The Myth of Clean Houses: Can They Really Get Infested with Bed Bugs?

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Home » Blog » Home Safety & Cleaning » The Myth of Clean Houses: Can They Really Get Infested with Bed Bugs?

If you have ever encountered bed bugs, you know they are different than other bugs or insects. And unlike micerats, and roaches, bed bugs do not enter your house through cracks, gaps, holes, or window screens looking for shelter, food, or water. Bed bugs enter your home differently, and are after something much different. When you probably think of bed bugs, you probably think of dirty motel rooms. But Can Clean Houses Get Bed Bugs? 

Yes, clean houses can get bed bugs. Bed bugs do not care how clean your home is; although a dirty home may make it harder to notice them, bed bugs are in your house for your blood.

Now that you understand that clean houses can get bed bugs, you may be wondering what a bed bug is and how they can enter your clean home.

What Are Bed Bugs?


As I mentioned earlier, bed bugs are different than rodents and roaches. Instead of scavenging for food in your house, they try to feed on you and your blood. 

They are red in color and oval-shaped. Bed bugs come out at night to feed on you while you sleep. They are essentially human parasites that have existed for thousands of years. Although they feed on human blood, they will also feed on house pets.

Are Bed Bugs Real Bugs?

Yes, bed bugs are real bugs. They come from the genus Cimex, which includes other parasites such as the bat bug. They do not fly or jump but only crawl.

Why Are They Called Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are nocturnal and spend a lot of time in dark hidden areas like the box springs of your bed, headboards, or seams of your mattress. Then they come out to feed on you while you are sleeping. Hence the name “bed bug”.

How Does a Clean House Get Bed Bugs?

Regardless if you and your house are clean, you can get bed bugs in your home. Bed bugs can attach themselves to you, your clothes, and your belongings without realizing it. And then you can carry them into your home. 

Below are some areas and ways you can unknowingly pick up bed bugs.

What Is the Main Cause of Clean Houses Getting Bed Bugs?

Traveling has been one of the main reasons for the increase in bed bug infestations in the last 20 years. Hotel rooms can be ideal places for bed bugs to hide and attach themselves to luggage. Then, you can unknowingly take them home with you.

Other Causes and Places to Pick up Bed Bugs

  • Buying second-hand furniture
  • Gyms
  • College dorm rooms
  • Hospitals & nursing homes 
  • Schools & daycares
  • Retail/ grocery stores
  • Offices buildings
  • Movie theaters
  • Any place you congregate and/or sleep

How Long Before I Know If I Brought Bed Bugs Home?


If you’re wondering if you or a family member has brought bed bugs into your clean house, below are some signs to look for, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

  • Bed Bug Bites: The quickest way to determine if you have brought home bed bugs is from the pink bite marks they will leave on your body. Depending on how your body reacts to a bed bug bite, you can see these marks immediately, or it could take up to 14 days. The bed bug bites may also itch.
  • Stains: Bed bugs leave stains of varying red, pink, and dark colors.
    1. Red and pink may come from them after they have fed on your blood, and then you roll over and crush them. When smashed, they will excrete the blood they had just consumed, leaving a pink or red color. You can find these stains on sheets, mattresses, or your pajamas.
    2. Darker stains are their excrement, found on the mattress, walls, and furniture.
  • Unpleasant Odor: Bed bugs give off pheromones to communicate with each other. The pheromone smell is usually a musty smell, and the stronger the smell is, the more of an infestation you may have in your house.
  • Exoskeletons: Another sign of bed bugs in your home is the sight of exoskeletons. During the molting process and as they grow, they will shed their outer skin, called the exoskeleton. They look like empty bed bug shells usually found around the bed and furniture.
  • Bed Bugs: If you find one bed bug, it doesn’t mean you have an infestation, but you should thoroughly check your home for others.

What If Someone with Bed Bugs Comes to Your House?

People visiting your home who have bed bugs in their own can certainly bring them into your house. So, try to avoid them from entering your house or meet them in an area outside. If they must enter, put their shoes, socks, and coat in a garbage bag, then put it in the garage or outside.

Can Clean Houses Get Bed Bugs All Over?

