Effective Steps to Wash and Prevent Bed Bugs Infestation in Clothes

Effective Steps to Wash and Prevent Bed Bugs Infestation in Clothes

You’ve just discovered bed bugs in your home and understandably freaked out. Don’t panic; you’re not alone. Many homeowners face this issue and there are effective solutions to tackle it. One of the first steps you’ll need to wash your clothes properly to eliminate these pesky pests.

Washing clothes infested with bed bugs might seem daunting, but it’s not as hard. You’ll need to follow specific steps and precautions to eradicate these bugs from your clothing completely. Let’s delve into how you can achieve this, ensuring you’re not giving these unwanted guests a free ride in your laundry basket.

Key Takeaways

  • A thorough inspection of your clothes for bed bugs is crucial. This includes sorting clothes, inspecting each item carefully, and using a flashlight to spot eggs and droppings. Wearing gloves is recommended.
  • Preparing your clothes for washing involves shaking each piece on a light-colored surface, transferring the infested clothes to a washing area, and laundering your clothes separately.
  • Heat is your best weapon against bed bugs. Wash your clothes with hot water and a high-quality detergent. Check the care labels on your clothes before washing them in hot water.
  • Drying clothes on high heat kills bed bugs and their eggs. The recommended temperature is at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit sustained for at least 20 minutes.
  • Regularly washing and drying your clothes on high heat, keeping your home clean, and being cautious with shared laundry facilities and luggage, are effective ways to avoid bed bug re-infestation. Regular inspection of your home for signs of bed bugs is also essential.

Inspecting Clothes for Bed Bugs

Inspecting Clothes for Bed Bugs

An integral part of winning the war against bed bugs involves meticulous examination. Inspecting your clothes for these tiny invaders is a crucial step. But, without the right techniques, it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. Let’s look at how you can efficiently carry out this process.

Begin the inspection by sorting your clothes. Yes, it’s that simple! Clean and contaminated clothes should never mix. Always sort your clothes in distinct piles to avoid cross-contamination.

Handle each clothing item with utmost care. Spread it on a flat, light-colored surface, like a white sheet. Bed bugs are hitchhikers and could be hiding in any folds or seams. Are you inspecting a jeans pocket or cuff folds of a shirt? Turn them inside out to ensure no bug gets a free ride.

Use a flashlight to get a clear view of your clothes. You’re looking for bugs, but also for their eggs and droppings. Eggs resemble tiny white specks, while droppings are black or brown flecks. Don’t discount the tiniest of spots.

When you’re inspecting, wear gloves. Not just for hygiene but to protect yourself too. Bed bugs don’t usually bite through clothes but can, and a bite might cause irritation or an allergic reaction.

If you do find bed bugs, don’t panic. Place the infested clothes in a sealed plastic bag. It’s important to stop these hitchhikers from spreading. Now you can move on to the next clothes-washing step, following the recommendations earlier in this guide.

You might want to consider a bed bug detection kit to make the process easier. These kits include tools to help find bed bugs hiding in fabric layers.

Remember, being thorough in your clothes inspection for bed bugs is non-negotiable. It’s the first line of defense in any bed bug eradication effort.

High heat is a critical factor when laundering clothes to prevent bed bug infestations. According to Family Handyman, washing with hot water and thoroughly drying at temperatures over 120 degrees Fahrenheit will kill bed bugs and their eggs. For those in search of natural methods, Planet Natural discusses the efficacy of using diluted rubbing alcohol as a DIY method to kill bed bugs instantly.

Preparing Clothes for Washing

Preparing Clothes for Washing

After conducting your diligent clothes inspection and enlisting the power of a bed bug detection kit, the all-important work of preparing the clothes for washing can begin. This process might seem overwhelming initially, but you’ll find it manageable and effective with proper methods.

Firstly, shake out each piece of clothing over a bathtub or any large, light-colored surface. This will help you see and dispose of stray bed bugs clinging onto the fabric. Wearing gloves during this procedure can provide additional protection, ensuring that you don’t come into direct contact with the pests.

