How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs in Couch

It’s bad enough that bed bugs are infesting your mattress. But now they are plaguing your couch too.

Our couches offer the perfect hiding place for bed bugs.

For one, we sit or sleep on it, which provides the bed bugs easy access to their bloodmeal.

Couches also have plenty of cracks and crevices which bed bugs love.

But no one wants these tiny pests living in our couches.

In this article, we’ll go over the different methods of eliminating bed bugs from couches.

Let’s dive in.

1.Wash, Steam, Vacuum

Wash

Remove all the cushion covers and wash them.

If you have a couch cover, wash that as well.

Make sure to set your washer to hot when washing any fabrics with bed bugs.

High temperatures are fatal to bed bugs, so setting your heat to high will provide the highest mortality rate.

Do the same when drying the fabrics. Place your cushion and couch covers to a hot dryer for 60 to 90 minutes to kill any remaining bed bugs or eggs.

Since different dryers and washers reach different temperatures, leaving your fabric in the dryer can help ensure you eliminate bed bugs at all life stages.

Steam

Washing your covers will not eliminate all the bed bugs hiding inside your couch. These bugs can be hiding inside the frame and cushions.

To cover all your bases, I recommend steaming.

Steam is an all-natural, budget-friendly option for eliminating bed bugs in your couch.

Bed bugs and their eggs cannot survive temperatures that exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Since most steamers can reach up to 240 degrees Fahrenheit, they can be highly effective when employed against bed bugs.

To check your steamer’s temperature, use a thermometer, and place one layer of a towel over it.

Apply steam to the thermometer for 1-3 seconds.

If the thermometer reaches 150 degrees or higher, it is hot enough to kill bed bugs.

When steaming, focus on seams, edges, and folds in the fabric.

If you see bed bugs or activity anywhere else, steam there as well.

When steaming, make sure to move from top to bottom.

If you go from bottom to top, the steam will rise and cause any bed bugs to try and get away from the heat.

Steaming from bottom to top can cause bed bugs to retreat to areas you have already steamed.

When going over large areas, I recommend using a large head attachment.

When moving along the surface of your couch, keep a pace of about 1 inch per second.

At this pace, you will deliver enough heat to kill bed bugs without damaging the couch or fabric.

Finally, to reach inside crevices, use a smaller fine point tip or brush tip.

Doing so will allow you to inject steam into small crevices that would otherwise be hard to reach.

Remember to steam under your couch as well.

If the bottom of your couch is exposed, be sure to steam any visible bed bugs focusing on the seams, edges, and folds in the fabric.

Vacuum

While you wouldn’t be able to target all bed bugs using vacuum treatments, this method is excellent at removing a large number of bed bugs, eggs, and shells skin quickly.

Removing these is vital in the treatment process because it gives you a clear picture of progress.

For this method, I recommend using crevice tools designed to help your reach bed bugs hiding in folds and crevices.

Vacuum any location where there is bed bug evidence on your couch.

I also highly recommend using a vacuum with a HEPA filter to prevent the number of allergens and particles that enter the air after vacuuming.

If you missed any locations  its possible that you might vacuum live bed bugs. 

If this is the case, and you have a bag-free vacuum, I suggest you add a thin layer of DE at the bottom to kill any live bed bugs. 

Pros

✅ No Chemicals Required. 

✅ Can be done at home without professional equipment.

✅ Safe for humans and pets. 

✅ Non-Invasive. 

Cons

🚫 Time Consuming. 

🚫 Only kills bed bugs you come in contact with. 

🚫 No residual effects. 

 

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2. Heat Treatment

One of the most effective all-natural, non-chemical methods of eliminating bed bugs is using heat.

Bed bugs of all life cycles can not withstand heat higher than 125 degrees Fahrenheit.

The easiest way to DIY heat treatment is to use portable heating systems.

The best option is the Bug Zap Full Room system, which should fit a couch depending on the size.

While this option can be a bit expensive, it is much cheaper than calling a professional.

You can also use a Bug Zap Full Room System in other furniture in your home, such as your mattress.

This product will allow you to place your furniture inside a sealed container and heat it until the bed bugs die.

Keep in mind that you can expect to pay around $1,100 to get a portable heater.

If you are on a budget, I recommend using a different option to eliminate bed bugs from your couch.

Pros

✅ Very effective delivers high mortality rates.  

