How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs On A Tight Budget In 2021? The Cheapest Way, Revealed

This is a life-saving guide for you if you’ve bed bugs but you can’t afford an exterminator. 

It includes resources, tips, and information on how to get rid of bed bugs on a tight budget.

In this guide, you’ll learn a 6-step process which is the cheapest way to get rid of bed bugs from your home without hiring a bed bug exterminator.

Plus, you’ll also find the DIY ways of getting rid of bed bugs that are myths. It’s recommended that you shouldn’t do them ever.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in.

4 Early Signs Of Bed Bug Infestation You Should Never Ignore

How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs On A Tight Budget

For maximum effect and best results, it’d be best to implement the steps at the right time, which is at the early stages of bed bug infestation. 

So, before we begin, let us give you a quick roundup on the early signs of bed bug infestation.

Here are the four early signs of bed bug infestation that you should be eagle-eyed for –

#1 – Bed Bug Bites

If you’ve got a few red lumps on your body after waking up from sleep, then it’s a sure sign of bed bug bites.

The difference between bed bug bites and flea and mosquito bites is that bed bug bites are like a string of lumps on your skin’s exposed area.

Also, bed bug bites don’t have a red spot in the center that flea bites do.

#2 – Blood Stains On Your Bed Sheet 

The bloodstains on your bed sheet are from the bed bugs that got crushed by your body weight. If you find any, then it’s a sign of bed bug infestation. 

#3 – Fecal Spots On Your Clothes Or Bed Sheet

Bed bugs leave rusty spots on fabric when they poop.

You’ll find these spots on your bed sheet, pillow cover, and even clothes.

Yes, there can be bed bugs in drawers and closets, not just on your bed.

#4 – Bed Bug Shells On Bed

Bed bugs molt, which means they shed their shell to grow.

If you find oval-shaped transparent crunchy tiny shells on the bed then it means bed bugs in your bed are feeding on your blood and growing.

Bed bugs can’t grow without the blood meals.

Here’s How To Get Rid Of Bugs On A Tight Budget – The 6-Step Process Revealed

Now that you know how to spot the signs of bed infestation, it’s time to get into the six-step process cheaply.

Later in the post you’ll find estimates of bed bug extermination prices.

Compared to those prices, these steps will cost you one-fifth of a full-fledged bed bug treatment in your home.

Step # 1 – Vacuum Clean Your Home To Remove Bed Bugs

Vacuum Cleaning Sofa To Get Rid of Fleas

There’s no better, cheaper method than vacuuming your home to remove bed bugs. That’s why it tops our list. 

Vacuum your home, especially the bed bug hotspots. It’d be best if you vacuum clean your pillows, curtains, carpets, or rugs too.

You can also vacuum clean your car because bed bugs can be in your car and they can easily latch on to baby car seat too!

Vacuuming will eliminate all kinds of bed bugs like the adult ones, the nymphs, and the bed bug eggs.

But it’d help you’re a bit slow and methodical while vacuuming. 

Slowly vacuum the bed bug hotspots in your home.

Places like underneath the furniture, the junctures between the wall and floor, your mattresses, soft furnishings like couch and accent chairs, bed frames, and headboards are the common places where bed bugs hide.

Vacuuming, when done correctly, remove adult bed bugs and any eggs hidden in these places. 

Pro Tip: Dispose of the vacuum dirt bag outside your home in a trash can.

If you dispose of the dirt bag inside your home, then the chances of bed bug re-infestation are high. You can also burn the dirt bag. 

But vacuum cleaning may leave a few bed bugs behind. And vacuum cleaning may not get rid of bed bugs eggs and bed bug larvae.

To ensure that all the adult bed bugs, their eggs, and the baby bed bugs die, a steam cleaner is your best and the cheapest option. 

Steam cleaners produce heat, and bed bugs quickly die at temperatures 113°F and above. 

Just like vacuum cleaning, steam clean slowly. Steam cleaning on soft furnishings like mattresses and sofas kills bed bugs and their eggs hidden in them.

You can also steam clean soft furnishings like sofas and accent chairs in your home.

Keep in mind that cleaning the entire home is a vital process of getting rid of bed bugs. 

It includes washing and drying your clothes in temperatures higher than 113°F. 

Like mentioned earlier, clothes and fabric are common places where bed bugs can hide. Visitors, who have bed bugs in their homes, can also transfer bed bugs, hidden in their clothes, to your home.

