A Guide To Getting Rid Of Bed Bugs On Wood Furniture

Few things in life are as horrendous as a bed bug infestation; these relentless pests will terrorize a household until their hordes do not have anywhere to feed on.

This alarming feeding pattern is enough to cause stress and chaos in most people’s life, questioning the do’s and don’ts as well as how far their grasp is. Although getting rid of bed bugs is frustrating, one must wonder how to get rid of them properly from wood furniture. 

To get rid of bed bugs on wood furniture, you must first search for the bed bugs, prepare the area, then attack them in their hiding spaces. You will want to check back in 2 weeks to ensure they have completely gone away.

Bed bugs typically live in cracks and crevices, so it is relatively easy for them to get somewhere on a piece of wood furniture. It is essential first to check those places to ensure they do not come back. 

Some people assume that particular furniture is immune to bed bugs taking up lodgings and other functionality because nothing is sacred to bed bugs. Of the two, the latter is almost the truth.

This article aims to not only educate you on what kinds of furniture and types of materials these creatures can thrive on but what you can do to combat them from multiplying and overtaking your home actively. 

What Are Bed Bugs? 

Above information aside, some people have the pleasure of not knowing what these critters are. If you are one of these fortunate few, you truly should be counting your blessings. Bed bugs are predatory, parasitic bugs that feed on human blood to sustain themselves, much like mosquitoes to a much more invasive extent. 

Bed bugs are primarily nocturnal hunters whose bites can yield results ranging from mild annoyance to allergic responses and psychological fears from an infestation. Bed bugs pride themselves on their ability to hide directly around the corner from their food source, which would be us as humans.

They do this by taking up residence within the corners of the bed; hence their name—bed bugs alternate between laying eggs and feeding to establish a formidable army right where you sleep. Beds, however, are not the only place where you kind find these fiends, as once you have one, you probably have hundreds, if not more. 

You can find these creatures in the seams of almost any piece of furniture and light sockets. Even more disturbing than that, in superficial cracks on the wall.

Getting bed bugs is very rarely due to someone having a sense of poor hygiene and much more likely due to being at the right place at the wrong time. Bed bugs run rampant in high population density areas, so anywhere such as resting areas, hotels, airports, and other such sites can be nesting/traveling grounds for the bed bug.

While getting an infestation of bed bugs is extremely easy, having rid of them is an endeavor not for the faint of heart, as you may spend thousands of dollars in the attempt, as well as countless sleepless nights waging war on them.

The most effective way to get rid of bed bugs comes from using extreme heat, upwards of 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but there are a few alternatives with albeit much less likely success rates.

Why Are Bed Bugs An Issue?

If the above bit wasn’t enough to paint a detailed picture of why they aren’t exactly the most pleasant of situations to be a part of, maybe a more in-depth analysis of their capabilities would demonstrate their life destructive capabilities.

Bed bugs are invasive, that is a fact, and more so that they do so from the confines of your own home. In most cases, people view their home as a sacred place, a place where you go to relax and unwind, and in some cases recover from a long week.

Having a predicament of bed bugs would guarantee any such attempt at easing one’s nerves never gets off the ground. Bed bugs will do but one thing expertly, and that is feed. After making a snack of your blood, typically when you are sleeping, the area will begin to itch or become inflamed depending on your reaction to the bite. 

Amplify this interaction over perhaps 40 or more bites per night and for a week, and you will find you aren’t sleeping nearly as much as you were.

If you are now conscious of them, you will probably begin developing an acute case of paranoia. Sleepless nights, coupled with constant irritation and nowhere to recoup from an average week, adequately do a lot to a person’s overall sanity.

Because of the constant biting, a case of bed bugs can disrupt a person’s well-being on a psychological level. These things added together can explain to a healthy degree (or unhealthy one depending) why bed bugs could be life-altering, but this is only the beginning.

The true adventure starts when you start actively trying to get rid of them. Whether it be on your own or through a professional, it would be an uphill battle, mentally and financially.

How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs On Wood Furniture

Getting rid of bed bugs, specifically on wood furniture, is part one of a multi-sided effort. This is primarily due to them being an infestation and not simply an isolated problem.

If you want to get rid of them from your wooden furniture, you will have to get rid of them from every other location in your home as well. Otherwise, they will keep coming back.

Thankfully there is room to dive in and explain this process in-depth if it is a singular piece of wooden furniture you are trying to remove them from. It’s worth mentioning if you obtained a piece of furniture and can see it has bedbugs on it, the wiser choice would be to simply not take the furniture at all.

Not taking random furniture is because the savings you would get from whatever the piece’s price may be more than likely will not outweigh combating an infestation. 

1. Searching For The Bugs

All hunts begin somewhere, and this will be no different. Diagnosing you have a bed bug infestation on a piece of furniture is the first step, and you want to begin in the areas they will find most comfortable to them.

In most cases, this would be at the seams of cushions if you are looking at chairs, joints, and other fastenings for other furniture like tables. These small corners will give them the most cover and easiest method of hiding from prying eyes, as well as being nice hatcheries for future brood.

Assuming you find an area, be sure to flip and take apart any pieces you can to guarantee you have seen every nook and cranny they are nesting in.

