8 Bed Bug Steamer Choices for Fast Pest Control [2023]

bed bug steamer

Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are a nuisance and can be difficult to get rid of. One of the best ways is by using a bed bug steamer. Steam treatment is the fastest, most effective way to kill these pests.

It is also one of the easiest methods because it doesn’t involve any toxic chemicals or pesticides. No bug bombs or bug interceptors required!

Plus, studies have shown bed bugs can and have developed resistance to chemical insecticides, making steam the best choice to kill these pests.

If you have a steamer for clothing, you can use this to help eradicate bed bugs. But there are also heavy duty steam cleaners that will make your life so much easier, and you can use them for chemical free cleaning all around your home.

Either way, hot water has to heat to boiling point (212°F) to create steam. So whether you choose to use a handheld steamer or an industrial steamer (or anything in between) steam is an effective bed bug treatment.

So, that’s why I put together this blog post full of top picks as well as buying guides with information about each type of steamer so you’ll know exactly what option will work best for you and your needs.

What to Consider Before Buying a Bed Bug Steamer

steam bed bugs

There are two important points to consider when considering a steamer for bed bugs. They are the temperature required to kill a bed bug on contact; and the steam pressure required to reach the bed bugs.

A study published in Insects, a journal of entomology by the Department of Entomology at the University of Minnesota showed that the lethal temperature for bed bugs was on average 118.94 degrees Fahrenheit and to kill their eggs on contact was 130.64 degrees Fahrenheit.

A 2012 study published in the Society of Chemical Industry used a Jiffy J-4000 garment steamer to treat bed bugs in a controlled environment.

They tested the temperature of the environment during treatment which ranged between 67.38 degrees Celsius (153.284 degrees Fahrenheit) and 73.91 degrees Celsius (165.038 degrees Fahrenheit).

All bed bugs exposed to the heat from steam and their eggs were eradicated during this trial. A follow up was conducted 30 days after the trial, which showed no bed bug eggs hatched after being exposed to steam.

The key point from the Insects study above, was that the higher the heat, the faster the bed bugs died. Lower heats needed longer exposure time before the bugs were eradicated.

Therefore, heat and steam pressure is a key deciding factor.

Quality is also important, versatility and multipurpose use are essential. After all, who wants to buy an expensive steam cleaning machine then have no further use for it?

With all that in mind, here are my top choices when considering steamers for a bed bug infestation:

High Pressure Steam Cleaner for Bed Bugs – Vapamore Ottimo

This is an excellent heavy duty steam cleaner by Vapamore. It comes with a lifetime manufacturer warranty, but also a price tag to match. Aptly named “Ottimo” (model number MR-750) which in Italian means Ultimate. Indeed it is.

Key features:

  • 1 Gallon Stainless Steel Boiler Tank
  • Heats to 280 Degrees Fahrenheit
  • 1600 watt heating element
  • Outputs steam at 75 psi
  • 3 Hours of use per fill
  • 25 Tools and Accessories to get into cracks and crevices

Are there any downsides to this quality multi purpose steamer? It’s higher priced than some of the others on this list and also bulkier, standing at 24 inches at the tallest part.

I do like the 4 castors on the bottom for stability and easy movement. With a 1 gallon water tank and all your attachments stored onboard, a slightly larger than usual steam cleaner is to be expected.

Vapamore MR-750 Steam Cleaner
  • 16 accessories + onboard storage basket
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Runs for around 3 hours
  • Up to 75 PSI
  • Boiler temperature heats to 302°F, steam tip temperature of 210-240°F
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Polti Vaporetto Steamer – Continuous Steaming

The Polti Vaporetto steamer is a steam cleaner that never stops. The water tank can be refilled during use and heats up in 2-4 minutes, so you’ll never have to pause cleaning again for long periods of time.

I really like the wide angled floor tool that allows you to get into corners and ultimately cover a large space relatively quickly. Whilst this machine isn’t designed specifically for bed bug steaming, it will do the job.

Key features:

  • 67.6 ounce stainless steel boiler tank
  • Tank heats to 280 Degrees Fahrenheit, Steam Temperature at the Tip is 212 Degrees Fahrenheit
  • Outputs steam at 58 psi
  • Continuous use – can be refilled during use
  • 10 Accessories
  • 1 year warranty

The one year warranty lets this steamer down a little, especially when comparable steamers have lifetime warranties on the boiler tanks. You can however, purchase 2 and 3 year protection plans on Amazon.

