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You always knew it could happen, but it was never supposed to happen to you. Where did you go wrong? What did you do to deserve this?! And most importantly: what are you supposed to do now?! Finding a bed bug infestation is traumatizing. We’re here to help. To answer your question…you didn’t necessarily do anything wrong. Bed bugs can happen to anyone, don’t believe the myths about “only people with dirty homes”, etc. You don’t “deserve” to have them. As for what to do now; breathe. You’re going to be alright. After you’ve calmed down, follow these steps.

1. Call Us

First thing’s first: give a professional a call right away. Experts can eradicate bed bug infestations thoroughly and effectively. If you can’t afford to wait for the pros? Want to prepare for their arrival? There’s plenty you can do to fight bed bugs yourself, too:

2. Strip the bed

We’re talking all the way down. Comforter, blankets, sheets, pillow cases, mattress pad. Take all the fabrics off of your mattress, until it’s totally bare.

3. Throw sheets in the dryer

Throw everything you just stripped off your bed into a garbage bag and seal it. Take that sealed garbage bag straight to your drier. Throw all the sheets that will fit into the drier. Run the dryer on its hottest setting for at least 30 minutes. When the dryer completes a cycle, take the sheets out and put them into a fresh plastic garbage bag. Repeat this step until you’ve run all the fabrics on your bed through the dryer for at least thirty minutes. Do not return the fabrics to the infested room. Keep them in the garbage bags until the professionals arrive.

4. Vacuum the mattress and frame

Return to the infested room. Use a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner with a fresh bag to thoroughly vacuum the mattress and surrounding area. Make sure you get the sides, back, underside, and the space beneath the mattress. Flip the mattress over to get both sides. Pay attention to the carpet or flooring around the mattress, as well. When you’re finished vacuuming, put the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic garbage bag. Throw that garbage bag out in your outdoor garbage can. Keep your garbage can at least 20 feet away from your home if possible.

5. Clear the area

Clear out the space around the infested bed, keeping at least six inches between the bed and nearest piece of furniture. This is a good step to complete while you’re vacuuming. Pay special attention to the bed frame, headboard, decorative sheets, and night stand.

6. Clean the area

This goes hand-in-hand with number 5. Wipe down surfaces near the infested bed with water and a safe cleaning solution. Pick up anything near the bed and throw it in yet another clean garbage bag. Make sure you don’t leave anything lying around in the infested room.

7. Investigate the area

After you’ve clean and cleared, go back through the area around the bed one last time. Check all the nooks and crannies for signs of bed bugs. Power outlets, vents, baseboard, corners, furniture--it’s all fair game. You want to be as thorough as possible.

8. Gather your stuff

Once you’re finished with the area immediately surrounding the bed, follow steps 4-6 for the entire infested room. Pick up everything that’s on the floor or rest out on the open. Clean off and vacuum all surfaces. Gather everything that was in the infested room in an organized pile in the middle of the room. Do not take anything out of the room.

9. Throw it in the dryer

Put anything you could safely run through the dryer into a garbage bag. Take it directly to the dryer and run it on the highest setting for at least 30 minutes. Pillows, stuffed animals, blankets, clothing, shoes, and bags should all be dried.

10. Inspect items one-by-one

If there’s anything left over that you couldn’t dry, inspect it for bed bugs very carefully. Turn it over, open it up, clean it off. Use your cleaning solution to scrub it down if possible.

11. Throw it out?

You don’t have to throw everything out, but consider disposing of items you don’t need that could be infested. Make sure you put everything you’re throwing out in an airtight plastic garbage bag.

12. Get organized

Make sure everything in the infested room has been accounted for. Arrange your stuff into three piles: “Dry”, “Throw out”, and “Clean”. Organize these piles, put all items into garbage bags, and label them. If you have items that are too big to bag, put them next to the other stuff.

13. Check the corners

Unfortunately, bed bugs are crafty little suckers, and they’ll hide anywhere they can. Don’t stop looking for them after you’ve checked the bed. Go around the entire perimeter of the room, floor to ceiling. Look in cracks, crevices, outlets--just about everywhere.

14. Check yourself

Before you’re finished, there’s one more place to check: your own body! Take off your clothing and run it through the dryer. Check your body for any bed bugs or bites.

15. Be careful where you sleep

You probably won’t want to sleep on your infested bed after finding your bed bugs. We can’t blame you! Be careful not to accidentally spread the infestation to another part of your home, however. Seal off the infested room. Check your own body carefully before you go to sleep. Check the new sleeping area, as well. It’s probably tempting, but you shouldn’t leave your home, either.   We know you’ve had a hard day. And you’re probably still a little shaken up. After you’ve completed these steps and given us a call, however, you can relax. Plunkett’s guarantees that we can wipe out your bed bug infestation for good. Then you can sleep without any worries again. Sweet dreams!

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