It’d be best if you clean all your fabric storage places like closets, wardrobe, and drawers. 

If you’ve pet beds, carpets, and rugs, wash them as well.

Step # 2 – Mop The Floor With A Mixture Of Water, Alcohol, Or Kerosene

Once you’re done with vacuuming your home, it’s time to up your game by a notch. 

You do that by moping the floor, especially when you’ve got a wooden floor with a mixture of alcohol or kerosene. 

If you’re using alcohol, then mix alcohol and water in the ratio of 1:5, which means for every five gallons of water, use one gallon of alcohol. 

Use a cheap whiskey or vodka to prepare the mixture. And don’t use beer or any spirit with an alcohol content of more than 70%.

Beer contains sugar, which will attract the ants and make the floor sticky. And any spirit with more than 70% alcohol content is highly combustible. 

While using kerosene, make sure that kerosene is 5-7% of the amount of water. It means that for one gallon of water, use 0.05 gallons of kerosene. 

Bed bugs can easily hide in the floor cracks and gaps, too, especially when you’ve carpet or rug. 

They can’t survive on the floor for long. But bed bugs wait at the right moment hiding there to latch on to you.

Step # 3 – Sprinkle A Generous Amount Of Diatomaceous Earth To Dehydrate And Kill The Bed Bugs. 

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is available in any hardware store. And it’s relatively cheap. 

All you’ve to do is sprinkle it on places where bed bugs hide, including on your bed frame and headboard. 

Diatomaceous earth is a slow bed bug killer. It penetrates the bed bugs’ exoskeleton and dries up the moisture inside it, causing it to rupture. 

Moisture is a critical element for the bed bugs to survive. When the moisture dries up, the bed bugs die. 

The best part is that bed bugs spread diatomaceous earth on other bed bugs causing them to die in the same way. 

Use food-grade diatomaceous earth, which is safe for humans and pets. 

Spread a generous amount of diatomaceous earth. If you spread too little, then the bed bugs will escape the particles of diatomaceous earth. 

Vacuum-clean the places where you sprinkled diatomaceous earth after 5-6 hours. It’ll remove dead bed bugs.

Step # 4 – Use Pheromone Traps To Trap The Bed Bugs In Your Home

Once you’re through with the first three steps, now it’s time to get rid of the hidden bed bugs. 

Bed bug pheromone traps are of great use when you want to lure the bed bugs out of their hiding places and trapping them. 

The discovery of the pheromone trap is quite recent. A biologist has experimented with pheromones on her body that lured the bed bugs to bite her multiple times. 

Bed bugs release pheromones, a chemical with a distinctive smell, to communicate with and attract other bed bugs to the food source. 

When you use a pheromone trap, the trap emits the same smell that bed bugs emit. 

The trap has a gluey surface, making the bed bugs stick when they step on it. Once the bugs are stuck on the trap, you can burn it. That will kill the bed bugs stuck on it. 

You can keep the pheromone traps near your bed and at the possible hiding places of bed bugs. 

Bed bugs are nocturnal pests, and they’re most active at night. So, make sure you keep the traps for the whole night. 

Step # 5 – Use Mattress Encasements To Starve And Choke The Beds In Your Mattress

Bed Bug Mattress Encasement

Despite doing all the above four steps, and given the bed bugs’ sneaky nature, there can be hidden bed bugs in your mattress. 

On your mattress, a bed bug looks like a tiny apple seed with its legs visible. When touched, these bed bugs scurry across the mattress and hide.

Mattress encasements guarantee that you sleep well without getting bitten by bed bugs at night. 

A mattress encasement covers your mattress from all the four corners. And you can zip lock on your mattress. 

It traps the bed bugs living inside the mattress, preventing them from biting you during your sleep. 

As the bed bugs trapped inside the encasement can’t have the blood meals, they die due to starvation. 

Also, bed bugs can’t infest your mattress from the outside as it’s impossible for them to drill through the encasement and hide inside the mattress. 

To make matters worse for bed bugs, you can use cheap bed bug interceptors

You keep bed bug interceptors under each leg of your bed. It works as a bed bug trap too. 

When bed bugs try to crawl onto your bed, they get stuck in these interceptors. The interceptors stop the bed bugs from biting you while you’re asleep. 

Step # 6 – Repeat Step 1 to Step 5 For At Least Once In A Week For Four Weeks

Why repeat the entire process every week?

