How To Remove Bed Bug Stains From Your Mattress

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Aside from bite marks, profuse itching, and visibly seeing these tiny, menacing little bloodsuckers living alongside you, a telltale sign of a bed bug feeding frenzy is red or rust-colored spots on your bedding and mattress. Thankfully an enzymatic cleaner like Shout or Puracy will generally do the trick on the remaining stains. You can also make your own DIY treatment using household staples like dish soap, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide. While having an infestation is anything but good — once you've permanently removed any signs of bed bug life from your home — the stains are easily treatable.

Before you even think about cleaning your mattress, you're going to want to wash your linens. Make sure to use hot water – above 120 degrees — because bed bugs literally can't stand the heat. Next, take your bed apart and vacuum everything. Be sure to not use the bristled attachment because these miniature blood suckers are adept at hiding. Once everything has been prepped, and you're sure that there are no more bed bugs living on the premises, it's time to tackle your mattress. 

Some tried-and-true applications

There are a few different treatments you can use to remove those nasty little rusty-colored dots from your mattress. The first option is using an enzyme-based cleaner. These particular topicals harness the power of good bacteria, which quickly break down stubborn stains. Enzymatic cleaners are also safe for most household applications. The general rule of thumb for these types of spray and wash products is to allow them to sit on the stain anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. Each brand has its own set of instructions, so remember to thoroughly read through them before you go into the stain removal battle. 

The other is a DIY option that you can make using only a household staple — baking soda. Mix equal parts baking soda to water so that you create a thick paste. Using a toothbrush (or your fingers), spread it over the stain and allow it to sit until the mixture dries out, then vacuum the remains. For tough stains, you can either repeat this process, or make a spray-on mixture of hydrogen peroxide, dish soap, baking soda, and water. Allow it to set for 10 or so minutes and then blot it away with a soft cloth.

Other ways to protect your mattress

You should refrain from using insecticides on your bedding (and clothing). Aside from being harmful to your health, the National Pesticide Information Center warns that the overuse of chemical sprays can actually create resistance in these nasty crawlers. An effective alternative is using a waterproof, bed bug blocking mattress protector in conjunction with a thorough cleaning, which will keep the surface of your mattress clean and free from bugs. 

If you are worried about a bed bug battalion hiding in the depths of your mattress, a good steam cleaning is an effective and recommended way to kill them off, notes The University of Minnesota. While buying a steam cleaning machine is somewhat expensive, you may be able to rent a commercial-grade steamer from your local hardware store. That being said, if you really want to make sure that there are no more lurkers residing in your bed linen, hiring a bed bug professional to tackle your mattress might be a better all-round option.