If you have bed bugs in your home, there will come a time when getting a good night of sleep in your bed will become an all-out impossibility. Bed bugs are sneaky, and they reproduce so quickly that you could accidentally pack a few home in your luggage and have more bugs in your mattress than you can imagine in no time at all. The only surefire way to eliminate a bed bug problem is with the aid of a professional pest-control agent, but in the meantime, there are a few things you can do to keep these blood-thirsty critters off of you while you sleep.

First things first: wash all of your bedding.

Sheets, pillows, pillowcases, and even the bed skirt—pull them all off of your bed and haul them in trash bags to the laundromat or your laundry room for washing. Bed bugs cannot withstand heat, so washing all of your bedding in hot water and drying all of it at a high temperature will most definitely knock a dent in the numbers of bed bugs you are seeing. If you have to, wash your bedding every day, or at the least toss it in the dryer for a quick zap of heat to kill bugs and their eggs.

Vacuum your mattress thoroughly.

While all of your bedding is in the washer, take the time to vacuum the mattress. Vacuum all of the cracks and crevices. Flip the mattress over and do the same. As soon as you're done vacuuming, get rid of the bag by sealing it shut in a trash bag and take it outside, away from your home. Vacuuming is easy enough that this can also be done daily, and this will result in fewer bugs and eggs left to hatch.

Buy a mattress cover to fit your bed.

One of the first recommendations a pest-control agent will make if you choose to keep your current mattress is that you buy a good cover. A mattress cover designed to seal bed bugs inside is airtight, meaning nothing can get in or out. A zipper keeps the cover tightly closed, and even the end of the zipper on the highest-quality covers has a flap that secures in place to seal off any small holes. If you also have a box spring, it is a good idea to invest in an additional cover for this as well, as bed bugs will hide out in the wood of the box springs just the same as they will in your mattress.

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