Mattress vacuum cleaners are very specialized vacuums. They are mostly handheld corded or sometimes even cordless units optimized for cleaning dust mites, bed bugs and allergens from mattresses, pillows, cloth sofas and other cloth furniture and upholstery, car seats, carpets and other similar areas and surfaces.
Mattress vacuum cleaners often have very distinctive shape and are easily recognizable. One of their main features is that they are mostly used by being pulled over the surface, not pushed or pushed/pulled like many other vacuums.
Mattress vacuum cleaners usually use several methods for cleaning and disinfecting cleaned surfaces:
Strong suction is required to pull out stubborn dust and allergens, but also various bed bugs, regardless of their size or their maturity level (eggs, adults, anything in-between).
Mattress vacuums are mostly corded units, allowing them to be compact and rather strong at the same time. However, there are cordless mattress vacuums, too, like Dyson V6 Mattress vacuum cleaner. Dyson V6 Mattress do cost more than other mattress vacuums, but it doesn't require mains power to operate, which can be very helpful in many situations.
To improve suction and cleaning effect, some mattress vacuums have two suction inlets, one below the unit and one in front of the unit. When being pulled, lower inlet remove the dirt from the cleaned surface, while front inlet helps remove any additional dirt that is released in the air from the mattress.
High Frequency Vibrations
To help remove deeply embedded dirt, dust and especially bed bugs, mattress vacuum cleaners often have beater pads or bars. Such motorized mattress tools oscillate on high frequencies and agitate mattress, carpets or cloth fibers in order to release the dust, bugs and allergens.
Such vibrations significantly improve the cleaning effect of mattress vacuums.
Hot Air Blower
In order to kill bed bugs and bacteria, and to help sanitize mattresses, some mattress vacuums use heat in the form of hot air. Maximum air temperature is usually limited to ~130°F (~55°C) - such hot air is safe for humans (will not cause the burns or redness of the skin, after the skin is shortly exposed to the air stream) and is safe for most materials used for mattresses. Just to be sure, check your mattress if it can be cleaned by such vacuum cleaners.
Hot air also has another, very important role - it helps remove moisture from the mattress. Moisture and organic matter are required for growth and propagation of bed bugs - remove at least one of them and bed bugs will die out. Good! :)
UV light of certain lengths is very deadly not only for humans (can cause skin cancer, for example), but also for bed bugs. Such UV light, in combination with hot air will dry the mattress, but also will remove moisture from the bed bugs, too, which will, in the end, kill them.
For safety reasons, mattress vacuums with UV lights have sensors, which turn off UV lamp when vacuum is not firmly pressed onto the surface being cleaned.
Also, some surfaces can lose color over time, when being exposed to UV lights!
Since such dead bugs are still threat to the human health (allergens), they must be removed from the mattress permanently - that is why vibrating pads, good suction and HEPA air filtration are so important.
To keep the air clean, although small and relatively cheap, most mattress vacuums are true HEPA vacuums - this way, all of the dirt, allergens and bed bugs are safely kept inside the vacuum, without being released back into the air.
Following photo shows Euleven 3005CH mattress vacuum cleaner from below:
Operation of such vacuums is simple - as the vacuum cleaner is being pulled, hot air heats the mattress and dries out any moisture in the mattress, but also it dries bed bugs and help killing them.
After hot air, UV lamp irradiates the mattress with deadly UV light, which further disinfect the mattress.
Air stream of the main suction port/inlet removes dirt and beg bugs, not only from the surface, but also from the deeper layers of the mattress, thanks to the air stream strength and beater pads/bars.
As said before, some mattress vacuums have second suction port, which removes any dirt, dust or allergens being released in the air by vacuum cleaner itself.
Note that effective cleaning width of such vacuum cleaner is NOT the width of the vacuum, but roughly the width of the hot air port/UV lamp/suction port/beater pads/bars. Thus, such mattress vacuums often require plenty of time to cover larger area.
If there is larger outbreak of the bed bugs, there are other things one can do to get rid of them and to prevent any other future reappearance.
Bed Bug Killers
Individuals very sensitive to bed bugs due to asthma and various allergies, can use mattress vacuum cleaners to improve their living. However, in order to increase the level of cleanliness even more, consider using some non toxic, organic bed bug killer in combination with both mattress vacuum and the bed bug proof mattress encasement/protector.
Good, non-toxic, organic bed bug killer eliminates bed bugs on contact in all stages of life (eggs, nymphs, adults).
It should not cause stains on surfaces when applied directly to the bed sheets, mattresses, seats, carpets etc.
Most convenient bed bug killers are in the form of sprays, but can be found in powdered form, too. IMHO, sprays are easier and more convenient to use.
Before the first use, be sure to thoroughly read the instructions. Generally, apply the agent to the 'problematic' surface, wait a little bit and then vacuum it using strong ordinary or preferably mattress vacuum cleaner.
If you need such spray, feel free to search Amazon for Organic Bed Bug Killer (link opens in the new window).
After the mattress is cleaned (just vacuumed or chemically treated first), it is perhaps the best thing to do is to protect the mattress by using high quality mattress encasement or protector.
Such mattress protector should be fully breathable, washable, waterproof and bed bug proof and should protect the mattress from all six sides.
By being waterproof, it will prevent any open water/juice/milk/urine etc. to penetrate into the mattress, while being breathable will help to remove any residual moisture from the mattress.
Since such protection is long lasting form of protection, in the case of issues with bed bugs, clean the mattress thoroughly using chemicals and good mattress vacuum and protect it for future use.
One of the most popular mattress protectors is LINENSPA Zippered Encasement Waterproof, Dust Mite Proof, Bed Bug Proof Breathable Mattress Protector (Amazon link, link opens in the new window), which comes in many sizes, suitable for various beds and mattresses.
There are other ways of getting rid of the bed bugs and keeping the home clean.
For example, choose bedding that can be washed on high temperatures like 200-205°F (~95°C) in washing machine. During summer, take mattresses outside - mattress vacuums can have UV lamps, but nothing compares to the sun (if the mattress is not too sensitive!). During winter, freezing temperatures can kill bugs deep embedded deeply in the mattress and similar.
Nonetheless, the best thing one can do is to have good mattress vacuum cleaner :)