How Long Should You Keep Clothing With Possible Bedbugs in the Freezer?

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If bedbugs have taken up residence in your mattress, don't move to the couch to get rid of them. Bedbugs may live in your clothing, your furniture and even in the walls. Instead of throwing out all of your belongings, expose them to extreme temperatures to effectively kill bedbugs. Killing both the bedbugs and the eggs will keep you, your home and your clothing bedbug-free.

Why It Works

  • Bedbugs feed off of your blood, leaving itchy welts on your arms and legs. Even if you take away the food -- yourself -- bedbugs can still live without food for months. Wearing clothing that is stored in a bedbug-infested home may spread bedbugs to your friends and family members, infesting their homes with bedbugs, too. Freezing your clothing will ensure that all of the bedbugs and their eggs are completely dead, and that you won't spread the bedbugs to other homes and locations.

Freezing the Bugs

  • Place all of your contaminated clothing in large freezer bags or garbage bags. Push on the bags to eliminate all of the air, then knot them tightly. Empty out your freezer, then place the bags of clothing inside. Check the temperature gauge. The bugs will only die if the freezer is below 32 degrees. Leave the clothing in the freezer for at least 4 days, or up to a week.

Other Freezing Methods

  • If you don't have a freezer large enough to contain all of your clothes, placing bedbugs in a car during the winter may also freeze them, as long as temperatures are below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the clothing in tightly tied trash bags, then pile them all in the car. Shut the doors of the car and do not open them for at least 4 days, up to a week, when the bedbugs and eggs have died.

Other Bedbug Removal Alternatives

  • Freezing bedbugs is not the only effective way to remove them from your clothing. Washing your clothing in hot water that is at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit will also kill the bedbugs and their eggs. Dry the clothing in a hot dryer for at least 20 minutes before wearing them. Once bedbugs and eggs have been removed from your clothing, keep it in sealed garbage bags. Otherwise, bedbugs may return to the clothing if you bring them back into your infested home.

References

  • Photo Credit Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images
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