How to Kill Bed Bugs on Clothes: Effective Methods for Eradicating Infestations

Read instructions and safety guidelines first. Killing bed bugs on clothes is hard. To treat them, you must identify the infestation, clean thoroughly and use insecticide.

Note: It may be hard to get rid of these bugs at home. Professional help may be needed in severe cases. Knowing how to kill bed bugs on clothes is key for a healthy living environment.

This guide will provide info on:

  1. Identifying bed bug infestations
  2. Cleaning clothing
  3. Using safe insecticides

These three steps will help anyone kill bed bugs on clothing.

Bed Bug Identification

Bed bugs are recognizable by their oval-shaped bodies, six legs, and reddish-brown color. They can be found in mattresses, furniture, carpets, and clothes. Knowing what they look like is the beginning of getting rid of them from your house.

In this section, let’s learn about how to identify bed bugs on your clothes:

Physical Characteristics

Bedbugs can be tricky to spot. They have flat bodies which allow them to hide easily in furniture, walls, wallpaper, and baseboards. Adult bedbugs can grow to 4-7 mm in length and 1.5-3 mm in width. Young bedbugs, also known as nymphs, are off-white in color. When full of blood after a meal, they turn brown and become bigger.

To confirm a bed bug infestation, look for their behavior. They mainly feed on blood from humans or animals, primarily at night. You may find reddish stains on bedding or mattresses from squashed bugs. Also, tiny black spots near beds might be bed bug excrement or eggs. Knowing these signs will help you identify bed bugs in your home.

Habits and Behaviors

To effectively treat bed bugs, you must first identify them. They are brownish, small, oval-shaped insects, 4-5 millimeters long. They have a distinct smell and like to hide in dark spots, such as cracks and crevices.

Bed bugs feed on human blood during the night. They travel from place to place on items such as furniture, clothing, and beds.

Plus, they can survive for several months without food, as long as temperatures remain above freezing. When it’s too cold or hot, their activity decreases.

Knowing their habits and behaviors can help you get rid of your bed bug problem!

Bed Bug Prevention

Bed bugs? A nuisance! To keep these critters away, prevention is key. Special sprays, hot water, and sealed storage can be employed to protect your clothes. Prevention of bed bugs is the best way to go!


Cleanliness is key to avoid bed bug infestations. To deter them, regularly wash and dry fabric items, like bedding and curtains, on the highest heat setting. Vacuum carpets and furniture, and dust regularly. When washing linens, use hot water of at least 120 degrees F. Vacuum the mattress as well. Lastly, seal any cracks or crevices in walls or furniture where bed bugs might hide or lay eggs.


Vacuuming is a great way to get rid of bed bugs. Do it regularly! Handle furniture, rugs, bedding, and linens with care. Don’t let the bed bugs spread. Empty the vacuum bag outdoors when done.

Wash anything that can be washed in hot water. Stuff that can’t be washed? Put it in a sealed plastic bag for 3 days. Or put it in an airtight container for freezing temperatures for 24 hours – that’ll kill the bugs.


Laundering is a great way to get rid of bed bugs on clothing and other items. Use hot, soapy water to clean the fabrics. Make sure the temp is at least 140°F (60°C). Dry the clothes on high heat for 20 minutes. This will kill the bed bugs and eggs. Throw away the plastic bag after laundering.

For materials that can’t be laundered, such as shoes or furniture upholstery, use a vacuum to remove the bed bugs and eggs. Seal the vacuum cleaner bag. Then dispose of it in an outdoor trash can. The hot temperatures of summer can help kill any remaining bugs in sealed containers.

Killing Bed Bugs on Clothes

Eradicating bed bugs on clothes may be tricky. But by taking the right steps, it’s doable! There are several techniques to use when it comes to killing bed bugs on clothes. Your aim should be to make sure all bed bugs on your clothes are eliminated, whether they are on the surface or secretly tucked away in the seams.

