This is our review for the best bed bug steamer in 2021.
Hot water steamers can be a great alternative to get rid of bed bugs without chemicals. If you are sensitive to chemicals used for bed bugs you should consider getting a steamer to deal with pest problems.
In this article, I am reviewing several best bed bug steamers. You can find and choose the best for your own situation and budget.
- Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner (Best Steamer for Bed Bugs)
- Conair ExtremeSteam Hand-Held Steamer (Best Budget Steamer for Bed Bugs)
- McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner
- Pure Enrichment PureClean Steam Cleaner
- Steamfast SF-370 Canister Cleaner
Best steamers for bed bugs
- Heat output: up to 275°F (135°C)
- Steaming time (boiler capacity): up to 50 minutes (54 ounce/1.6 liter)
- Heating time: up to 7 minutes
- Attachments: Rectangular floor tool, microfiber pads, window tool, lance, microfiber cloth, triangular tool, triangular tool microfiber bonnet, 5 x nylon brushes, brass brush.
Dupray Neat steam cleaner can produce one of the hottest steam on the market of up to 275°F (135°C). This is more than enough for treating bed bugs with hot steam. At that temperature, steam can penetrate deeper into the surface and kill the bed bugs almost instantly.
The Dupray device contains quite a large 54 ounce (1.6 liters) boiler tank which will give you a steaming time of up to 50 minutes. During that time you’ll be able to treat the entire average size mattress or even the box spring.
When turned on Dupray Neat steam cleaner will take up to 8 minutes to be ready to use. Once turned on the power button will be yellow and will turn into green when steam is hot enough to be used.
This device has a steam lock button. Once enabled it will produce steam continuously without you needed to keep the finger on the button. It is a very useful feature when you need to steam large surfaces such as a mattress or floor.
The electric cord holder is located on the bottom of the device. You may need to tilt it to roll up the cord before storing the device which will not be terribly convenient.
It will not be easy to determine how much water is in the boiler as there is no indicator. On the other hand, you will know that once the steam is not coming out it is time to refill. Before refilling the boiler you need to wait until the device has cooled down enough – in about 20 minutes.
- High heat output (275°F/135°C)
- Large boiler produces up to 50 minutes of steam
- Built-in funnel – no need to have a separate one
- Steam lock feature – no need to keep the finger on the button
- Electric cord holder is on the bottom of the device. You may need to tilt it to roll-up the cord before storing the device
- No water level indicator
- Need to wait 20 minutes until it is cooled down to refill
- Heat output: up to 212°F (100°C)
- Steaming time (boiler capacity): 15 minutes
- Heating time: 75 seconds
- Attachments: Fabric brush, soft cushion, and creaser (3 attachments in total)
Conair ExtremeSteam is a hand held steamer which is the most portable device on the list. It comes handy when you want to have a steamer on the go.
Let’s say you are travelling somewhere and want to make sure you have possibility to treat pests in case you find them in your temporary home (e.g. hotel room).
This device takes up to 75 seconds to heat up and ready to be used for steaming. Once ready it can go on for 15 minutes with the full water container. So its portability comes at the price of water boiler capacity.
You can adjust steam heat with two settings. It will help you to adjust the heat depending on the fabric you are working with from heavy cotton to delicate satin or silk.
The Conair ExtremeSteam device has a steam lock button, which enables continuous steam. It will help you in case you need to steam larger areas.
Standard package includes just three main attachments: fabric brush, soft cushion, and creaser. It should be enough for bed bug treatment.
The Conair ExtremeSteam device does need to be plugged into a power outlet to work. The 9-foot power cord allows flexibility to move it around the area.
The downside would be that the steam might not be able to penetrate the fabric deep enough. Therefore it is best to treat pests which are not hiding very deep in the surface such as clothes, carpets, and curtains.