✅ Products can not be purchased to complete at home. 

✅ Safe for humans and pets. 

✅ No toxic chemicals. 

✅ Kills bed bugs and eggs. 

Cons

🚫 Expensive.

🚫 Requires specialized gear. 

🚫 No residual effects. 

 

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3. Couch Encasements

If you are looking for a hands-off approach to treating the bed bugs inside your couch, you can use encasements.

Encasements create a barrier between you and the bed bugs living on your couch.

They are great if you are looking for an inexpensive and quick solution for your bed bugs.

Encasements are also great to use if you do not want to dispose of a heavily infested couch.

Note, encasements will not kill the bed bugs living on your couch for at least a year.

That’s because bed bugs can live up to one year without food.

As such, I recommend you keep the encasement on for at least 14 months.

Also, keep in mind that while couch encasements are cheap and quick, it does come with some downsides.

The main downside of using couch encasement is that they can rip.

If the bed bugs get out, then all the time you spent waiting is wasted, and you will need to find where the bed bugs are now hiding.

Second, these covers can be uncomfortable and unsightly.

I recommend investing in a quality mattress encasement from the start.

If you go for a budget option and it rips, you will have to wait longer for the bed bugs to die, and you will most likely be exposed to bed bugs again.

 

Pros

✅ Easy and quick to implement.  

✅ Safe for humans and pets. 

✅ No toxic chemicals. 

✅ Provides immediate protection against bed bugs. 

✅ Budget-friendly. 

Cons

🚫 Slow acting, takes 12-14 months to work. 

🚫 Not effective if covers rip or break. 

🚫 No residual effects. 

🚫 Will not eliminate infestations. 

 

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4. Fumigation

Fumigation treatments release fumigant gas into bed bug-infested areas to control bed bugs in all life stages.

The great thing about fumigation is its ability to penetrate areas that are difficult to access, such as tiny folds, seams, and intricate fabric.

The easiest way to fumigate your couch is by using Nuvan Pro Strips.

Nuvan pro strips use a chemical called DDVP, which attacks the bed bugs nervous system and kills it.

To use Nuvan pro, place your couch and one strip inside an airtight container.

To do this, purchase a storage bag larger size than your couch.

Place 1 Nuvan Pro strip in the bag with your couch and seal it using a zip tie.

Make sure that the seal is airtight, or the fumigation won’t be as effective.

It’s best to perform this fumigation outdoors or inside a garage were people don’t frequent.

DDVP is toxic and should not be exposed to cooking or food areas.

Leave your couch in the bag for seven days to kill both eggs and adult bed bugs.

Make sure to wear a mask when handling DDVP.

DDVP is toxic, and so you want to use it away from people and areas where people frequent.

After seven days, break the airtight seal.

Leave your couch to air out for several hours.

If you’re doing this in a room or garage, keep the windows and doors open.

While the couch is airing out, no one should be in the vicinity for several hours.

Pros

✅ High mortality rates.  

✅ Can be done locally. 

✅ No toxic chemicals. 

✅ Easy to complete, does not require professional help. 

Cons

🚫 Takes seven days to kill all bed bugs.  

🚫 Can’t use couch while fumigating. 

🚫 No residual effects. 

🚫 Uses toxic chemicals. 

 

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5. Pitfall Traps and Lures

Pitall Traps

Pitfall traps capture bed bugs traveling between their harborage area and host.

They are typically made of a plastic dish and work based on the fact that bed bugs cannot climb slippery surfaces.

Pitfall traps allow bed bugs to crawl in but not crawl out. 

You can place pitfall traps under your couch legs and cushion.

Another thing you can is place water inside the trap to drown any bed bugs that get in.

Lure

A bed bug lure is a chemical designed to attract bed bugs.

You can place one pack of lure inside your pitfall trap to attract the bed bugs.

I recommend that you keep a bed bug spray nearby for those bed bugs that come out of hiding but don’t get caught in the trap.

Keep in mind, Pitfall traps do not target bed bug eggs.

Pros

✅ Easy and quick to implement.  

✅ Safe for humans and pets. 

✅ No toxic chemicals. 

✅ Can continue using couch while treating bugs. 

Cons

🚫 Slow acting. 

🚫  Not always effective at eliminating infestations. 

🚫 No residual effects. 

🚫 Will not eliminate infestations. 

