Unless you are an entomologist or an exterminator, you'll never meet a bed bug that you like. These tiny insects are opportunistic pests that survive by feeding on blood—both human and animal.
Because the bugs are so small and most active in dark spaces, the first sign of an infestation is often mysterious bites or a rash on your skin. However, there are other bed bug signs to watch for in bedding and furniture that will alert you that it is time to take action:
- Adult bed bugs: Oval, flat, and reddish-brown, they will appear rounded if they have recently fed on blood.
- Bed bug nymphs: Recently hatched bed bugs are translucent, tiny, and very difficult to see.
- Bed bug eggs: Milky white and the size of a small grain of rice, the eggs are laid in dark crevices like mattress seams and under furniture cushions.
- Bed bug exoskeletons: Bed bugs shed their skins at least five times during their life cycle. The skins look like a live bug, but are more translucent and don't move.
- Bed bug excrement: Tiny black specks or thin black streaks on bedding can be bed bug waste.
- Blood: Mysterious dried or fresh specks of blood on bedding or furniture are a possible indication that there are active and feeding bed bugs present.
Once you determine that you do have bed bugs, it is essential to take eradication measures as soon as possible. Bed bugs reproduce rapidly and they will never go away on their own as long as there is a source of food (humans). Professional pest control measures are usually necessary. Once the infestation is under control, cleaning the bed bug stains is relatively easy but will require time and patience.
One of the worst things that you can bring home from your travels is the bed bug. You won’t even know that the creatures are already inside your home, not until it’s too late anyway. These insects are a nuisance in so many ways. For one, they bite. The bitten site becomes very itchy, and some bites become infected. Apart from being really pesky critters, it can be a nightmare to clean up after these bloodsucking creatures too. The main reason for this is that bed bugs feed on blood, and so the fecal spots or waste that they leave behind can really leave nasty stains.
Cleaning Bed Bug Stains
Sometimes, after washing affected fabrics or bedding, there could still be bed bug stains left. Even though your sheets may be clean, the marks or discolorations can make things look rather unpleasant. So, how do you get rid of the repulsive fecal stains that these insects leave behind? Well, here are a few tricks that might work for you.
1. Use hydrogen peroxide.
Before using hydrogen peroxide, know that this substance can also cause discolorations especially if you apply this on colored cloths. The substance can also weaken fabric. So, be cautious. When using hydrogen peroxide, pour a very small amount on the stained area only. Don’t allow the chemical to spread beyond the affected part. The chemical will foam as it reacts with blood. Remove the foam and re-apply the substance if the stain is still visible. If not, rinse the fabric using cold water and your usual laundry detergent. In case a larger area is affected, you can soak an entire sheet or garment in a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water using a 50:50 ratio. Let it sit for about 20 minutes before rinsing.
2. Use bleach.
Depending on the type of bleach that you have, you can use this to remove stains on white or colored fabric. Follow the instructions on the label regarding formulations and proper usage. Usually, you have to mix bleach with water, and then you use the mixture for soaking a stained sheet. Bleaching agents are commonly incorporated in laundry detergents as well. If you want to use bleach on colored fabrics or sheets, make sure that what you have is a color-safe product or else your things will become faded or discolored.
3. Use enzyme-based stain removers.
Purchase an enzyme-based stain remover if preferred. Such products are often used for spot treatments. Simply spray a product onto the stained area, and leave this on for 20 to 30 minutes or as recommended on the label. Rinse afterwards.
4. Use salt and water.
Create a paste using salt and water. Gently rub the thick mixture on the stain. The salt has dehydrating properties that help in loosening the blood particles. Afterwards, wipe away the paste and rinse with cold water. This is also a good way to remove stains on mattresses. But since you should not overly dampen a mattress, be careful when rinsing. What you can do is to spray the area with cold water and then blot immediately. Do this a few times or until you have completely washed away the paste and the stain from your mattress.
If you are reading this article, chances are you have already treated your home or office for bed bugs. However, bed bugs also leave behind visible signs of infestation; primary ones being blood stains and poop or fecal stains all over your bed, sheets, wooden furniture and even the walls. If you are looking for ways to get rid of bed bug blood stains and fecal stains, then this guide covers it all. Read on to find out how you can easily remove annoying pesky stains left behind by annoying pesky bed bugs:
Why do bed bugs leave stains behind?
