How Long After A Bed Bug Treatment Can I Put My Stuff Back?

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

True story: I’ve dealt with bed bugs at my apartment once. They were a nightmare, especially since I am allergic to them. Obviously, treatment was a major focal point of my life at that period of time. Bed bug infestations are brutal, but so is having to live without your stuff. How long does a treatment take before you can “move” back in?

Ideally, you should avoid putting your stuff back until your home has been fully cleared of bed bugs. This can take two to three weeks, or even longer. At a bare minimum, you need to make sure that all your belongings are treated for bed bugs before you move in and also wait one to two days.

Bed bugs are no joke. They are one of the very few infestations that can actually end in the need to burn down a home. I’m not kidding. Here’s what you need to know about your treatment and what you should expect.

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What Should I Expect After Treating My Home For Bed Bugs?

The first thing you should know is that you will still see bed bugs in your home after treatment. It will take days for them to die, and you may need multiple treatments before your home is entirely bed bug-free. Unless you are heat treating your entire home professionally, you will need more than one treatment.

How Long Should You Wait Before Reentering A Home Treated For Bed Bugs?

Generally speaking, you should wait at least half an hour to an hour before you reenter your home. If you are sensitive to chemicals, you may need to wait as long as five hours. (The same goes with pets!)

How Long Should You Wait Before Putting Your Stuff Back After A Bed Bug Treatment?

So, here’s the scoop: the longer you wait, the better. As someone who has been there, done that, there are several reasons why I say this:

  • Officially, you can usually put your stuff back one to two days after treatment. Please note that you should always listen to your exterminator about this. If they say wait for five days, listen to them!
  • However, you also need to wash all your clothes and steam treat belongings. This is the only way to kill off bed bugs that live in your clothes, backpacks, purses, and other items. If you have electronics that you believe they crawled into, you may need to heat treat those separately (and carefully!) This can take days.
  • If you move items back into your home before all the bed bugs die, you might have to treat your stuff again. This is why I suggest waiting several weeks until your treatments are all done. In the meanwhile, you might want to prepare a plastic bag for a handful of outfits and live out of that while the treatments are done.

What Else Should You Do After Your Treatment?

So, I’m going to just give you the advice that we followed once our exterminator finished spritzing stuff around. This is what we did. It worked well for us:

  • Vacuum your floors, sofas, and mattresses. This is a good move that can help suck up a ton of eggs that would worsen your problem. We suggest waiting until your pesticides fully sank in before you do this. This can take up to five hours. Remove the dust bin outside, away from your home.
  • Throw out extremely soiled items. Did you know that bed bugs are attracted to the smell of other bed bugs? It’s true. That’s why you need to throw out items that are blackened by bed bugs. It could lure them back to a reinfestation.
  • Sanitize fluffy boots and sneakers by keeping them in a hot car for 2 hours. This will act like a de facto heat treatment, killing any bed bugs that may have been hiding in them. (Yes, I know it sounds extra, but this is what you have to do to kill off bed bugs.)
  • Sprinkle diatomaceous earth in areas where bed bugs have been hanging out. This includes your carpet and mattress. Oh! And don’t forget the couches. Diatomaceous earth kills bed bugs by dehydrating them over the course of days. It’s a good one-two punch for your bed bug treatment.
  • Put your mattress in a mattress cover. You want to make sure that any bugs that are really deep in the mattress stay there and die. This does it and also helps cover up the unsightly stains that come with bed bugs. (Trust me, it’s easier than trying to remove the stains.)
  • Follow any additional tips that your exterminator offers you. We actually pulled ours aside to ask what else we can do to make this process faster.

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Related Questions

How hot does it have to be for bed bugs to die?

Bed bugs are very temperature resistant. Bed bugs will die if they are exposed to 113 degree Fahrenheit temperatures for two hours. At 118, they will die within 20 to 30 minutes. 140 degrees Fahrenheit will instantly kill bed bugs, pupae, and bed bug eggs.Most professional heat treatments will involve heating your home to 135 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours. This is done to ensure that the entirety of the bed bug population gets treated.

Do bed bugs die from sun exposure?

Bed bugs do not die from sunlight, though they are notorious for hating light. These bugs are known for being sensitive to heat which can be triggered by the sun. If you expose your bed bugs to temperatures higher than 113 degrees, you can usually see them die.

What smells do bed bugs hate?

If you want to prevent a bed bug infestation from happening, having the right scents around your home can help. Like most other pests, bed bugs are highly averse to the smell of cinnamon. Other popular essential oils to use include basil, mint, cinnamon, lemon, orange, and lime. Anecdotal evidence suggests that you can also use lavender as a way to prevent them from coming by.

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Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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