Learn how to wash clothes to kill bed bugs after backing home from your vacation.
Dealing with bed bugs can be difficult, and if you brought them home from a trip, it may be even worse. After returning from a trip, you should always wash your clothes, but does this really kill bed bugs, or does it just reduce their population?
No. Keep in mind that some eggs can withstand the heat if it’s not too hot even if you’ve washed and dried everything. It’s highly unlikely that washing something in cool water and hanging it to dry would be sufficient to eradicate bed bugs. The bugs might still be present after a wash for these reasons.
We devote our entire time to studying bed bugs and all the information there is to know about them.
Does Washing Clothes Kill Bed Bugs?
The only way to get rid of bed bugs is to dry the clothing at a high temperature; bed bugs cannot be killed by washing it. Using agitation, detergent, and submersion in water, the washing machine will kill a few bed bugs.
The water in most washing machines is not heated to a temperature that will effectively kill bed bugs. Not only would the temperature have to be 120°F, but you would also have to maintain it there for a specific period of time. Can bed bugs be killed by washing clothes? Not likely.
What Temperature Kills Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs and their eggs must be killed at 120°F. Many things need to be taken into account, even though some people claim that drying clothing for 30 minutes will kill bed bugs.
Are the clothes able to toss around and receive an even amount of heat from all sides? To be safe, I would dry wet clothes in the dryer for two hours to get rid of bed bugs. Avoid washing the bed bug-infested clothing first. Instead, chuck them into the dryer and let them run for an hour.
Purchase this heat sensor to put inside your dryer so you can keep an eye on the temperature.
What Laundry Detergent Kills Bed Bugs?
Disrupting the bed bug body’s outer membrane will disrupt the outer membrane to some extent with any regular laundry soap. The bed bug will die in the dryer more quickly the more damage you cause to its body. Laundry detergent won’t kill bed bugs on its own, but washing and drying together will.
Use the purportedly effective bed bug-killing laundry detergent additive as well. Evidently, the entomology department at the University of Florida tested it, and they assert that it effectively eradicates bed bugs.
As a result, you don’t need to worry about purchasing a specific laundry detergent for bed bug elimination. Simply make do with what you have and make sure to dry the items. The majority of the bed bug killing will be handled by the dryer.
Steps to Wash Clothes With a Bed Bug Infestation
It’s crucial to adhere to a process that uses high heat in order to get rid of bed bugs and bed bug eggs in your clothing. Although bed bugs start to die at lower temperatures, temperatures above 140°F (60°C) are guaranteed to kill bed bugs at all stages of life. Bed bugs will start to die after a drying cycle that heats the clothes to over 113°F (45°C).
Here’s how to use washing and drying to expose bed bugs to high heat and kill them:
Separate Your Clothes
Start by grouping your clothing into various categories. Your clothing should be divided into four piles: whites, dark colors, dry clean only, and delicates. This enables you to wash and dry your clothes using the most intense cycles possible for each type of clothing. Additionally, this system guards against stains and damage to your clothing.
Bag Your Clothes
Put your clothing in plastic bags after separating it into various piles. Work best with garbage bags. In order to close the bag, it must be filled with clothing and knotted safely. Use of the drawstrings on the bag can leave a gap through which bed bugs can elude detection.
If bed bugs do manage to escape, they might infest other areas of your house or, if you’re taking your clothes to the laundromat, your car.
Dry Your Clothes on High Heat
Since dryers are far more effective than washers at eliminating a bed bug infestation, it is best to start by drying your bed bug-infested clothing. The reason for this is that bed bugs, as well as bed bug eggs, are cooked and killed by the high heat of a dryer. You can even use the dryer on high heat with items meant for dry cleaning only.
As a result, turn on the dryer to the hottest setting so it is safe for the clothes to be dried while first unbagging one bag of clothing.
Throw Away Empty Bags
Fold the garbage bag inward after you’ve taken your clothes out of it. Place this bag inside another trash bag, secure it with a tie, and discard it. This will stop bed bugs from escaping the bag and later reinfesting your clothing.