POLTI Vaporetto Steam Cleaner
$8.97 $8.20 ($1.02 / Ounce)
  • Boiler temperature heats to 280F
  • Tip temperature approx 212F
  • Continuous refill - no downtime when water is low
  • Onboard accessory storage
  • Replacement accessories available
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02/17/2024 07:45 pm GMT

Polti also make a commercial steamer specifically for bed bugs. This is the Cimex Eradicator Commercial Bed Bug Steamer. If you have a larger budget, this steamer creates superheated dry vapor steam up to 356 degrees Fahrenheit. Used by pest control professionals, bed bugs won’t stand a chance.

During the delivery, hot steam is mixed with HPMed detergent (2 included with the initial purchase) to eliminate the characteristic smell of bed bugs and melt gluey substances which bind eggs.

These aren’t super expensive to buy replacement ones either, surprisingly! Here is the link.

The water tank lasts for 4-5 hours. Feedback from consumers is 100% positive, one noting that very little water and moisture was left on surfaces after steaming. This is thanks to the nozzle design.

The chamber rapidly dries and re-heats the steam that was fed from the boiler before pushing it out of the barrel, resulting in exceptionally hot and dry steam vapor.

Less moisture means greater penetration into porous surfaces, such as loose fabrics or bug hideouts like the folds of mattresses, lounge or furniture.

You can also purchase (separately) an accessories kit for the Polti Cimex Steamer to then turn the bed bug steamer into a multipurpose tool for every area of your home. I highly recommend this.

If you have the budget for the Polti Cimex, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. If you’re interested, please check it out via the link below:

Polti Cimex Eradicator Steamer
  • Used by pest control professionals
  • Creates super heated dry steam to 356°F
  • Made in Italy
  • Kills bed bugs and eggs on contact
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02/17/2024 05:57 pm GMT

Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner for Bed Bugs

In my blog post about using a clothes steamer for bed bugs, I mention the Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner as an excellent alternative to a clothes steamer.

The reason for this is longer steaming time, larger head to cover a bigger surface area at once and reduce the potential for missing some of the bugs, as well as the variety of attachments to get into cracks and crevices.

At around one quarter of the price of the Vapamore Ottimo it represents excellent value for money.

Here are the best features:

  • 54 ounce aluminum boiler tank with lifetime warranty (2 year warranty on other parts)
  • Heats to 275 Degrees Fahrenheit
  • 1500 watt heating element
  • Outputs steam at 50 psi
  • 50 minutes of use per fill
  • 18 piece accessory kit

It may not look like it, but this little unit is on wheels, as well as having a carry handle built into the top. It also has a steam lock function, so you don’t need to continuously hold the steam gun when treating for bed bugs.

Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner
  • Compact yet powerful
  • Boiler heats to 275°F
  • Versatile attachments
  • Lifetime warranty on boiler
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02/17/2024 09:51 pm GMT

If you’re looking for something more powerful, also take a look at the Dupray Tosca which heats up to 316 degrees Fahrenheit, with a stainless steel boiler and 72.5 PSI of steam pressure. This is comparable to the Vapamore Ottimo above, but slightly more expensive. It also has a lifetime warranty on the boiler tank. Canadians, Dupray are also in Canada as well as the USA. This would be a better choice than Vapamore if you needed any repairs under warranty.

McCulloch Steamer for Bed Bugs

where can I buy a bed bug steamer

McCulloch are a trusted name in steam cleaners, and my top choice for effective bed bug eradication is the MC1375 cannister steam cleaner.

The reason I have chosen the MC1375 McCulloch steam cleaner over the McCulloch MC1275 for bed bugs is the higher PSI for steam pressure, double the steam cleaning time per tank fill, 3ft longer power cord and an extra 2 attachments (all for not much increase in price).

Here is a comparison of the two McCulloch steam cleaners:

McCulloch MC1375

  • 48 ounce water capacity
  • Variable Steam Output
  • Heats to 212 Degrees Fahrenheit
  • 1500 watt heating element
  • Outputs steam at 58 psi
  • Up to 90 minutes of use per fill
  • 20 Accessories
  • 2 year warranty

McCulloch MC1275

  • 48 ounce water capacity
  • No Variable Steam Output
  • Heats to 212 Degrees Fahrenheit
  • 1500 watt heating element
  • Outputs steam at 43 psi
  • 45 minutes of use per fill
  • 18 Accessories
  • 2 year warranty

The downside with the McCulloch steamer is the lack of carpet glider to kill bugs in carpets.

Vapamore Primo

The Vapamore Primo (model number MR-100) steam cleaner is the baby brother to the light commercial unit featured earlier in this post. Primo, meaning first in Italian is a very good bed bug steamer, also with a lifetime warranty.

