It’s safe to say that having bed bugs in your shoes can be annoying (and gross).
So what do you do when you suspect that your feet are being attacked by bed bugs?
I remember my one-time colleague had bed bugs in her shoes when she was about to give a presentation at the office. It was a nightmare for her!
She had to excuse herself and leave the meeting room to deal with it. Luckily no one else figured it out, but she was mortified nonetheless.
Table of Contents
How Do Bed Bugs Get Into Shoes In The First Place?
Do you know bed bug can’t fly or jump? They may get into your shoes accidentally just by crawling around to find hiding places. There is nothing in shoes that would attract bed bugs. But in general, they like to get attached to different things like clothes, bags, purse and your other belongings.
Since they can’t fly or jump, they usually hitchhike on humans and spread infestation across the world. You might bring bed bugs to your home if you are coming back from vacations.
Bed bug likes to be as close as possible to humans and shoes is a good source to achieve that purpose. Bed Bugs crawl three to four feet per minute on most surfaces. When they get into your shoes, and they are getting enough food supply (which is human blood) they would like to live in your shoes all day long.
Their only food source is human blood. And they get constant food source in your foot they won’t move easily, you have to do something to kick these little pesky pests away.
How To Treat Shoes Once You Have Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are one of the most difficult pests to deal with. Their unique biology helps them to survive in extreme conditions. According to AngelList, bed bug control is the most expensive service in the pest control industry. Here are a few techniques you can use to clean out your shoes from Bed Bugs.
Before i go into more details you might be interested in getting some bed bug sprays if you have bed bug infestation in your home.
1. Wash Your Shoes
This method can only be used if your shoes are machine washable. Just putting your shoes in machine won’t work you have to use something out of the box to kill or get the bed bugs out. So here is what you need to do:
- One night before putting your shoes in a washing machine, First put 3 Tablespoon baking soda in the bottom of each shoe.
- Next Day: Empty out both shoes from baking soda.
- Scrub the shoes with a brush (inside out) and remove the laces.
- Put your shoes in a laundry bag and use liquid laundry detergent.
Add 4-5 Towels to balance the load for your washing machine. And remove the sale form both shoes. Because sometimes bed bugs like to hide in small holes and even beneath the soles of your shoes.
Now, this is not the only way to clean out your shoes from bed bugs. There are some other ways to skin the cat. If you didn’t like washing method or it didn’t work for you. Keep on reading.
2. Heat Treatment
Heat treatment is the most effective method to treat bed bugs. In Fact, it is used by most pest control companies. It works fairly well for general house bed bug infestation. This method entirely depends on the texture of your shoes.
According to Stephen A. Kells study on bed bug: Bed bugs can’t bear more than 45 C temperature. So you have to generate enough heat in your shoes to kill them. Stuff like leather can bear high temperature but other textures might get damaged. But it is worth a try.
First, you have to check the texture of your shoes and see if it can bear that much heat.
You do not need to use sophisticated equipment to generate heat. A normal household heating equipment would work (Warm drawer, hair straightener or a normal air heater) put your shoes in 45°C condition for at least one hour.
Watch this video to see how bed bugs get killed with heat in real-time.
Extreme heat would kill all bed bugs, you are in good hands.
3. Put Your Shoes In A Deep Freezer
Quick tip: pack your shoes in a plastic bag and keep the bag in a deep freezer for 48-72 hours. Scientific studies have found bed bugs can’t survive in 0-degree Celsius temperatures for prolonged periods of time.
As opposed to severe heat, bed bug also can’t bear severe cold! So if you can’t get kill them using heat, use cold instead. Yes cold works for bed bugs, this is not a myth! Let me back it with scientific research and data.
Entomological Society of America published a study in 2013 to see how cold condition bed bugs can survive. Here is what they found:
Bed bugs may be less susceptible to freezing temperatures than previously reported, but given adequate time and cold enough temperatures, freezing can still be an effective means of controlSource: Entomological Society of America
Myth busted! You can now use your deep freezer to get rid of bed bugs in your shoes. The good thing about this strategy is that it won’t damage your shoes. And the deep freezer is available in almost any house.
Shoes are so tiny and they can easily be placed in a deep freezer for a couple of days. So pack both shoes into a plastic bag and dump it in your deep freezer for at least 48 hours to get maximum results. Believe me, this stuff works.
Side Note: You must have another pair of shoes, which I assume you have.
4. Help from Exterminator
You might be asking, i don’t have the time to do all this, can I hire an exterminator?
My Answer is heck NO!
As I said above, bed bug control is the most expensive service in the pest control industry. It is not worth your time and money to hire an exterminator for your bed bug infested shoes unless you have a severe infestation that spread into your shoes.
They are still biting you on your foot?
If you are reading this far, you are probably one of the unluckiest people on earth. My advice would be to throw away your shoes and buy yourself a new pair of shoes. You lost the game from these little creatures!
Personal Recommendation: Don’t gift infested shoes to your friends (unless you want to take revenge from him/her)
Jokes aside, if you are still not getting any control. You might check if there is already an infestation in your house. If that is the case, more and more bed bugs are coming into your shoes.
Check if your other sibling has bed bug in their shoes as well, this might be a sign of severe infestation which only professional pest control company can treat.
I’d recommend hiring a professional exterminator to investigate the issue because I bet this is a sign of a huge bed bug infestation in your home.
Always hire company with industry experience in dealing with bed bugs. Just spraying won’t work. It takes through inspection and integrated pest management strategy to deal with the situation. Discuss control method with your exterminator beforehand to clear up expectation. It can cost you from $200-$500 if you hire experienced exterminator.
If you don’t want to spend such a hefty amount on pest control company. You can try bed bug spray or traps.
Please share your personal experience in the comments if you have. I’d like to talk to you. Even if you don’t agree with my points still comment or reach out to me. I won’t mind, I am always looking for other perspectives and trying to move towards the truth instead of pushing my own agenda or products on you.