Can Bed Bugs Survive In Washing Machine

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Bed bugs are resilient, stubborn, and unwelcome intruders in your home. You might wonder if they can withstand a spin in your washing machine. The surprising answer is, yes, they might. But the specifics of their survival involve several factors, and understanding these is critical to effectively dealing with an infestation.

This article will illuminate the often misunderstood dynamics of bed bugs within your laundry cycle, helping you arm yourself against these relentless pests. Keep on reading to learn all about the survival instincts of these stubborn intruders, and equip yourself with good riddance techniques.

Key Takeaways

Factors affecting the survival of bed bugs in the washer include water temperature and duration of washing. Bed bugs are more likely to survive a cold water cycle.
Bed bugs can be killed by exposing them to temperatures over 120 degrees Fahrenheit, so washing infested garments in hot water and using high-heat dryer cycles is effective in eliminating them.
Bag and seal infested garments before washing to prevent bed bugs from spreading.
A washing machine can reduce the number of bed bugs, but it might not completely eradicate an infestation. Additional measures like vacuuming and professional extermination services may be necessary.

Survival of Bed Bugs in Washing Machine

Bed bugs can survive in the washing machine if cold water is used, as they are not susceptible to drowning like most other insects.

Factors Affecting The Survival of Bed Bugs in The Washer

Several key factors largely influence bed bugs’ survival in a washing machine. Primarily, these elusive pests cannot withstand long periods submerged in water due to their need for oxygen; hence, drowning is a potential method of extermination.

However, the effectiveness of this course greatly depends on the water temperature used during washing. Cold-water washes offer a haven for bed bugs despite multiple cleaning cycles, posing serious health risks from possible bites and subsequent infections.

On the contrary, using hot water or subjecting infested items to dryer heat is instrumental in eliminating these insects. Proper storage practices for non-infested and potentially contaminated items can significantly enhance efforts to prevent the further spread of these unwelcome guests.

Bed Bug on Sheet

Temperature and Duration Required to Kill Bed Bugs

Though notorious for their resilience, bed bugs have one major weakness- heat. Despite having a hardy constitution that allows them to survive in some rather unhospitable environments, these pests succumb when exposed to temperatures over 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

This thermal sensitivity can be exploited in a fight against an infestation by leveraging our commonplace household appliances. Running your laundry through the wash and dry cycle is more effective than you think at eradicating bed bugs. 

The critical requirement here is ensuring the right temperature setting and duration, preferably as high as possible, without damaging the fabric of clothes or other washable items.

Experts recommend washing potentially infested laundry at 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius) for about half an hour, followed by a hot drying cycle.

Potential Risks of Bed Bugs Surviving the Washing Machine

Bed bugs are notorious survivors, possessing the ability to endure harsh conditions. While hot water washes and high-temperature dryer cycles could potentially kill these pests, there’s still a risk that they may not be completely eradicated from your clothes or the washing machine itself.

Some stubborn bed bugs can withstand immersion in water and survive if the temperature is not sufficiently high or maintained long enough – a key factor when dealing with bed bug infestations on garments.

It’s crucial to understand that using only your washing machine as a treatment method leaves room for the possible survival of some critters, leading to persistent infestation issues. 

Furthermore, carefully handling and storing washed and contaminated items separately is necessary to avoid unintentionally spreading these elusive critters around your home.

Recommended Steps to Wash Bed Bug-Infested Garments

To effectively wash bed bug-infested garments or heat-safe rugs, start by bagging and sealing the infested items to prevent any potential spreading. Then, select a wash cycle with the highest water temperature possible and run a full load. 

Finally, dry the clothes in a high-heat dryer for at least 30 minutes to ensure complete eradication of bed bugs.

Bag and Seal Infested Garments

To effectively combat a bed bug infestation in your garments, it is crucial to properly bag and seal the items before washing them. This step helps contain the bed bugs and prevent them from spreading to other areas of your home.

After identifying the infested clothing, place them directly into sealed plastic bags. This will prevent any potential escape and protect your other clothes from becoming infested.

Once you’ve securely bagged the garments, follow the recommended steps for washing bed bug-infested clothes to ensure complete eradication. Using this method, you can take control of the situation and eliminate these pesky pests from your clothing once and for all.

