Can you get rid of bed bugs by washing your clothing and bed linens? The short answer is yes, doing the laundry can get rid of any bed bugs infesting your linens and clothing. However, if the infestation extends beyond your clothing or linens, you still need professional bed bug removal to solve the problem completely. Here are some of the questions you may have about killing bed bugs in the laundry.
Do Bed Bugs Drown in the Washing Machine?
Like other animals, bed bugs require oxygen to survive. Therefore, any bed bugs that are completely submerged in water will drown in the washing machine. However, not all of them may become completely submerged. If there are bed bugs in the wash that have not eaten lately, they may float to the surface of the water. This gives them access to oxygen so they can keep breathing and do not drown.
Do Bed Bugs Die in the Dryer?
The real danger to bed bugs isn’t water but heat. Though they feed on the blood of humans and other animals, they do not tolerate the heat well and so retreat to their hiding places once they have completed their meal. If you wash clothes at the highest temperature recommended by the manufacturer, the bed bugs may not be able to tolerate it and should die. Any bed bugs that survive the washing machine should die in the dryer, which uses heat to remove water from the clothes. Again, the highest heat setting recommended for the fabrics should be used to dry the clothes and kill all the bed bugs.
What if the Clothing Is Dry Clean Only?
Clothing that is dry clean only should not be submerged in water or allowed to get wet. However, it is okay to put it straight into the dryer without putting it through a wash cycle first. The heat can kill off all the bed bugs without harming the clothes. If you have dry-clean-only clothing that is infested with bed bugs, it is recommended that you put them in the dryer first before taking them to be professionally cleaned. Dry cleaning may not be effective against bed bugs, and the proprietors of the establishment will not appreciate you potentially starting another infestation on their premises.
How Do You Prepare the Infested Clothing for Washing?
When you are getting ready to launder bed linens or clothing infested with bed bugs, you sort them much the same way you would under ordinary circumstances. However, before you take them to the laundry room, you place them in sealed plastic bags. This is especially important if you are taking the clothing to a professional laundromat or a communal laundry room shared by multiple tenants of the same building or housing complex. Even if you have your own dedicated washer and dryer, it is still a good idea to seal up the laundry in plastic bags before moving it through the house. This prevents bed bugs from getting loose and hiding in other rooms.
In addition to sorting your clothes by colour, it is a good idea to sort them according to the water temperature they can tolerate. That way, you set each load to the optimal level without the risk of damaging the fabrics.
Why Isn’t Laundry Alone Sufficient for Bed Bug Removal?
Laundering clothes or bed linens gets rid of any bed bugs that happen to be in them. However, bed bugs can hide in a wide range of areas throughout the house. Without comprehensive pest control in Markham for the entire premises, the clothing or linens will just become re-infested. Find out more about bed bug inspection and treatment from Truly Nolen.