Bed bugs are very tiny blood-feeding insects that hide in creases and crevices of furniture and fabrics, during daylight hours, emerging in darkness to seek out and bite warm-blooded animals, including humans and pets.
Households finding themselves dealing with a bed bug outbreak don’t need to dispose of towels and bedding – though they might be tempted.
It’s entirely possible to clean laundry infested with bedbugs in a manner that kills these troublesome insects.
However, to kill these pests, it’s not just as simple as throwing them in the washing machine for a cycle as bed bugs are very resilient and can survive various conditions with surprising ease.
The key to successfully ridding these items of bedbugs is to wash and dry it with the highest heat they can tolerate.
The pest pros and Bed Bug Specialist claimed: “One of their weaknesses is high temperature.”
Sharing the “best washing machine temperature”, they said: “Washing laundry at 60 degrees for 30 minutes terminates all bed bugs and their eggs.
“Lowering the temperature to 40 degrees kills all adult bed bugs, but only 25 percent of the eggs.”
To wash the towels and bedding the experts claimed that they need to be added to a “sealed bag or container”.
This way, households will avoid the risk of spreading the bed bugs to other places as they transport them to the washing machine.
The bed bug experts said: “It’s better to use disposable bags which have seals on top, or you can tie up. Then put the bags in the washing machine and open or rip them inside.
“This way, you avoid spreading bed bugs onto the ground around the machine. Of course, put the used bags into another, clean bag, seal it and throw it in an outdoor rubbish bin.”
Once washed add the laundry to the tumble dryer on the highest heat it can handle for “at least 30 minutes”.
The washing process can be repeated again to increase the chances for “maximum success” and “ensure there are no bed bugs hidden away” in some seam that has managed to survive the heat and detergent.
Regardless of whether or not households are infested with bed bugs, they should make sure to wash their towels and bedding at 60 degrees as this eliminates any germs and bacteria that may be lingering on the fabric.
It’s also best to run these items on one of the longest wash cycle options, as this will give the detergent and piping hot water more time to work through the material and ensure a bright clean sheet at the end of the cycle.