One of the main signs of bed bugs is rust colored or brownish reddish stains. You will see these in corners of your mattresses, on the bed’s wooden frames, on your upholstered furniture, curtains, fabric couches and futons, carpets and even on the walls. No matter how much cleaning, washing, vacuuming you do, you will continue seeing these stains as long as you have bed bugs. Bed bugs leave these stains behind due to following reasons:
- Bedbugs need large blood meals to complete their life cycle stages.
- After feeding, they leave behind fecal matter on the surfaces they hide in.
- The fecal matter and digested blood cause brownish reddish stains on the linen.
- Bed bugs also discard their shells and molt through different life stages leaving behind rust colored debris or discarded exoskeleton on your bed, furniture and even inside electric outlets.
- The hatched bed bug eggs also leave behind discarded shells. Bed bug eggs are also coated with sticky material that helps them remain glued to the surfaces and that can also stain sheets, bed clothes and upholstery.
How many blood stains do bed bugs produce?
According to Paul J Bello’s The Bed Bug Combat Manual, one isolated and fully engorged bed bug can leave behind almost six blood stains in a fourteen-day time period. This means that the larger the number of stains you notice, the greater the infestation. The number of stains more or less indicates the number of bed bugs and also the duration of infestation. Dried, dark stains also indicate that the bugs have had plenty of time to reproduce and create new populations. Based on current research by entomologists, a single well fed bed bug can, on an average, produce at least one fecal stain per day. Likewise, a fully engorged and isolated well fed bed bug nymph could produce nearly 26 stains over a period of sixty days.
What can you do to get rid of bed bug blood stains on sheets?
Here are some things you can do to get rid of blood stains on fabrics:
- The best thing to completely remove bed bug stains is to be as proactive as possible. This is because; the longer the stains sit, the deeper it penetrates and the harder it will be to get rid of.
- Cold water is your best defense against blood stains of any kind. Never use hot water on fresh blood stains.
- Do not apply heat to stained materials. This is because; heat will set the stains and dry up the blood making their removal even more difficult.
- Bed bug stains are organic protein based stains. So you can use an enzyme based cleaner to remove it. Look for products that list blood stain removal in their features or targeted stain removal lists.Note that each type of enzyme has a different action and is usually effective at breaking down only one kind of stain. Some enzymes, for example, may be listing urine and feces stain removal. These may not be effective in treating bed bug blood stains.
- Rinse the fabric under cool water. Brush the fabric gently. This should remove most of the stain.
- Apply the enzyme based stain remover. Wait for a few minutes before rinsing it out.
- You can also rinse out blood stains using club soda/baking soda or hydrogen peroxide.
- When using bleach or hydrogen peroxide to remove bed bug stains from sheets, always test a small area first. If the color fades, discontinue use. You could spot treat the fabric with diluted bleach/hydrogen peroxide.
- Wash the fabric as usual in detergent and water in your washer.
- Air-dry the fabric in sun.
How to get rid of bed bug stains from carpets and upholstery (items you cannot wash in the washer)
When the bed bug blood or poop stain is on the carpets, rugs, curtains or other items that cannot be washed, take the following measures to clean them out:
- Use a clean sponge and cool water and dab as much of the stain as you can.
- Do not scrub as that will only cause the stains to go deeper into the fibers.
- Spray some diluted laundry detergent on the stains. Let the detergent sit for a few minutes.
- Dab the mixture gently. Clean the stained surface with an old, wet rag.
- You can also use hydrogen peroxide but test a small area first to ensure that the fabric is not damaged.
How to remove stains from fabrics
- Mix one quart water, 1 tsp liquid dishwashing detergent and 1 tablespoon ammonia.
- Soak the fabric in the mixture. In case of bed bug poop stains or rust colored stains on upholstered furniture, rugs or carpets, spray the mixture over the stains.
- Rinse with cold water.
- If stains persist, spray or soak in a mixture of water and vinegar and let sit/soak for an hour.
- Wash as usual.
- Dry in dryer or let it air dry.