If you are not sure what you are looking for, you are trying to find small red or brown spots that often have a unique smell accompanying them. You are more than likely to equip yourself with a magnifying glass and a flashlight to ensure you don’t miss a thing in your search.

Do this to every bit of furniture you have in the house, and dig more profound than that still. Everywhere from electrical sockets, picture frames, items stored on shelves like magazines and books, even piles of clothes can be suitable places for them to inhabit.

Diligence is the name of the game here, and your attention to detail will determine whether or not you get rid of them or have the calm before the storm.

2. Preparing The Area

Once you’ve diagnosed the infestation, you want to begin the long and arduous process of taking action against them; this starts with you taking things to the homefront.

Take all the covers, comforters, sheets, pillows, and pillowcases off your bed, and carefully inspect the seams of your mattress to begin the cleaning process.

It would be best to clean all linens (well, anything you tend using a washing machine) on the highest heat setting these items can handle without damaging them.

Keep in mind not even your more negligible items are safe from these bugs, or more importantly, their eggs. Any toys and stuffed animals, and the like are going to need to be tossed in the wash to ensure treatment is a success.

Most small electrical devices can also house these annoyances, so be sure to take them apart or replace them entirely, as any residual bed bugs can start the whole process again.

Depending on how severe your infestation is, more extreme measures may need to be taken. A normalized approach would be vacuuming every flat surface in the room that suffers from bedbugs, but removing all clothes from closets to drawers may be required in bad situations.

A side note on the use of the vacuum would be proper disposal; you will have to get rid of the bag immediately to prevent the infestation from spreading. Depending on the vacuum you have, you may have to take it apart handle cleaning differently. 

3. Attack The Bed Bugs In Their Hiding Spaces

If you are indeed attempting to handle this situation on your own, the next move you want to make would be using a robust team-based approach in all those seams and any other location you happened to find a nesting area.

Suppose one of these was an electrical socket or inside one of your electronic devices. In that case, you will either have to vacuum it thoroughly and treat it with an eco-friendly attack method or dispose of it entirely.

You will want to target all the nooks and crannies in your home and furniture after treating the biggest visual threats. The icing on the cake comes in the form of using any chemical-based spray to give a more lasting effect on these areas, watching out for kids that are family and pet-friendly. 

4. Check Back In Two Weeks

After a treatment, you will want to give things time for the proverbial dust to settle. This doesn’t mean being idle, though, and you will want to continue vacuuming and steam cleaning everything the same way daily.

Bed bugs are hand down one of the most challenging infestations to deal with, and only the utmost amount of effort and diligence will remove them from your home.

Wood Furniture

How Long Can Bed Bugs Live On Wood?

The type of surface that bed bugs inhabit does not determine their lifespan, only the heat of the general area. Whether or not you have treated the room with a substance, they are weak to decide on how long they will inhabit a space.

Seeing as your average bed bug has a lifespan of roughly 4 to 6 months, that is about how long you can expect one to live on wood. This is also only referencing a single bed bug at a time.

Their life cycle will repeat endlessly, assuming they have access to some source of food.

Even if your goal was to starve them to death, this method is by far the least likely for success because while on the smaller side of things, they can go 20 days without a host, but the most extended durations have seen bed bugs lasting over 400 days without a proper meal. 

What Scents Do Bed Bugs Hate?

Like all bugs, bed bugs have innate sensitivities to certain scents, and as such, can be more or less dissuaded to operate in total capacity in these areas. It’s worth noting that some of the scents in this list are stronger than others, but none of them will make a bed bug infestation uproot entirely. 

1. Garlic

On its own, garlic is a relatively helpful herb from its intense aroma. It is useful in making bed bugs so uncomfortable they move from the area they are inhabiting temporarily and allowing you to combat them more easily.

The reason garlic is so potent is due to the allicin produced by the garlic. Insects at large suffer from this vulnerability thanks to them having no ability to filter the scent caused by the allicin.

If you were trying to use garlic effectively, you would want to mist an area that shows signs of a bed bug infestation and follow suit with a high-temperature treatment on the exposed bugs and eggs.

2. Cayenne Pepper

This entry has a much more lethal versatility up its sleeve when used in conjunction with a few other ingredients, primarily ginger or vinegar.

When used together, cayenne pepper and ginger will eliminate bed bugs on contact but by itself will do little to nothing aside from making them move away from the general area ever so slightly.

Most of the notoriety the usefulness of cayenne pepper is famed for is only applicable to other insects and not bed bugs directly.

3. Lavender

Next on the list is the purple wonder itself, lavender. Utilizing this one for a bit of a lawn ornament will allow you to gain the benefits of its bug-repelling nature with the bonus of complimenting most floral arrangements beautifully.

Not only is it visually stimulating, but it’s also enjoyable to smell, at least for humans. On the other hand, bugs detest it to no end and will attempt to avoid it like the plague, so having some growing will serve as a kind of active deterrent for bed bugs but will not stop them if they hitch a ride directly into your dwellings.

