How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs In Shoes?

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Do you want to know how to get rid of bed bugs in shoes? First, thoroughly inspect your shoes for any signs of bed bugs or eggs. If you find any, remove the bugs and eggs using a vacuum cleaner or by wiping them off with a cloth. 

Next, seal the infested shoes in a plastic bag and place them in the freezer for at least 24 hours to kill the bed bugs. Alternatively, you can heat the shoes using a hairdryer or a clothes dryer on a high heat setting for 30 minutes. 

Afterward, clean and sanitize the shoes using hot, soapy water or a disinfectant spray. Finally, store the shoes in a sealed container or bag to prevent re-infestation.

Dealing with bed bugs is challenging; finding them in your shoes is a nightmare. Bed bugs, known for their exceptional hitchhiking skills, can easily convert your favorite footwear into a cozy dwelling, causing significant discomfort. 

This guide will uncover how bed bugs infest your shoes, the telltale signs of their presence, and practical steps to eliminate these unwelcome invaders. Key highlights include proven eradication methods such as heat treatment, cold treatment, and the use of diatomaceous earth. 

Beyond these, we’ll provide step-by-step instructions on handling bed bug infestations in footwear. As an added layer of guidance, we’ll introduce some additional tips and tricks, including using bed bug sprays for added protection. 

Key Takeaways

Remove bed bugs in shoes by first vacuuming all bugs and eggs you can see. Dispose of the contents of the vacuum in a sealed back and place it in an outdoor trash can.
Seal infested shoes in a plastic bag and freeze them for 24 hours or heat them using a hairdryer or clothes dryer.
Clean and sanitize shoes with hot, soapy water or a disinfectant spray.
Looks for signs of infestations throughout your house or apartment as bed bugs are unlikely to live only in shoes.

Understanding Bed Bugs in Shoes

Bed bugs can easily find their way into your shoes, hitching a ride on your clothing or crawling into the crevices.

How Bed Bugs Get Into Shoes

Bed bugs are notorious hitchhikers seeking cozy spots to hide and feed. Your shoes provide a perfect haven for these annoying pests. They can infest footwear in various ways, including contact with an infested area or items.

Visiting an infected hotel, bus, or theater could unknowingly mean picking up these unwelcome guests. These crafty critters may also crawl into your shoes from infested clothing or luggage in your home.

More so, if you step on them unknowingly, they might latch onto the fabric of your shoe and find their way inside it. Once inside, bed bugs thrive within the dark and small crevices found in most footwear designs – making them quite challenging to detect until signs such as bites appear.

Signs of Bed Bugs in Shoes

Bed bugs can easily infiltrate your shoes, hitching a ride to your home or other destinations. One of the first signs of their presence is often tiny bite marks on feet and ankles, leading to itchy red welts similar to mosquito bites.

Some individuals may experience heightened itching and swelling from these bed bug bites. Identifying bed bugs in shoes also involves recognizing subtle signs like strange odors.

Typically, a musty scent emitted by the bed bugs’ scent glands pervades infested footwear. Along with this distinct odor, you might notice minor rusty or reddish stains on the shoe’s interior – evidence of crushed adult bugs or their droppings.

Grains resembling salt or pepper scattered within your shoe are likely eggs laid by mature female insects.

Close Up of Bed Bug on Mattress

Methods to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in Shoes

To effectively eliminate bed bugs from your shoes, you can utilize several proven methods, such as heat treatment (freezing or using a dryer), cold treatment, diatomaceous earth, and even dry cleaning.

Heat Treatment

Heat treatment, specifically freezing or using a dryer, offers a practical solution in the battle against bed bugs lurking in your shoes. This extermination method harnesses the power of temperature to eradicate these pesky invaders.

The process is straightforward – hot air from a dryer set at extremely high temperatures or frigid conditions created by a freezer can destroy all stages of bed bug life, eggs inclusive. It’s important to note that these critters succumb when exposed to 119°F and above.

Cold Treatment

Cold treatment is an effective and convenient method to eliminate bed bugs from your shoes. Bed bugs cannot survive in cold temperatures, so exposing your infested footwear to freezing conditions will kill these pests.

The best way to do this is by placing your shoes in a sealed bag or container and putting them in the freezer for at least 72 hours at 0°F. This duration ensures that all stages of bed bugs, including eggs, nymphs, and adults, are eradicated.

Using Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a safe and natural method to eliminate bed bugs in your shoes. This powdery substance acts as a desiccant, drying out the bed bugs it encounters. Not only does diatomaceous earth dry out these pests, but its sharp edges also cut into their exoskeletons, allowing the silica to get inside and further dehydrate them.

Diatomaceous Earth Powder Poured on a Table

Dry Cleaning

By taking your infested shoes to a professional dry cleaner, you can ensure that the high temperatures and chemicals used during the cleaning process will kill any bed bugs present.