How to remove bed bug fecal stains from walls and wood
Bed bugs prefer wood and textile over plastic and metal as they can easily hide in cracks and crevices in these surfaces. Here are some ways to clean the bed bug poop on walls:
- Spray water over the stain. In case of the walls, this is bound to run down. Gently scrub with a rag.
- Many commercial stain removers can help remove stains from wood. Products like Klean Strip which contain hydrogen peroxide can also be useful for cleaning bed bug poop or fecal stains from walls. Be careful; hydrogen peroxide can discolor the walls. So treat a small area first before use.
- A mixture of oxalic acid and water can help remove rust colored bed bug stains. Oxalic acid is caustic, so always use gloves when handling the mixture. The solution will also lighten the wood so you may have to use sandpaper to sand the area and match the surrounding color.
- For treating bed bug poop stains or blood stains on walls, mix together baking soda and water to make a paste. Apply the paste on the wall stains. Dab with tissue and let air dry.
One of the best ways to check for bed bugs is to watch out for bed bug shells and blood spots on sheets. You can also see bed bug stains on walls, headboards and mattresses. These can be extremely annoying but once you have tackled the infestation, you can use the above methods to clean the stains out. Make sure you repeat the bed bug treatment within a few days and again after a few weeks to completely eliminate newly hatched bed bugs.
Got bed bugs? Here are 10 products that can help you get rid of and prevent them.
If you have a bed bug infestation, it is best to find it early, before the infestation becomes established or spreads. Treating a minor infestation, while an inconvenience, is far less costly and easier than treating the same infestation after it becomes more widespread.
However, low-level infestations are also much more challenging to find and correctly identify. Other insects, such as carpet beetles, can be easily mistaken for bed bugs. If you misidentify a bed bug infestation, it gives the bugs more time to spread to other areas of the house or hitchhike a ride to someone else’s house to start a new infestation. Learn about identifying bed bugs.
Bites on the skin are a poor indicator of a bed bug infestation. Bed bug bites can look like bites from other insects (such as mosquitoes or chiggers), rashes (such as eczema or fungal infections), or even hives. Some people do not react to bed bug bites at all.
Looking for Signs of Bed Bugs
A more accurate way to identify a possible infestation is to look for physical signs of bed bugs. When cleaning, changing bedding, or staying away from home, look for:
- Rusty or reddish stains on bed sheets or mattresses caused by bed bugs being crushed.
- Dark spots (about this size: •), which are bed bug excrement and may bleed on the fabric like a marker would.
- Eggs and eggshells, which are tiny (about 1mm) and pale yellow skins that nymphs shed as they grow larger.
- Live bed bugs.
Where Bed Bugs Hide
When not feeding, bed bugs hide in a variety of places. Around the bed, they can be found near the piping, seams and tags of the mattress and box spring, and in cracks on the bed frame and headboard.
If the room is heavily infested, you may find bed bugs:
- In the seams of chairs and couches, between cushions, in the folds of curtains.
- In drawer joints.
- In electrical receptacles and appliances.
- Under loose wall paper and wall hangings.
- At the junction where the wall and the ceiling meet.
- Even in the head of a screw.
Bed Bug Behavior and Habit
Understanding the behavior of bed bugs (how they eat, live, and reproduce) will help you to find an infestation before it becomes established and to monitor for the presence of bed bugs after your home has been treated.
You are probably here because you want to learn how to remove bed bug blood stains from fabrics. This is the right guide for you; just stick around.
|Fabrics, via Stockcnap|
Bed bugs are annoying insects, their blood stains and poop stains are however annoying, especially on piece of clothing.
Why do Bed Bugs Leave Stains on Fabrics?
Bed bug blood stains can be found anywhere around the house. Sometimes, the signs for knowing your house is infected with bed bug is through the brownish or reddish colored stains they leave.
These stains can be found in any part of the home including piece of clothing items. Aside from fabrics, they are also found on mattresses, furniture, walls, carpets and more.
Even after cleaning, this does not stop the stains from appearing on fabric or other places at home. The only way of totally eradicating these stains is by wiping out bed bug at home.
