How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs On A Tight Budget In 2023

Bed bug treatment costs have increased by over 3% YoY. In 2023, it’s getting more expensive!

If you’re suffering from bed bugs and you can’t afford an exterminator, then this guide is all you need.

However, there’s a catch.

You’ll need to meticulously repeat the steps laid out in this guide, without missing any steps, till you stop noticing bed bug activity in your home. 

This guide reveals the home remedies to get rid of bed bugs cheaply if you’re on a tight budget. 

Keep reading.

Locate Hiding Places Of Bed Bugs

Before you start the treatment, you must know where bed bugs hide. 

A thorough inspection of your home is necessary to determine where bed bugs are hiding.

Below are the common hiding places for bed bugs –

  1. Cracks on the headboard
  2. Baseboards gaps
  3. Bed frame (even in the gaps near screws and bolts on the bed frame)
  4. Box springs
  5. Mattress seams
  6. Inside couches
  7. In the electrical sockets
  8. Gaps in the bed’s feet
  9. Cracks on the wooden furniture 
  10. Gaps on the hardwood floor
  11. Dresser drawer joints
  12. Picture frames on the walls
  13. Loose wallpaper
  14. Bookshelves (bed bugs can even be inside the books)

Bed bugs are nocturnal bugs that remain hidden in these places during the day. Bed bugs come out at night to bite you for getting their bloodmeals.

Signs Of Bed Bug Infestation

A single female bed bug hiding in these places can cause a home-wide infestation by laying 7-10 eggs everyday for 10 days straight. She can lay up to 113 eggs in her lifetime.

Bed bugs can also get inside clothing storage like dresser drawers and closet.

Plus, bed bugs can also be in the carpets and rugs. They’ll hide underneath the carpets, in the tags, felt cloth, and around the carpet’s edges.

Look For The Signs Of Bed Bug Infestation

Now that you know where bed bugs hide, it’s time to look out for the signs of infestation. 

You will need an old and expired credit card or a thin piece of cardboard to insert in the crevices, flashlight, and a magnifying glass to confirm their presence. 

In their hiding places, you’ll notice the following signs –

Bed Bug Shells : Bed bugs molt or shed their skin to grow till they reach adulthood.

You’ll find shed skins of bed bugs in the crevices and in their hiding place

Bed Bug Eggs : Bed bug eggs are tiny, pearl white, and they stick with the surface. 

They also develop a black dot on the middle if they’re more than five days old.

If you take an old credit car and insert it in the crevices, and slowly pull it out, you’ll find white bed bug eggs and bed bug skin stuck with the card. 

You can also find a few bed bug nymphs (white baby bed bugs) coming out along with the eggs and shells.

Blood Stains On Bed Sheets And Pillow Covers : Bed bugs bloat after the bloodmeals. And your body weight might crush them while tossing and turning during your sleep.

When you crush them, the blood they fed on splashes out. It causes blood stains on the bedsheets. 

Blackish-Red Dots On The Bed Linen And Bed Frame : These dots are fecal stains. Bed bugs leave behind liquified feces.

Places Where Bed Bugs Hide

As bed bugs feed only human blood, so, bed bug feces are blackish-red dots. 

Rubbing the dots with a wet cloth will cause the dots dilute into reddish stains.

Bed Bug Bites: This sign of bed bugs is a no-brainer. Bed bugs will bite you. 

And the bite marks will be in the form broad itchy red welts in a line or cluster. 

However, some people who do not react to bed bug bites, won’t have these welts and rashes.

Live Bed Bugs: There’s no telltale sign of bed bugs in the house than the sighting of an adult bed bug. 

When the bed bug infestation is bad, you start to notice them in places like walls, floor, and even inside electrical outlets.

10 DIY Steps To Cheaply Get Rid Of Bed Bugs

Here’s what you’ll need to kill the bed bugs inside the room or rooms of your house. 

  1. Vacuum cleaner
  2. Steam cleaner
  3. Desiccant dust like Diatomaceous Earth
  4. Mattress encasement
  5. Plastic bags
  6. Bed bug interceptors or bed bug traps
  7. Bed bug repellant, preferably, peppermint oil
  8. Bed bug pesticide

Without the above things, it’ll be tough to remove bed bugs cheaply. 