Continue reading to learn more about the different methods of killing bed bugs on clothes:

Washing Clothes

Washing clothes in hot water can kill bed bugs and their eggs. Use the highest temperature setting that the fabric can tolerate, and add detergent. If possible, wash the clothes separately from other items. After washing, dry the clothes on the highest heat setting.

Hot Water

Hot water can be a great way to kill bed bugs on clothes. But, it is important to check the manufacturer’s washing instructions or ask a professional if this method is safe for your clothing items. Cotton and linen items can usually handle hot water and higher temperatures.

To start, sort clothing items into heaps according to fabric type and color. If needed, pretreat any spots of dirt or stain with a stain remover. Follow instructions on product label.

Set the washing machine to the highest heat setting. Put in the items, add laundry soap or an insecticide-based detergent powder or liquid. Run the cycle, using extra time at the highest temperature possible. Repeat as necessary until no bed bugs are visible.

Once the cycle is finished, remove the items from washer and dry them at high heat. Preferably, use an oven or clothes dryer set at 120°F (49°C) for 30 minutes. This will ensure any remaining eggs have been killed. Finally, store away the items after ironing, if desired.

Dryer Heat

Using heat from a dryer to kill bed bugs is an effective and reliable method. It works on almost all bug species. It’s great for clothing, linens, backpacks and stuffed animals. You don’t need much effort either.

The ideal temperature for killing bed bugs on clothes needs to be 115°F (46°C). Temperatures between 122°F – 140°F (50-60°C) can be more effective. You don’t need an industrial dryer, as your home dryer can reach these temperatures.

Remember to run the dryer for at least 30 minutes – up to an hour if possible. Heat needs to penetrate fabric material where bed bugs hide. Your clothes will come out warmer than normal. So, don’t use synthetics as they can melt or burn.


Freezing is great for killing bed bugs without using chemicals. However, it won’t work on eggs. To make it successful, take infested clothes and put them in sealed plastic bags. Then, leave them in the freezer until ice crystals form (usually at 4°F/-20°C). Wait for the clothes to thaw naturally before taking them out of the bag. Lastly, launder them. It may take up to 36 hours of freezing to kill all bed bug stages.

Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning is a great way to get rid of bed bugs on clothes. Use a steam cleaner that can reach temperatures of 140°F (60°C). Inspect all clothing and items. Isolate the infested items. Remove drawers and knobs from furniture. Move slowly and steadily over each item. Spend a few seconds on each area. Flip items over if possible. Let fabrics cool down to room temperature. Dry them in an electric dryer, set on high heat, for 30 minutes or more.

Vacuum clean rugs, carpets, and corners. Pay special attention when taking fabrics outside. Don’t let them spread the pests to other parts of the house.

Professional Pest Control

When bed bug infestations are extreme, hiring a professional exterminator is a must. The treatment options depend on the living environment and severity of the infestation. Chemical pesticides, steam heat treatments, or freezing processes may be used.

Heat treatments increase the temperature to over 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This kills eggs, larvae, and adults. However, clothes and belongings are unharmed. This method is effective right away.

When the infestation is large-scale or when it’s in a sensitive environment (like a hospital or hotel), pesticide treatments are recommended. Contact sprays or residuals may be used. Vacuuming alone won’t get rid of bed bugs. It may even cause them to spread. Professional have access to powerful equipment and insecticides that homeowners can’t buy. So, it’s best to rely on professionals for heavy dose insecticides and rodenticides.


To sum up, removing bed bugs from clothes requires effort. The ideas above will help keep bed bugs away from your garments. To make sure they’re gone for good, it’s important to do all the recommended steps.

  • Start by washing clothes in hot water and drying them with high heat.
  • After that, vacuum and store clothing correctly to stop a new infestation.

By laundering, vacuuming and storing clean clothes properly, you can avoid a bed bug problem in your wardrobe.