Selecting the Appropriate Wash Cycle and Water Temperature

Selecting the appropriate wash cycle and water temperature is key to effectively eliminating bed bugs from your infested garments. Bed bugs are resilient pests that can survive in various conditions, so taking the right steps to ensure their complete eradication is important.

When washing bed bug-infested clothes, choose your machine’s hottest water temperature setting. According to experts, a water temperature of at least 120°F or higher is necessary to kill off these persistent insects.

Using extreme temperatures in your laundry routine, you can confidently disinfect and rid your clothing of unwanted hitchhikers. Regularly washing and heat-drying all items that come into contact with the floor can also help reduce the number of bed bugs in your home.

Remember that most standard washing machines may not reach the high temperatures needed for effective extermination, so it’s crucial to use hot water and high heat settings whenever possible to eradicate any bed bug infestations from your laundry.

Drying Methods to Ensure Complete Eradication

Proper drying methods are crucial to ensure the complete eradication of bed bugs from your clothes. After washing your bed bug-infested garments, it is essential to dry them thoroughly to eliminate any remaining pests.

High heat is key in killing bed bugs and their eggs. Place the washed items in a dryer set on high heat for at least 30 minutes to ensure complete eradication. Additionally, avoid overcrowding the dryer to allow hot air to circulate evenly throughout the load.

A small bite from a bed bug can lead to serious allergic reactions and health hazards in various individuals. By following these drying methods, you can be confident that your clothes are free from pesky bed bugs and ready to be worn again without worry.

Additional Precautions for Bed Bug Infestations

In addition to washing infested garments, cleaning other items that may be infested, such as bedding, curtains, and upholstery, is crucial. Moreover, vacuuming and disinfecting affected areas can help eliminate any remaining bed bugs.

If the infestation persists or worsens, seeking professional extermination services is highly recommended. Keep reading to learn more effective measures to eradicate bed bug infestations in your house and clothes.

Cleaning Other Items That May Be Infested

To prevent the spread of bed bugs, cleaning any items that may be infested thoroughly is crucial. This includes clothing, bedding, curtains, books, stuffed animals, and personal belongings.

Vacuuming these items can help remove any eggs or live bugs present.

Additionally, wiping down hard surfaces with disinfectant can eliminate any lingering bed bug traces. It’s important to remember that proper cleaning alone may not completely eradicate an infestation, so seeking professional extermination services is advisable in severe cases.

Taking these precautions and regularly inspecting your surroundings can minimize the risk of a bed bug infestation in your home or workplace.

Vacuuming and Disinfecting Affected Areas

To effectively combat a bed bug infestation, it’s vital to thoroughly clean and disinfect affected areas. Vacuuming is an excellent method for eliminating some of the pesky critters.

You can significantly reduce the population of these bloodsucking insects by targeting specific areas such as rugs, floors, upholstered furniture, bed frames, and around bed legs.

Remember to use a vacuum with strong suction power and a narrow nozzle attachment to better reach into crevices where bed bugs are infested. 

Additionally, seal and dispose of the vacuum bag immediately after each use to prevent any remaining bugs from escaping from the vacuum and reinfest your home.

By implementing thorough cleaning techniques like targeted vacuuming in conjunction with other pest control methods, you can increase your chances of successfully eliminating bed bugs without relying solely on chemical treatments.

Seeking Professional Extermination Services if Needed

If you find yourself dealing with a bed bug infestation that seems overwhelming or difficult to control, it may be time to seek the help of professional extermination services.

These experts have the knowledge and experience to thoroughly inspect your home, identify all potential hiding spots, and effectively eliminate bed bugs using specialized treatments.

They can provide you with a written plan outlining their approach and the products they will use, ensuring peace of mind knowing that the infestation will be properly addressed. Remember, completely eradicating bed bugs often requires professional assistance for long-lasting results.

Bed Bugs on Mattress

Common Misconceptions about Washing Bed Bug-Infested Clothes

Many people mistakenly believe that washing bed bug-infested clothes will eliminate the problem. However, it is important to understand that while washing can help reduce the number of bed bugs, it may not completely eradicate an infestation.