I highly recommend, to buy all the above things before moving into the next steps.

All the above things will cost you 1/3rd or lesser than a professional bed bug treatment. 

Prepare Your Room

It’s vital to isolate the infected items in the room and keep them in sealed plastic bags. 

That’ll stop the bed bugs to spread from one room to another. 

Place items like books, souvenirs, picture frames, etc. in plastic bags. And then seal the bags.

Keep these sealed plastic bags in a freezer for 24-48 hours. Bed bugs can’t survive extreme cold.

Remove the bed linens like bedsheets, pillow covers, and things like drapes and curtains. 

Wash them in hot soapy water. And dry them in the highest possible heat, which is safe for the fabric, in the dryer.

Hot water will kill bed bugs, their eggs, larvae, and any other insects stuck with these fabric. 

Do the same with your clothes and fabric in the closet, dresser drawers, and wardrobe.

Vacuum Clean The Room

Take your vacuum cleaner, and clean the floor, baseboards, mattress, rugs, carpets, and upholstered furniture. 

Remember, this is just a preliminary stage of removing bed bugs.

Contrary to popular opinion, vacuum cleaning is not the solution to the bed bug problem though it removes some bed bugs.

Dispose of the vacuum bag outside of your property, so that the bed bugs in it don’t come out and re-enter your home.

Take the mattress off the bed and keep it on the floor before you move on to the next step.

Steam Clean The Soft Furnishings In Your Room

Heat kills bed bugs. That’s why professionals use heat treatment to eliminate a bed bug infestation.

And the best DIY way to perform heat treatment to kill bed bugs is by using a steam cleaner.

Take your steam cleaner and steam clean the bed mattress first.

Slowly clean the mattress seams, the felt clothes, product labels, and the undersides of the mattress too. 

Then do the same with your rugs or carpets.

Don’t forget to clean the edges, threading, tufts, labels, and corners of the carpet where bed bugs can hide.

If there’s any other soft furnishing in your room or luggage bags, then steam clean them too.

Steam cleaners produce heat which is too much for adult bed bugs. 

Exposure to heat kills bed bugs in all life stages and it destroys their eggs too.

That’s why heat treatment is a go-to method professional exterminators use to get rid of bed bugs.

Use The Right Chemical Spray To Kill Bed Bugs

Steam cleaning will remove the majority of bed bugs. But a few will always escape and hide in the cracks.

Bed bugs have developed immunity to most chemical sprays that are easily available.

That’s why you’ll need to choose the right pesticide with chemicals that kill bed bugs.

One such bed bug killer spray is Crossfire bed bug killer concentrate. 

Mix the concentrate with a gallon of water. And pour it in a sprayer.

Then spray the mixture in thin gaps and cracks on the bed’s headboard, baseboard, bed feet, furniture cracks, floor cracks, wall voids, and box springs. 

Leave it for 20 minutes to let the spray do it’s work. 

But remember, don’t get out of the infested room. Bed bugs might have latched onto your clothes. 

And you will spread the bed bugs in other rooms.

Caution: Professional grade pesticides such as the crossfire are harmful. Read the safety instructions on the product label and religiously follow them while using. 

Sprinkle Desiccant Dust In Your Room

After steam cleaning and pesticide spray, it’s time to up your game. 

Bed bugs are tough pest to kill. So, leaving anything to chance is a big mistake. 

Therefore, take any EPA approved bed bug killing insecticide dust or desiccant dust like diatomaceous earth and sprinkle it in your room. 

Ensure that you scatter the DE or the dust inside the crevices on the floor, wall voids, upholstered furniture, bed frame, and electrical sockets. 

Don’t skip these places, because bed bugs can hide in them too. 

Let the dust sit for half an hour to do it’s work. Again, don’t leave the room.

Then take your vacuum cleaner and clean the dust. You’ll remove the dust and the dead bugs. 

Track Bed Bugs With Bed Bug Traps

Bed bug traps, also known as bed bug interceptors, are like a plate with a sticky surface. 

Professionals keep them underneath the bed’s legs to track bed bugs.

And they’ll try to get on your bed by crawling on the bed’s legs.

So, when the bed bugs step on the interceptors, they get stuck. You’ll need to keep these sticky traps till you stop noticing any bed bugs stuck them.

