11 Ways to Prevent Bed Bugs

White pillows on a bed. Washing bed sheets at the highest setting is a good way to prevent bed bugs.

Your best bed bug defense is a good offense. Ways to prevent bed bugs include removing clutter around your home, vacuuming regularly, washing your bed sheets at the highest setting, and inspecting your lodging when you travel.

Bed bugs are blood-sucking insects that make excellent hitchhikers. They will cling onto anything that brings them closer to where you rest. Makes you cringe, doesn’t it?

You may pick up a bed bug when visiting a place with an existing bed bug infestation, such as a hotel, a dorm room, or even a friend’s home. A single bed bug can get on your clothes, in your luggage, or inside your purse.

Unknown to you, the bed bug may travel home with you and become a threat to the comfort of your home and peace of mind. You also may come in contact with a bed bug infestation at a thrift shop, yard sale, or whenever you bring home a used piece of furniture.

The best way to avoid a bed bug infestation in your home is to practice these 11 ways to prevent bed bugs:

1. Don’t Store Items Under Your Bed

Storing items under your bed creates opportunities for bed bugs to hide near your mattress. You may also unknowingly store an infested item.

2. Store Items in Plastic Containers

Bed bugs find it difficult to crawl on smooth surfaces such as glass or plastic. Keeping your storage items in a plastic container or plastic bag helps to prevent spreading.

3. Remove Clutter From the Floor

Keep your clothes off the floor. If a wandering bed bug happens to latch onto your sweater, you run the risk of infecting your dresser or closet.

4. Dust Mite-Proof Encasements

Cover your mattress or box spring in dust mite-proof encasements to create a barrier between you and any potential bed bugs.

5. Vacuum Regularly

This prevention method helps you remove stray bed bugs. For further prevention, dispose of the vacuum bag in an outside trash can.

6. Keep Clothes off the Bed

You don’t know whose bed these bugs have infested and whose bed they haven’t. It’s best to keep your clothes off any beds if you want to prevent bed bugs from coming into your home. With that in mind, keep other people’s clothes off your bed. You never know if they may be transporting a bed bug from their home. Instead of placing guests’ coats on your bed, hang them in the coat closet.

7. Inspect your Lodging Area

Before unpacking your clothes in your new sleeping arrangements, such as a hotel, motel, or dorm room, inspect the space. Check curtains, the carpet, the walls, and surrounding areas for any signs of bed bugs. Most importantly, check the bed for any signs. If you spot a potential infestation, ask for another room. Avoid placing your clothes on the bed.

8. Wash Clothes and Luggage After Traveling

Ensure your travels don’t bring home a bed bug. Immediately wash your clothes and clean any luggage, including suitcases, backpacks, and purses.

9. Wash Sheets on the Highest Setting

About once a week, wash your bed linens at the highest temperature. The heat can help kill bed bugs and their eggs.

10. Avoid Taking Furniture From Curbs or Dumpsters

A free couch on the side of the road can be tempting. But bringing it into your home can lead to a grave bed bug infestation. Avoid taking any furniture from curbs or dumpsters, as bed bugs may have infested them.

11. Keep Your Bed Sheets off the Ground

When making your bed or sleeping, make sure your sheets are not touching the floor. A hanging sheet allows a wandering bed bug to crawl up to your bed.

When to Call a Professional

Call a bed bug exterminator near you if you suspect a bed bug infestation in your home. The key to managing bed bugs is to control an infestation as soon as possible. A single female bed bug can establish an infestation in your home. This infestation can spread to further areas of your home and become even more difficult and expensive to manage.

Exterminating a minor infestation right away will save you from future costly treatment. Calling a professional becomes an urgent matter when bed bug symptoms are severe, bed bugs grow in large numbers, bed bugs expand their hiding areas, or reinfestation occurs.

READ NEXT: How to check for bed bugs

Main Image Credit: Castorly Stock, Pexels

Jane Purnell

Jane Purnell

Jane Purnell is a freelance writer and actor in New York City. She earned her B.A. from the University of Virginia and enjoys a warm cup of French press coffee.