Not much is worse than a bed bug infestation. After the exterminator or local pest control company takes care of the nasty insects, you still need to know how to kill bed bugs on clothes and other fabrics throughout your home.
Pest control experts kill the bed bugs throughout your home and find them hiding in little crevices, such as your box springs or couch. Bed bugs lurk in hiding places like behind your headboard and inside your bed frames.
Exterminators won’t take care of infested clothes, and clean clothes are a must to prevent future infestations. Taking clothes to the dryer cleaner is an option but cost-prohibitive for most homeowners.
Figuring out the best options for treating clothes with bed bugs is hard. You undoubtedly have questions like, does washing clothes kill bed bugs, and can you use your home washing machine?
We understand how frustrating dealing with bed bugs is, so we want to show you the best tricks for getting rid of bed bugs on clothes without going crazy.
- Tricks to Kill Bed Bugs on Clothes
- How to Kill Bed Bugs on Clothes with Rubbing Alcohol
- Pretreat Bed Bug Stains with Hydrogen Peroxide
- Store Infested Clothes in Trash Bags
- Does Washing Clothes Kill Bed Bugs?
- Dry on the Highest Setting Possible
- Freeze Special Clothing
- Store Clothes in Plastic until Infestation is Gone
- Treating Clothes for Bed Bugs with a Spray Repellent
- Use a Dry Cleaner if Possible
Tricks to Kill Bed Bugs on Clothes
Unfortunately, a bed bug life span takes a lot longer than we would like. These unwelcome insects can wreak havoc in the home if not caught early.
If you have bed bugs, figuring out a solution for bed bugs is the first step. Then, you have to determine how to kill bed bugs on clothes, and it’s not as simple as you think.
Clothes must be washed at the right temperature to kill the nymphs and eggs. Let’s look at the important things to know.
How to Kill Bed Bugs on Clothes with Rubbing Alcohol
As soon as the pest control company exterminates all of the bed bugs, spray rubbing alcohol on colorfast infested clothes and fabrics. Rubbing alcohol kills live bed bugs on contact, but it doesn’t kill eggs or stop an infestation.
Pretreat Bed Bug Stains with Hydrogen Peroxide
You can detect bed bugs in your clothes by looking closely at the fabric. Bed bug excrement leaves behind stains that look like dark, rusty dots. No one likes to have stains leftover from an infestation, so try pre-treating the stains.
Blot the stain with cold water to remove the stains; avoid using hot water because it sets them in the fabric. Apply hydrogen peroxide liberally over the stain to lift it.
Another option is to use an enzyme-based fabric stain remover as a pre-treating solution. Enzyme fabric stain removers break down the stains, making them easy to remove in the washer.
Store Infested Clothes in Trash Bags
After treating stains and spraying infested clothes, store the clothes in trash bags. Bed bugs chew through cardboard or paper, but plastic holds them.
Seal the bags to stop the bugs from crawling out. Take this time to sort clothes into lights, darks, and delicates. That makes it much easier to wash.
Does Washing Clothes Kill Bed Bugs?
Does washing clothes kill bed bugs? The answer is yes, but only if done correctly with high heat. Washing clothes at the hottest temperature possible is the only way to kill bed bugs.
Don’t try washing in warm or cold water. Crank up your water heater and blast the bugs with the hottest water temperature possible that won’t damage the fabric or elastic.
Washing at a laundromat is a smart idea because the temperatures often are higher than what you have at home. Take care when filling the washing machine.
Roughly dumping the clothes could send the bed bugs airborne. Instead, carefully pour the laundry items into the machine, keeping the bag as close to the washer as possible.
Use a regular laundry detergent; no special detergent is required for infestations. Washing instructions are the same as usual; just adjust it to the hottest temperature.
Dry on the Highest Setting Possible
Once washed, move your clothes immediately to the dryer. The heat must exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes to remove the bed bugs and eggs from clothing.
After drying, transfer the clothes to a new plastic bag when heading home from the laundromat. Don’t reuse the old trash bags. Once home, fold the clothes and store them properly.
Freeze Special Clothing
Some delicate fabrics cannot withstand the high temperatures required to kill bed bugs in the washer and dryer. The next option is to stick those clothes in the freezer for several days.
Bed bugs cannot survive freezing temperatures or go long periods without feeding. Items such as boots or shoes, lingerie, stuffed animals, or silk material can go into a clean plastic bag and stay in a freezer set at zero degrees Fahrenheit.
Freezing kills bed bugs, nymphs, and eggs if you leave the items in the freezer for a minimum of four days. After freezing, let the clothing come to room temperature and wash as usual.
Store Clothes in Plastic until Infestation is Gone
After taking all of that time treating clothes for bed bugs, proper storage is crucial. Plastic containers or plastic bags are ideal because bed bugs live inside of cardboard boxes.
Store all clothing and fabric in plastic storage containers until you know that the bed bug infestation is gone. A vacuum bag works well for storing clean clothes as well as any other sealed plastic bag.
Treating Clothes for Bed Bugs with a Spray Repellent
If you struggle to figure out how to kill bed bugs on clothes, try using a bed bug spray repellent along with washing infested clothes. Look for sprays that work on bugs resistant to many conventional pesticides and insecticides; these have the best results.
Use a Dry Cleaner if Possible
Some items require dry cleaning, but it’s irresponsible to use this option without alerting the owners that you need bed bug treatment. If the dry cleaner doesn’t offer bed bug control services, they want to avoid an infestation at their location.
To avoid future infestations, repel bed bugs with dryer sheets between the mattress and box spring and putting them in your suitcase or use interceptors for the bed posts. Carefully inspect clothing after traveling.
Treating clothes for bed bugs feels exhausting. It takes time to wash clothes and avoid infesting your laundry room. The last thing you want is another infested area in your home. Take your time, and use all of these tricks for killing bed bugs on fabrics.
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