Finding no bed bugs on the traps is a sign that bed bugs are gone for good. 

Repeat The Above Steps And Track Bed Bug Activity

If you can’t afford a professional exterminator or a professional pest control company, then you’ll have to repeat the above steps, at least once a week, till there are no bed bugs in your home.

The signs of diminishing bed bug activity in your home are no bed bug bites and/or no bed bugs getting stuck in the bed bug traps.

Use Mattress Encasements

Bed Bug Mattress Encasement

You don’t want to wake up with itchy bed bug bites despite doing all the efforts. 

As a few bed bugs will definitely remain after your first treatment, so, to protect yourself from bed bug bites use bed bug proof mattress encasement. 

Mattress encasements block the contact of your skin with mattress. So, if there are any bed bugs in the mattress then they won’t be able to bite you. 

Use mattress encasements till you’ve completely solved the bed bug problem in the house. 

Spray Bed Bug Repellant Like Peppermint Oil

Bed bugs hate the peppermint scent. It’s a bed bug repellant.

They keep away from the places that reeks of minty smell.

So, spray the peppermint oil spray on your bed frame, headboard, bedroom furniture, floor, and walls. 

It’ll keep the bed bugs away from your bed and prevent bed bug bites while you’re asleep. 

Seal The Cracks In Your Room

The cracks on the walls, furniture, baseboard, floor, headboard, and bed frame are the hiding places for bed bugs. 

Seal those gaps with a quality sealant to prevent bed bugs and other insects from hiding in them.

What To Do With Infested Items?

Sometimes a bad bed bug infestation damages mattresses, couches, rugs, and carpets. 

If these items in your home are badly damaged, then don’t just throw it off. You’ll aid the spread of bed bugs in your neighborhood.

Follow the disposal guidelines of your state or contact a disposal company to pick them up. 

When Should You Restock Your Room After Bed Bug Treatment?

​​​​​The safest answer is restock your room after the bed bugs are gone. 

So, it’ll be best to restock your room after you’ve stopped noticing bed bug activity following repeated treatments. 

However, you don’t need to remove big furniture like dresser drawers, wardrobe, or bed out of your room during the treatment. 

Clutter is always aid bed bugs. Keep your room clutter-free till the bed bugs are gone makes it easy to keep a track on the bed bug activity.

Should You Use Bug Bombs To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs?

No, never! Bug bombs and fogger sprays make bed bug infestation worse. 

They’ve got limited reach and zero residual toxicity. So, bed bugs can detect them and look for other places to hide.

That causes the bed bugs to spread in other rooms. 

Research have shown that bug bombs are ineffective and you should never use them to eliminate bugs.

Also, the aerosol spray from the bombs is highly inflammable. And any small mistake in using them will expose you to a massive fire hazard. 

You shouldn’t use rubbing alcohol without diluting it. Rubbing alcohol is also inflammable.

Why Bed Bugs Treatment Is So Expensive?

It can cost more than $1500 for treating a standard house or a two-bedroom apartment. Prices go further north, if the home is bigger.

Inspection Costs Are High

Bed bugs are hard to detect and the infestation takes time to manifest.

Many people, especially the ones that don’t react to bed bug bites, take ages to know if there are bed bugs in your home. 

They can only figure out there are bed bugs in the home only when they start seeing bed bugs in places like walls

To find bed bugs, professionals do canine inspection and use many other innovative methods.

These methods have significant overhead costs that pest control companies need to bear. 

Follow-up Treatments

Many homes suffer from bed bug infestation even after three treatments

Reputed pest control companies don’t just perform the treatment and leave.

They track bed bugs by performing follow-up treatments. So, they visit the home multiple times till they’re sure your home is free from bed bugs.

Also, professionals use integrated pest management (IPM), which is a mix if using heating machines and professional grade insecticides to remove bed bugs. 

Those machines and insecticides are expensive. 


It’s difficult to get rid of bed bugs on your own, but it’s doable, especially when you repeat the riddance process till you stop noticing bed bugs.

Tracking bed bugs is also important after the treatment. That’s your only way of knowing if the steps you’re taking are working or not. 

This guide laid out how you can do both by using the right pesticides, insecticide dust, and heat to make your home bed bug-free.