Bed bug infestations can happen to anyone regardless of their standards of cleanliness. All it takes is coming into contact with an infected source, such as clothing or a mattress at a hotel or friend's house, to transfer some of these pests to your own belongings and transport them home. Once situated, bed bugs will reproduce and if left untreated, can take over your home. While they are not dangerous, the irritation caused by bed bug bites can be unpleasant and cause significant discomfort.
Things You'll Need
- Clothes dryer
- Plastic bags
Wash infested belongings. Wash anything that can be laundered in hot water first. This will kill most of the bed bugs and rinse away the remains. Use the deep cleaning setting on your washer and make sure that your water heater heats the water to at least 120 degrees or hotter.
Dry items in the dryer. Whether or not an item can be washed in hot water, many things can be placed in a hot dryer, including dry clean only clothing. Stuffed toys, backpacks, pillows and other items should be placed in the dryer and dried on a medium or high setting for 10 to 20 minutes. This will kill all life stages of the bed bugs.
Bag larger items and place them in the sun. Securely seal up items in plastic, making sure they are airtight, and place them in direct sunlight for in a hot, enclosed area such as a car trunk in the sunlight for at least a day. The interior temperature of the bag must reach at least 120 degrees to kill the bed bugs.
Freeze the bed bugs by placing items outside and keeping them below 32 degrees. Unlike the hotter temperatures, this needs to be maintained for several days in order to completely kill the bed bugs. If you bring the items inside too soon, the bed bugs that have not died will start the cycle over again, reinfesting your belongings.
Tips & Warnings
- For beds and furniture, a pesticide or professional treatment may be needed as bed bugs and their eggs can hide in small cracks and holes and are hard to reach.
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