- Small and portable device to be used on the go
- Quick heat up time to be ready to use
- Heat intensity has two settings
- Steam lock button for continuous steaming
- Steam does not penetrate deep into the surface
- Less steaming time compared to bigger devices
- Only 3 attachments comes in standard package
- Heat output: up to 212°F (100°C)
- Steaming time (boiler capacity): up to 45 minutes (48 ounces)
- Heating time: 8 minutes
- Attachments: steam jet nozzle, extension wands (x2), mop head, microfiber pads (x2), squeegee, triangle brush, nylon utility brushes (x5), brass utility brush, and scrub pad (18 accessories in total).
McCulloch MC1275 can heat the steam up to 212°F degrees which is more than enough of the recommended temperature for bed bug treatment.
Device can be ready to use in about 8 minutes which takes it to heat up water in the boiler. Once ready it will produce the steam of up to 45 minutes.
One of the unique selling points for McCulloch MC1275 steam cleaner is a 15 foot long power cord and over 9 foot long steam hose. With this combo it is very easy to navigate around the house and reach places where bed bugs might be hiding.
When you need to treat large areas you can enable the steam lock switch. It will enable continuous steam without a need to hold the steam button.
In the package you’ll find 18 pieces of attachments including the ones needed for bed bug treatment.
Unfortunately it does not include cloth bonnet which is included for example with Dupray. It is very useful to reduce moisture content in the steam. Instead you can improvise a bit and make it yourself.
Do not overfill the boiler with too much water as it will not get hot enough. Fill up only the amount of water that is according to instructions.
- Extra-long more than 15 foot power cord and over 9 foot steam hose
- Comes with several useful attachments for bed bug treatment (18 in total)
- Good all around the house for other deep cleaning activities
- Brush attachments might be coming apart after some use. Keep the purchase documentation for warranty service in case it breaks down.
- No cord or hose storage solution
- Difficult to empty the tank with cord and hose still attached as they cannot be disconnected
- Heat output: up to 212°F (100°C)
- Steaming time (boiler capacity): up to 45 minutes (50 ounces / 1.5 liter)
- Heating time: 8 minutes
- Attachments: Mop head, triangle brush, steam jet nozzle, squeegee, nylon utility brushes (x5), brass utility brush (18 accessories in total).
Pure Enrichment PureClean steam cleaner is quite a strong contender to compete with best steamers for bed bugs. It has very similar capabilities to the top rated devices on the market.
With the boiler capacity of over 50 ounces (1.5 liter) it produces steam of up to 45 minutes. Steamer will take 8 minutes to be ready to be used and start producing steam.
The Pure Enrichment unit has smooth rolling wheels and 16 foot power cord, which makes it easy to move around the house. It also does have great power cord storage of the side of the unit.
In some cases brush attachments wore faster than expected. On very rare occasions some users have reported that they have got their units with some parts missing.
However, most users who have run into those issues mentioned how responsive Pure Enrichment customer service is. They have got replacement parts without any questions from the manufacturer.
- Excellent customer service
- Neat power cord storage on the side of the unit
- Handy storage handle to rest the hose while not using it
- Sometimes brush attachments can worn out too fast
- Plastic parts may feel flimsy
- Heat output: up to 200°F (93°C)
- Steaming time (boiler capacity): up to 45 minutes (48 ounces / 1.4 liter)
- Heating time: 8 minutes
- Attachments: Jet nozzle, nylon utility brushes (x2), brass utility brush, squeegee, scrub tool, corner tool and mop head (15 accessories in total)
The Steamfast SF-370 steam cleaner yet again has very similar capabilities as the other best steamers for bed bugs here on the list.
It does produce 45 minutes of steam on its 48 ounce (1.4 liter) boiler tank. Steam is ready on average in 8 minutes.
Steam lock button eases use on large patches to produce continuous steam. You don’t need to keep the finger on the button for extensive periods of time.
Power cable of more than 15 feet long provides great ability to move the steamer all around the house.
This unit is one of the most affordable reviewed in terms of price.