4. Alcohol

Sometimes a stiff drink is an excellent way to welcome a guest, and in this case, a tall glass of Isopropyl alcohol will send bed bugs running, more than likely to a grave but running nonetheless. 

Alcohol’s strong odor alone is enough to send these filthy pests running for their lives, and if it makes contact with them, it acts as a strong solvent that both dissolves their shell, and later down the line, dries the bug out entirely.

In most cases, you would want to dilute the alcohol with a bit of water to lessen the smell for yourself, but if you are spraying it with the intent of eradicating hordes of bed bugs, using it as it would be the route to go.

One final bit of information on this topic would be that despite it being extremely hazardous to bedbugs, sometimes it doesn’t outright kill them. It should not be treated as the end all be all to an infestation, more as an ongoing line of defense.

5. Cinnamon Powder

Like most other culinary-based alternatives presented here, cinnamon powder is only a fragile form of disturbance. Not only will the cinnamon powder not kill bed bugs to any degree, but it also won’t even make them stray very far from the area.

At the cost of having a messy area to clean up afterward, it simply isn’t a very wise idea to use this in the first place. That being said, desperate times can make for desperate measures, and if it’s all you have on hand, sprinkling it around your bed or a computer desk you can’t avoid sitting at for work may make all the difference in your sanity.

6. Fresh Mint

If Isopropyl Alcohol is the hardest hitter on this list, then fresh mint would be the angry younger brother. While it can agitate bed bugs and kill them as well if it comes into direct contact with them, it’s far less helpful than alcohol. The only pro of it genuinely offers a refreshing scent and a mild deterrent against the onslaught. Ultimately, it falls in the same line as many others here but is worth mentioning because it kills them, albeit unreliably.

Propane Heater

How To Completely Get Rid Of Bed Bugs 

Finally, getting to the good part, ridding yourself of these pests with some certainty, and while shortstops and tiny bits of help along the way are excellent, a definitive end to the reign of these scoundrels is what you genuinely want to seek out.

There are only two DIY ways to end an infestation of bed bugs with any form of confidence:

Chemical Based Treatment

The first would be with a chemical-based treatment aiming to kill the bugs themselves, sterilize the eggs, or roast them with intense heat.

Chemical treatments can be long and arduous to layout and rely heavily on making sure you don’t miss a particular spot, or else the entire process can begin again. 

Heat Treatment

Warming an area to 140 degrees Fahrenheit will ensure everything affected, nooks, crannies, corners, is dead and gone. As a bit of guidance, never take on bedbugs alone without expert knowledge on where they hide and how to ensure they are gone.

You cannot rest with certainty until the infestation is at an end. When in doubt, go to a professional to guarantee they are gone. If not, you are entitled to re-treatment in most cases.

However, there is more that meets the eye, so let us continue on with more detail, shall we?

1. Keep Your Home Clean

Touching based on something we spoke of earlier with the clutter would generally be keeping your home tidy as well. Having a clear line of sight to the places bed bugs would try to nest in the first place will allow you to diagnose an infestation quicker and handle an ongoing one more efficiently.

Not only will this bring you some peace from knowing you’ve done your part in combating them, seeing a clean living space makes the mind well, and with the amount of psychological terror these cretins can cause, any mental bonuses you can good are much needed. 

Also, treating a clean home for bedbugs with either a chemical or heat-based method is much easier when you can have easy access to remote locations without tripping over clutter or piles of clutter.

2. Use Propane Heaters

Ah yes, the amateur bed bug hunter’s best friend, the propane heater, this bad boy serves the fight in a multitude of ways.

Firstly, isolate specific areas in the home, raise the heat to the target 140 degrees, treat a room effectively, and second by using a mobile form of treatment that doesn’t leave any residual damage or smells. 

One of the biggest problems with utilizing a chemical method comes with the potential of harming yourself or animals with them or missing spots entirely. The propane heater cannot fail to kill bed bugs in the vicinity unless you are moving too fast and not allowing it to do its job.

Not everyone has the immense amount of time, or worse, patience required to do a complete treatment, which leads us to our next staple.


3. Call A Professional

If eradicating the bed bugs once and for all is your goal, this is the decision you need to make starting off. Financial burdens may come and go, but an answer to a problem is what you seek, and this is where that road ends.

Professionals are versed in the requirements to get rid of an infestation of any size. They are also obligated to finish the job once they are started.

Once you make the wise decision to go with a professional, do a bit of research on the company you choose, and be sure to ask what kind of guarantees are offered to make certain things are done right. 

The industry for licensed professionals is reasonably large, so finding a company that meets your needs and offers what you desire for a price in your range should be pretty easy. 


All things must come to an end, and with any luck, this article will help bring your infestation to an end or better help you prevent one from occurring in the first place.

Ultimately, keeping bed bugs off of wood furniture would boil down to the heat-based method and have various herbs or counters to bed bugs in these areas, especially wooden furnishings on a backyard patio..

Remember always to check the seams of your furniture for potential friends and that a watchful eye will almost always do you more justice than any amount of preparation for the worst-case scenario. 

Photo of author

Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
DISCLAIMER: The content published on HomeInspectionInsider.com is not professional advice. You should consult with a licensed professional and check local permit requirements before starting any project.
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