AS THE UK battles growing fears of a bed bug invasion, experts have shared how to deep clean your mattress.
Infestations of the nasty critter can be difficult to tackle, especially without professional help – but there are other steps you can take.
It comes as outbreaks in France have sparked panic there could be an increasing bedbug problem in Britain.
A small insect was seen crawling on a bus window in Manchester this week, while a London Underground passenger was horrified when she spotted one on her leg.
Another commuter on the Northern Line posted on social media what appeared to be bedbug eggs on seats and refused to sit down.
Elsewhere in the country, councils have reported a rise in pest control call outs amid the disturbing sightings.
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HOW TO SPOT BED BUGS
According to the NHS, bed bugs can be dark yellow, red or brown andare oval in shape – about the size of an apple seed.
As an insect they have six legs and two antenna, and are around 5mm long.
Carl Walsh, founder of Bed Guru, shared his advice on how to find out if any critters have invaded your home.
He told The Mirror: "Look for tiny-reddish brown bugs, tiny white eggs or small dark faecal spots – these are all signs of a bed bug infestation."
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HOW TO DEEP CLEAN YOUR MATTRESS
The cleaning whizz warned while infestations are difficult to eradicate, there's no need to throw the whole mattress away.
"The key is to act quickly," he urged.
"With more severe infestations you may have to replace your mattress, but it is not the only solution."
The first step is to remove all bedding and wash all sheets, pillowcases and blankets on a hot cycle.
Most experts would recommend a 90 degree setting to kill the pests.
"Wash any sheets, pillowcases, duvet covers and blankets on a hot cycle and tumble dry on a hot setting to kill any bed bugs and their eggs," Carl said.
"Put the clean bedding in a plastic bag to prevent re-infestation."
He also urged those tackling an infestation to focus on vacuuming the "seams, folds and crevices" of the mattress.
"You will also need to vacuum the surrounding area, this includes the carpet, bedframe, baseboards, under-bed storage and nearby furniture," explained Carl.
Once you have stripped, cleaned and vacuumed your bedding, mattress and room, there's a final step to take.
"Using a high-temperature steam cleaner will effectively kill bed bugs and their eggs," added the bed bug destroyer.
But, be careful not to over-steam and make the mattress too damp.
Carl also suggested putting "bed bug-proof encasements" on the bed.
"This will prevent any new infestations as well as ensure all remaining bed bugs cannot escape or feed, and eventually, they will die," he said.
Carl reminded Brits to regularly check their mattress for the pests.
"Continue to wash and dry your bedding on a hot cycle regularly just to be safe," Carl added.
"Also, vacuum your mattress and the surrounding area in the following weeks to maintain a bed bug-free environment."
The scent of the oils can also serve as a deterrent to keep them away from your bed and can be used to kill them if sprayed onto the mattress directly.
Essential oils such as eucalyptus, peppermint, and lavender are most effective.
Other experts have shared their top tips for eradicating a bed bug problem.
According to Nigel Bearman, owner of cleaning company Daily Poppins, there's two natural solutions which can be used to help.
First up, he notes that baking soda, which costs as little as just 65p, works, can do the trick.
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“The small granules of baking soda can also cause internal bleeding due to the fact that they can cut into a bed bug's shell," he explains.
The cleaning guru also said lavender oil will help prevent the blood-sucking critters.
He recommends adding 15 drops to 50ml of water, and spraying it directly onto the areas where bed bugs are present.
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