With the alarmingly rapid spread of bed bugs over the past several years, more and more people are needing to know how to get rid of bed bugs in clothing. If a home has been invaded by bed bugs, treatment of clothing is essential for successful removal.
Knowing how to get rid of bed bugs in clothing also helps keep the nasty pests out of your home in the first place. One of the causes of the sharp rise in bed bug infestations is travel. Many travelers pick up bed bugs in their clothing in hotels and then bring them into their homes.
Whether you already have them or are being wisely preventative, the following steps are effective in getting rid of bed bugs in clothing.
Wash all your clothes in hot water.
Temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit kill all stages of bed bugs, so this simple step gets the job done. Washing should be done immediately after returning from a trip because bed bugs will quickly spread from clothing to other areas of your home. It’s a good idea to bag all clothing taken on a trip before bringing it into your home at all.
Take your clothes to a dry cleaner.
This is a fail-safe (but relatively expensive) way to ensure there’s no exchange of bed bugs between clothing and your home. Using a dry cleaner also allows for treatment of dry-clean clothes you can’t wash at home.
Use a clothes dryer.
If you have dry-clean-only clothes that aren’t dirty and you don’t want to pay for unnecessary dry cleaning, you can run them in a clothes dryer for 10 to 15 minutes on medium-high. This shouldn’t hurt your clothes, but it’ll kill any bed bugs. After you’re done, be sure to bag the lint in the lint trap and dispose of it outside.
The “sun and plastic bag” treatment.
Place the clothing in a sealable plastic bag, along with a thermometer. Put the bag in the sun (perhaps in your car if you’re absolutely sure it’s securely sealed) for several hours until the temperature reaches 120 degrees.
Portable heating units.
These products allow you to place clothing into them for heat treatment. You can even put luggage directly into them before unpacking. This ability is significant, because bed bugs can also live in the luggage itself.
Photo Credit: Alan Klim via Flickr