Does washing clothes kill bed bugs? Another random question that might arise from the tons of unsolicited advice that you get when you confide in someone that you have bed bugs.
Since washing clothes is one of the easiest ways to get rid of bugs that might be present on them, you might assume that this will get rid of a bed bug infestation. Sadly that is not the truth, but have a look at the rest of the article before you give up hope.
Does Washing Clothes Kill Bed Bugs?
Is washing clothes enough to kill bugs?
If you feel that you might have picked up bugs from a public place and are eager to get rid of them, then washing them is the way to go. However, if you already suffer from an infestation washing your clothes would do little to deal with the teeming thousands of bed bugs that might have already taken over your living quarters.
Washing clothes is the easiest ways of getting rid of bugs present in the clothes. This will avoid spreading of bugs. Put the infected clothes to hottest washing cycle and dry them at hottest temperature.
This will kill bugs but only the ones in the clothes. Make sure to seal the laundry bag before moving your clothes or the bugs will escape.
Check the clothes thoroughly when visiting a public place. Avoid sitting at airports or subway. You can use some bed bugs soaps or detergents or go for DIYs.
How To Wash Clothes That Might Be Carrying Bugs
If you are one of the few lucky ones who has caught the problem in time and found bed bugs while they are still hiding in your clothes, you should know how to deal with them to avoid them from spreading. The steps listed below will guide you through the process of laundering with bed bugs:
- Sort your laundry
This is perhaps the most important step. Separate the infected clothes from the non-infected ones. This will give you the opportunity to subject the infected clothes to the hottest wash cycle. You can set your dryer at the highest temperature possible too. This will most probably kill all the bugs.
Clothes that need to be dry cleaned may be given a spin in the dryer, but they should not be put into a washing machine.
Ensure that you seal the laundry bags before moving the clothes around so none of the bed bugs get a chance to escape.
- Washing And Drying
If the clothes are stored in a laundry bag, tip the bag directly into the machine. Keep the center of the bag open while you wrap the sides around it.
The laundry bag should then be put into another clean bag and disposed of off immediately, as it might be harboring more bed bugs.
Once the clothes have been washed, you may transfer them to a dryer and give them a spin at the highest temperature.
If you find bed bugs on clothes that are already clean, spin them in the dryer at a high temperature for around 30 minutes.
- Storing the washed clothes
Once the clothes have been washed and dried, you should inspect them thoroughly before folding them. Do not place the clothes on any surface, as soon as they are removed from the dryer as they might still contain bugs.
If you have an ongoing infestation, keep the cleaned clothes in a sealed bag so they do not get re-infected. Open the bag and use the clothes as and when you need and do not mix them with your other clothing unless the infestation has been completely exterminated.
Tips To Avoid Picking Up Bed Bugs In Your Clothing
Find out how to avoid picking bugs:
- Inspect your clothing if you have used public transport or a crowded area like an airport or train terminal.
- If you are staying over at a hotel, avoid using their cupboards and inspect your luggage before leaving.
- If you have guests over for an overnight stay, inspect your bedding for any unwelcome guests.
- Avoid sitting in crowded places like the subway or the airport, as they are hot spots for bed bugs.
Washing clothes in hot water and then subjecting them to a drying cycle in hot air will get rid of most bed bugs. This however will be effective if the infestation is contained to your clothing only. It will not help if the bed bugs have already spread to the other parts of your living area.
The market is also full of bed bug repellant washing soaps and detergents that you can use.
Some professionals also swear by a few cap fulls of vinegar or bleach and a few tablespoons of baking soda added to your washing machine, but there is no scientific evidence to support this theory.
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