We’ve all been there. Your favorite dry-clean-only shirt gets mixed up with the everyday laundry, and before you know it you have a top fit for a five-year-old or transforms the contents of the entire load to a new color. There’s no doubt washers and dryers can take their toll on our outfits, but does washing clothes kill bed bugs?

washing clothes kill bed bugs

What kills bed bugs? Technically, bed bugs are unlikely to live on the clothes you’re wearing, but they can quickly take up residence on items in a suitcase, and even what’s in your drawers or on your floor. You should always launder items after returning from a trip, but will washing clothes kill bed bugs or just reduce the population? While it can remove the pests from individual items, unfortunately, this method isn’t effective for total elimination. Anyone facing infestation is urged to contact a pest control professional immediately for a more effective solution. But while it may not be the cure-all you hoped for, you may still want to make laundering part of the process to get ready for treatment. Just remember, if you’ve seen a bed bug, wash, dry, sort and store your items safely.

How to Get Bed Bugs Out of Clothes

Preparing for treatment can be a tedious or simple task depending on the level of infestation, so it’s important to ask your pest control company how in-depth they’d like you to be. These pesky parasites are extremely difficult to deter, and battling them can test your will. Washing clothes to kill bed bugs without caution can result in spreading the problem to another area of your home so be sure not to cut corners.

Sort Before Transport

  • Sort clothing in the infested area as you would any other laundry.
  • Place each pile into individual plastic bags and seal tightly.
  • Put dry-clean only clothing into a separate bag to be handled by a professional.

Wash Your Items

  • Carefully tip bags sorted for washing into the washing machine.
  • Immediately place empty bags into new, clean bags, seal tightly and then dispose of them (preferably in an outdoor trash receptacle).
  • Wash items on the highest temperature as allowed by manufacturer instructions.
  • Despite what you may have heard, there’s no such thing as bed bug wash so simply use your everyday detergent.

Dry Your Duds

  • Carefully and quickly, switch your laundry from the washing machine to the dryer.
  • It should be noted that if possible, heat should exceed 120 degrees for 30 minutes in an effort to remove bed bugs and their eggs from this clothing.
  • While dry-clean only items shouldn’t be washed, they may be able to be dried, though it’s advisable to consult a professional cleaner before attempting. It’s also worth noting that there’s a risk of infesting the establishment when infested items are brought in, so be sure to share all the information with the business ahead of time. Keep in mind that some establishment may not accept infested items and that they many need to be properly disposed of.

Store Your Clean Clothing

  • If doing laundry at a laundromat or in a shared facility such as an apartment complex or dormitory, remove items from dryer and place into new, clean plastic bags and seal. Do not remove the items until you have reached your home.
  • If at home, remove each item from the dryer and fold right away.
  • Place clean clothing into sealed plastic bags or bins until treatment. Only remove items as needed.

Whether you’re not sure how to get bed bugs out of clothes, you’re worried about infestation, or worse yet, spreading the problem, contact Terminix® today. Don’t take matters into your own hands. Let a qualified pest control professional create a customized, powerful solution to help eliminate bed bugs and their eggs from your residence.