If you have seen signs that you have bed bugs in your bedroom, you may be wondering if your whole house can get infested. 

Unfortunately, as was mentioned earlier, bed bugs can attach to you unknowingly, and you can carry them into other areas. Bed bugs also can travel over 100 feet in a night.

But bed bugs want to feed on your blood, so if there are no sources of blood for them in other areas of your home, they will come back to your room. Or they may also go after the blood of your pets.

Although bed bugs are looking for blood, they can live from three months to 400 days without a blood meal.

How Common Are Bed Bugs in Homes?

Very common. Bed bugs are in all 50 states. Most infestations happen in single-family homes, apartments and condominiums, and hotels.

How Often Can Clean Houses Get Bed Bugs? 

During the pandemic, there was less traveling, less going out, and fewer people going to other people’s houses, so bed bug infestation rates dropped.

But since places have opened up, cities across the world, such as Paris and Chicago, as well as areas in Arizona, have experienced bed bug infestations.

What to Do about Bed Bugs?

If you have bed bugs now, or are concerned about getting them, below are some tips to try.

How to Prevent Bed Bugs

Here are some simple steps to prevent your house from getting bed bug infestation.

  • Get familiar with what bed bugs look like so you can spot them.
  • Don’t buy second-hand furniture, or if you do, thoroughly inspect it for bed bugs.
  • Buy mattress and spring box bed bug covers for your beds.
  • Inspect your and your family’s clothes, shoes, and suitcases after traveling or when you hear there is an infestation in your area

For more ways to protect your home from bed bugs visit here.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

If you were unsuccessful in preventing bed bugs from entering your home, you need to take action right away. Female bed bugs can lay up to 200 – 250 eggs in their lifetime, and if the conditions are right, the female can lay eggs every day. Meaning a few bed bugs can exponentially turn into an infestation quickly.

If you have an infestation of bed bugs, your best bet is to call a pest control company to have them take care of them, but in the meantime, before they come, you will need to start preparing your home for them. This means:

  • Identify where the infestation is and contain it there.
  • Wash your clothes in the hottest water and dry them in the hottest setting. Put your other belongings in sealed bags.
  • Use a steamer to steam areas where bed bugs may be located. Steam can effectively kill bed bugs.
  • Use a vacuum with a bag and vacuum often around your home. Discard the bag after every use.
  • Use vinegar to kill bed bugs. Read our article – Can Vinegar Kill Bed Bugs? to learn how.
  • Inspect yourself and your clothes and shoes often to prevent spreading bed bugs to other areas in your homes and public.

Did you know you can use baking soda to exterminate bed bugs? Read our article – Does Baking Soda Kill Bed Bugs? to learn how.

How to Clean Your House after a Bed Bug Treatment


After treating your home for bed bugs, there will probably be a lot of dead bed bugs and possibly eggs left over. Now, your house will need a thorough cleaning; start by vacuuming the bed bug carcasses.

Next, clean all other areas of your home while keeping an eye out for any living bed bugs. Completely vacuum all areas of your home, not just the infested rooms, every day for the next week. Each time, immediately discard the vacuum bag outside in a sealed trash can.

If you find any living bed bugs, immediately call the pest control company.

Can Cleaning Companies Get Rid of Bed Bugs?

A common question people ask is – can cleaning companies get rid of bed bugs? No, they usually don’t get rid of bed bugs. Unless they are part of a pest control company, cleaning companies only clean, not get rid of, or treat for bed bug infestations.

Conclusion – Can Clean Houses Get Bed Bugs? 

As we’ve discussed throughout this post, clean houses can get bed bugs. Bed bugs do not care if your home is clean; they are really after your blood or your pets’ blood. This makes them different than rodents and most insects.

They are also different from other insects because you and your belongings can pick up and transport them into your home from various places without you knowing it. Traveling and staying in hotels is the most frequent way to get bed bugs.

There are several ways to verify if you have bed bugs in your house. Once you have determined you have a bed bug infestation, the best way to remove them is to call a pest control company. Then follow the tips to prevent them from entering your clean house again.

Are you curious about what other insects can infest your home? Check out my post – Can Clean Houses Get Roaches?