Next, you’ll want to take the necessary steps in sorting the clothing. Tie up the plastic bag filled with infested clothes and carry it to your washing area. Be sure to handle the bag carefully to avoid any loose bugs escaping. Upon reaching your washer, empty the bag directly into the washing machine, minimizing the potential for bed bugs to leap for freedom. Immediately dispose of the now-empty bag in an outdoor trash can or sealed container, far away from any fabric or upholstery.

One important factor to remember here is that you should launder your infested clothes separately. This will prevent the unwanted transfer of bed bugs to other clean laundry. Regular washing and drying cycles are typically effective at killing bed bugs. Still, those stubborn pests are known to survive in some circumstances, so extra care can make all the difference.

Temperatures above 120°F (48.9°C) have been proven to kill bed bugs, so selecting the right settings on your washer is key. Set your washing machine on the highest available heat setting for optimal results. Alternatively, some kinds of fabric might not withstand such heat, so for those items, a cold wash can also be effective. The dryer ultimately grants you victory, as no bed bug or their eggs can withstand the high temperatures of a normal drying cycle.

Undoubtedly, preparation is a crucial part of tackling a bed bug situation. So, by implementing these straightforward and practical steps, you’re not only washing your clothes, you’re washing away your bed bug problem as well.

Washing Clothes with Hot Water and Detergent

Washing Clothes with Hot Water and Detergent

In your fight against bed bugs, the mightiest weapon you’ve got in your arsenal is heat. Bed bugs and their eggs cannot survive temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48.9 degrees Celsius). This fact makes washing your clothes with hot water the most effective option to get rid of these troublesome pests.

To safely and efficiently carry out this process, you need an understanding of a few essential steps. Here’s a practical guide that’s tailored for you:

  1. Check the Care Labels: Before loading your laundry, always check the care labels on your clothes. This step helps in ascertaining the highest heat setting your garments can withstand without getting damaged.
  2. Use the Right Detergent: Opt for a high-quality detergent for additional assurance. While the heat will kill the bugs, a good detergent assists in cleaning off any bug debris left over.
  3. Set Your Washer’s Temperature: With your garments and detergent at the ready, you’re set to go. Set your washer’s temperature control to the highest heat setting that your clothes can handle. To be effective, the water temperature should be at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4 degrees Celsius).
  4. Run a Full Cycle: Now, let your clothes soak and wash at this temperature for a full cycle. To add an extra punch, extend the wash cycle, if possible. This prolonged exposure to heat increases the chances of eradicating all bed bugs and their eggs.

Remember, treating bed bugs is a battle of consistency and meticulousness. So, take your time, be thorough, and make sure to wash all clothes, linen, and soft furnishings to completely purge your home of these pests.

It might sound like a long and tedious process, but rest assured, the peace of mind you’ll get from knowing your home is bed bug-free will certainly make it worthwhile.

It’s also crucial to be aware of the need to rewash your laundry area once you’re finished. Bed bugs are well-known for their resilience and hiding abilities. After washing your clothes, run an empty hot water cycle with detergent to cleanse the washer adequately. This practice ensures that any residual bugs hiding in the corners of your machine don’t get a chance to reinfest your clean laundry.

Drying Clothes on High Heat

Let’s step into the next phase after washing your clothes: Drying. This crucial step should never be underestimated in your fight against bed bugs. It’s been scientifically proven that bed bugs and their eggs can’t withstand extreme heat. Therefore, drying your clothes on high heat is another efficient way to ensure these persistent pests are eradicated.

Take extra caution and always remember to set your dryer to the hottest setting that your clothes can safely withstand. Now, you might be wondering, “What’s the optimal temperature to kill bed bugs?” Well, studies have shown that a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes is typically enough to take out most types of bugs and their eggs.

However, sometimes care labels on clothes can limit your heating options. In such cases, an alternative approach would be to use a steam iron. Targeted use of high heat can reach those stubborn bed bugs hiding in seams and pockets that washing and regular drying might miss. Here are some steps to guide you:

  1. Double-check all clothing care labels.
  2. Set your dryer to the maximum heat that’s safe for your clothes.
  3. Dry your clothes for a minimum of 20 minutes.
  4. For delicate items, use a steam iron where bed bugs might hide.

