How To Kill Bed Bugs on a Mattress Using These 5 Tips

As soon as you get bed bugs, they are difficult to get rid of! They multiply at an incredible rate, and unless you act fast, you will have an infestation on your hands in the next to no time at all. What are the common reasons why you get bed bugs on your mattress? Once you know that, you will want to know how to kill bed bugs on a mattress. In this post, we cover both of those items.

What you will learn in this post:

  1. How bed bugs get to your mattress in the first place!
  2. How to kill bed bugs on a mattress

How To Kill Bed Bugs on a Mattress Using These 5 Tips

How Do Bed Bugs Get On Your Mattress?

Here are the 5 most common reasons why you get bed bugs on your mattress.

Used Bedding

Some folks like a bargain, and some, unfortunately, need to buy used bedding for their home.

If that bedding has come from a home infested with bed bugs, you will simply be transferring the bugs to your house!

Although most people give any second-hand bedding or clothing a hot wash, the bed bugs may have found their way onto your carpet or somewhere else in your home before the wash begins. Let’s say you go pick the bedding up in your car and store the bedding in your trunk. The bed bugs might leave the bedding and may end up on you, or your clothes, even in your car seat!

If you pick up used bedding, ensure that the person selling it places it in a sealed bag. Keep the bedding in the sealed bag until you put it on a hot wash.


Bed bugs will happily hitch a ride on your clothes. If you are anything like me, when you get to the point of settling down in your comfy clothes at night, your clothes are put on your bed temporarily.

That is when the bed bugs will complete their journey onto your bed, and therefore your mattress.


When you return from vacation, you might be tempted to place your luggage on the bed so it can be emptied, right?

That’s what I do!

Any bed bugs picked up during your vacation may have hitched a ride in your luggage. Now they crawl out onto your bed to nest and set up their new home!

Bath Towels

Bath towels can also transfer bed bugs over to your mattress. Again, if you are like me, I’ll place the towels on the bed while getting dressed. Any bed bugs on the towel would be transferred over and will start to multiply quickly!

If you have regular bed bugs, you should stop placing any items on your bed. By removing that as a habit reduces the chances of getting bed bugs on your mattress.


In the absence of a human to feast upon, bed bugs will happily latch onto your pets. Cats, dogs, rabbits… whatever you have, the bed bugs will feast on it until it gets to a human.

Some folks dump household items instead of getting rid of them correctly. If you have a cat, they might have found some items that have recently been dumped, and you know how much cats like their comfort!

Your cat could spend some time sleeping in these dumped items picking up bed bugs. Then your cat will stroll back in and fall asleep on your bed. The bed bugs have now been transferred.

How To Kill Bed Bugs on a Mattress Using These 5 Tips

Now that you know the 5 most common reasons you get bed bugs on your mattress let’s look at how to kill bed bugs on a mattress! Here are 5 top tips that will help you out…

How To Kill Bed Bugs on a Mattress 5 Tips Infographic


The insecticide is designed to kill insects (I know, it’s obvious, right?).

It is also one of the most successful ways to kill bed bugs in your mattress.

You can buy insecticides from any home store and even online. Read up on how to use it before applying it, and ensure that you can use it on a mattress. Follow the instructions and apply them all over your mattress to kill the bed bugs.


An iron will easily get hot enough to kill any bed bugs that it comes into contact with!

Heat the iron up, and give your mattress the once over. Use a hoover to get rid of the dead bed bugs, and then iron it once again.

Repeat this a few times on all areas on the mattress to be confident that you have killed them all.

It would be best to clean any area near your bed to make sure they do not come back. If you have insecticide, you should apply it after killing them all with a clothes iron to stop them from coming back.

Steam Cleaner

A steam cleaner will also apply a high-temperature blast that will kill bed bugs straight away.

Using steam also means it is easier to penetrate material with high temperatures, killing bed bugs hiding underneath the surface.

The steam cleaner will also work to destroy any bacteria from the bed bug feces.

Eucalyptus Oil

You can use eucalyptus oil to get rid of and deter bed bugs from your mattress. It is a natural method and one that penetrates the material and absolutely works!

We have already discussed getting rid of bed bugs with eucalyptus oil in more detail, including the 5 most common ways to use it.

Protective Cover

If you have bed bugs in your mattress, you can use a protective cover to stop more bed bugs from getting into your mattress.

It will also stop them from getting out of your mattress. Eventually, they will all die, and you can clean up your mattress. If you are prone to having bed bug infestations, then you should consider leaving the cover on.

Whilst it is a good idea to know how to kill bed bugs on a mattress, prevention is the best cure! A protective cover offers this.

Live In A Hot Climate? You’re In Luck!

If you live in a hot climate (lucky you) and you want to know how to kill bed bugs on a mattress, then you are in luck!

You could move the mattress outside during the day. Bed bugs die in a very hot environment, so use that to your advantage.

If you can, you should wrap the mattress up in plastic wrapping. That will let the temperature increase to a level where bed bugs cannot survive.

Leave the mattress outside in the sun and heat all day. At the end of the day, you should hoover the mattress to get rid of the dead bed bugs.

While the mattress is outside, you should be deep cleaning the bed frame and all areas near it. Use bleach, eucalyptus oil, white vinegar, or anti-bacterial cleaner on any areas where you can see signs of bed bugs. Do not use bleach on clothing or carpets!

Frequently Asked Questions


How can you tell if a mattress has bed bugs?

You should look for common signs that you have bed bugs on your mattress such as: blood stains, a musty scent, and small rusty spots (feces). You can also see bed bugs with a naked eye.

Do I have to throw my mattress away if I have bed bugs?

It is not necessary to throw away a mattress if you have had bed bugs. there are lots of things you can do to remove the bed bugs from your mattresses, such as using insecticide, steam, and iron, or eucalyptus oil. If you live in a hot climate, you can also wrap the mattress up and leave it in the sun for 1 day. That will kill every bed bug.

Do bed bugs live in mattresses?

Yes, bed bugs do live in a mattress. In fact, it is one of the most common places for bed bugs to live and to lay their eggs. If you have this issue, then you will want to know how to how to kill bed bugs on a mattress. Bed bugs will live in any area around your bed. Clean up all the areas around your mattress, including the bed frame, the carpet, and bedding, and any holes that you have in the walls near your bed. These are areas that can be used by bed bugs to nest!


The 5 tips on this page will help you if you want to know how to kill bed bugs on a mattress. We have also given you 5 common reasons why they are on your mattress.

If you have a bed bug infestation in your mattress right now, I would consider using most, if not all, of the 5 tips on this page.

However, if you are prone to getting bed bug infestations in your mattress, you should put some steps to reduce the chances of getting another infestation. You can begin by getting a bedbug-proof cover and cleaning up every space where you have noticed bed bug activity.

Good luck!


About the author

DIY Pest Control Enthusiast Since 1996

After spending the entire night lying awake in a cockroach-infested hotel, I have driven myself to build knowledge on all things pest control. Since then, I've tested pest control techniques to see what works and what doesn't. Now, here I am giving you all the info I have learned!

2 thoughts on “How To Kill Bed Bugs on a Mattress Using These 5 Tips”

    • Hi Mike

      I’ve not tested using candles to deter bed bugs. I know that they do not like eucalyptus or lavender, but I don’t think a candle scent will be strong enough to deter them.

      You are better off spraying some eucalyptus or lavender oil directly onto the bed (test this with a small amount first).

      Pest Pit


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