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Aside from your mattress and sheets, bed bugs can also harbor on your clothes. It’s one of the most overlooked aspects, which causes the infestation to prosper despite extermination efforts. Although the bugs could contaminate your entire closet, there’s an easy way on how to remove bed bugs from clothing. You only need the right methods and products.
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Bed Bug Killer
Methods in removing bed bugs on clothes
Eliminating bed bugs on your clothes is pretty easy. Washing alone will do wonders on your clothes. You just have to do it right and with careful steps.
Unlike typical washing, you should pay attention to how you handle the infected clothing. Also, you can try different methods for different fabric pieces. Here, we will discuss washing, heating, freezing, and the use of chemicals.
The cheapest and easiest way to get rid of bed bugs on your clothes is by washing them. Take note that shaking off the clothing isn’t enough to remove the bugs that harbor in it.
Also, you have to wash a piece of clothing that has gotten in contact with bed bugs regardless if it’s clean or not. Some individuals even needed to wash everything on their closet during a massive infestation.
Here’s how you should deal with infected clothes:
Sort your clothes first
For this phase, you need some plastic bags. Sort your clothes as you’d typically do: separating colored and white pieces or by the manner of washing. Before moving to your laundry area or bringing the clothes to a laundry service, seal it well.
Make sure that you keep the infested clothes away from the non-infested ones. If you mix it up, you’d have to wash everything to be sure.
Take note that missing an infested shirt will cause your entire wardrobe to be contaminated. That will restart your drill on how to remove bed bugs from clothing.
Transfer it to the wash carefully
Once you sorted the clothes properly, it’s now time to do the washing. Make sure that there will be no bug fall-out on the carpet or in any spot of your living room. Remember that a single female bug can reproduce to hundreds in just a few weeks.
Empty the bag inside the wash so no bugs will fall out. After that, seal the bag again and dispose of it properly.
Wash the clothes
After that, wash the clothes in the hottest possible temperature. You can also use the usual detergents you’re using. Also, you have the option to blend the wash with a small amount of bed bug killing products. Below, we reviewed a Permethrin-based product that you can use on clothes without staining and damaging the fabric.
Tumble it dry
Once you’re done washing, run the dryer for at least 30 minutes. If you don’t need to clean the clothes and just want to get rid of the bugs, you can go straight to the dryer. Run this for 30 minutes to kill the bugs. After that, your clothes are ready for wearing.
Take note that not all clothes can be run in the dryer that long. Make sure that the heat is suitable for the fabric.
Another option that you have aside from washing is heating up the clothes. If you don’t have a dryer handy, you can boil, sun drying, or steam clean the clothing.
Using a large pot, boil the infested clothing for up to 120F. This is enough for the bugs to explode and die. You can also boil water and dip the infested clothing on it. This will lead to the instant death of the bugs in just a matter of seconds.
Douching hot water on the clothes would be less effective since the manner of pouring will drop the temperature fast. It’s best to dip the clothes while the water is still bubbling after boiling.
Sun drying is also effective only if it’s sweltering hot outdoors. Place the clothes inside a sealed bag and put it under the sun. The temperature will kill the bugs.
Make sure that you always use a sealed container, so there’s no way for the bugs to survive.
For clothes with delicate fabric like satin and silk, you can use steam cleaning to remove or kill the bugs. It’s an alternative if the clothing will be damaged on the wash and prolonged tumble drying.
Depending on the type of fabric, you can steam clean between 160F to 180F. You can set it lower but not cooler than 130F.
Another method that many homeowners use is freezing infested clothing. Take note that this is only ideal if the infestation isn’t massive, and only a few pieces were exposed to the bugs.
Take note that freezing requires you to use very low temperature consistently and in a few days. If you can freeze the bugs in 30 degrees below 0F, the bugs will die in a matter of minutes.
For those who will be using their fridge, it may take up to four days to kill the bugs. If you can’t spare much time, it’s best to use a steam cleaner or boil the piece of clothing if possible.
If the tips on how to remove bed bugs from clothing are too demanding, there’s an option to use products for the bugs. Unlike pesticides, clothing-safe products can help kill the pest without damaging the fabric and irritating the skin. Below, we reviewed two of the options you can consider.
Permethrin is the typical active ingredient used in these types of products. It’s both a pesticide and medication for a variety of insects like bed bugs, lice, and scabies. Most formulas made for clothes are safe to use even without rinsing.
When applied as a bug killer, you simply have to spray it to the piece of clothing. After that, place the treated clothing to a sealed bag.
Another option that you have is to pour a small amount of the Permethrin product into the wash. It will exterminate the bugs so you wouldn’t have to tumble dry the clothes for too long. Others would treat the clothes first with a product before tossing it to the wash. This allows them to skip the drying phase to protect the fabric.