- Good price
- Integrated and easy to use cord wrap
- Convenient nozzle cradle to store hose while it is not used.
- Steam pressure might be low
How to choose the best bed bug steamer?
When selecting the best steamer to kill bed bugs, you’ll need to look for several important factors.
This is the most important parameter when selecting the best steamer for bed bugs. Failing to reach required heat will not give any result to get rid of bed bugs.
Adult bed bugs will die at 117-122°F (47-50°C). While their eggs will require temperatures to 125°F (52°C) or more. RA Naylor and CJ Boase research has found that all stages of bed bugs were killed when exposed 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius).
Heat steamers will need to output 200-220°F (93-104°C) to reach required surface temperature. Some of the temperature will be lost when steaming bed bugs so that will be enough to reach temperature needed to kill bed bugs. Surface needs to be about 160-180°F (71-82°C) immediately after the steamer nozzle has passed the spot.
Steam is very effective to kill bed bugs when they are no deeper than ¾ inches (2 cm) into the fabric surface. Within cracks and crevices steam can kill bed bugs up to 2⅜ inches (6 cm) deep.
You need to balance steam pressure for steam treatment to be effective.
Too much pressure may blow bed bugs away from the treatment area and they will survive. Too little pressure may not penetrate the surface deep enough. Some of the steamers allow you to adjust the pressure.
You need to look for a steamer which produces at least 40 PSI of pressure. If possible I would recommend choosing a device with 60 PSI of pressure output.
Less water content within the hot steam is better. Too much water may ruin your furniture, floors or walls. It could also result in mold if the treatment area is left damp afterwards.
Professional steamers available on the market produce water content within the steam up to 5%.
Boiler size results in how often you need to refill the tank. The bigger the boiler the less times you need to refill during the bed bug treatment.
It will also give flexibility how much water you want to put in the tank. Bigger boiler also will result in a bigger steamer size.
For home use you will need to look for at least a 48 ounce tank to get around 45 minutes of steam. This will typically give you enough steam to treat an average mattress.
To start treating bed bugs with the heat you need to have steam. Steam comes from boiling water. It takes some time to get the water to the boiling point.
The sooner the steamer gets water to the boiling point the better. Typical steamer takes up to 15 minutes to start producing steam. Most of the steamers on our best steamer for bed bugs list takes up to 7-8 minutes to be ready to use.
Direct injection, multiple heating elements or higher power wattage reduces time to be ready with the boiling water sooner and starting steam treatment.
Bed bugs can be hiding in the mattresses, box springs, bed frame, headboard or in cracks or crevices. To be able to treat bed bugs with steam on all kinds of surfaces effectively you need to have a wide range of attachments.
Most of the household steamers come with several nozzles to be used on furniture, mattresses, floors or tight spaces. You don’t need too many of the various attachments but rather the ones that can reach the spaces where bed bugs are hiding.
Wider nozzles will require less passes over the same area in comparison to more narrow one.
Nozzles with larger steaming areas most likely will not generate too much pressure to blow the bed bugs around rather than killing them. Please do not use jet nozzles to treat bed bugs for that reason.
How to use a bed bug steamer?
You can buy the best steamer in the world for treating bed bugs for lots of money. However, if you do not know what you are doing, all that money will be wasted.
Inspect area for bed bugs
Inspect for bed bugs to find where they are hiding and how bad the infestation is. Bed bugs will typically hide on edges, seams and folds in the fabric. They also like to hide in cracks and crevices. Those are the places where you should be very carefully inspecting.
Do not move things around while you inspect to prevent unknowingly distributing bed bugs around.
Based on your findings determine the treatment area.
If you see that you have a large infestation it is better to find a professional pest control company near you. You can use our Licensed Pest Control Services Search Tool to find one in your local area.
Clean the house
Clean and declutter your home to open areas for bed bug treatment with the steam. As mentioned above, do not simply move stuff around to prevent spreading the bed bug infestation.
