Bed bugs are known to hitchhike on pretty much any item, but one of the most common things that they can easily latch onto are your clothes. Thus it is a problem for many not only to get rid of bed bugs on their clothes but also prevent a re-infestation after treating them. Yes, you can kill bed bugs, nymphs, and eggs by throwing your clothes in the dryer under high heat. But is it enough to prevent them from coming back and settling in any of your clothes again?
Can bed bugs live in your clothes? If yes, how? Aside from carrying them in your clothes, bed bugs can find their way in your pile of clothes. The clutter is a good spot for hiding and it makes it easy for them to hide from your sight. Leaving your clothes piled up on your bed or lying on the floor attracts bed bugs that attach onto these items. This is also the same reason why you are more likely to find bed bugs in dirty laundry.
How to Wash Bed Bug-Infested Clothing
If you see signs of bed bugs in your clothes, then it is best for you to wash these clothing items properly and get rid of these pests completely. To get started, do the following:
1. Wash your clothes under high heat
Wash all infested clothing at about 120°F. Maintain this temperature throughout the washing cycle for about 20 minutes or more. It will effectively kill bed bugs in all stages.
2. Continue the heat treatment when drying your clothes
To kill bed bugs in your clothing dryer, set the dryer at the same temperature (120°F) and let it run for 20 minutes or more. You can also put all infested clothes inside a sealable trash bag and leave it under the heat of the sun.
3. Send dry-clean-only clothes to a trusted dry cleaner
Sending delicate clothing to your trusted dry cleaner will allow you to take care of the garments and at the same time kill the bed bugs. They will know how to properly treat your clothes. If you can’t bring them to the dry cleaners, make sure that you keep them in bed bug-proof bags to prevent the bugs from spreading in your home.
You can also follow these tips for other items such as draperies, bedding, cushions, rugs, carpets, pillows, and other household items. Using bed bug heaters to treat these items without completely removing all covers can help, as this will penetrate through the layers and kill bed bugs that it can reach during the treatment.
Remember that you can also get bed bugs in new clothes. So, you’d better treat them properly prior to wearing them or storing them with your other clothes.
Preventing Re-Infestation in Your Newly Treated Clothes
The secret to preventing a re-infestation is knowing how to properly store your treated clothes. Aside from continuously treating bed bugs in your home, you should know how to keep your clean clothes protected from these bugs. The following are some of the things you should do:
1. Fold your clean clothing right after removing them from the dryer.
When you are at a laundromat, put your clothes directly in sealable plastic bags and fold them once you get home. If you can avoid it, don’t use the folding table in the laundromat. At home, take your clothes straight out of the dryer, fold them, and store them in a clean plastic bag. If possible, get a sealable bag to use inside your closet for hanging clothes and keeping them protected.
2. Keep clean clothes inside sealable plastic bags
If you have successfully placed all your clean clothes inside the plastic bags and the infestation in your home is not yet controlled, it is recommended that you keep them inside the bags. Simply fold them properly and get them when needed. After use, throw them in the washer and dryer on the high heat cycle and store them again in clean plastic bags.
With these tips in mind, you can protect your clothes from a re-infestation and lessen your worries when dealing with these pesky bed bugs.