How Long Do Bed Bugs Live on Clothes & How to Get Rid of Them

How long do bed bugs live on clothes? Stick with this short and informative article to know its answer with some bed bugs prevention and elimination tips!

Bed bugs are tiny, egg-shaped insects that feast on the blood of humans and animals. A female bed bug can yield up to 200-250 eggs in her lifespan. Due to their 5-9 mm size, they can easily burrow deep inside the cracks and fissures of mattresses, headboards, cushions, and bedsteads.

What do Bed Bug Bites Look Like?

Bed bugs don’t spread any disease, but their bite can cause skin rashes and allergic symptoms. The most affected parts where they can bite are the neck, face, legs, hands, and arms. That bites tend to be:

  • Itchy
  • Red bumps often in lines or groups in a zigzag pattern
  • Red & swollen, with a dark spot in the middle of each bite
  • The bites look like a hive or mosquito bite

How Long Do Bed Bugs Live on Clothes?

Don’t think leaving your infested clothes will starve bed bugs to death. At room temperature, they can live up to 1 to 4 months on your garments without any meal. However, if you are wearing those outfits regularly, then bed bugs live and multiply forever.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in Clothes?

How Long Do Bed Bugs Live on Clothes

Cleaning and drying your clothes on a regular basis is the basic but most effective way to get rid of bed bugs. Before using the below remedy, wear a good quality face mask and hand gloves. Try the below step-by-step remedy to eliminate the blood-sucking bed bugs.

What You’ll Need

  • Laundry Detergent
  • Washing Machine
  • Plastic Bags
  • Zip Lock Bags
  • Clothes Dryer


1. Separate “Dry Clean Only” Clothes

First, sort out “Dry Clean Only” from other clothing, as these items cannot be washed. The dry cleaning process kills the bed bugs. Toss your clothes in zip lock bags and send it for the dry-cleaning process. Let the dry cleaner know about your issue to handle it accordingly.

2. Sort Garments

After separating “Dry Clean Only” clothes, now pre-sort your garments as per lights, darks, and delicates. Toss each pile of outfits into plastic bags and seal them properly. By doing this, you can set the highest washing and drying temperature for garments.

3. Set Washing Machine

Pour the detergent liquid or powder in the automatic dispenser of your washer. In case if your washing machine does not have one, then add the right proportion of detergent in its drum. Set it on the hottest water temperature setting as per your fabrics and the correct cycle for the fabric types.

4. Transfer Clothes in the Washer

After setting up the washing machine, toss your garments into it carefully, as bed bugs can spread to other areas. Don’t forget to dispose off the plastic bags properly.

5. Next Dryer

Once your washing is done, transfer your garments in the dryer. Set the clothes dryer on the highest heat setting as per the fabric and run for half an hour. When the temperature inside the dryer exceeds 120°F, it’ll eliminate bed bugs and their eggs for sure.

6. Store the Laundry

After drying, store your clothes in clean zip lock bags until your house becomes free from bed bugs infestation. If you are not interested in following this entire laundry chore, then throw your garments into black colored plastic bags and leave them in the sunlight for a couple of hours to eliminate the bed bugs.

Bed Bugs Prevention Tips

Besides trying the above remedies to eliminate bed bugs, it’s vital to follow the below preventive measures to inhibit their existence in the first place.

  • Fix door sweeps on the bottom of the doors.
  • Vacuum your house properly on a regular basis.
  • Repair all the cracks, crevices, and holes around your home.
  • Don’t forget to check for bed bugs infestation before purchasing any old furniture, beds, and couches.
  • Toss out all the piles of clutter from inside and outside of your house.
  • Make sure to wash yours and pets’ beddings in the washer regularly.
  • If you’re using shared laundry facilities, put your clothes directly into a plastic bag after drying.
  • Always use a protective cover for your box spring and mattress to eliminate bed bugs hiding place.

Final Thoughts

Getting rid of bed bugs infestation is a time-consuming and harrowing experience. However, with the help of the above article, you can do it easily. In case of a severe infestation, call a service professional to do the job. Some website suggests baby powder can kill bed bugs, read the answer here.

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