How to Clean Bed Bugs From Purses, Shoes and Hats


Bed bugs are small insects that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals. These tiny bugs range in size from as small as a poppy seed to ¼ inch long. Bed bugs can be eliminated from many clothing items by simply placing the items in a clothes dryer for several minutes. For items that can't withstand the heat of a dryer, such as purses, shoes and hats, you can still get rid of bed bugs by exposing them to either freezing conditions or diatomaceous earth.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Large sealable bags
  • Freezer
  • Diatomaceous earth, food-grade

Freezing Method

  • Vacuum the items to remove as many of the bed bugs as possible.

  • Place each item in a separate sealable bag and seal the bag securely. Place the bagged items in a freezer.

  • Remove the bagged items from the freezer after two months. Inspect the bags before opening for any live bed bugs. If you see any live bed bugs, place the bag back in the freezer for two more months.

  • Open the bags if there are no live bed bugs present and remove the items. Vacuum the items to remove all dead bed bugs.

Diatomaceous Earth Method

  • Vacuum the items to remove as many bed bugs as possible.

  • Place each item in a separate sealable bag.

  • Sprinkle 1 cup of diatomaceous earth in each bag. Seal the bag and shake it to distribute the diatomaceous earth throughout the bag. The bed bugs must come in contact with the diatomaceous earth to be killed.

  • Wait 48 hours before opening the bags. Inspect the bags for any evidence of live bed bugs; if you see any live bed bugs, reseal the bags and wait another 48 hours. When there are no live bed bugs present, you can safely open the bags.

  • Vacuum as much of the diatomaceous earth as possible from the bags before removing the items. After removing each item, vacuum all of the diatomaceous earth off of the item.

Tips & Warnings

  • Diatomaceous earth is composed of finely crushed fossilized shells. This “dirt” contains microscopic razor-edged particles that cut the exoskeletons of bed bugs, causing them to dehydrate and die. However, diatomaceous earth is not harmful to people, pets, fish, birds or food.

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