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How Long After Bed Bug Treatment Can I Vacuum?

by  Lawrence -  Last updated on March 3, 2022

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Getting bed bugs is a nightmare no matter who you are because of how complicated the process is to get rid of them.

While bed bugs are a concern that travelers have, especially those staying in hostels, no one is immune. Bed bugs are highly contagious and can easily spread from room to room, from person to person, and also from pet to person.

If you’re currently facing bed bugs, you know that even after washing your bed sheets in hot water and getting professionals to come inspect, spray down, and clean your place, things will not go back to normal immediately.

Professional treatment requires a second round of spray treatment, about two weeks after the first. After the first round of spraying, you should begin seeing the bed bug bites and numbers decrease slightly, with increasing dead bugs and fewer bites with each passing day.

Throughout this time, you should be washing your sheets and wiping down the furniture every other day. At this point, you may be wondering how long you have to wait before you can vacuum the carpets. The exterminators should have told you not to vacuum right away but that you can do so after you start seeing fewer dead bugs.

How Long After Bed Bug Treatment You Can Vacuum & What to Expect?

You want to make sure the pesticides are effective for its full duration, which means dealing with gross little dead bugs in the carpet for just a few days more. But how long is enough? Below are some helpful tips that will help you feel better prepared to make these tough times more bearable.

bed bug treatment

Give Time to Breathe

When you are choosing to get pesticides to take out the bed bugs (or other bug pests) you need to give these chemicals time to do their work. The chemicals will not produce overnight results, they will slowly kill off the bugs as they come into contact with them and transmit the poisons among themselves.

Allowing time for the chemicals to stay on the grounds, near the positions where the bugs come from, is very important to the success of the treatment. The spray is only effective when the bugs come in contact with it.

If you are doing this treatment on your own, be sure to locate the specific locations where the bugs are residing and travelling through. You will need to spray right on those spots, not just all over vaguely, to get an effective result.

It’s understandable to be antsy (literally) for results when you have a rough situation on your hands. But patience is definitely a virtue in this case, especially when not waiting long enough can actually result in more pain down the line. You want to make sure that the bed bugs don’t come back for round two a little ways later.

Additionally, when you re-enter your living quarters, be sure to air out the space. Open windows, use screen doors, and turn on some fans to get air flowing. You want to breathe in as little of the chemicals as possible. Not that they are at toxic levels to you, but the less the better.

Clean the Perimeters

It is very important to clean the surroundings where any bed bugs are present, as it will make vacuuming repetitive since you will have to continue doing it.

Wipe down the local furniture with a cleaning solution, and be sure to get crevices around the room.
Cleaning under the mattress, under appliances, under furniture is all-important. Often times they will reside in places you check the least.

If you leave these places undiscovered, you may be setting yourself up for another bed bug outbreak. So it is definitely worth the extra work even though it is frustrating in the moment.

You also want to make sure that you pay close attention to those items that are closest to your mattress. The bedsheets should be an obvious reason, but the laundry is important too, especially the clothes that may pile up on the ground or in the corners of the room.

Is it Time to Vacuum Yet?

As long as you have taken care of, and given time for, the perimeters and pesticides – then you can consider vacuuming the floors.

Giving time for the chemicals to do their work, and ensuring that you aren’t letting any existing bed bug colonies to continue existing, helps you avoid having to do more work later.

That work may include additional pesticide spraying, repeated perimeter cleaning, and numerous vacuum sessions, not to mention the potential added cost of supplies and services.

The Heating Alternative

If chemicals are not your preferred route for extermination, another method for eliminating bed bugs is to overheat the pests.

Similar to the termite exterminating method, using high sustained heat in your house will kill off the bugs instantaneously, rather than more slowly over time. It is great, though likely a more expensive option.

Also, you will need to leave the house and remove any potentially heat damaged items.

If you do this without actually identifying the locations around the building where the bed bugs are entering, you may be setting yourself up for failure yet again.

With this option, you may begin vacuuming the floors immediately after this treatment ends. There are no residual effects from the heating to consider after.

How to Know When to Stop Vacuuming?

For these purposes, depending on if you chose the pesticide method, it is best to stop vacuuming once you see no more bed bug bodies.

Basically, the rule of thumb is to not vacuum too early, give it time to work. Then after you no longer get any more new bites, nor see any more bed bugs (dead or alive) still accumulating, you can assume it is safe to vacuum. Go ahead and vacuum as long as there are any pests visible.

Other Notes and Tips

Yes, you can and should sleep in the same bed after treatment so that you don’t spread bed bugs to different surfaces, like the couch. Just make sure you’ve cleaned it first.

Using a combination of treatment methods is likely to give you the best results, especially if you are doing it yourself.

Keeping a 2-3 week window between extermination treatments is important to eliminate the second wave of bed bugs that may come. That is the approximate window of time for offspring of the bed bugs to hatch and populate. You don’t want the second wave to worsen the struggle.

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