How Long after Bed Bug Treatment Can I Return Home? Here’s the Answer!

This article will supply you with solid advice on what to do after bed bug treatment, when to come home after it and how to make it more effective.
Phyllis McMahon
Phyllis McMahon
Research Writer
Phyllis teaches English Literature at a local college and loves writing in her free time. She’s also a great cook – her British beef Wellington is something the best res read more
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Chas Kempf
Chas Kempf
Expert Consultant
Chas works in a professional pest control company and knows all the nuances of this job. Also, he’s a fantastic tennis player and loves to organize BBQ parties for his fam read more
Last updated: August 08, 2023
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Hearing about a bed bug infestation Trusted Source Bed bugs have developed a resistance to the most widely used insecticide - The Guardian Bed bugs have developed a resistance to neonicotinoids, a group of the most widely used insecticides, according to a new study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology. can be frightening, but it doesn’t compare to what you feel when you discover that those bugs have found their way into your own home. Getting rid of them is the next obvious step, and though it may seem like a daunting task, it is easier than you may think, provided you have the right tools for the job and the information needed to keep them from coming back.

Of course, once you’ve gotten rid of the pests, the obvious question is: how long after a bed bug treatment can I return home? The answer may surprise you, though coming back to your house isn’t the end of the process. Ensuring that the pests don’t come back is something you need to consider to ensure that any future bed bug problems and treatments aren’t in your future. The following sections have all the information you need on the aftermath of a bed bug treatment and how to prevent them from coming back.

What happens after bed bug treatment?

How Long after Bed Bug Treatment Can I Return Home? Here's the Answer!

What you do after a bed bug treatment depends on the type of treatment you’ve used and whether you’ve done them yourself or had a professional in to take care of your pest problem. Most companies offer either chemical or heat treatments, though these are available for you to try out on your own as well.

Chemical treatments work well but may not kill all of the bugs at once. This can be an issue since female bed bugs lay several eggs each day, and the chemical treatments are only effective on contact. Any bed bugs or eggs are hidden in cracks in the walls, floors, and ceilings may not be killed after the first treatment, requiring a second or third treatment to finish off the rest of the bugs.

If you’ve chosen to take care of the issue yourself, chemical treatments may also not be as effective since you may inadvertently be transporting the bugs to other areas of your home without adjusting your chemical treatment to cover those areas. Before you know it, the bugs are all over your house. Then, when a professional service finally comes in to deal with the infestation, they have a much larger area to deal with.

Heat treatments are much more effective since they use the high heat necessary to kill the bugs at all of their life stages. There are a lot of ways to heat treat the items and areas in your home to get rid of bed bugs.

One option is a steamer for bed bugs that uses pressurized steam to kill any bugs in your mattress, couch, or hiding in the cracks around your home. The McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner is a favorite since it can be used on almost any surface in your home, killing bed bugs and cleaning the area at the same time. Plus, it comes with multiple accessories for any use.

There are also bed bug heaters that come in varying sizes to deep clean your smaller items or even entire pieces of furniture, depending on the size of the infestation you’re dealing with. You can also use a combination of chemical and heat treatments for the best results possible.

After the treatment is over, you can’t go back to your usual life for a while. You’ll still need to remain vigilant to be sure all of the bugs have been destroyed, and there will be no further infestation. Figuring out where they came from is also something to consider after your treatment is finished, to be sure that you aren’t bringing the bugs into your home again.

When is it safe to return home?

How long you need to wait before returning home depends on the type of treatment you choose and the recommendation of the pest management company that you hire for the job. Generally speaking, it is usually about 4 hours for a chemical treatment, though this varies, depending on the strength of the chemicals used, how severe the infestation is, and the size and ventilation of the home are treated.

Heat treatments usually have a long wait of about 6 to 9 hours before you can return to your home. Again, the size of the home and infestation can factor in the exact time needed before it is safe to come home. The professionals doing the treatment will be able to give you a more accurate time when you can safely enter the home after the treatment is finished.

Why do you need to wait before going home?

