As someone who has suffered through a bed bug infestation, I can tell you firsthand that it’s one of the most frustrating experiences you can have.
Not only do these tiny pests bite you relentlessly while you’re trying to sleep, but they can also leave behind stains on your bedding that is difficult to remove.
In this article, we’ll explore whether bed bugs actually leave stains on your bed sheets and pillows, and if so, what you can do to get rid of them.
One of the most obvious signs that you have bed bugs at home is the presence of reddish stains on your mattress. However, it’s not just your mattress.
Bed bugs may also leave stains on your pillows and bed sheets. When they feed on your blood, they often leave behind small droplets of blood that can seep through your bedding and onto your mattress or pillow.
These stains are typically reddish-brown in color and can be difficult to remove.
In addition to blood stains, bed bugs can also leave behind fecal matter and shed skin, both of which can cause discoloration on your bedding.
Fecal matter stains are typically dark brown or black in color and can be found in clusters, while shed skin is often translucent and can be mistaken for dandruff.
Stains On Your Bedsheet and Pillowcase – What Does This Mean?
There’s nothing more infuriating and worrying than seeing little stains on your pillowcases the next morning. If you’ve been seeing these stains and wonder what this could mean, here are some of the most common reasons:
Bed bugs are notorious for leaving behind reddish-brown stains on sheets and pillowcases. These stains are actually droppings from the bugs themselves, which are left behind after they have fed on your blood.
The idea of tiny bugs crawling all over you while you sleep, feeding on your blood and leaving behind unsightly stains, is enough to make anyone feel uncomfortable.
Seeing these stains on your bedsheet simply mean that bed bugs have been feeding on your blood, and it’s time to take action.
Unfortunately, it takes weeks, sometimes even months before you start to notice the signs of their presence.
Bed bug infestations are not a reflection of poor hygiene or cleanliness, as these pests can live and thrive regardless of how clean or dirty the environment is. As long as there’s blood meal around, they will come out of hiding and feed.
Dust mites are microscopic organisms that like to feed on the tiny particles of dead skin cells and other organic matter found in your bedding.
They do not actually bite you, but their presence can still be seen as small droplets of excrement left behind on your sheets. These stains may appear yellowish-brown in color, and they will often be accompanied by small dark markings.
Dust mites are a common problem that can be easily treated with regular vacuuming and washing of your bedding.
To prevent them from becoming a major issue, it’s important to make sure you change your bed sheets at least once a week and vacuum regularly.
Sweat & Oil Stains
Sweating is a normal healthy part of life, but unfortunately, it can also leave behind nasty stains, especially in your pillows.
Oil-based products like lotions, face creams, and makeup can also cause oily stains on your sheets. These are usually yellowish-green or grey in color, and they can be incredibly stubborn to remove.
Identifying and Confirming Bed Bug Stains
Stains in your bedsheets and pillowcases do not necessarily mean you have a bed bug infestation – yet. You have to learn how to identify and how these stains compare to the ones left by dust mites or sweat.
Here are some ways to verify and confirm if what you see are bed bug stains:
Reddish-Brown Spots Scattered On Your Bedding
This is commonly left behind by bed bugs after they have fed on your blood. If you see clusters of small dark spots that are primarily reddish-brown in color, this means trouble.
This is one of the simplest and most effective ways to spot bed bug stains. Unlike dust mite stains, these spots will not be accompanied by other dark markings.
Small Black Spots In Clusters
These stains are usually left behind by bed bugs as they pass feces while feeding. They tend to club together and form dark patches that are almost black in color.
Bed bug excrement also tends to have an unpleasant odor, so if you detect a musty smell coming from your pillows, this could be a sign of an infestation.
Bed bugs molt and shed their skin several times during the course of their lives. This shed skin is often translucent and can be mistaken for dandruff.
Look for small, off-white flakes on your pillowcases or sheets as this could be a sign that bed bugs have been living in your bed.
How to Remove Bed Bug Stains on Bedsheet and Pillows
As if causing you bites and distress aren’t enough, bed bugs also leave ugly stains that can sometimes mar the beauty of your bedsheets and pillows. Getting rid of these stains effectively requires more than regular scrubbing.
First and foremost, before addressing these stains, you should first address the main problem – bed bugs.
No matter how many times you clean and scrub the stains off, they will re-appear if the bed bugs are not eliminated.
With that being said, as soon as you have confirmed the presence of bed bugs, contact a professional exterminator right away. These stains will continue to reappear and become worse if not dealt with immediately.
Once you have gotten rid of the bed bugs, it is time to take care of the stains. They’re nasty, but you can clean them up with the right cleaning supplies. Here are some steps you can follow:
Start by vacuuming your entire bed so that you can remove any remaining dead skin cells and other debris left behind by the bugs.
This won’t remove the stains, but assuming you’ve had a pest control treatment done, there’s a slight possibility that dead bed bugs, shells, and eggs are left behind.
Mix a Solution of Detergent and Water
Create a solution that is one part detergent to two parts water. You can use any type of laundry or dishwashing liquid – just make sure it doesn’t contain bleach as this can damage your bedding.
Dip a clean cloth into the mixture and then gently scrub at the bed bug stains.
For beddings and pillowcases, you can soak them in the solution for an hour or two before throwing them in the washing machine.
Repeat as Necessary with Added Vinegar and Baking Soda in the Mix
It may take multiple attempts before the stains are gone. This might vary depending on the severity of the stains.
To make your cleaning solution more effective, you can also add white vinegar and baking soda to the mix.
To do this, create a paste with one part vinegar and two parts baking soda. Spread the paste over the stain and leave it there for at least an hour before scrubbing it off with a cloth.
Wash the Bedding with Hot Water
Once you are done scrubbing the bed bug stains, wash the bedding in hot water. This will help to further remove any remaining traces of pests and their excrement.
Be sure to use a good quality laundry detergent specially formulated for removing tough stains. If necessary, repeat this process until the stains are completely gone.
Washing with hot water is also important since bed bugs can’t survive temperatures above 120F. This is to take extra precautions and ensure that all bugs, eggs, and larvae that may have survived the treatment are killed.
Bed bugs leave stains wherever they feed. These are not just limited to mattresses and bedding, you can sometimes find these stains in your pillowcases, couch cushions, and even your clothes.
The stains are caused by the bed bug’s excrement, mixed with blood from their host.
Getting rid of stains is just the second part of the problem. The main solution is to get rid of the bed bugs themselves. Once you have done that, clean and scrub the stains with a mixture of detergent and water.
You can even add vinegar and baking soda for added strength. You may have to repeat this process more than once before the stains disappear completely.
Finally, wash everything in hot water to kill off any remaining bed bugs that may have survived the extermination process.