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Will a Dryer Kill Bed Bugs? High Heat Solutions

Dryer with blue clothing

Before you toss your infested linens into the warm embrace of your laundry machine, let’s dive deep into the question: Will a dryer kill bed bugs? 

In this blog, we’ll explore the science behind heat treatment, the dos and don’ts of using your dryer as a bed bug assassin, and whether this method stands up to the challenge of these resilient pests. 

Will a Dryer Kill Bed Bugs?

Dealing with a bed bug infestation can be a frustrating and challenging experience. These tiny, blood-sucking insects are notorious for hiding in cracks and crevices, making them difficult to eradicate. One popular method for eliminating bed bugs is a clothes dryer, but does it work? Heat effectively kills bed bugs as they are sensitive to extreme temperatures. Dryers generate the required heat to eliminate bed bugs.

How to Use a Dryer to Kill Bed Bugs

  • Gather Infested Items: Start by collecting items that may be infested with bed bugs, like bedding, clothing, curtains, and other fabric-based materials. Seal these items in plastic bags to prevent the bugs from spreading to other areas of your home.
  • Sort and Inspect: Inspect the infested items for any visible signs of bed bugs. Look for live bugs, shed skins, fecal spots, or eggs. Identifying the extent of the infestation will help you determine how long to treat the items in the dryer.
  • Preparation: Remove items from their plastic bags and shake them out outdoors. This step helps dislodge any bed bugs or eggs clinging to the fabric.
  • Load the Dryer: Avoid overloading the dryer when drying infested items. Proper heat circulation is essential for effective bed bug elimination.
  • Set the Dryer to High Heat: Adjust the settings to the highest available heat. Most dryers can reach temperatures between 120°F (49°C) and 180°F (82°C). Bed bugs are killed when exposed to temperatures above 120°F for about 15-30 minutes.
  • Monitor the Time: Run the dryer for 30 minutes for regular fabrics and an hour or more for thicker items like pillows or stuffed animals.
  • Cool Down: After the treatment, allow the items to cool down outside the dryer. Once they have cooled, carefully inspect them again to ensure that no live bed bugs remain.

Precautions and Additional Tips

  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific dryer model.
  • Avoid using the “air dry” or low-heat settings, as they may not reach temperatures high enough to kill bed bugs.
  • Be cautious with delicate fabrics that may be damaged by high heat; consider alternative methods like freezing for these items.

Remember that a dryer is most effective as a supplementary treatment. Combining it with other bed bug control methods, such as vacuuming, steam cleaning, and professional pest control services, is often necessary for complete eradication.

What About Higher Temperatures?

So, will a dryer kill bed bugs? Of course! But you have other options that a professional pest control company can help with, too.

Bed bugs are known for their preference for warmth, typically thriving at temperatures between 70°F and 80°F (21°C to 27°C). However, they’re incredibly vulnerable to temperatures outside of this range. When exposed to higher temperatures, their survival becomes compromised. Here’s how it works:

  • Proteins and Enzymes Breakdown: At elevated temperatures, the proteins and enzymes within a bed bug’s body break down or denature. This disruption in their biological processes can lead to their eventual demise.
  • Dehydration: Bed bugs lose moisture quickly in high temperatures. They can’t retain water like humans, so excessive heat dehydrates and kills them.
  • Egg Mortality: It’s not just adult bed bugs that are affected. Bed bug eggs can become non-viable when exposed to temperatures above their survival threshold. This prevents the development of new bed bug nymphs.

Using Heat to Beat Bed Bugs

Besides driers, you can use the following to combat bed bugs. However, remember that most of these products should only be used by pest professionals and are not recommended for at-home or DIY use. 

  • Steam Treatment: Steam machines that produce steam at least 160°F (71°C) can be a powerful tool. The high-pressure steam can penetrate cracks and crevices where bed bugs hide, killing them on contact.
  • Heat Chambers: Professional pest control companies often use specialized heat chambers or rooms. These chambers are equipped with heating equipment that raises the room’s temperature to lethal levels for bed bugs. This method can effectively treat mattresses, furniture, and other large items infestations.
  • Portable Heaters: Portable heating units can treat individual rooms or areas with bed bugs. These heaters gradually raise the temperature to a lethal level and maintain it for several hours to ensure complete elimination.

Important Considerations

While higher temperatures are a potent weapon against bed bugs, keep the following in mind:

Folded towels on a wooden shelf
  • Safety First: Prioritize safety when using heat treatment methods. Ensure equipment is in good condition and free of fire and overheating risks.
  • Monitor Temperatures: It’s essential to use temperature monitoring devices to verify that the desired temperature is reached and maintained throughout the treatment process.
  • Protect Delicate Items: Be cautious when using heat treatments around delicate items like electronics and certain plastics, as they are damaged by high heat.

If you’re dealing with bed bugs in the Middletown, NY, area, contact us today! We’re here to eliminate hidden infestations and free your home from bed bugs. 

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for any recurring service!

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