Can you get bed bugs if your house is clean

Bed Bugs in Clean Homes: Is It Possible?

Avatar of author Ismael Girard
Ismael Girard
min read

Ever wondered if a spotless home can still attract bedbugs? Well, the answer is yes! Bedbug infestations can occur even in the most clean homes or apartments. That's because even though having a clean home helps avoid most pest problems, bedbugs are attracted to warmth and us, humans.

In this text, we'll cover the following aspects:

✔️ The famous myth of cleanliness in bedbug infestations

✔️ Why they actually come into your home

✔️ Prevention methods to avoid invasions

Let's dive into it!

Bed Bug Infestations in Clean Homes

picture of a bedbug in a bedroom

Contrary to popular belief, our immaculate homes don't act as a deterrent to bed bugs. These small insects aren't interested in the cleanliness of the surroundings, rather they're after the warmth and sustenance humans offer.

The Myth: Cleanliness vs. Bed Bug Attraction

There exists a common myth that cleanliness and bed bug attraction are linked. In reality, bed bugs are not drawn to dirt or grime. In other words, It's not clutter or food that attracts them — but rather humans.

Understanding Bed Bugs: Biology and Behavior

To comprehend why cleanliness doesn't deter bed bugs, you need to understand their biology and behavior. Bed bugs are approximately the size of an apple seed, which can be tough to spot. Adult bed bugs live for about 5-6 months, but considering each female bed bug lays up to 200-250 eggs in their lifetime, their populations can multiply quickly.

Why They're Called Bed Bugs

Bed bugs earn their moniker due to their preferred environment for their meals i.e. when humans are asleep, stationary, and oblivious. They usually come out at night from their hiding spaces in cracks, crevices and upholstered furniture, to feed on their host's blood.

Attraction to Carbon Dioxide, Warmth, and Blood

Bed bugs are attracted primarily by elements humans invariably produce: carbon dioxide, warmth, and blood. We exhale carbon dioxide and our body heat can provide a cozy ambiance for bed bugs. These elements are not dependent on cleanliness, which is why even the cleanest homes can fall victim to bed bugs.

The Reality of Bed Bugs in Spotless Environments

In pristine environments, bed bugs may just be harder to spot. Clean homes, hotels, or public areas can indeed become infested as these pests have an uncanny ability to travel unnoticed in luggage, bags and clothing.

They can easily hitch a ride from an infested area to a new environment, infesting even the tidiest of spaces. So, a meticulous clean-up alone is unlikely to rid your dwelling of bed bug infestations. For effective treatment, the services of a professional pest control company are typically recommended.

Why Bed Bugs Come to Your Home?

Below, we're exploring the various situations that might bring these pests into your domain, turning your home into their newfound habitat.

Common Causes of Bed Bug Infestations

There are multiple factors that contributes to bedbugs. Unveiling these factors can help manage and possibly prevent future infestations.

Travel and Hospitality

Vacations can serve as an open invitation for bed bugs.

These pests notoriously infest places like hotels, hostels, and other hospitality venues where they may latch onto your luggage, clothing, or other personal items.

Second-Hand Furniture and Upholstered Items

A bargain might be more costly than you think.

Bed bugs find comfort in the nooks and crannies of used furniture, ready to claim a new habitat when brought home. Particularly vulnerable are:

  • Mattresses
  • Box springs
  • Appliances

Moving From Your Neighbors'

No wall is thick enough.

When living in close quarters such as apartment buildings or shared housing facilities, bed bugs can simply march over from infested units to yours. They effortlessly navigate through ductwork, wall voids, and even hitch a ride on pets or humans.

⚠️ If you're a tenant, we have an article that specifically covers bedbugs in apartments. It's really important that you switch over to this blog instead, as it dives into the responsibilities and various techniques made for rental units. 

Hitching a Ride on Clothing and Luggage

Your wardrobe might hold more than your fashion statement.

Bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers and have no problem catching a ride on your clothing or lug around in your bags to secure a spot in a cozy new environment.

While it can be disturbing to realize that our daily activities like traveling, shopping for second-hand items, or simply lending clothes could potentially introduce bed bugs into our homes, vigilance and regularly performing preventative measures can keep these pests away.

How to Prevent Bedbugs in Clean Homes?

Proactive measures makes it easy to avoid any bedbug outbreak, as it can deter potential issues. Keep the following tips at your fingertips, and they'll serve you well.

Inspecting Second-Hand Purchases

Say you've found a charming piece of upholstered furniture or a box filled with inviting bedtime books at a garage sale. Normally, you wouldn't hesitate to take these home, but buying second-hand entails due diligence.

  • Carefully inspect the seams and areas around buttons or tags for signs of bugs or their eggs. They're roughly the size of an apple seed, so ensure you have plenty of light to aid your search.
  • Don't forget to examine crevices and hidden corners - all popular hiding spots for these nocturnal pests.

Protective Covers for Mattresses and Pillows

Introduce specially designed protective covers to your mattresses and pillows—an innovative way of creating a hostile environment for bugs. These covers, made from specific materials, work to trap existing bugs inside, causing them to starve, while preventing external bugs from penetrating the cover.

  • Regularly check these covers for signs of damage and replace them promptly to uphold their efficiency.

Vigilance During Travel and Public Exposure

Travel and public exposure form a significant part of our lives, so constituting potent channels for bedbugs to invade our homes. Here's what you can do:

  • Drying your clothes: Got clothes stiff from travel? Pop them in the dryer for a 20-minute at highest temperature. Bedbugs have a low tolerance for heat, so repeated exposure can kill them off quickly.
  • Consider plastic over fabric: When dealing with luggage, consider choosing hard-shell plastic over fabric. Bedbugs are adept climbers but flounder on smooth plastic surfaces.
  • Inspect hotel rooms: Chances of encountering bedbugs spike in high-traffic areas like hotels. Inspect the hotel room, focusing on the mattress, baseboard, and upholstered furniture. Don't put luggage or clothing directly on the bed or floor before this routine.
  • Careful with Commuting: Public transit means shared spaces, upping the risk. Maintain mindfulness of your belongings and avoid placing them against fabric seats if possible.

Preventing bed bugs in clean homes extends beyond mere house cleaning. It embraces an approach that curates cautious purchasing habits, the adoption of protective tools, and mindful travel practices.


Maintaining cleanliness offers a starting point in managing bed bugs, but it's just the tip of the iceberg. Vigilance and professional guidance play significant roles in tackling this problem.

Consistent surveillance helps detect signs of bed bugs and professional pest control companies can step in when self-help proves insufficient. Expert treatments range from insecticides to high-heat methods. Insecticides find their way into cracks, crevices, and baseboards, places usually out of reach.

The journey of becoming bed bug-proof may seem challenging, but it doesn't have to be. Arm yourself with reliable information, ask professionals for advice when needed, and remember–vigilance is key.

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Frequently asked questions

How do bed bugs select their habitats in home environments?

Bed bugs are not selective based on cleanliness; they choose habitats based on proximity to their human hosts. Common areas include mattresses, furniture, and luggage where they can stay close to a food source.

Why are bed bugs particularly attracted to human sleeping areas?

Bed bugs prefer environments where humans are stationary for long periods, such as beds, because it allows them uninterrupted access to feed on human blood during the night.

Can regular home cleaning prevent bed bug infestations?

While regular cleaning helps in detecting bed bugs early and may simplify control measures, it does not prevent infestations because bed bugs are attracted to human hosts, not dirt or grime.