Are Bed Bugs Attracted to Your Dirty Laundry?

Scientists are discovering that bed bugs are attracted to dirty laundry just as commonly as they are attracted to beds.

Are Bed Bugs Attracted to Your Dirty Laundry?

It seems as though, in recent years, bed bugs have become increasingly common in the United States. Infestations of these tiny invaders can be devastating, causing itchy welts all over your skin whenever you lay down to rest.

Bed bugs travel by moving among crevices and holes of furniture like mattresses, beds, headboards, pillows, and box springs. They are attracted to human scent and suck your blood voraciously while you sleep at night. Now, scientists are discovering that bed bugs are attracted to dirty laundry just as commonly as they are attracted to beds.

How Do We Know That Bed Bugs Are Attracted to Stinky Laundry?

Scientists at Sheffield recently experimented to see whether dirty laundry would attract bed bugs. Volunteers were asked to wear plain tee shirts and socks for three hours, and then place the clothes into plain tote bags. Then, the bed bugs were fed and placed at the center of a controlled room.

Four bags, some containing dirty laundry and some containing clean clothes, were spaced evenly around the room. The bugs were then given time to explore the room. This study proved that bed bugs were twice as likely to make their new homes in the dirty laundry as they were in the clean laundry.

The bed bugs were likely drawn to the clothes because they smelled strongly of carbon dioxide, which is what attracts bloodsucking pests – like bed bugs and even mosquitoes – to humans in the first place. Residual human odors draw in the bugs and allow them to hitch a ride to their next destination.

What Implication Does This Finding Have?

Simply put, dirty laundry is more attractive to bed bugs. These pests multiply prolifically, with females laying up to four eggs a day until she dies at around nine months of age. 

This means that bed bugs can not only spread from contaminated furniture or linens, but also through piles of clothes left on the floor. What’s worse is that bed bugs have developed a strong resistance to many chemicals we use to poison them.

pile of folded laundry

“This study proved that bed bugs were twice as likely to make their new homes in the dirty laundry as they were in the clean laundry.”

The Bed Bug Inspectors

How Do I Keep Bed Bugs Out of My Laundry?

When you travel, don’t put your dirty laundry on the hotel room floor. Soiled clothes left out in the open will serve as a large target for these wandering pests. 

If possible, try to have your clothes laundered while you’re away from home. That way, the dryer cycle can kill any bugs or eggs, and you will reduce your likelihood of carrying these pests back home with you.

If washing your clothes while traveling is not an option, consider replacing your dirty clothes in sealed bags while staying in a hotel. This will reduce the likelihood of picking up a bed bug infestation, and, if you do happen to catch a few travelers, will mean that they are quarantined inside that bag until you can take your clothes home to wash them – and, ideally, get rid of the bed bugs before they spread to the rest of your house.

How Do I Prevent Bed Bugs From Entering My Home?

The easiest way to get rid of a bed bug infestation is to prevent it from growing out of control in the first place. Consider hiring The Bed Bug Inspectors for all of your bed bug elimination needs. We are based in New York City and can travel to wherever we are needed. 

Regular bed bug inspections can help eliminate the likelihood of an infestation growing out of hand. We don’t just use chemicals to get rid of your bed bug problems and will work with you to design a solution that best fits your lifestyle and budget. 

Our methods include organic bed bug treatments as well as bed bug heat treatments and dog inspection services. Contact us today to get back your peace of mind in a bug-free home.***



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