Wash Your Clothes
Move your clothing to the washing machine once the first drying cycle is complete. Set the washing machine to warm or hot water, depending on the type of clothing and the washing instructions. The bed bug eggs and corpses that the dryer killed will be washed away during this wash cycle. Do not wash clothes that are labeled as “Dry Clean Only.”
Repeat the Dry Cycle
After washing, put your clothes back in the dryer and dry them there again at the highest heat recommended for the fabric. This will kill any obstinate bed bugs that might have survived the initial drying cycle in addition to getting your clothes back into wearable condition.
Once your clean clothes are dry, store them for transportation in a fresh, clean bag or container, or hang them back up in your closet.
Take Dry-Clean-Only Clothes to a Dry Cleaner
It is best to dry items that must be dry cleaned on a very high heat before bringing them to a dry cleaner because they cannot be washed in a washing machine. Bed bugs cannot be killed by a good dry cleaner, but they can be removed from your dried clothing by cleaning. Your clothes are once again safe for you to wear and enjoy.
Reasons Why Bed Bugs Might Be on Your Clothing
- After getting into a taxi, Uber, or Lyft, a bed bug hopped onto your clothing.
- You removed a garment from your bed and hung it in the closet even though you have an active infestation in your bed or other furniture. Typically, closets are not where bed bugs live; instead, humans introduce bed bugs there when they move clothing from the bed to the closet.
- Maybe you were at a friend’s house, sat on their couch, and came home with a bed bug. Do bed bugs pierce clothing with their bites? Not typically, but after visiting friends, it’s best to wash and dry all clothing.
- It’s possible that you unintentionally brought bed bugs home in your luggage if you recently traveled and the hotel or Air BNB you stayed at had bed bugs.
- You sat in a movie theater seat with bed bugs.
- Your bed bug invasion began when you sat on a bus, train, or subway seat.
- You discovered a bed bug in the upholstery of a museum.
- A bed bug was on the chair when you were in the restaurant.
- It’s possible that you brought home clothing from Goodwill or the Salvation Army that had bed bugs on it.
- With clothing purchased at yard sales, some people have introduced bed bugs into their homes.
- You can borrow some clothing from a neighbor who has bed bugs in their residence or apartment.
- There were bed bugs in the ambulance you were in.
- An infested bed bug crawled into your shirt after you had placed it on a hotel bed. By doing this, you can move and transport bed bugs while also leaving them behind in other locations.
Final Thoughts: Wash Clothes to Kill Bed Bugs
Fast bed bug elimination in your clothing is possible with this seven-step procedure. But it’s crucial that you also have an extermination strategy for your house to go along with these efforts. When you hang them up in your closet, bed bugs that are still alive in your house might start to reproduce.
As soon as you notice a bed bug infestation, you should immediately spray rubbing alcohol on colorfast-infested clothing to get rid of the bugs. The rubbish will instantly kill bedbugs that are alive, but it won’t get rid of their eggs or the infestation as a whole.
Do Bed Bugs Lay Eggs in Clothes?
As often as possible, bed bugs will lay their eggs in clothing due to their extreme opportunism. A high-heat dryer is one of the most effective ways to eradicate bed bug eggs. You should therefore visit a laundromat with your clothing. Commercial dryers’ high temperatures aid in killing bed bug infestations and bed bug eggs.
Can Bed Bugs Survive in the Dryer?
If your dryer doesn’t heat up enough, bed bugs may be able to survive there. It’s important to keep your clothing as hot as possible for a long period of time in order to kill adult bed bugs and their eggs. One of the most effective ways to kill bed bugs in clothing is to put already-dry clothing through a high-heat dry cycle in a laundromat dryer.
How Long Do Bed Bugs Live on Clothes?
Bed bugs can live and survive on clothes stored or packed away, not only for a few days but for months. The parasites have a three-month lifespan even without food. Another possibility is that a single insect could reproduce and spread the infestation.