No matter which treatment you choose, there are a few reasons that you need to wait before going home after the treatment has been completed. With a chemical treatment, those chemicals used to kill the bed bugs could still be on the surfaces and in the air, which makes it dangerous for you to come in contact with. Those chemicals are toxic, so inhaling them can cause mild to severe respiratory issues, depending on the quantity and potency of the chemicals you breathe in.

You also need to give the chemicals time to do their job before you come home and disturb everything.

Once the bed bugs sense that the chemicals have been released into their hiding areas, they will disperse, trying to find a new place to hide. They are already hard to kill, so you want to make sure that they can’t get anywhere that the chemical won’t reach them.

Heat treatments don’t require as many precautions as chemical treatments, so you can enter your home as soon as the treatment is completed. It isn’t a good idea to come in before that, though, since you could disrupt the process or accidentally transport the bugs to other areas of your home that aren’t on the treatment list, spreading the infestation without even being aware of it.

What do you need to do when you come back home?

How Long after Bed Bug Treatment Can I Return Home? Here's the Answer!

After the treatments are complete and you’re free to re-enter your home, there are a few things you may want to do, especially if you’ve chosen a chemical treatment. The first is to air out the rooms in your home for about 30 to 90 minutes by opening the doors and windows to get rid of any lingering chemicals in the air. You can also turn on an air conditioner, fan, and dehumidifier to speed up this process.

You should also wash all of the fabrics in the rooms that were treated, as well as those in nearby rooms. This includes bedding, clothing, towels, or any other linens that may have absorbed the chemicals being used.

Use hot water in the washing machine and the hot setting in the dryer, leaving them in the latter machine for at least 30 minutes.

Vacuuming and cleaning the floors of the treated rooms is also a good idea. This will pick up any dead bugs, as well as some living ones that haven’t succumbed to the chemicals yet. Use the attachments needed to get into all the corners and crevices. You may also want to wipe down the furniture in your bedroom and other areas of your home using soapy water and a damp cloth.

Why is follow-up important?

How Long after Bed Bug Treatment Can I Return Home? Here's the Answer!

Though you hope that the bed bugs will be eradicated after the first treatment, these little pests are difficult to kill, so they may not be completely gone after one treatment is completed. Leaving them to spread again will have you spending another huge amount of money and time for a full treatment again.

A follow-up will ensure that any bugs left behind are dealt with quickly and easily. You can also monitor the situation yourself using a bed bug trap, which will catch any bugs that may be left behind. One popular option is the Bed Bug Interceptors, which can be placed beneath your bedposts and furniture legs to trap the bugs and keep them from climbing up those legs and making themselves at home.

Keep in mind that no treatment is perfect, and there may be a need for a second attempt to get any bugs that were missed the first time around. The sooner this follow-up is completed, the sooner your bed bug problem goes away.

What to do to banish bed bugs forever after treatment?

Once you’ve gotten rid of the bed bugs in your home, you likely want to take whatever precautions are needed to keep them from returning. There are a few measures you can take to prevent another infestation.

First, try to avoid bringing any old furniture into your home. If you need this furniture, be sure to check it carefully and maybe even give it a good cleaning before allowing it into your home to make sure no bed bugs are coming with it.

When traveling, check your accommodations for bed bugs and keep your luggage on a luggage rack or in plastic bags to keep any bugs out. Wash your clothes and vacuum your suitcase as soon as you return home.

Bed bugs can live in pet fur, so be sure to check your animals regularly. Keep their sleeping areas clean as well to reduce any bed bug issues.

Final thoughts

Bed bug treatments can be costly and time-consuming, especially when you consider the care and cleaning needed afterward to keep those little critters from returning. Luckily, these treatments don’t have to disrupt your life for extended periods if you take care of the issue promptly and stay vigilant to ensure an infestation isn’t going to recur.

Despite all of this, the answer to the question “how long after a bed bug treatment can I return home” is hours instead of days. You can’t return to your normal life right away, but you can enjoy the comfort that you’ve taken steps to get rid of the pests and may not have to deal with them again if you’re careful to keep them out.


Bed bugs have developed a resistance to the most widely used insecticide - The Guardian
Bed bugs have developed a resistance to neonicotinoids, a group of the most widely used insecticides, according to a new study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology.
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