How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in Clothing
At first, it’s just a small, raised bump on your arm–something you initially brush off as a mosquito bite. However, as the days go on, you notice more of these bumps appearing on your arms in clusters with seemingly no explanation for its cause.
Bed bugs were seldom heard about in the United States until recently,” says Mary Marlowe Leverette, a laundry expert. “With the availability of international travel, bed bugs have taken advantage of a free return trip to the U.S. via luggage and clothing.
And while getting rid of bed bugs in your home is a relatively straightforward matter–heat and chemicals usually eradicate them for good–getting these critters out of your clothes isn’t such an easy matter. While a good blast of hot air can help get rid of most bed bugs, not all clothes can handle a hot tumble in the dryer, therefore making the removal of these pests a more complicated matter. Luckily, there are ways to get rid of them for good and here’s how to do it.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in Clothing..
For most people, it’s one of their biggest fears: a bed bug infestation in your home. Unfortunately, these critters love to bury themselves in clothes too–and removing these pests just from your clothing alone is easier said than done. So what are the best ways to get rid of them for good.
- Heat it Up–But Don’t Forget Your Bags. For clothes that can withstand high temperatures, there’s no need for you to wash them first–what kills these critters is heat instead. To start, throw any infested clothes into your dryer and set the temperature as high as you can, then leave the dryer on for at least 20 minutes to kill all infestations. Afterward, transfer all items into a sealed plastic bagto make sure these critters are really dead for good–a few could possibly withstand the heat and continue to breed if you don’t do this step. Take the clothes out in a safe, clean area a few days after heating. Be careful not to store clothes in areas where bed bugs commonly accumulate, either, such as dark storage spaces, drawers, or in dark closet areas.
- For really delicate items, allow them to soak in warm water with plenty of laundry detergent for several hours and then wash as usual to remove the bed bugs,” says Leverette. As for how long you should leave your clothes soaking, it’s better to err on the side of caution: At least several good hours is best, preferably with a touch of liquid detergent. Make sure to bag the clothes up while drying to make sure any surviving bugs don’t re-infest your house.
- Go cold instead. If subjecting your clothes to hot temperatures isn’t doable for you, then there’s still hope, according to Leverette. “Bed bugs can not live if subjected to temperatures below 32 degrees F. for several days,” says Leverette. “Infested items can be bagged and frozen. The downside is that most home freezers fluctuate in temperature and often rise to 40 degrees F.
Recommendation: To make sure your clothes stay frozen for several days, consider putting them in a box freezer instead, where temperatures are less likely to fluctuate. Afterward, thaw out and wash as usual for bed bug free clothes. Per usual, bagging your clothes in a plastic bag for a few days can help kill any remaining bugs that may have survived this treatment.
Bed Bug Bites And How To Treat Them
And that’s just what she did when she arrived in Orlando on that fateful Friday night–until she woke up the next morning covered in painful welts up and down her legs. Soon, her dream vacation wasn’t a dream–it was a nightmare.
For Jane, she expected her stay at a 5-star resort to be a dream experience–yet the angry, red welts that appeared on her body after a night’s rest said the very opposite. But believe it or not, this wasn’t a freak accident–and chances are if you’ve slept in a hotel, the same could happen to you too.
But what’s even scarier? Bed bugs don’t simply infiltrate shady motels or 2 or 3 star hotels–they can even be found in the most expensive 5 star hotels, even with good housekeeping. That’s because bed bugs don’t care about the cleanliness of wherever they live; they simply choose any dark area with plenty of small crevices to hide, like under beds or in small cracks in the wall.
Bedbugs can live anywhere in the home,” says Melissa Stöppler, a board-certified anatomic pathologist. “They can live in cracks in furniture or in any type of textile, including upholstered furniture.
And their bites? Painless yet agonizing–while a bite from a bed bug is rarely detectable by humans, the swelling and inflammation that occurs after a bite can be hard to deal with. If you’re lucky, your skin will only swell up slightly for a few days–but if you’re extremely allergic to the bed bugs’ saliva, you’ll experience big, raised welts that constantly itch and seemingly never go away.
What to Do About Bed Bug Bites
If you’ve been unlucky enough to receive these painful bites, then probably only one thing is on your agenda: Getting rid of the itchiness and pain. So what’s the best way to keep these bites on the down low? Here’s what most physicians recommend.
Use a skin cream containing hydrocortisone. Hydrocortisone is a type of steroid hormone naturally produced by your body that helps alleviate allergic reactions. Most reactions to bed bug bites are caused by an allergic response from your body, so by applying a hydrocortisone cream to the areas affected, you help stop some of the swelling and itching–and chances are your welts will go away more quickly.
Soothe welts with tea tree oil. While bed bugs themselves do not carry any viruses, leaving red, open welts untreated could increase the risk of infection–something you definitely want to avoid. To protect your skin, add a drop of tea tree oil on any affected areas, which helps protect your skin from infection due to its antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
Consider taking an oral antihistamine. Oral antihistamines help stop the allergic reaction caused by a bed bug bite, which can help shrink the size of your welts. As an added bonus, these drugs can also lessen other allergic reactions caused by bed bug bites, such as itching and inflammation.