Here are the reasons why bed bug leave stains and blood stains on fabrics and other materials at home:
- By nature, bed bugs leave fecal matter wherever they are hiding
- For them to grow, they need to feed on blood. The blood bed bugs feed on and their fecal matter are released on surfaces they stay on. This in turn causes stains on fabrics
- Their eggs have sticky materials at the back, which glues them on surfaces, this will in turn cause stains on fabrics
Best Ways of Removing Bed Bug Stains from Fabrics or Clothing
Here is the best practice to get rid of blood stains in fabrics or any piece of clothing item:
- Bowl or sink
- Cold water
- Laundry detergent
- Pour the cold water into a bowl and mix a sizeable amount of laundry detergent and 1 tablespoon of ammonia
- Soak fabric(s) inside the mixture for a few minutes before washing
- Rinse with cold water
- If you still notice the stain on your cloth, soak with cold water and vinegar and leave for about 1 – 2 hours
- Wash and rinse with cold water
- Air dry or sun dry the fabric
Final Thoughts on Removing Bed Bug Blood Stains on Fabrics
That is all on how to remove bed bug blood stains on fabrics. Seeing these stains are annoying, but you can easily wash off the stains when you notice them on your clothing items.
You should note that you can only completely get rid of these stains at home when you get rid of the bed bugs entirely.
Bed bugs feed every five to 10 days. In some situations, you may not notice bed bug bites right away, but you may notice a few drops of bed bug poop in and around your bed. Finding bed bug feces can also help indicate where they’re hiding in your mattress. Identifying bed bug poop is easy once you know what to look for.
What Bed Bug Poop Looks Like
Bed bugs need blood to survive. If you’ve found some blood in your bed, it’s likely that bed bug poop is very close by. Droppings are often far too small to be picked up by hand, instead, they will generally leave stains on your sheets. Bed bug poop generally looks the same every time. Here are some things to look out for.
- Shape: Stains look like a small stain from a ballpoint pen. They will either be small and circular or leave a small streak. Bed bugs have a slight drag in their bodies when they walk, which is where the streaky look comes from.
- Color: Dark rusty red to blackish brown. Bed bug poop stains are generally much darker than just a normal blood stain or a stain from another pest, such as a flea.
- Size: As mentioned earlier, the size will generally be the same as a ballpoint pen. Droppings will literally look like dark crumbs on your sheets if they’re solid enough. However, bed bug poop absorbs very quickly, so it’s rare you’ll find solid feces in your sheets.
- Smell: Bed bugs are notorious for leaving a musty sweet odor. This is because their poop releases a hormone called histamine. Even after eliminating an infestation, you may still smell leftover histamine in your home.
- Consistency: bed bug poop is more liquid than other pests. We don’t recommend picking up the fecal matter, but it should feel like a paste-like consistency.
The easiest way to confirm if what you found is bed bug poop is to dab the fecal matter with a wet cloth. If the fecal matter is from a bed bug, the stain should smudge and the stain will turn red on the wet cloth. The red color comes from digested blood.
Where To Find Bed Bug Poop
After you’ve identified that your droppings are from bed bugs, it’s time to see where else the bed bugs are hiding. If you find feces, bed bugs are generally very close by. This can help you find their favorite hiding spots, effectively allowing you to eliminate them sooner.
You can find bed bug poop just about anywhere. The most common places to look are bed sheets, pillowcases, cushions, throw pillows, baseboards, and even electrical outlets.
On harder and non-absorbent surfaces, the feces should harden and dry. However, on sheets, pillowcases, and cushions, the fecal matter will generally be absorbed into the fabric.
Be sure to take as many pictures of evidence as possible. This will help an expert identify how bad your infestation is and find other unexpected places they may be hiding.
How To Get Rid of Bed Bug Stains
Throwing your sheets into a regular wash cycle should kill most of your bed bugs. Use the hottest setting on your dryer and washer. Bed bugs die at around 113°F (45°C).
With your favorite stain remover, spot treat any leftover stains. If there are still stains leftover, make a paste with equal parts hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Leave the mixture on the stain for 30 minutes and wash thoroughly.
If you find bed bugs in your home and need help eliminating them, call Pest Brigade to talk to a local partner near you.
Spilled wine while streaming your favorite show in bed? Here’s how to get rid of stains fast.