Any things or trash you want to get rid of toss into the trash bag and seal immediately when done. Take out the trash to avoid any pests to be transferred to another area.
Strip down the bedding from the bed and put it into the trash bags. Seal them before moving to the drying machine. You don’t want bed bugs to escape anywhere between your bedroom and the washing machine.
Once you get there put the bedding carefully into the dryer and set to the highest temperature for 30 minutes.
You may wonder why not to wash them out in a washing machine?
Dryer will dehydrate the bugs and they will be killed at high heat. In the washing machine they may not reach the temperature high enough to kill them and bed bugs might survive.
Take the empty trash bags straight to the trash can outside.
Vacuum the floor, carpet, mattress and furniture to get rid of pests, dust and debris. Remove and seal the vacuum bag (or content of your vacuum container) immediately after you are done vacuuming.
Take out the trash to avoid bed bugs or other pests in the vacuum bag to escape.
Give your house a good all-round clean up with the appropriate cleaning solution.
Setup the steamer nozzle
Depending on the surface you will be treating for bed bugs select the proper nozzle to the steamer.
For the floors or carpet select the widest nozzle that is included in the kit.
If you are going to steam the mattress or furniture then it is recommended to go for a mid-size nozzle to be able to reach into the surface enough.
When you are treating cracks and crevices you may go for the most narrow nozzle to concentrate heat in that small space and reach pests that are hiding deep inside.
Turn on the steamer and wait until the steam is ready to start the bed bug treatment. It usually takes up to 7-8 minutes.
Most importantly do it slowly to make sure the temperature of 140°F (60°C) which is needed to kill the bed bugs at any stage is reached. You should aim at the speed of 1 inch (2.5 cm) per second.
You can use an infrared thermometer to check the surface temperature and make sure the desired temperature is reached. In case you don’t have a thermometer you can touch the surface.
If it is cold — you are moving too fast and the surface is not reaching required temperature. If it is too hot and you cannot keep your hand down — you are moving too slowly and can damage the material of the surface.
Steam every inch of the mattress and box spring. Make sure you are treating edges, seams, and folds in the fabric as well as cracks and crevices very carefully.
When treating the surface with heat it is recommended to move from top to bottom. Otherwise, steam will go up and bed bugs might get away once they sense the heat.
Keep the nozzle at a bit of an angle so there is a bit of a gap at the leading edge. If you keep the nozzle flat bed bugs might sense the heat coming and get away before they get under the steamer head.
To reduce moisture from reaching the treatment surface you could add the cloth bonnet on the steamer nozzle which may be included in the kit. Alternatively, you could wrap the nozzle in a piece of cloth or towel.
I’d recommend watching this video to see the entire process of the bed bug treatment with the steamer:
Dry treated areas
After the treatment with the hot steam, you need to allow that area to dry out. You can also use a fan and raise the room temperature to speed up the drying process.
You can also install a mattress encasement to prevent bed bugs from reappearing.
Repeat the entire bed bug treatment after 7-10 days in case you will still see bed bugs.
DO NOT steam the leather because it might get damaged.
DO start steaming the area which is hidden (e.g. behind the furniture or the bottom of the dresser) so in case the surface will get damaged it is not in front of everyone’s eyes.
After reviewing several best steamers for bed bugs on the market I have come to the conclusion. It wasn’t easy though.
My top #1 pick overall is Dupray Neat steam cleaner.
It has the best heat output from the all equal up to 275°F (135°C). The steamer is ready to be used in just 7 minutes after the start. With its large 54 ounces (1.6 liters) boiler tank it will keep producing steam for up to 50 minutes.
Competition for the Dupray device was quite tough. Most of the steamers I have reviewed are producing very similar results of being ready to steam in 7-8 minutes and lasting for 45 minutes.
You may consider other options than Dupray, but for now, this is my top choice for the best steamer for bed bugs.