After all the steps above, don’t forget to run an empty cycle on high heat in your dryer. Like the washing machine, residual bugs or eggs may be lurking inside. By doing a “clean sweep,” you can further reduce your chances of a reinfestation. Also, remember to keep a close eye on any signs of bed bugs in the future. After all, prevention is always better than cure.

By taking these measures, you’ll be duplicating your efforts against bed bugs. The combined effectiveness of washing and drying on high heat can help maximize the eradication process.

Repeat these practices, be consistent, and remain diligent. That’s how you’ll win the battle against these unwelcome guests in your clothing.

Preventing Re-Infestation

After you’ve tackled the bug-infested laundry, your focus should turn towards preventing a re-infestation. It isn’t sufficient to just clean the clothes and linens once. Consistency is essential in this process. Let’s delve into some steps you can take to preserve your bug-free home.

Firstly, continue to wash and dry your clothes and linens on high heat frequently. Remember, bed bugs and their eggs can’t withstand the high temperatures. By making this a regular practice, you’ll not only keep your items clean, but you’ll also continue to keep the bugs at bay.

Alongside this, you must keep your living space clean. Regularly sanitize areas where you change or store clothing. Bed bugs are sneaky and may hide in dresser drawers, laundry baskets, or closets. Be thorough in these areas.

A frequently overlooked preventive step is avoiding shared laundry facilities whenever possible. Shared laundromats or communal laundry rooms in apartment complexes can be a breeding ground for bed bugs. If shared facilities are your only option, use disposable laundry bags and avoid using communal folding tables.

You could consider using bed bug-proof encasements on your mattress and box springs after they’ve been treated for an infestation, or even as a preventive measure. These encasements keep bed bugs from accessing these common hiding spots.

Additionally, examine your luggage and clothing after traveling. Hotels are notorious for bed bug infestations. It’s easier to address a couple of stray bugs than dealing with a full-blown infestation.

Regularly inspect your home for signs of bed bugs. Watch out for small brown stains on your linens, as this could be bug excrement. Tiny blood spots might indicate crushed bed bugs or that they’ve been feeding.

By adhering to these preventive measures, you’ll significantly reduce your risk of a bed bug re-infestation. The road to a bed bug-free home might be exhaustive, but your persistent efforts will pay off.


You’ve now got the knowledge to tackle bed bugs head-on. Remember, the key is to use heat effectively in your washing and drying cycles. Consistency is your best friend in this battle, so don’t let your guard down. Keep your surroundings spick and span and be wary of shared laundry spaces. Your mattress encasements should be bed bug-proof and don’t forget to inspect your luggage post-travel. Regular checks for these pesky bugs are a must. With these steps, you’re not just washing your clothes, you’re also washing away the risk of a bed bug re-infestation. Stay vigilant, stay bug-free.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the main point of this article?

The main point of this article is to explain the effectiveness of high heat in eliminating bed bugs and their eggs from clothes, and to provide several preventive measures to stop re-infestation of these pests.

How does high heat help in dealing with bed bugs?

High heat, utilized during washing and drying cycles, can effectively eliminate bed bugs and their eggs from your clothes. It is a simple yet efficient approach to handling a bed bug infestation.

How can I avoid bed bug re-infestation?

To avoid bed bug re-infestation, consistently wash and dry your clothes on high heat, maintain cleanliness in your living space, try not to use shared laundry facilities, use bed bug-proof encasements for mattresses, inspect your luggage after traveling, and regularly check for signs of bed bugs.

What is the significance of bed bug-proof encasements?

Bed bug-proof encasements prevent these pests from spreading to your mattress, and vice versa. They provide a protective barrier, effectively reducing the chance of a bed bug infestation.

Why is regular inspection necessary for prevention?

Regular inspection for signs of bed bugs enables early detection and treatment, preventing a large scale infestation. Without regular checks, bed bugs can breed and spread unnoticed until the situation becomes severe.