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If only you could throw a mattress in the washer. Since that’s not an option, we found out the best ways to get rid of stains by consulting the American Cleaning Institute and experts at Procter & Gamble Fabric, maker of Tide laundry detergent.
“Generally, when it comes to treating mattresses, you can treat them similarly to spot-treating carpets,” says Mary Begovic Johnson, principal scientist of Tide & Downy at P&G Fabric Care.
Johnson adds that you’ve got to attack the stain immediately and be prepared to treat and repeat multiple times until the stain is gone.
One tried-and-true preventive measure: Get a mattress protector.
“Having one is crucial to keeping your mattress from being ruined by stains and spills, because it will typically include a layer of liquid-resistant or waterproof material,” says Brian Sansoni, senior vice president of communications at the American Cleaning Institute. “Think of it as your security guard against stains."
Follow the advice below for treating tough stains. You’ll also find information on the best stain-fighting detergents in Consumer Reports’ tests (to use for dabbing in mattress stains).
If you’re looking to outfit your mattress with new bedding, check out the sheets and pillows from our tests. And if you decide to replace your mattress, check our mattress ratings and buying guide to see how mattresses perform in our rigorous tests.
How to Get Stains Out of a Mattress
1. Remove your bedding immediately. Treat stains on your sheets with a laundry stain remover and then throw them in the wash.
2. For most mattress stains, a dab of liquid detergent or an all-purpose stain remover should be enough. Treat the stain as soon as possible so it doesn’t set in. If it’s a fresh spill, use a clean cloth to soak it up by gently blotting the area first.
In Consumer Reports’ laundry detergent tests, we found that Tide Plus Ultra Stain Release and Persil ProClean Stain Fighter work as well as the top stain remover from our tests. Before using any stain remover, do a quick test on an inconspicuous area of the mattress to make sure you won’t ruin the fabric.
3. If the stain is still there once everything dries, repeat the steps for cleaning it.
4. Allow the mattress to dry completely before putting on sheets or mattress covers.
Tougher stains—like the ones in alphabetical order here—require different cleaning methods. Here’s what to do for:
Blood: Blot with a cloth and cold water (hot water could set the stain). Pour some hydrogen peroxide on a cloth and dab the stain—it’s a disinfectant and natural bleaching agent. Use an enzyme cleaner next and let it sit for several minutes to dissolve the blood. Blot dry.
Mud: If it’s wet, wipe it up. If it’s dry, use a vacuum. Slightly dampen a wet cloth and blot. Then use a—you guessed it—enzyme cleaner to attack the stain. Blot dry with a cloth. After the surface is dry, spread a little baking soda on the spot to absorb any odor, then vacuum it up.
Poop: Once you remove the poop, spray an enzyme cleaner product on a washcloth until damp and dab the stain with it to dissolve any remaining poop and remove the stain and odor.
Red wine: Blot the stain with a cloth dampened with cold water. If you have a red wine stain remover product, try using it first. Otherwise, mix one part dish soap and two parts hydrogen peroxide, and pour it onto a damp cloth; blot the stain with it. After several minutes, blot again until the stain is gone.
Urine: Blot what you can with a dry cloth. Don’t rub it in! Spray an enzyme cleaner, such as Angry Orange or Nature’s Miracle (available at home improvement stores), on a dry cloth. Enzyme cleaners will break down the uric acid in the urine, thus eliminating the color and smell. Use enough to get the cloth damp, but don’t oversaturate it. Dab the stain with the cloth. Use a second cloth to blot it dry.
Vomit: Clean up the mess, and sprinkle on baking soda, which helps lift any leftover bits and absorbs odors. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then vacuum up the baking soda. Dab on an enzyme cleaner to further break down the organic matter and odor from the vomit.
No matter the stain, remember that if it doesn’t come out after several cleaning attempts, you might have to call in a professional mattress cleaner.
As we said before if you see a bed bug that means there are several more hiding just out of plain sight. On top of that, despite their name, bed bugs can infest any part of your house, not just your bed.
If you haven’t spotted a bed bug yet, but wake up covered with what could be bug bites, there are a few other tells you can look for to help you make the call.
Reddish brown stains on sheets and an unfamiliar odor can also be signs of a bed bug infestation.
Bed bugs are active at night, so if you’re trying to find them during the day, you’re going to have to do some digging.
