How to Get Bed Bugs Out of Clothes

Bed bugs on clothes – definitely a terrifying thought. But it is highly unlikely that bed bugs can continue living on the clothes you are wearing since they like their habitat to be stationary. That’s a relief! However, the clothes in your wardrobe can make a perfect home for bed bugs. They even set up a camp in your backpack and unpacked suitcase. This can be a cause of problem since bed bugs can pose health risks.

Close Up of Bed Bug

Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?

These pesky pests are hitchhikers, which means even if you had treated your home with successful bed bugs treatment, they can still return. They can enter your house again by traveling in the purse, suitcase, or coats of any house guests you receive.

You can bring them from any place you visit, including:

  • Guesthouses, hostels, and hotels
  • Clothing stores
  • Libraries
  • Movie theaters
  • Airports
  • Public transportation

It is impossible to not come in contact with them. This is why it is important to take precautions with your clothes as they are likely to become the bed bugs ride home.

Can Bed Bugs Bite Through Clothing?

If they can live and travel on clothes, can you receive bed bugs bites through clothes?

In majority of the cases, the answer is no. As mentioned above, bed bugs are unlikely to stay on the clothes you are wearing for long. They also feed in certain circumstances so there are fewer chances of you getting bitten through your clothing.

The mouthparts of bed bugs cannot penetrate most clothing items. This certainly doesn’t mean your clothes can be used as a means of protection and prevention from bites in case of any signs of infestation.

Remember, these pests are minuscule, which makes it rather easy for them to crawl under the clothes. While you won’t get bitten through clothes, you can still get bites if they are on your skin.

dirty laundry with bed bugs

Getting Rid of Bed Bugs on Clothes

The best way of getting rid of bed bugs on clothes is by giving them a thorough wash. So, how to wash clothes exposed to bedbugs? Following are the steps you can use to get your clothes bed-bugs free:

1. Sorting Out Clothes

The initial step you must take is to sort out the clothes. Separate the ones that are infested with bed bugs with the ones that are bug-free. However, if you are skeptical about which ones are infested, it is best to not take any risk and wash them all.  Missing even one sock means you will soon be infested with bed bugs again. Therefore, if you are unsure about a clothing item then get it cleaned.

Another thing you need to be careful about is to ensure that you store these clothes in bags that can be tightly shut till you get them washed. This will make sure that the infestation doesn’t spread and both the eggs and adult bed bugs are contained within the bag.

2. Transferring Clothes to a Washing Machine

Once you have sorted out all the clothes, the next step is to transfer them to the washing machine. If you wash your clothes in your home then it is essential that you are careful when transferring the clothes. When you open the bag, make sure no clothes fall out as this could mean a bug getting out, which would cause another infestation.

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If you have a separate laundry room or wash the clothes at a Laundromat then your home would be of course safe but the bed bugs can still get on the clothes you are wearing and hitch a ride back home. Moreover, bed bugs might spread to other people’s clothes. Therefore, make sure you are careful when you transfer the clothes.

3. Washing Clothes

Next step is to start the washing process. You can, of course, wash the clothes as you normally do. However, you need to keep a few things in mind.

When selecting the settings, make sure you opt for the hot wash as the heat is what will kill the bed bugs. Warm water won’t kill the bugs, cold water most definitely won’t. Select the highest possible temperature to do the trick.

Use a detergent which has bleach in it as the chemicals in the bleach can eliminate the bed bugs.

If possible, add in the bleach separately but be cautious as a large amount of bleach can cause discoloration of your clothes.

4. Drying Them Out

Killing bed bugs in a dryer is another effective way of ensuring you eliminate any remaining bugs after the wash. The heat in the dryer will ensure that all the bed bugs are eliminated thoroughly. Again, heat is the key so make sure you select the highest possible settings.

Once the clothes are nicely dried, you need to keep them away from the other infested clothes or else all your efforts will be fruitless.

Steaming is another good option but it could be time-consuming as compared to using the dryer.

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5. Storing Clean Clothes

Finally, keep the cleaned clothes far away as possible from the infected ones. You need to make sure that no bug or egg infests those clean clothes. The best way to prevent this is by thoroughly washing and cleaning out the wardrobe to eliminate any signs of bed bugs and eggs.

You can use vinegar spray, bleach, or alcohol to carefully and thoroughly wipe out your entire wardrobe. Once you are satisfied, place your cleaned clothes in the wardrobe. Remember there is no point of cleaning your clothes if you are going to put them back in an infested wardrobe.

Other Ways of Getting Rid of Bud Bugs from Clothes

How to get bed bugs out of clothing that can’t endure high heat? Following are some effective remedies you can try:

  • Make the sun do the work for you by placing the infested clothing in a plastic bag, sealing it shut and placing it in direct sunlight for several hours.
  • Dry cleaning the clothes by a professional can also do the trick. However, make sure you inform the dry cleaner that the clothes are infested so they can take appropriate measures.
  • Infested clothes that can withstand high heat can be placed in a freezer! Bed bugs and eggs cannot survive in temperature below 32F.

The thought of having bed bugs on your clothes is extremely gross and can stress you out, especially because bed bugs can easily spread. Make sure you follow all the steps carefully and take other measures to get rid of bed bugs from your house to eliminate and prevent this infestation.

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