It’s crucial to communicate with your dry cleaner beforehand and inform them about the situation so they can adequately treat your shoes for bed bugs. This way, you can save your beloved footwear from being tossed away due to infestation.

Precautions and Preventive Measures

To prevent a bed bug infestation in your shoes, it’s essential to keep them away from your bed and store them in sealed bags or boxes. Using insecticides like Sterifab can also help deter these pests.

But that’s not all – read on to learn the step-by-step instructions for effectively removing bed bugs in your shoes.

Keeping Shoes Away From the Bed

To prevent bed bugs from infesting your shoes, it’s important to keep them away from your bed and sleeping area. Bed bugs can easily crawl into shoes and hide in dark crevices, making them hard to detect and eliminate.

Taking precautions and following simple preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of bringing these unwelcome pests into your home.

One effective way to keep bed bugs away is by storing your shoes in a separate area, ideally far from where you sleep. Designate a specific place for shoe storage, such as a closet or an enclosed shelf.

Make sure this area is clean and clutter-free, as bed bugs thrive in environments with lots of hiding places.

Storing Shoes in Sealed Bags or Boxes

To protect your shoes from bed bugs, it is essential to store them in sealable plastic bags or boxes. This simple precaution can go a long way in preventing these pesky critters from infesting your footwear.

By sealing the shoes in bags or boxes, you create a barrier that keeps bed bugs at bay and prevents them from coming into contact with your unique collection. The chemicals that cling to the surface of sealed bags or boxes also act as a deterrent, keeping bed bugs away for weeks.

Using Insecticides Like Sterifab

Insecticides like Sterifab are effective tools for controlling and eliminating bed bugs in your shoes. Sterifab is a widely used contact-kill product that directly kills bed bugs upon contact.

It can also be used to treat other pests, fungi, and odors that may be present in your footwear. However, it’s important to note that Sterifab is not a residual product, so additional measures should be taken to comprehensively treat bed bugs in your shoes.

When using insecticides like Sterifab, it’s crucial to follow the instructions provided and take necessary precautions to minimize any potential risks associated with their use. Regular cleaning and maintenance of your shoes can also help prevent future infestations of bed bugs.

Step-by-Step Instructions to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in Shoes

First, remove any removable padding or inserts from the shoes. Next, place the shoes in a sealable plastic bag and freeze them for at least 48 hours to kill bed bugs and their eggs.

After freezing, remove the shoes from the bag and inspect them for any signs of infestation.

If necessary, repeat the freezing process until all bed bugs are eliminated. Finally, clean the shoes thoroughly using a vacuum cleaner or wiping them down with a damp cloth soaked in hot water and soap.

Method 1: Washing Machine

Bed bugs cannot survive high temperatures, so washing your infested shoes in hot water can kill them.

Set the washing machine to a hot setting and run it for at least sixty minutes to ensure all the bed bugs inside the shoes are eliminated. It’s important to note that this method may only be suitable for some types of shoes, especially those that could be damaged or shrink in hot water.

However, if your shoes can withstand the heat, this is a simple and effective solution for eliminating those pesky bed bugs from your footwear. Remember to wash any other infested clothing or bedding in hot water as part of your overall strategy to control and prevent bed bug infestations.

Method 2: Cold Treatment

This method involves placing the infested shoes in a large polythene paper bag and then putting them in the freezer for at least an hour or more.

The cold temperature will kill the bed bugs and prevent them from spreading to other items.

One of the reasons why cold treatment is effective is that bed bugs cannot survive in low temperatures. By freezing the shoes, you disable the pests, making it easier to eliminate them.

Additionally, this method kills bed bugs and helps remove any odors and dirt from your shoes.

It’s important to note that outdoor freezing temperatures may not always be enough to eradicate all the bed bugs in your shoes. Therefore, a controlled environment like a freezer is recommended for better results.

Cold treatment can be temporary until further steps are taken to treat your shoe infestation fully.

Method 3: Using a Dryer

A dryer is a quick and effective method for removing bed bugs in shoes. The high heat from the dryer can kill bed bugs in just a few seconds without water or chemicals.

To ensure effective eradication, set the dryer temperature as high as possible, at least above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the infested shoes in the dryer and run it on high heat for at least 30 minutes. This will eliminate any bed bugs or eggs hiding inside.

It’s important to note that not all shoes are suitable for this treatment, so check care labels before proceeding. A household dryer can safely disinfect shoes from bed bugs by harnessing heat power, preventing their spread, and ensuring shoe hygiene.


Dealing with a bed bug infestation in your shoes can be frustrating and challenging. However, following the methods outlined in this guide – including heat treatment, cold treatment, diatomaceous earth, and dry cleaning – you can effectively eliminate these pesky pests from your footwear.

Remember to take preventive measures such as storing shoes away from your bed and using sealed bags or boxes. 

By taking swift action and implementing these strategies, you can keep your shoe bed bug-free and enjoy peace of mind knowing that your feet are safe from these unwelcome intruders.

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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