If you have bed bugs that gnaw on you at night, you may notice dark stains on your mattress, bedding, and pillows caused by these parasites. A cold-water wash can help with small, fresh stains. Stubborn stains will need to be pretreated with enzymatic bleach and/or a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and ammonia. Whatever you do, don’t expose the garment to heat until you’ve used up all the stain removal methods you can.
Look for bed bug nests. If you don’t get rid of bed bug nests, bug bites and stains on your bedding will keep bugging you. Look for bugs and their nests in and around the bed, in bedside table drawers, in closets, behind and under furniture, and in curtains.
A flashlight will help you get a better look at the insects and their eggs. Bed bugs are fairly small, brown-colored insects. Their clutches are often clusters of eggs.
Bed bugs like to hide in cracks, corners, and other cavities. Carpets, clothing, and other textiles can become infested with bed bugs.
Destroy bed bugs with heat and cold. Textile items need to be washed at 50°C to kill bed bugs, but you will need several wash cycles before all the insects are completely eradicated. Keeping textiles below freezing for two weeks will also kill bed bugs.
Small and large items can also be packaged in special antiparasitic covers. They can be sold in large supermarkets and online stores.
A serious bedbug infestation may require the use of chemicals or contact the health department to remove the insects.
Wet the stains with cold water immediately upon detection. Stains from blood, crushed bed bugs, and their feces have an important characteristic in common – they are all organic. Cold water helps loosen the organic material’s adhesion so that the stains don’t set. Conversely, hot water will only harden such stains.
Closely monitor the condition of problem areas where bed bugs have been identified to prevent re-infestation of the house with the vermin. Eggs and bugs left undetected can cause repeat bed bug infestations. Bed bugs tend to settle in colonies in certain areas, so keep an eye on the areas that have been most infested so you can take timely action if the problem recurs.
Washing and Stain Removal from Bedding
Pre-treat the stains with enzymatic bleach for fabrics. Apply the bleach directly to the stains. Check the information on the bleach label for how long it should work on stains.
In most cases, it is recommended that you wait 30 minutes after treating the stains before doing laundry.
Enzyme bleach is available at most hardware stores and supermarkets.
Wash your laundry in the normal way by setting your washing machine to the cold wash cycle. Add the normal amount of detergent and bleach to the washer, then load it with laundry and run a full cold water cycle. This cycle will prevent organic proteins from setting on the fabric, increasing the chances that the stains will wash out.
Spot treat any remaining stains with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and ammonia. Before you apply the peroxide, be aware that it can sometimes lighten the color of the fabric. If stains are left on the laundry after washing, apply equal amounts of peroxide and ammonia to them and dab them with a clean cloth until they come off.
To prevent premature fabric deterioration, dab the stains for only about 10 to 15 minutes. A longer exposure time will cause damage to the fabric.
Air dry the fabric and then repeat the stain removal process if necessary. Dry the fabric away from the sun and heaters. When dry, treat any remaining stains in the same way as before: soak the garment in cold water, work in enzymatic bleach, wash on a cold wash cycle, and spot-dry with peroxide and ammonia. After all these procedures, the stains are likely to disappear.
Especially stubborn or hardened stains may not come out completely. You may be able to get them out after the third round of all the procedures, but that may not be good for the fabric.
Alternatively, dry the laundry in the dryer on a low temperature. Set the dryer to the lowest heat possible if you can’t leave the laundry to dry on its own. Once it’s dry, it can be put away. Treat bed bug stains with this method as soon as possible after they appear to prevent them from becoming attached to the fabric.
Getting stains out of your mattress
Use a dry, terry cloth to wipe fresh stains from the mattress. If the stains are fresh and damp, a dry terry towel (or better yet, a microfiber cloth) will help draw out the moisture. Together with the moisture you will collect some of the blood and excrement, which will simplify the further process of stain removal.
Spot treat light stains with cold water and hand soap. You may be able to remove light stains by simply blotting with a clean cloth dampened with water and a drop of hand soap. As the stains come off, switch to using clean sections of the rag to avoid spreading the stains across the mattress.
Treat serious stains with hydrogen peroxide and ammonia. Mix equal amounts of hydrogen peroxide and ammonia in a spray gun and thoroughly soak the stains, then dab them with a cotton terry cloth. Limit the exposure to peroxide and ammonia to 10-15 minutes to prevent damage to the mattress.
Sprinkle dry borax powder in a thin layer on those stains that will not come off after the previous step. Lightly rub the borax into the stains with a clean, terry cloth.
Repeat the cleaning process if necessary. Allow the mattress to dry completely in a shaded area with good ventilation. If stains remain after the mattress has dried, spot clean again with cold water and hand soap and then with hydrogen peroxide and ammonia to remove all stains.
Exposing the fabric to more than two cleaning cycles may not be good for it, causing it to warp and fade.
Good air ventilation will avoid a musty odor and shorten the drying time of the mattress.
If you are in a hurry to dry your mattress, point a fan or hair dryer set to run cold air on it. Avoid using heat when fighting bed bug stains.