs and fight them!

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Throw My Old Mattress Away if I Have Bed Bugs?

You don’t necessarily have to get a new mattress, but sometimes throwing the old one away might be the only option for your sleep health. 

If you did everything you could to treat bed bugs and even hired professionals, but those pests are still there, you might need to get a new bed. 

However, remember that bed bugs don’t live in just your mattress. They could have other hiding places, like loose wallpaper or stuffed animals. So if you bring in a new mattress and they live somewhere else in the room, you’ll still have the same problem. 

How Do Bed Bugs Spread From House to House?

Bed bugs can spread from house to house via clothes, second-hand mattresses, and other things. For example, if you slept in a hotel room with bed bugs, you could return them to your home. Or if your neighbor has bed bugs, they could crawl into your house. 

Can Bed Bugs Live on the Carpet?

Yes. Bed bugs can be found in all furniture, carpets, electrical devices, and even cracks in the wall and floor. 

Final Thoughts

That’s all, folks! We hope this article helped you learn how to get rid of bed bugs in a mattress!

Remember to clean thoroughly, hire professionals if you need more help, and take measures to prevent bed bug infestation.

And if all else fails, get a new mattress. Good luck!

Reviews written by:

Andjela Kastratovic - Co-editor

Anđela is a content writer by the day and an Illustrator by night. She loves anything creative, but sleep takes the cake – that’s why she enjoys writing for Anatomy of Sleep so much!

While in high school, she got accepted for her dream job – a ‘professional sleeper’. Her job was to test new mattresses from a local mattress brand and write reports on the quality of sleep. Ever since then, she’s been in love with reviewing mattresses and putting her compelling research into ultimate buyer’s guides. While not exploring the latest brands, she likes to illustrate and spend time with her dog and friends.