Aside from checking your mattress, you should also check your bed frame, inside drawers, and in any other small dark spaces, you can think of.
2. Create a Plan
Once you’ve assessed the extent of your infestation, you’ll need to figure out how you’re going to deal with it. It’s worth noting that bed bugs can be difficult to get rid of. And, before doing anything you should consider bringing in a professional to help you get the job done right — and safely – the first time.
Your plan should include a list of the equipment you’re going to need and a detailed itinerary to help you make sure you don’t miss any bed bugs.
It only takes a few survivors to start another outbreak. So, you’re going to want to do everything in your power to make sure you knock them all out in your first go.
3. Remove Small Items and Loose Linens
You’ll need to start by taking all small and removable items out of the affected area. But, this doesn’t mean throwing everything into another room. Pack everything up in garbage bags or sealable plastic containers to prevent any bed bugs from spreading to other rooms of your house. While you should consider throwing away replaceable things like sheets, you can help rid them of bed bugs by washing them in hot water. Heat is the key to killing bed bugs. So, you should put any objects that you can’t wash in the dryer on high heat for at least 30 minutes.
4. Kill the Bugs
While some people recommend simple cleaning as an effective treatment for bed bugs, that is usually only a temporary solution. To make sure you’ve rid your house of bed bugs once and for all, you’ll need to use some form of chemical treatment. While you can buy bed bug killer at most hardware stores, using a chemical agent to take care of pests can be highly dangerous. If you live in a home with small children or pets, you should consider hiring a professional.
You should also invest in a sealable mattress cover, to make sure that any bed bugs that remain can’t get out.
Once you’ve wiped out your bed bugs, it’s time to get cleaning.
5. Clean Any Affected Areas
Even when the bugs are gone, their mess can remain.
Use caution when cleaning up after bed bugs. It’s imperative that you don’t miss anything or spread bed bug remnants through the rest of your home.
Vacuum the affected area to remove any leftover eggs, skin, or bed bug remains. Once you’ve finished, be sure to empty your vacuum cleaner outside into a fresh plastic garbage bag.
After ridding your home of any bed bug remains, wipe down any surface the bed bugs may have touched. These surfaces can include everything from your bed frame to your walls.
Remember, there’s no such thing as being too thorough, especially when dealing with bed bugs.
6. Don’t Get Comfortable
You killed all the bed bugs and scrubbed down your entire house — that’s it, right? Nope. Unless you brought in a pro, there’s no guarantee you got every last bug, and there’s a chance your infestation can return. Stay vigilant and check your mattresses regularly.
If you think the bugs have made a comeback, you’ll have to start the entire process over again from the beginning.
7. Bring In A Pro
As we’ve said multiple times in this article, bed bugs can be difficult to get rid of permanently.
The best way to get rid of bed bugs for good, and without having to tear apart your home, is by bringing in a professional at the first sign of trouble.
A licensed exterminator will be able to diagnose your problem and knock out the entire job in one fell swoop. And, you won’t have to worry about waking up itching ever again.
Our technicians have years of experience dealing with bed bug infestations and will be able to help you get your home back to normal in no time.
8. Take Preventative Measures
Finally, once you’re sure that you’ve taken care of your bed bug infestation, it’s time to take a few steps to make sure you never have to deal with them ever again.
The EPA recommends keeping your house clean and clutter free. By doing this, you’ll cut down on the number of places bed bugs can hide. You should also vacuum your carpeting and mattress, and wash your bedding frequently.
Seal up any cracks in your baseboards, sockets, or windows frames that bed bugs could sneak in through.
Also, if you plan on traveling anywhere, check your hotel room for bed bugs before you unpack. By doing this, you can avoid bringing any unwanted visitors back to your home in your luggage.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are much more than a minor nuisance — especially if you don’t take the necessary steps to deal with them right out of the gate.
While there are steps you can take to deal with a bed bug infestation yourself, the best way to deal with them is by bringing in a professional as soon as you can.
Now that you know how to get rid of bed bugs, it’s time to take action.
If you’re dealing with bed bugs or any other sort of pest infestation in your home, we can help.
Contact us today to learn more about our available services, or to schedule an appointment with one of our technicians.