Do Bed Bugs Get Killed in the Washing Machine?

Do Bed Bugs Get Killed in the Washing Machine?

Bed bugs are expert hitchhikers. A single female bed bug can start an infestation in your home. If you are dealing with an infestation, you do not need to get rid of your clothes or an entire wardrobe. Laundering items is a simple way of killing bed bugs.

Do Bed Bugs Get Killed in the Washing Machine?

Bed bugs cannot survive in the washing machine if you are using hot water. It is also important to carefully store non-infested and infested items. After all, you do not want bed bugs to infest every item in your home.

How to Wash Bed Bugs Infested Garments

Washing and drying bed bug-infested garments without caution can spread these critters to other areas of your home. Here are some tips on how to wash your infested items in the washer.

Bag and Seal Garments in the Infested Area

Check the care label on your garments to determine how they should be washed. Pack your clothes in plastic bags. Make sure that the bag has no holes. Do not move the bag around too much to avoid agitating the bed bugs.

Note: Spray the garments with rubbing alcohol before storing them in plastic bags. Rubbing alcohol kills bed bugs upon contact. You can pour the alcohol into a spray bottle to make the job easier for you. The alcohol will not eliminate the infestation or kill the eggs, but it is better than doing nothing.  After spraying the clothes with alcohol, put them in a plastic bag.

Wash the Clothes

After sorting and storing your garments, you can start washing the ones that are infested with bed bugs. If you have a washer with a dryer, it is better. Wash your clothes in the normal cycle and do not forget to use hot water and regular detergent to kill bugs. Choose the correct cycle for the fabric and the hottest temperature recommended for your clothes.

Transfer the clothes in the washer slowly to avoid disturbing the bed bugs. Wrap the used plastic bag in a clean plastic bag. Throw it outside your house in a waste container if there is one in your neighbourhood. Skip this step by using water-soluble laundry bags.


Not all dryers are the same, so you should use the best setting to get the best results. Some dryers can run for more than 30 minutes. Run your clothes in the dryer for at least 30 minutes. Choose the highest possible heat cycle that will not damage your garments.

The heat should be over 120⁰F to kill adult bed bugs as well as their eggs. Repeat the process to kill surviving bed bugs. If you do not need to wash your clothes, you can just put the infested garments in your dryer on high heat for 30 minutes. It is enough to get rid of these critters.

How to Store the Garments

Fold and store clean clothes in plastic bags. If there are surviving bed bugs, they will infest the other clothes. By keeping your garments in plastic bags, you can simply dump your clothes in the washing machine without spreading the bed bugs to other areas of your home. 

Some items cannot be washed in the washing machine such as leather clothes, silk garments, stuffed animals, lingerie, and suede boots. You do not need to worry because you can still kill bed bugs through extremely low temperatures.

Put bed bug-infested items in plastic bags and keep them in the freezer for 2 to 4 days at the lowest possible setting or 0⁰ F. Larger items will take longer to freeze. Use a vacuum cleaner to capture the dead bed bugs. Throw the vacuum bag outside your home.

Professional Laundry Services

If you do not have the time or patience to wash bed bug-infested garments, you can just take your clothes to a professional laundry service that specializes in eliminating bed bugs. Professional laundry services will wash, dry, and deliver your garments, so you do not need to do anything. A lot of pest treatment companies also provide laundry services for bed bug-infested garments.


Washing clothes at extremely hot temperatures will kill bed bugs even without running them through a hot dry cycle. If you want to use the dryer, set it to high heat to kill bed bugs quickly.

Washing your clothes at 140⁰C for 30 minutes is enough to kill bed bugs, nymphs, and eggs. Do not leave garments on the floor as bed bugs may hide in your clothes. Store clean clothes in a plastic bag or container as bed bugs can survive in cardboard boxes. 

It is also important to remember that washing garments are only effective in eliminating bed bugs from individual items. It is not ideal for the total elimination of bed bugs. Whole room heat treatment involves increasing the temperature in your house to get rid of bed bugs.

If you are dealing with a severe bed bug infestation, you should consider calling a pest management professional immediately.

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