 

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6. Chemical Treatment

Chemical treatment is an excellent treatment to use in situations where heat, steam, or mattress covers do not work.

This method involves spraying insecticides on your couch.

There are two types of spray you can use: contact and residual.

Contact sprays will kill any bed bugs that come in direct contact with the chemical.

Residual sprays are slow-acting. They leave a residual effect and will kill any bed bugs that come into contact with the area that it was sprayed on for several weeks afterward.

Make sure you spray the insecticides on seams, edges, crevices, and folds in the fabric.

If you see any bed bugs running around, spray those as well, even if you’re using a residual spray.

Remember to remove the dust cover from under your couch and spray it there as well.

Finally, when using insecticides, make sure to read and follow all label instructions.

Pay special attention to what type of furniture, surfaces, and materials is the insecticide safe to use.

You’ll also want to pay attention to how long it takes before re-application and follow accordingly.

Pros

✅ Can kill bed bugs on contact. 

✅ Residual effects can kill bed bugs after application.

✅ High mortality rate. 

✅ There are organic chemicals that can kill bed bugs. 

Cons

🚫 Certain Chemicals are toxic or not safe for pets. 

🚫 Chemicals can be expensive. 

🚫 Requires special attention to label instructions. 

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Pro-Tips

Place Your Couch Somewhere Safe

 Before treating your couch, make sure to place it somewhere where it cannot spread the infestation.

If you begin pulling your couch apart in the living room where it sits, it’s possible you’ll spread the infestation in your house.

Consider taking your couch outside or to a secure location such as the garage or patio. 

Also, make sure that you wrap your couch in plastic before moving it to prevent any bed bugs from falling out during the process. 

This will keep the bed bugs contained in the couch and not fall off as you are taking it out of your house.

Inspect your Couch

Before you treat your couch, inspect if what you have are bed bugs and not other similar looking bugs.

An inspection will also help you know where the bed bugs are aggregating, so you’ll know exactly which area to treat.

When inspecting, look for any signs of bed bugs such as casings, droppings, eggs, and live bugs.

Here are some tools you can use:

  • Flashlight 
  • Facemask 
  • Magnifying Glass 
  • Compressed Air 
  • Thin Plastic or Old Credit Card (For Reaching Into Small spaces) 
  • Plastic bag 
  • Double-Sided Tape 

The first place you want to look for bed bugs in your couch is on the cushions. 

To do this, remove each cushion carefully. 

Using the magnifying glass and flashlight inspect the cushion, paying particular attention to seams and zippers where bed bugs would be hiding. 

Next, inspect the base of the couch, check-in the small crevices using the credit card trap. 

Wrap a thin plastic or old credit card with double-sided tape. 

Next, insert the card inside crevices to see if any bed bugs inside will get stuck to the tape. 

Now, do a visual inspection around the couch with a magnifying glass and flashlight. 

Finally, flip the couch over and inspect underneath. 

Look inside and seams or crevices. 

Make sure to flip any loose fabrics underneath your couch to check if any bed bugs are hiding under the fabric. 

Once you have thoroughly inspected your couch, you will know precisely where the bed bug problem is. 

In some cases, bed bugs may be localized in one area, while others may have infested the entire couch. 

FAQ

Why did bed bugs infest my couch?

Bed bugs like to live next to their human host.

They typically aggregate in and around your bed.

But, if you sit or sleep on your couch frequently, bed bugs will likely infest it.

Another reason that there could be bed bugs on your couch is that you have a large infestation.

If you have a significant infestation, bed bugs are looking for somewhere to hide other than your mattress.

Finally, bed bugs look for shelter with little airflow and lots of crevices. Both of which can be found in your couch.

Can bed bugs live on leather couches?

Yes, bed bugs can live on leather couches.

However, it is less likely since bed bugs prefer surfaces that are easy to climb on.

They are more likely to infest leather couches in significant infestations.

Can Bed Bugs Live Under The Couch?

Yes. Adult bed bugs and their eggs can live under the couch.

Couches have crevices and fold underneath that provide a perfect shelter for bed bugs.

Can bed bugs eggs live on couches?

Yes, bed bugs eggs can live on couches.

Bed bugs typically stick their eggs in small crevices, seams, or folds in fabric to protect their eggs.

Another common location to find bed bug eggs is under the couch.

What are signs of bed bugs in the couch?

