Although we are a pet-loving nation, bed bugs take it a step too far. They’re not cute or cuddly and are not a man’s best friend. Instead, bed bugs are sneaky little things that make their way into your home, seeking refuge in clothing, beds, wardrobes, and more.
Their flat, petite bodies allow them to fit into tiny spaces and enter the house. Although bed bugs are a nuisance, they’re not thought to transmit disease.
But they will bite and cause itching skin, so it’s a good idea to figure out how to evict these free-loaders.
Luckily, there are a few ways to eradicate bed bugs from your home, so keep reading to find out how.
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. The links below may be affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy for more information.
Fortunately, you can kill bed bugs in the washing machine. The combination of high heat, at least 60 degrees Celcius, plus some standard laundry detergent should be sufficient to kill the bugs and their eggs.
You can even use dish soap instead of laundry detergent. However, you must follow a particular process to ensure the bugs do not spread throughout the home.
Keep reading to learn how to kill bed bugs in the house properly.
How To Know If Your Home Is Infested With Bed Bugs.
Bedbugs make their way into the home through luggage, bags, sofas, and anything slightly porous or textural. They don’t live in nests but tend to live in groups and hide all over the home. Ideally, they will hide somewhere within biting distance from humans, such as the bed or mattress.
Over time, if they are not dealt with, bed bugs will scatter throughout the home, making them much harder to exterminate.
The most obvious sign that you have an infestation is waking up with itchy patches that you didn’t have when you went to sleep. However, there are some other signs to look out for:
- Minor blood stains on sheets and pillowcases.
- An unpleasant musty odor from the bugs.
- Dark spots on sheets and walls where the bugs have left excrement.
- Small bed bug egg shells.
How to Exterminate Bed Bugs
It’s vital that once you suspect an infestation, you deal with it as soon as possible to prevent spreading. First, identify where you think they may be, and work from there.
Guide to Dealing With Bed Bugs in your Bedroom:
- Clean the bedding, linen, curtains, and clothing in hot water, and dry on high heat if possible. Wash any towels, bath mats, washcloths, etc.
- For any garments or items that cannot be washed, such as shoes, place them in the dryer at high heat for 25-40 minutes. Keep reading to learn details on how to wash infested garments.
- Brush the surface of the mattress to remove the eggs.
- Vacuum the bed, mattress, and surrounding area. Immediately empty the vacuum into a garbage bag and put the bag outside.
- Place a tightly woven cover over the mattress and box springs to stop them from escaping. Unfortunately, bed bugs can live up to 1 year without feeding, so you must be patient with this step.
- Deep clean the home.
- Remove clutter from around the bed, vacuum, and mop if you have laminate or wooden floors, repair cracks in the plaster, and wipe down the furniture. If you have access to an electrical carpet cleaning device, use it on the floors and sofas.
- Only bring clean clothes back into the room once you are sure it is free from bed bugs.
If you suspect that the mattress is highly infested, you may want to consider replacing the mattress. Bed bugs are small and stubborn and take time to remove from the home.
Follow the link below to buy a mattress protector:
Check out the link below to buy some pest-control pillowcase protectors:
Will Laundry Detergent Kill Bed Bugs?
There are conflicting opinions regarding the role of laundry detergent in bed bug extermination. However, it appears that the combination of boiling water and the addition of a laundry deterrent will kill bed bugs.
The washing cycle needs to be long to allow the detergent to come into contact with every little bug and its eggs, plus it needs to be hot enough to kill them.
Studies show that washing at 40 degrees will kill all adult bugs but only 25% of the eggs. Therefore, you must wash at 60 degrees or hotter, depending on the fabric you are dealing with.
The laundry detergent breaks down the layers of the bed bug’s outer shell. This outer layer protects the bug; without it, the bug will dehydrate and die. The soap must come into direct contact with the bug to work.
How to Wash Clothing and Bedding Infested With Bed Bugs.
To prevent the spread of nasty bugs, you must start a fairly time-consuming process. Follow these steps to wash your bed bug-infested laundry properly:
- Bag up the garments you feel may have been in contact with the bed bugs. Do this step at once, tie each bag, and take it to the washing machine. Make sure you’re using heavy-duty trash bags that you can properly seal.
- Seal the bags with tape or string. Essentially, you’re just trying to make sure none of the bugs escape. So twist the bag off, and then tape or string tie it shut.
- Wash the garments, one bag at a time. The critical element of this step is that you want to place the entire bag into the washing machine, then use scissors or a knife to open the cut bag to release the items. Try not to let any garments escape the machine in the process. Take the bag scraps and put them into another bag, seal it off, and dispose of them.
- Add a generous amount of laundry detergent, and wash the garments at the highest possible temperature that won’t ruin the clothes. We recommend 60 degrees or above.
- Dry the laundry at 118 degrees or more; temperature is your friend when killing bed bugs. Air drying is not adequate.
- Place the clean laundry in new bags and seal them. You don’t want to bring the items back into the infested room until you are certain it is bug-free.
- Unpack your garments after deep cleaning the room.
What Laundry Detergent Should I use to Kill Bed Bugs?
Fortunately, even generic laundry detergents kill bed bugs. Of course, you can buy specially formulated products to kill bed bugs, but their effectiveness is comparable to standard detergents.
Even good old-fashioned dish detergent can kill beg bugs because it’s the soap element that breaks down the bugs.
Contrary to popular belief, dryer sheets won’t kill bed bugs. Mothballs and adding rubbing alcohol were also found to be ineffective at killing bed bugs.
If you want peace of mind, bed bug-specific detergents do work just as well as standard detergents and maybe even a little better at attacking pests.
Check out the link below to bug a bed bug detergent from Amazon:
Bed bugs are nasty little creatures that can cause severe discomfort and distress in the home. If not dealt with immediately, they can spread throughout the home and live in your sofas, bookcases, shoes, and more.
Fortunately, with the right process, you can kill the bed bugs yourself. However, you must be very careful not to spread them further, as one bug can lay up to 50 eggs. Impressive, I know.
You don’t need to buy an expensive detergent; dish soap will do the trick. Wash at high heat, and thoroughly clean your home to ensure all bugs have been exterminated.
As a busy mom, Raz knows firsthand the challenges of balancing parenting and household management. Raz is constantly searching for ways to simplify her life and loves sharing her experiences and tips with others. Whether it's finding creative meal solutions for picky eaters or discovering the latest time-saving home organization hack, she is always on the lookout for ways to make life easier for her family and herself.
Last update on 2023-03-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API