Bed bugs are a growing problem in the United States. So, the question of whether washing your clothes can help you get rid of them is understandable.
For do-it-yourselfers, washing clothes can be an effective and cheap way to get rid of bed bugs. Washing clothes in hot, soapy water and drying them on the highest heat setting will kill most of the bed bugs attached to your clothing (or sheets, for that matter).
Even better, if you have an electric dryer with a timer, you can set it to run for at least 30 minutes at a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
Tips to Remember When Washing to Kill Bed Bugs
As with any part of the pest control process, it is important to do things right. Here are some tips to keep in mind when washing clothes and bedding:
Hire Professional Services to Help Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Before anything else, washing your clothes in hot water is only a part of the solution to getting rid of bed bugs. Pest control services will take care of the infestation found within your room, perimeter, and even other areas of the house.
Chemical and heat treatment are two common methods of killing bed bugs, and professional services can help ensure that the job is done correctly.
While the entire method will target the bug’s hotspots and the entire living space, your clothes may also have been infested, and if left untreated, it can lead to reinfestationreinfestation.
When sorting clothes, make sure that you do it in an infested area. This way, you can ensure that any bed bugs on the clothes will not be transferred to a clean area.
Sort your clothes as you normally would when doing laundry. Sort those that need dry cleaning, sort the ones that can be washed, and separate those that need to be hand-washed.
Place Each Pile of Clothes in a Laundry Bag (Sealed)
While the professional pest control company works on the infested area, your job is to ensure that those bed bugs found in your piles of clothing don’t spread to other areas of the home.
If you’re washing them yourself, moving them to a laundry basket seems like a wise choice – however, the safest way to do it is by placing each pile of clothes in a sealed laundry bag.
This helps ensure that no bed bugs will escape and spread to other parts of the home.
Wash Clothes on Hot Cycle with Detergent
When laundering, always use hot water and detergent – both of which can kill bed bugs and their eggs. Depending on the washing machine you are using, you can set the water temperature to at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
For this batch, you may also want to double up on detergent. This will help increase the effectiveness of killing bed bugs on your clothes. You may also use bleach, but make sure to check clothing labels first.
Dry Clothes on the Highest Heat Setting
Although hot water may be enough to kill off bed bugs that may have been lingering in your clothes, drying them on high heat will be a great way to ensure that all of the bed bugs have been exterminated.
In fact, you may even want to set your electric dryer timer for 30 minutes or more, depending on the type of fabric found in your clothes. This will also help get rid of any eggs that may have been hiding inside the fabric.
Each drying setting may vary depending on your machine and the materials you’re drying. Always check the label to ensure that you are choosing the right setting for your clothes.
Sort and Place in a Separate Bag
Once you’re done drying, remove the clothes from the dryer and immediately place them in an individual bag. This helps prevent any bed bugs that may have survived from spreading to other parts of the home.
You may do this process once more if you’re unsure if all of the bed bugs have been exterminated.
Once you’re sure that all of the bed bugs have been eliminated, you can start folding your clothes and placing them back in your drawers or wardrobe.
Just this once, don’t bring them in your folding area – just yet. Do it in a separate room so that you can be sure that any remaining bed bugs don’t migrate to other areas.
Dispose of the Bag Properly
Finally, once you’re done folding, make sure to dispose of the bag properly. This helps prevent any potential reinfestationreinfestation that may have occurred during the laundering process. You can place it in a sealed plastic bag before throwing it away.
Bed bug prevention and elimination is a process that needs to be followed thoroughly for it to be fully effective.
You’ve experienced first-hand how hard it is to get rid of bed bugs, so don’t make the same mistake again. Have a follow-up inspection done by a professional pest control company regularly.
This will ensure that any new bed bugs from another location won’t be able to make their way into your home.
Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – and when it comes to bed bugs, you don’t want to take chances. Prevention and regular inspections are the best ways to keep your home free from these pesky pests.
Washing clothes, especially in hot water, and drying them in the highest heat setting can help get rid of bed bugs. It’s true that it can kill bed bugs, but remember that this DIY solution only addresses the bugs that have latched onto your clothes.
If you do this and leave other areas of your home untreated, the chances of the bugs coming back are high.
For the best results, involve a professional pest control team to help eliminate any bed bug infestations in your home. This way, you can rest assured that all of the pests have been taken care of – for good!