Key Features:

  • 54 ounce Stainless Steel Boiler Tank
  • Heats to 220 Degrees Fahrenheit
  • 1500 watt heating element
  • 1 Hour of use per fill
  • 20 Tools and Accessories to get into cracks and crevices

This steamer has effectively been used by consumers to eradicate bed bugs and their eggs. The biggest complaint is that no extra steaming pads are included for the floor, but you can purchase these separately.

Vapamore steamers are best suited to purchasing if you live in the USA. With a lifetime warranty on the boiler tank and internal parts, you will need to send the steamer back to the USA warehouse for any repair. The cost of shipping may outweigh the cost of repair if you live outside the USA.

Vapamore MR-100 Steam Cleaner
  • Large floor head
  • 11 accessories + onboard storage for some
  • Boiler heats up to 220F
  • Lifetime warranty
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Using the Jiffy J-4000 Garment Steamer

jiffy bed bug steamer

I mentioned above that the Jiffy J-4000 garment steamer was used in a trial to kill bed bugs, effectively eradicating all bed bugs and their eggs. The J-4000 is the commercial variety garment steamer that, like most steam cleaners, operates at 1500 watts.

If you already have a Jiffy garment steamer (in particular the J-4000) you can use this around your home to kill bed bugs.

The downside with buying a garment steaming machine over a steam cleaner is you won’t get the included cleaning tools for other uses around your home. The floor cleaning tool and grout cleaning tools really do come in handy to steam clean your home.

If you are interested in the Jiffy garment steamer, please read my full review here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about bed bug steamers.

best steamer for bed bugs

What PSI Steamer Kills Bed Bugs?

According to Buglord, a 40PSI steamer is the minimum PSI you should consider to effectively kill bed bugs. A steamer around 60PSI is preferable. All the steamers on this list fit that category.

How Long Does Steam Take to Kill Bed Bugs?

A minimum of 10 seconds direct contact with steam will kill bed bugs and their eggs. If bed bugs are hiding in your upholstered furniture and don’t come directly into contact with the steam, heat the area for a longer period of time.

The good thing about using steam to kill bed bugs is you can also get rid of dust mites and other pests at the same time.

If you are concerned that you are not heating the area hot enough, an infrared thermometer can come in handy to check the temperature. You can pick these up for under $25 such as this one on Amazon.

Does the Wagner Steamer Kill Bed Bugs?

Yes, the Wagner steamer has effectively been used to eradicate bed bugs and their eggs. The specific model used was the Wagner E915.

Is a Clothes Steamer Hot Enough to Kill Bed Bugs?

Yes, a clothes steamer can effectively kill bed bugs. It can be a longer and slower process, depending on whether you have a full sized clothes steamer or handheld steamer. You may also like to read how to get rid of bed bugs in clothes.

Do Steamers Work Against Bed Bugs?

Steamers are designed to eliminate bed bugs by exposing them to high temperatures. When bed bugs are present on the surface of objects, steam is a highly effective method to kill them. Steam can penetrate fabric surfaces up to 3/4″ deep and kill bed bugs in crevices and cracks up to 2-3/8″ deep.

Will a Shark Steamer Kill Bed Bugs

The Shark Lift Away Pro is the best choice Shark steamer for bed bugs. The handheld steamer can be detached from the steam mop and used on mattresses and furniture.

Can You Use a Steam Iron to Kill Bed Bugs?

A steam iron isn’t the best choice to kill bed bugs. To effectively eradicate bed bugs you’ll need to be able to position steam into seams, crevices in your lounge, onto carpet etc.

You’ll need to be very careful that the sole plate of the iron doesn’t scorch your furnishings (especially nylon carpets) and because of the bulkier size of irons, you could miss steaming some of the bugs.

The steam output may also not be strong enough to penetrate into mattress box springs, lounge cushions and plush carpets. Miss a few bed bugs and your infestation can begin all over again.


All natural steam cleaning is a safe and effective extermination method for a bed bug problem.

Controlling these parasites with steam isn’t difficult, and you don’t need to buy an expensive industrial steamer to be successful, although the hotter the steamer, the faster your job will be done.

Using a dry steamer reduces the need for pesticide. The key is heat, so look for a steamer that heats the water to above average temperatures.

Cheaper steamers might heat the water to boiling point, but by the time the steam comes into contact with the bugs, it may have cooled down and therefore take longer exposure to successfull kill them.

Choose a hotter steamer and help fight against bed bugs naturally.


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