We’ve broken out large furniture into a separate step, because it has its own challenges. Heat treatment is your best option for large furniture: it’s reliable, works without chemicals, and takes much less time than any other treatment.

Hi, I ‘m Rose with ZappBug, and today we will be demonstrating step 3 in our 8-step approach to get rid of bed bugs, dealing with large upholstered furniture. Upholstered furniture is the most difficult to treat because bed bugs can easily get deep into the cushions or body of the furniture where it is really hard to reach them. But don’t worry, they can be treated.

We have seen a lot of people recommend steam cleaning upholstered furniture, but we find that not to be very effective. Unless you are experience professional it is really difficult to get the steam to penetrate deep enough to ensure bed bugs are killed. So we don’t recommend this as a DYI approach.

Heat treatment can get upholstered hot enough to kill bed bugs, but in this video we are going to present you with another alternative that you can use. And that is DDVP pest strips. DDVP stands for Dichlorovinyl Dimethyl Phosphate an Organophosphate that has been used as a pesticide for decades. It works by blocking neurotransmitters in the insects leading to paralysis and eventual death. DDVP pest strips are designed to be used in enclosed spaces. And for that reason our methods requires sealing pest strips into a large bag with your upholster furniture. It is very important to keep in mind that DDVP is a pesticide and can absolutely be dangerous to human health. For this reason it is crucial that you read all the instructions that comes with your pest strips and carefully follow all guidelines. If you have pets or small children please consult your vet your pediatrician to make sure you are correctly following all procedures necessary to ensure their health. If for any reason you don’t feel comfortable using pesticides in your home, we highly recommend heat treatment as an alternative. If heat treatment isn’t an option for you, it might be best to simply dispose of the furniture.

Each Hot Shot No-Pest Strips is designed to be used in a space up to 1,200 cubic feet, so you should never use more than one strip. Do not use these strips in your kitchen or anywhere where food can come in contact with them. They are highly toxic when ingested.

For the purpose of this video we are using a leather chair as an example of upholster furniture. But this will work just as well for couches or any other large items. The first thing we are going to do is put the chair into a large furniture bag. We have purchase Wrap Brothers Coverall furniture bags from Amazon. But most hardware stores should have something similar. Remember to carefully measure your furniture before you purchase the bags. We bought these for use on a couch and found, while they were big enough, there wasn’t any room to close the bag. So make sure you have something that is a little more than whatever you are treating.

If the furniture you are treating is in a room where you will be spending any significant amount of time, you should also make absolutely sure that the bag is completely sealed and doesn’t have any rips. These strips specify that you don’t want to spend more than about 4 hours a day in a room where they are used. So it is really important that we do everything we can to limit our exposer. I am going to put two bags over this chair just be absolutely certain.

Now that the furniture is bagged. I am going to put on my gloves and proceed to carefully read over the Hot Shot No-Pest strips application directions.

Now I am just going to take this strip, put it in the bag and seal everything close with a zip tie.

Now that the strip is in here, I am just going to leave this bag sealed for 1 week to make sure all the bugs are dead. In a week I am going to remove the bags, dispose of the pest strip and leave the chair in a room with all the windows open for several hours while I am not there. So that any remaining DDVP can safely dissipate.


Upholstered furniture is the most challenging because it’s especially easy for bedbugs to hide in the upholstery. Despite what some pest control professionals will tell you, steam cleaning is usually not effective, because it’s difficult to get the steam to penetrate deep and thoroughly enough through the upholstery.

We recommend that you use a pesticide called DDVP (also known as DICHLORVOS) found in Hot Shot No-Pest Strips or Nuvan ProStrips combined with encasing the furniture in a large plastic furniture bag.

We understand that some people are hesitant about using pesticides and we explore this issue in a lot more detail in Step 7. Unfortunately, there are just not many other options for upholstered furniture besides disposal or long term storage. As always we recommend heat treatment as the easiest solution. When using any pesticides follow all guidelines provided by the manufacturer of the pesticides. Consult with a health care professional for any specific concerns. Be aware that pesticides are dangerous chemicals and misuse can have serious health consequences.

We feel Hot Shot No-Pest Strips (MSDS sheet) or Nuvan ProStrips (MSDS sheet) are the best option because their active ingredient, DDVP, is one of the few pesticides we know to be effective against bed bugs. DDVP has been used since the 1960’s for pest control in enclosed storage areas

ZappBug Room™

Supplies You Need to Treat Upholstered Furniture:

Get rid of bed bugs in couches, beds and furniture.


The easiest way to save your furniture is to use the ZappBug Room™, available for $1499 including shipping. The ZappBug Room™ measures 111” x 57.5” X 78″ making it large enough to heat treat your:

▪ couches
▪ chairs
▪ files
▪ bedding
▪ mattress
▪ shoes
▪ papers
▪ electronics
▪ tables
▪ books
▪ clothes
▪ and much more.