Bed bugs have a habit of making coming back unless you do heat treatment by hiring a professional bed bug exterminator. 

Over the past decade, bed bugs have developed immunity against many pesticides and insecticides, causing a massive increase in bed bug infestation across the US. 

On top of it, many bed bugs can lay hidden and dormant for months till they get a host to feed on. 

Given all these reasons, it’s necessary to repeat the process. 

Also, you’ve to be alert enough for any physical sightings of bed bugs. 

If you see any, use a bed bug spray like Eco Defense Bed Bug Killer. We highly recommend it.

Eco Defense Bed Bug Killer kills bed bugs on contact, and it’s non-toxic to humans and pets.

It also doesn’t leave any staining marks or stinks when used on soft furnishings. 

If you’re looking for a bed bug spray specifically for your mattress and soft furnishings, you can use Bedlam Plus.

It’s water-based and goes well with your couch and mattresses. 

DIY Ways Of Killing Bed Bugs That Are Myths

Now that you’ve learned how to get rid of bed bugs on a tight budget, it’s time to find out what activities you must avoid when you’re taking matters in your hands.

As you’re under a tight budget and you can’t afford a bed bug exterminator, you must not waste your time and money on methods that don’t work. 

That’s why this section is dedicated to dispelling myths that are doing rounds on the web and spreading like wildfire by word of mouth. 

Here are the seven myths that you should always avoid when you’re getting rid of bed bugs on your own. 

Myth #1 – Ultrasonic Devices Kills Bed Bugs

Ultrasonic devices against pests, especially bed bugs, are in vogue for quite some time. 

Never buy them, not even for mosquitoes. The University of Kentucky scientifically proved that ultrasonic devices have NO impact on bed bugs. 

Ultrasonic devices are, in a word, useless when it comes to killing bed bugs. 

Myth #2 – Baking Soda Kills Bed Bugs

Baking soda can help to get rid of other pests but not bed bugs.


Baking soda dissolves when it comes in contact with a little bit of moisture or water. Given that the exoskeleton of bed bugs has moisture in it, it makes baking soda impotent against bed bugs. 

Myth #3 – Mothballs or Naphthalene Balls Kill Bed Bugs

Although not a complete myth, but mothballs are not 100% effective. 

Rutgers University’s research has found that mothballs could kill only 44-60% of adult bed bugs. Mothballs didn’t have any effect on nymphs and eggs. 

Myth # 4 – Talcum Powder Kill Bed Bugs

No, talcum powder doesn’t kill bed bugs. Period. 

Talcum powder, like baking soda, can’t penetrate the exoskeleton of bed bugs. Hence, it does not affect bed bugs. 

If there’s any powder that can kill bed bugs, it’s diatomaceous earth powder. 

Myth # 5 – Dryer Sheets Kill Bed Bugs

Dryer sheets can be bed bug repellent, but dryer sheets do not kill bed bugs. The smell from the dryer sheet can repel bed bugs, but bed bugs will eventually find a way around it to bite you. 

Myth # 6 – Essential Oils Kill Bed Bugs

Essential oils are too weak to kill bed bugs. Essential oils can work well against other pests, but against bed bugs, they’re useless. 

Even the cold condensed 100% pure essential oils do not affect bed bugs.

However, research done by Rutgers University have shown that two essential oil based bed bug killers Eco Raider and Bed Bug Patrol are successful in killing bed bugs.

But there are two catches here.

First, both will kill bed bugs on contact, means that you’ve to use them directly on the bed bugs to kill them.

Given how quick bed bugs disappear and how small they’re, it’s quite difficult to do it.

And second, it’ll take 10 days for the bed bugs to die.

Within this period each female bed bug will lay hundreds of egg and will increase the chances of bed bug infestation to spread.

But if you’re are under a tight budget then you can opt for these two essential oils.

You can check the research here if you want to know more about it.

Myth # 7 – Bed Bugs Like Cold Rooms

This myth is rooted on the experience of many people who get bed bug bites with their ACs on during the summer months.

The temperature that most homeowners put their ACs make the bed bugs active.

But that doesn’t means that bed bugs like cold rooms.

Bed bugs can withstand cold temperature longer than heat.

Government Assistance For Bed Bugs

Many low-income families ask if there’s any government assistance for bed bugs.

Or does the government provide any financial help to get rid of bed bugs from their homes?

Sadly, the answer is no.

But many local health departments help with information on bed bug extermination and prevention. 