There are a few signs you should look out for that indicate you have a bed bug infestation. 

  1. Live bed bugs – Bed bugs are about the size of a grain of rice, oval, flat, and light brown to reddish-brown. 
  2. Bed Bug Eggs – Bed bugs are smaller than a grain of rice, white and are oval.
  3. Dried Blood – Small specs of fresh Blood will look like dark red dots around your couch. 
  4. Skin casings – Bed bugs shed their skin to grow. The presence of these skin cases is a good sign of bed bug infestation.
  5. Bed Bug Feces – bed bug feces appears as small black spots or black/brown streaks. 

How to Prevent Bed Bugs on your couch?

The best way to prevent bed bugs on your couch is to prevent them from entering your home in the first place.

 

Here’s how:

Keep Your House Clean And Tidy

Bed bugs love clutter. It provides them with the perfect shelter to hide and reproduce

Bed bugs can hide anywhere from dirty laundry, backpacks, lamps, books, electronics, etc.

The cleaner your house, the fewer places bed bugs can hide.
Being clean and organized makes it spot bed bugs as well as to get rid of them.

Change Your Linens

Changing your linens will help you identify bed bug infestation in its early stages.

Examine Used Furniture

If you like to buy used or antique furniture, inspect them before taking them home.

Inspect the zippers, folds, and seams for signs of bed bugs such as casings, droppings, eggs, and live bugs.

Seal Voids On Your Wall

Bed bugs typically spread from room to room through crevices and voids.

This type of transfer is especially common in a multi-unit building.

To prevent these bugs from entering your home, make sure to seal up all the holes and crevices on your walls, floors, doors, and windows.

Bed bugs are tiny and can get into the smallest cracks and crevices, so don’t skip any holes because they seem innocuous.

Smooth Storage Bins

Get storage bins that are made of smooth plastic or metal. This way, bed bugs won’t be able to crawl and infest anything in it.

Traveling

When traveling, keep your luggage off the floor to prevent it from becoming infected.
Place all your clothes inside a sealed plastic bag.

Once home, make sure to wash your clothes on hot water.

Any clothes that need to be dry cleaned should be sent for service.

You can also put them in the dryer and run it on high heat for 30 minutes.

Monitoring

Inspect your home every three months once every season.

Regular inspections will help ensure that you catch any bed bug infestation at its earliest stages.

To make monitoring bed bugs more efficient, you can purchase a monitoring device.

These devices include passive, active, or pitfall style traps.

Passive Monitoring

Passive monitoring involves using any trap that captures insects that come across it, such as sticky traps.

Unfortunately, sticky traps are not very good at catching bed bugs. As such, it’s not a very good way to detect an infestation.

Active Monitoring

Active monitoring involves using heat, CO2, and other chemical attractants to draw bed bugs in.

Bed bugs find their host by the carbon dioxide (CO2) we breathe out.

Once the bugs detect the CO2 coming from the device, they will climb inside, but they won’t be able to climb back up.

Pitfall Style Traps

Pitfall traps capture bed bugs traveling between their harborage area and host.

They are typically made of a plastic dish and work based on the fact that bed bugs cannot climb slippery surfaces.

Pitfall traps are usually placed under bed legs and furniture to capture bed bugs crawling on the legs.

They can be useful in preventing bugs from reaching their host as well as detecting bugs early.

While they work, pitfall traps are not very reliable at bed bug detection.

Because these devices can only detect bugs that travel in a specific location, it can easily miss other bed bugs infesting a room.

Do I have to get rid of my couch if it has bed bugs?

No. If your couch has bed bugs, you don’t need to get rid of your couch. 

 

 

There are many ways to get rid of bed bugs on your couch including the ones mentioned above.

 

Disposal of an infested couch is generally discouraged since it does not guarantee that it will eliminate your infestation.

Also, disposing of an infested couch can lead to the spread of bed bugs.

If you would rather dispose of your couch, it’s vital that you to take the necessary steps to avoid spreading bed bugs to un-infested areas.

Here’s how:

  1. Remove all readily accessible bed bugs and eggs.
  2. Wrap the infested couch in plastic or place it inside a container that will keep the bed bugs inside.
  3. Label the sofa as bed bug-infested and or unsalvageable.
  4. If possible, coordinated with sanitation services to minimize the time before the couch gets picked up.

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