Do Bed Bugs Die In The Dryer? – How To Kill Bed Bugs Using Your Dryer

It’s the 21st century and we sure do love to travel. But a single female bed bug crawling into our luggage can be the genesis of costly infestations in our homes. Heat is a bed bug’s enemy, so of course, bed bugs can die in the dryer.  If you leave your clothes or bedding in the dryer for some time, you can avoid future bed bug problems. Since bed bugs can live on clothes for a long time, you need to act quickly if you think you’ve picked up bed bugs during your travels! In this guide, we’ll be breaking down do bed bugs die in the dryer and how to kill bed bugs using your dryer!

do bed bugs die in the dryer

Bed bugs do not have wings like flies, strong legs like fleas, or defense mechanisms like beetles. Yet, they are one of the world’s most notorious and most difficult pests to get rid of. With perfect hitchhiking, bedbugs have boosted their populations globally, over the past decades. You might be wondering where do bed bugs even come from? And the answer is almost always, by hitchhiking.

Although a dryer can and will kill bed bugs, you need to know how to use this method for it to work effectively. As you go through the article, you will discover helpful details on using the dryer to kill bed bugs that could be in your belongings. 

You need the right level of temperature and sufficient time to kill the bed bugs using a dryer. A temperature of over 45°C, kept constantly for about 30 minutes will kill nymph and adult bed bugs. Anything less than this may not totally eliminate them. 

Bed bug eggs may be tougher to deal with. They can withstand such high temperatures and time. So you shouldn’t take your stuff out of the dryer immediately. To kill bed bug eggs, you need to set the dryer to a higher temperature (50°C) for about 90 minutes. 

There are many different kinds of dryers. The temperature may delay in increasing to reach the optimum, depending on the type you own. It takes about 15 minutes for dryers to reach their highest temperature. So, you should not have a problem with using it to treat your clothes. 

Some fabrics may not tolerate such high heat and could be damaged. This is why you need to follow certain steps on how to sort clothes to treat them for bed bugs.

How Long In A Dryer To Kill Bed Bugs?

You should place your clothes or bedding in your dryer for at least 30 minutes to effectively kill any attached bed bugs.

How To Prepare Bed Bug Infested Clothes Before Laundering and Drying 

So you returned from a trip and caught a bed bug in your luggage. The first thing you should do is prepare to treat your belongings. Ensure to keep them away from the wall or any furniture. In the meantime, you can keep your bags in the bathroom, where the bed bugs can not escape. To treat the rest of your belongings, the following are some tips to try:

  • Separate your clothes

Different clothes are made with different kinds of material. And while some can withstand high temperatures, others cannot. Some fabric can become damaged if mishandled. This is why sorting or separating your clothes before laundry is important. You can also opt to give delicate fabrics and items to the dry-cleaners, so they don’t get ruined. Separate your items in order of fragility before treating them. 

  • Pre-Treat With a Vacuum Cleaner

Using a vacuum cleaner on your belongings can serve as a pre-treatment for bed bugs. Before putting your belongings in the washing machine and dryer, you can consider using a vacuum cleaner to trap any visible bugs. Usually, a small hand-held vacuum cleaner can serve to reach tiny areas. This increases the effectiveness of the heat treatment and reduces the potential for infestation. 

  • Set the Required Temperature For The Washer And Dryer

Ensure to set your washer and dryer to the required temperature, when you’re done sorting your clothes. Add the washing powder into the washer and set the water at the highest temperature. 

How To Use The Washer and Dryer To Kill Bed Bugs

The first step is to get plastic bags to put your clothes in for the laundry. You can get large Ziploc bags to contain the clothing. 

  • Divide your clothes into small sections and fill every plastic bag and seal them
  • Put on the washer to begin heating up. It takes about 15 minutes or more (depending on the dryer brand) to heat up to the desired temperature.
  • Begin putting the filled bags in the dryer. Ensure to start with clothing that is tolerant to high heat.
  • Make sure to properly discard the empty bags after you’ve removed the cloth. Or you could put it in another plastic bag and treat them later.
  • Run the washer for 30 minutes or more, at a temperature of 40°C to 47°C for adult bugs and 50 C° for beg bug eggs. 
  • After washing, ensure to use a clean, unused bag to put all the treated laundry.
  • Transfer the laundry to the heated dryer. Ensure that the temperature is not too hot to burn your clothes. 
  • Choose the best tumble dry cycle for your clothes. Usually, the temperature will be sufficient to kill any existing bugs.

Other Heat Treatment for Non-Clothing Items

Items like shoes, bags, and other accessories can be infested. One way to treat them without calling an exterminator is to heat them in a commercial laundry. You can use a dryer with a shelf to carry out the heating process. Ensure to seal them in plastic bags. Heat them for 90-100 minutes at 50° C or more if they are heat tolerant. Another method is to simply put them under the sun on a very hot day. 

How To Know If Your Belongings Are Free of Bed Bugs

You may still be unsure as to whether all the bedbugs are dead or not. But heat treatments usually work if done correctly. As long as the temperature is set right and the time is reached, you can trust that they’re no longer a threat.

Do remember that bed bug eggs can survive in temperatures lower than 47° C. Ensure to use a higher temperature for an hour or more. After treating, you can do a thorough visual inspection of your belongings. If you happen to find any living bug, then do ensure to repeat the process. 

Final Thoughts On Killing Bed Bugs With Your Dryer

Bed bugs are skilled at hitchhiking, especially through travelers. This is how they have managed to spread so quickly throughout the world. After a trip, it is important to keep your luggage for treating against bed bugs. 

The dryer is good to heat treat your clothes for bed bugs. The heat can kill them after being set for 30-60 minutes. Ensure to separate fragile fabric and items before washing and drying. Then use plastic bags to transfer your clothes to the dryer after washing. You can inspect your treated belongings to be sure they aren’t still infested.

Resources:

https://extensionentomology.tamu.edu/insects/bed-bugs/

About The Author:

David Floyd has 20 years of experience working as a pest control technician as well as running his own pest control company. His main goal is to provide accurate and helpful DIY tips to keep your home pest-free and how to identify different types of household pests!