We all know bed bugs are resilient and very resourceful, but many people worry if bed bugs can hide in clothes or sheets. Considering bed bugs are very flat and small, they can find various hiding places and you would be surprised how many people bring infested clothes from their hotel stays.
So, if you want to end the pest infestation in your home, you must include your clothes, sheets, and other laundry in the cleaning process.
We’ll discover the best ways to remove the bed bugs that hide in clothes and throw in additional tips and tricks to help you manage the infestation. Let’s jump right in!
Where Do Bed Bugs Mostly Hide?
Bed bugs are most often found in the bedroom, as they need human blood to survive and they feed at night. But, the bedroom is a broad term used in this case as the bed bug is so small it can hide anywhere during the day.
The most common locations for bed bugs are:
- Clutter under the bed
- Decorative covers
Even though they like to stay close to their feeding place, aka your bed, they can spread throughout the home if the infestation is severe enough. So, finding bed bugs in all locations is possible and you should deal with every corner of your home if you want to eliminate all bed bugs.
One of the places where you can find bed bugs are the sheets and clothes, especially if you leave them on the floor or piled up. Bed bugs need a place to hide during the day and they will use any hiding spot they can find, so nothing is really safe from infestation.
This is why we’ll pay special attention to clothes and your sheets this time, and guide you through getting rid of pests for good.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs From Your Clothes and Sheets
Bed bugs, unlike roaches, like less heat, and they don’t stick around humans for too long.
The average bed bug will feed in just a couple of minutes and instantly look for a place to hide. This can be the pile of clothes you have in your bedroom, your mattress, and even your sheets.
If you want to completely eliminate bed bugs, you need to be thorough and leave no specimens behind.
Here are a couple of suggestions and a step-by-step guide to getting rid of bed bugs:
Identify Infested Areas
If you believe the itchy bite marks are from bed bugs you need to make sure you are dealing with the right pest. Some bugs look like bed bugs, so make sure to examine all the mentioned hiding places and set up a few interceptor traps to capture the bed bugs and confirm an infestation.
Once you know what you are dealing with we can move on to the best remedies and tools.
Keep in mind that even if you just found a few bugs on your mattress, you need to clean all the items, clothes, sheets, towels, and more if you want to end the infestation fast. Bed bugs are notoriously persistent and grow in numbers very fast, so you have to be even quicker.
Separate Infested Laundry
Once you notice a few bugs in the glue traps or interceptors, or you even catch a few of them on your clothes it’s time to get cleaning.
The best way to get rid of bed bugs is to be thorough and isolate the bedroom. There should be no new items added or some taken away from the room while the infestation is present.
This is also true for the laundry, sheets, clothes, and other washable items from your bedroom. You need to use big plastic bags to pack all the items and carry them to the laundry room. It’s advised to keep the bags closed to prevent some of the bed bugs from escaping.
Wash and Dry Laundry
The contaminated clothes should go straight to the washing machine.
If you want to get rid of all the bed bugs and eggs you need to use high-heat programs and add specialized laundry detergent that kills bed bugs.
Most of the bed bugs will be killed by water and high temperature, but it’s a good idea to lower the risk of survival by adding natural detergents that are meant just for this. With the right products, you can be sure your family and pets are safe, while the bed bugs are completely eliminated.
Once your load of laundry is done you can put it in the dryer and again use the highest heat possible that will not damage the items but will ensure bed bug elimination.
Clean the mattress and the room
While your laundry is drying, use the opportunity to clean the mattress with a strong vacuum cleaner and even spray down all the surfaces with the specialized bed bug-killing spray.
To ensure all the hiding places are covered you should add Diatomaceous Earth powder to all the cracks and crevices in the walls and floors. This natural powder will dehydrate the bud bugs, killing their colonies fast and efficiently.
Monitor the infestation
If you covered all the previous steps it’s advisable to set up a few glue and interceptor traps in your bedroom to monitor bed bugs. These handy traps will allow you to see if your extermination was a success or if you should contact professionals.
As for the bed bugs that hide in clothes, you should keep the cleaned laundry away from the bedroom until you are sure there are no bugs left. It’s also a good idea to invest in some protective covers for your mattress and pillows to prevent re-infestation.
Tips for Washing Laundry Infested With Bedbugs
Using high-quality detergents and heat will kill the bed bugs hiding in your clothes and sheets, but there might be some items you can’t wash at home.
Here are a couple of more tips you can use to get rid of bed bugs:
As mentioned before the heat will kill most of the bed bugs, so you can try using a steamer on some clothes, pillows, mattresses, and other furniture.
Use specialized bed bug-killing spray or rubbing alcohol to wipe the surfaces, and eliminate all the bed bugs that are left behind vacuuming. Just be careful with the rubbing alcohol as it can damage the color and coating on some furniture. This is why so many people prefer sprays that are specially made for bed bugs and safe to use on anything.
Just like they are sensitive to heat the bed bugs are also sensitive to low temperatures, so you can use your freezer to treat some items infested. Simply place the clothes or any other item (that can safely be frozen) into a zip lock bag and put it in your freezer for a couple of days.
Keep in mind that larger items need more time to completely freeze and eliminate the bed bugs.
How Long Do Bed Bugs Live On Clothes?
Even though bed bugs can be found on clothes and other items in your room they rarely stay there for long simply because they need your blood to survive. If it’s optimal conditions though they can last a few months or even a full year without food, so you need to be careful even if the clothes weren’t used for a long time.
Can Bed Bugs Survive In Water?
Unfortunately yes, bed bugs can survive in water, especially if it’s cold.
Bed bugs can get enough air on the surface even in the washing machine, so you need to make sure the water is very hot and you add the detergents that kill bed bugs. It’s even harder to kill the bed bugs' eggs with just water, so be persistent and follow the guide mentioned above.
Do Dryer Sheets Kill or Repel Bed Bugs?
No, dryer sheets are not a good bed bug repellent or killer despite some claims.
If you want to ensure no bed bugs are getting to you during the night it’s better to use glue traps and interceptor pitfalls that will prevent the bed bugs from reaching you. Dryer sheets might smell amazing, but they are not efficient against these resilient pests.
So, Do Bed Bugs Live In Your Clothes?
Yes, bed bugs can hide in your clothes, laundry, and sheets but they don’t stay there for a long time. It’s worth noting that this might be one of the ways you get the bed bug infestation from another home or a hotel, as the bed bugs can hitchhike in your suitcase.But, even if you notice some pests crawling around you now have the knowledge and the tools needed to eliminate them completely. If you don’t want to deal with bed bug infestation there are some amazing and efficient professional teams in your area that can help you.