To make the bed bug removal easier, you can add these tips on your list on how to remove bed bugs from clothing:
*Use steam cleaners on pillowcases
For delicate and sensitive fabrics, you can use steam cleaners instead of putting them in the dryer for long. Take note that you should use a HEPA vacuum right after the steam cleaning treatment to clean up any bugs that have jumped out of the clothing.
*Consider a dry cleaning service
If you think you can’t handle the removal, you can place the clothes on a sealed bag and into a dry cleaning service. Make sure that you declare the bug infestation so the laundry shop can use the right treatment for your clothes. Most laundry shops will accommodate in this condition.
*Don’t store it back to the closet
Once your clothes are bug-free, it’s time to store it properly. However, never put it back on the same closet where it got infected. It’s best to store it in a plastic storage box with a tight lid. This way, the bugs can’t re-infest your clothes after the treatment.
*Target the root cause
Aside from washing your clothes, it’s best to target the root cause of the infestation. Remember, you can wash all your clothes, but the bugs will continuously re-infest it at some point if eradication isn’t conducted.
You can tap the help of professional exterminators for a successful eradication process. Also, you may need to vacate your home if the treatment will use harsh chemicals. You can bring with you the clean clothes that you stored on the plastic box.
How to stop bed bugs from getting into your clothes
If you really want to stop bed bugs from hitchhiking on your clothes, extermination is the key. Still, you can use the following tips to keep them off your garments:
*Use a repellent spray
Again, Permethrin does wonders here. Most Permethrin spray products can be applied directly to the fabric. After aerating this outdoors, you can wear it right away. Just make sure that you’re using a formula that’s made for clothes and safe for skin contact.
A Permethrin-sprayed clothing will remain bug-free for a matter of days, depending on the potency of the formula.
*Don’t bring your travel clothes back to the closet
If you’ve just come home after traveling, it’s best to toss all your clothes to the wash. For clean pieces, you can tumble it dry for 30 minutes to kill any possible bugs that have hitched on it. Treat all the pieces, even those that you didn’t wear.
Also, never unpack your luggage on your bed. If possible, apply a bed bug repellent spray on your luggage even before leaving home so no bugs will take a ride on it. Do the same before leaving your hotel room.
*Use a mattress encasement
If your bed is the major source of bed bugs, you should use a bed bug encasement. This layer of fabric is impenetrable by bugs, which means that every insect inside your mattress will be trapped. Put this on for a year to ensure that the bugs would die.
Aside from that, it’s best to call for a professional exterminator to eradicate the problem.
OUR TOP PICK: Sawyer Products Premium Permethrin Clothing Spray
Product Name: Sawyer Products Premium Permethrin Clothing Spray
Product Description: The Sawyer Products Premium Permethrin Clothing Spray is effective in repelling and removing bed bugs from your clothes. It also keeps off mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, mites, and other pesky insects that will try to take a bite on your skin. This 18-ounce spray bottle is as effective as pure DEET. Each application will last for up to 6 weeks or 6 washings without the need to re-apply. The best part here is that it won’t stain the fabrics or damage the fibers of the cloth.
Offer price: $$$
Value for Money
Aside from clothes, you can also apply this to plastic and hard surfaces. And if you’re going outdoors, you can stash this on your camping bag for protection against other critters.
This is your first line of defense against the pesky bugs. You can apply this all around your home: on the couch, carpet, rug, and your drapes.
Take note that you should apply this outdoors. After spraying, aerate the clothing for at least 2 hours. If the atmosphere is humid, let it ventilate for 4 hours before wearing.
✔️Lasts up to 6 weeks or 6 washings
✔️Repels mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, and more aside from bed bugs
✔️No need to rinse after application, just aerate the clothing and wear it
❌Not rated for use on pet bedding
EcoRaider Bed Bug Killer
If you’re looking for a guaranteed bed bug killer, you shouldn’t miss the EcoRaider Bed Bug Killer. Even the Entomological Society of America’s journal publication tested this product to be 100% efficient in eradicating bed bugs. It also has been proven in the USDA IR4 PHP program.
EcoRaider kills bed bugs in all life stages, ensuring that the population will be eliminated quickly. Even if it’s harsh against bugs, it’s very gentle on kids and pets. In fact, you can even spray it directly on your mattresses and box springs.
If you’re washing your clothes, you can apply a small amount of EcoRaider on the wash. Rinse it thoroughly and tumble dry your clothes.
Aside from that, you can spray this directly on your luggage, chairs, and couches. If you’re traveling or staying in a hotel, you should have a small spray bottle of EcoRaider handy. It’s a good way on how to remove bed bugs from clothing everywhere.
✔️Tested on USDA IR4 PHP program
✔️100% bug-killing upon contact
❌Can’t be sprayed directly on clothes like the Sawyer Products
Knowing how to remove bed bugs from clothing is easy with a few methods. Also, your efforts will be more efficient if you use a product made for killing bugs. Do you have suggestions or reactions? Let us know below!