Limitations of Using Washing Machines as a Sole Treatment Method

Using a washing machine as the sole method to treat bed bug-infested clothes has its limitations. While it is true that washing clothes or linens in hot water can kill most bed bugs, there are various factors to consider.

Most washing machines can’t reach enough water temperatures to effectively eliminate and get rid of all bed bugs and their eggs. In addition to that, cold water cycles are even less effective, as bed bugs can survive in the washing machine if cold water is used.

It’s important to understand that while agitation, submersion, and detergent in the wash may kill a few bed bugs, it is not guaranteed to eradicate an entire infestation.

To ensure the complete elimination of these pests, additional methods such as using rubbing alcohol, laundry detergent, and trash bags should be considered in conjunction with washing and drying on high heat.

Dry Cleaning Clothes Does Not Kill Bed Bugs

One of the most common misconceptions about bedbugs is that dry cleaning would suffice to eliminate these resilient insects. Dry cleaning alone is not guaranteed to eliminate bed bugs. 

Dry cleaning methods may not reach the necessary temperature to kill bed bugs. Additionally, the cleaning process may not reach all areas where bed bugs may be hiding, such as folds and seams of clothing items.

You Need to Address the Entire Infestation

It is crucial to address the entire bed bug infestation when dealing with bed bug-infested clothes. Simply washing them may not eliminate these pests from your home. Bed bugs are resilient and can hide in various places, including furniture, cracks, and crevices.

If you only focus on cleaning your clothes without treating the surrounding areas, there is a high chance that the infestation will persist.

To effectively tackle a bed bug problem, it is essential to take comprehensive measures. This includes washing your garments using hot water and thoroughly vacuuming and disinfecting affected areas.

Preventing Bed Bug Infestations

Prevent bed bug infestations through regular inspections, proper hygiene practices, and taking precautions while traveling or acquiring second-hand furniture.

Regular Inspection and Early Detection Measures

Performing regular inspections and practicing early detection measures are crucial in preventing bed bug infestations. By routinely examining areas where bed bugs are commonly found, such as mattresses, furniture, and cracks in walls or floors, you can identify any signs of these pests before they become a major problem.

Look out for fecal or blood spots, egg casings, and shed skins, as these indicate the presence of bed bugs. Since bed bugs are skilled at hiding and hitchhiking, thoroughly inspect your belongings after traveling or purchasing used furniture.

Proper training for staff or housekeepers can enable them to conduct visual inspections and recognize early signs of a bed bug infestation. Combining regular checks with various after-market traps greatly enhances your ability to monitor and detect these pesky creatures effectively.

Proper Hygiene Practices

Maintaining proper hygiene is essential in preventing bed bug infestations. These pesky insects can easily hitch a ride on clothing, luggage, or furniture and leave your home unnoticed.

To minimize the risk of bringing bed bugs into your living space, it’s important to practice good hygiene habits. Regularly inspect your bedding, mattresses, and furniture for any signs of bed bugs, such as small bloodstains or dark spots.

When traveling, be cautious with hotel accommodations and thoroughly check for any signs of infestation before settling in. Only purchase second-hand furniture after thoroughly examining it first.

Travel Precautions and Avoiding Second-Hand Furniture

To protect yourself from bed bug infestations while traveling, it’s important to take certain precautions. Bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers and can easily be brought into your home through second-hand furniture.

Before accepting any used items like mattresses or upholstered furniture, thoroughly inspect them for signs of bed bugs. These pests hide in cracks and crevices, making them difficult to spot.

By checking for these signs before bringing the items home, you can help prevent a potential infestation. Additionally, when traveling, keep your luggage off the floor and inspect hotel rooms for any signs of bed bugs before settling in.


In conclusion, while the washing machine can be useful in fighting bed bug infestations, it is not foolproof. Cold water alone will not eradicate these pests, as they require high temperatures to die.

Additionally, washing clothes may only eliminate some bed bugs in other areas of the home that are infested. Following proper protocols and considering seeking professional help for severe infestations is crucial.

Remember, prevention is critical for avoiding these unwanted guests altogether. Stay vigilant and take proactive measures to keep your home bed bug-free.

Photo of author
Sean is the founder of Conquer Critters. With more than 17 years of experience in dealing with various pests, he is passionate about spreading his knowledge to help everyone manage their pest problem in the fastest, most effective manor possible.

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