How To Wash Clothing with Bed Bugs

/ in Get rid of Bed Bugs /

After the last post on how to pack-up a dresser, we decided to add one more video on how to properly wash clothing that may have bed bugs.  This new video also supports Step 2 of the 8-Step Approach to get rid of bed bugs.  It’s important to follow proper protocol when you wash your clothes to prevent spreading bed bugs.  Most importantly, everything that goes into the wash should come from a sealed plastic bag and everything that comes out of the dryer goes directly into a new plastic bag.  We recommend using large or extra-large Ziploc bags to store your clothes after drying them.

Take a look at the video to see how Andrew does it.  We strongly recommend this protocol when it comes time for you to get rid of bed bugs.

How To Wash Clothing with Bed Bugs – **Video Transcript**

Video Transcript

When there is a risk your clothing is infected with bed bugs. Its important to treat these items right away. By taking some simple steps you can make sure the bed bugs have been contained and eliminated. ZappBug heat treatment units work best for this, as they heat your clothes to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to kill any bed bugs.

If a ZappBug is outside of your budget most clothing dryers get hot enough to kill bed bugs as well. If you have an energy efficient model
you’ll want to double check it reaches 120 degrees.

First, you’ll want to transport all of your clothing in sealed plastic bags. This makes sure you don’t risk spreading any bed bugs whether your just moving from your bedroom to the laundry room or going to a laundromat. Clothing should be dried first to make sure bed bugs are dead. While washing can manually remove bed bugs it doesn’t necessarily kill them, so you’ll want to heat them first. Either in a ZappBug unit or in your dryer.

When you are ready to put your items in the ZappBug or dryer, you’ll want to make sure that you don’t take them out of the bag too early. You’ll want to put the entire bag into the ZappBug or dryer and then pull the clothing out. Make sure not to shake the bag around either. This way you are making sure no bed bugs falling out the area around your ZappBug or dryer.

Once your items have been placed inside make sure to close the bag and depose of it right away. If possible take the trash out right away as well. If using your dryer, you’ll want to set it to the highest setting possible to make sure it kills bed bugs. Make sure to let it run for at least an hour as well, so it is running long enough to kill them all Once your items have been run through the ZappBug or dryer you can wash and dry them like you normally would.

If you’re still dealing with an infestation in your home, you’ll want to make sure to reseal your clothing in bags until the infestation has been fully treated. Once you’ve successfully treated your bed bugs infestation, you can take the clothing out of their bags and store as you would normally would.


So I’m going to show you the proper protocol for laundering your clothes.  Your clothes are in sealed plastic bags now and what is for sure actually going to kill the bed bugs is the heat of your dryer set on high.  But most people feel, if they have washable clothes, they feel more comfortable washing their clothes and laundering them.  And if you do go this route you want to put the water on hot when you do this.

Emptying bag into washing machine.

The thing to keep in mind is not to lift up your clothes out of your plastic bag and put them in.  That is a bad idea because when you life the clothes out of the plastic bag there’s a chance that any of the bed bugs that might be on them are going to fall off.  What you want to do is take the whole sealed bag and get it positioned over your washing machine.  Now, I’m going to tear open the bag to access the clothes and then dump the entire bag, the entire contents into the washing machine.  And the hole I make in the bag, I’m going to be sure that that hole is actually inside the washing machine before I empty the bag into the washing machine.

After bag is emptied.

So you see, I’ve torn open the bag and I have the hole in the bag positioned down into the washing machine.  When I take out this used plastic bag, I’m going to ball it up and throw it away into another sealed plastic bag immediately.

Using the dryer.

A really good method to heat-treat your clothing that you can’t put directly into the washing machine is to use your dryer.  I’m going to show you how to properly put your clothing in the dryer.  Here we have a sealed bag of sweaters. You don’t want to just open up that bag and lift out the sweaters and put them in the dryer.  That’s because you might inadvertently cause beg bugs to fall off those sweaters and get around your laundry room. So, what we’re going to do is we’re going to either rip open the bag or unite the knot on the bag and put the entire mouth of the bag into the dryer.  Then we’re going to feed the entire bag into the dryer and shake out the clothes into the dryer.  I’m going to ball up the bag in the dryer, take it out, and I will immediately dispose of this plastic bag in another sealed plastic bag.  When you go to turn on the dryer make sure it’s on the highest setting possible.  Any home dryer set on high will kill bed bugs.  Now the clothes have gone through the high heat cycle in the dryer and will be bed bug free.  We’re going to remove them and the important thing to remember is to immediately put them in some sort of sealed plastic bag.  My suggestion is to use one of these extra large Ziploc bags.  They are just very convenient for clothes because they easily seal and unseal so you can get easy, easy access to the clothes.

Removing clothes from dryer.

Nicely sealed and now I can store this safely until I’m ready to wear them.

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