This large capacity lets you heat treat more items at once, thus reducing your time in getting rid of bed bugs. Saving the cost of buying a new mattress, bed frame and couch can more than pay for the ZappBug Room™. It’s also extremely easy to use and can be set up by one person in approximately ten minutes. If this is out of your price range or you have space constraints then small pieces of furniture can be heat treated in a ZappBug Oven 2™, available for $349 including shipping. You may also want to consult with many of the pest control professionals who offer full residence heat treatment, although this can be much more expensive than buying your own portable heat treatment device. If you choose to treat your furniture without a ZappBug, take one of these two approaches, depending upon whether or not the piece of furniture is upholstered or not upholstered.

Other ZappBug Heating Units


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OVEN 2, $399.99

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To treat your upholstered furniture, take the following steps:


If the piece of furniture has removable cushions, then these can be heat treated in a ZappBug unit or in a clothes dryer set on high. (See our section about heat treatment.)


Encase entire piece of furniture in a large plastic furniture bag


Use one Hot Shot or Nuvan strip per bag, carefully following all guidelines on the product packaging. Whenever handling these strips please use gloves as it’s best to eliminate any skin contact.


Make sure the bag is tightly sealed.


Leave sealed for a one week (seven days). For more detailed instructions consult the instructions provided with the pest strips and watch the video above.

Supplies You Need to Treat Upholstered Furniture:

▪ The active pesticide in both Hot Shot No-Pest Strips and NUVAN ProStrips is DDVP also known as DICHLORVOS (2,2-Dichlorovinyl dimethyl phosphate). These are different brands of what is effectively the same pesticide, so in our experience either one will work equally well.
▪ Furniture bags are large plastic bags designed to protect furniture when it is being transported.

▪ Warp Brothers makes a line of different sized furniture bags that are available on Amazon.
▪ Here’s a package of 2 Warp Brothers’ bags that will fit most sofas that is available on Amazon.
▪ You can also buy furniture bags here:


NOTE: Hot Shot makes an entire line of pest control products, but we do not recommend any of them other than the Hot Shot No-Pest Strips. Hot Shot No-Pest Strips use DDVP, but Hot Shot’s other products use other pesticides. It is the DDVP that you want to use for the purposes of your upholstered furniture. Many of the other pesticides in Hot Shot products are not necessarily that effective with bed bugs.


Non-upholstered furniture is not as challenging as upholstered furniture because you don’t have to worry about bed bugs hiding in the fabric. However, bed bugs can still hide in corners, cracks and crevices. Heat treatment can easily and effectively kill bugs in these hard to reach areas. If you’re treating the furniture without heat your primary weapon will be a vacuum to remove any bed bugs that might be lurking in the furniture.

Take the following steps:

  • Vacuum
    1. Vacuum the furniture thoroughly.
    • Be sure to vacuum all cracks and crevices and the undersides of any drawers, as well as any other areas of the furniture. If it’s possible to dismantle the furniture (for example removing the drawers, unscrewing any chair legs) then do so and vacuum all exposed areas revealed.
  • 2. Use Diatomaceous Earth (If Possible)
  • If possible put diatomaceous earth in cracks and crevices. For example, if there are joints in the furniture that have gaps and you can apply some diatomaceous earth to those gaps without making the furniture unsightly then go ahead and do so. Consider putting diatomaceous earth in the bottoms of drawers. This is helpful just in case any bed bugs manage to get into drawers. Diatomaceous earth is a fine chalky, powder, so this can be rather messy. But if the items you are placing into the drawers are sealed in plastic bags, the diatomaceous earth won’t get on them. For more information see Step 4 – Diatomaceous Earth.
  • 3. Caulk Cracks & Crevices (If Possible)
  • If you can caulk any cracks and crevices without making the furniture unsightly, then go ahead and do so. This will prevent any bed bugs from finding harborages in those crevices. We go into a lot more detail about caulking in Step 5.

Supplies You Need to Treat Upholstered Furniture:

▪ We go into more detail about choosing the right vacuum in Step 6. The most important thing to remember is that you must use a vacuum with bags. Do not use a bag-less vacuum like a Dyson. This is because bag-less vacuums can release bed bugs when they are emptied.

▪ If you are looking for a vacuum with great suction power and which uses bags, we recommend the Hoover Tempo Widepath Upright Vacuum. It is relatively inexpensive and has gotten excellent ratings from Consumer Reports.

▪ Diatomaceous earth is a natural substance that is very effective in helping control bed bugs. We go into a lot of detail about diatomaceous earth in Step 4.

▪ Caulk is generally sold in tubes. With small tubes of caulk you simply cut off the tip of the tube and squeeze to apply. With large tubes of caulk, it’s very helpful to have a caulk gun for application.

▪ Generally caulk is available in either white or clear.

Disclaimer: Some of the procedures outlined in this guide may be tricky and should be undertaken at the readers own risk. Readers should consult all material data sheets for any products they use in their own attempts at pest control and consult with the manufacturers of all products regarding best usage practices. This guide should be construed as theoretical advice. ZappBug and its employees will not be held responsible for any injury due to the advice offered herein. This guide cannot be construed as formal advice and ZappBug will not be held liable in any instance of an action resulting from this story. This disclaimer assigns the readers all responsibility for their own decisions.