You can visit the websites of the local health department of your state to know more. All states have bed bug laws and regulations to protect your home from bed bugs and expensive bed bug treatment costs. 

What If You Live In A Section 8 Housing? Do You’ve To Pay For Bed Bug Removal?

Pest infestations, especially bed bug infestation, are common in section 8 housing. High turnover of tenants and lack of hygiene make section 8 housings at the risk of infestation.

But the best part is that Section 8 housing comes under federal laws, and it’s not your responsibility as a tenant to do bed bug treatment. 

As per Notice H 2012-5, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to pay for the bed bug treatment, not you. 

If you’re moving into Section 8 housing, then it’d be best if you get a bed bug inspection done by an exterminator

Some pest control companies do it for free, but some charge.

But the cost is significantly less, and it’s always wise to get it done before moving in so that you don’t have to suffer later.

Bed Bug Treatment Cost

Pheromone Trap For Bed Bug

You got to know how to get rid of bed bugs on a tight budget in this post. 

These are all DIY ways of getting rid of bed bugs. But given the fact that bed bugs are challenging pests to get rid of, DIY methods don’t always ensure 100% bed bug removal. 

You may have to hire a bed bug exterminator down the line to get rid of them once and for all. 

So, what’s the reality of bed bug treatment cost? Let us give you a reasonably accurate idea.

A professional bed bug extermination costs $300 to treat a single room for bed bugs. The cost can escalate to $3000-$5000 for the treatment of the entire home. 

Professional bed bug exterminators use integrated pest management methods and heat treatment to kill bed bugs in your home. 

Integrated pest management is a mixture of bed bug control measures that include vacuuming, pesticide sprays, waste disposal, and cleaning. 

In contrast, heat treatment is a method of heating your entire home from within. It’s the guaranteed and 100% effective way of killing bed bugs and even their eggs. 

Here are average bed bug extermination costs of a few big pest control companies –

Company NameAverage Bed Bug Removal CostsGuarantee Period
Orkin$400 – $300030-day
Terminix$500 – $350030 days – 90 days
Ehrlich$650 – $300030 days
Arrow$500 – $400030 days
ThermaPureMinimum $2000At least 180 days
Average Bed Bug Treatment Cost

So, why bed bugs treatment is so expensive? There are many reasons for it.

The first reason is that bed bugs are hard to spot. They hide in the slimmest of cracks and hard-to-reach corners of your home. 

To spot them is a skill. And skilled bed bug exterminators are hard to find. Good bed bug exterminators who give guaranteed results always charge premium prices.

You can check our post on what questions to ask a bed bug exterminator to know how you can hire a licensed and reliable bed bug exterminator.

The second reason is that bed bugs have a habit of coming back. Many homes need multiple treatments or heat treatment to get rid of bed bugs altogether. 

That adds up to the cost. The best way to deal with bed bug re-infestation is to get a quarterly pest check done for your entire home.

It comes with guarantees. You can save a lot of money by getting rid of the pests when initial infestation signs are quite visible. 

But here’s something that might relieve you of the pressure of high costs. 

Bed bug control costs vary from location to location. So, if you’re not from a big city like Miami or Austin, then you’d find an affordable bed bug removal treatment. 

Many cheap bed bug exterminators do low-cost bed bug extermination in mid-size and smaller towns. And their quality of work is as good as exterminators from big companies. 


To conclude, here are the six steps to get rid of bed bugs in your home if you’re under a tight budget and you cannot afford a bed bug exterminator:

  1. Deep vacuum cleaning and steam cleaning of your home.
  2. Spraying a mixture of water, alcohol, or kerosene.
  3. Sprinkling a generous amount of diatomaceous earth in your home.
  4. Using pheromone traps.
  5. Bed bug mattress encasements
  6. Repeat the five steps once a week at least for four weeks.

Bed bugs are tough bugs to kill. They hide in the thinnest of corners in your home and they multiply very fast.

And given their resilience, bed bugs come back after treatment.

If bed bug infestation gets severe, you don’t have any option but to hire a bed bug exterminator.

There are two significant signs of bed bug infestation grown big that demand a professional exterminator. 

These signs are – a musty odor and frequent physical sightings of bed bugs despite taking all the steps.

The musty odor is the smell that bed bugs emit.

Both the odor and physical sightings indicate that the bed bugs have bred in large numbers, and there are thousands of them hiding in your home.