Can Bed Bugs Survive In A Washing Machine? (Find Out Now!)

Dakotah Forbes
by Dakotah Forbes

Discovering a bed bug infestation is anyone’s worst nightmare. You might discover these pesky hitch-hiking creatures at a hotel or in your own home. Either way, it is important to start getting rid of them right away. The first step that might come to mind is washing your linens and clothing. But, is this really a sure-fire method to get rid of bed bugs?

There is a chance that bed bugs will survive the washing machine if you do not use hot water. However, the heat of drying will likely kill any remaining bugs that survived the washing machine. For the best chance at killing bed bugs in your washer and dryer, use the hottest water setting and drying temperature.

Using a washing machine and dryer is a good start to getting rid of bed bugs. Continue reading to learn the steps to kill bed bugs in a washing machine.

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Using a Washing Machine to Kill Bed Bugs

The most important items to wash when dealing with a bed bug infestation are your bed sheets, blankets, and bags. Bed bugs are not likely to live on your clothes, as they are deterred by your body heat and movement. However, for the best chance at eradicating a bed bug infestation, it may be best to play it safe and wash everything that might be infested, including your laundry.

Continue reading to learn the step-by-step process of using a washing machine to effectively kill bed bugs.

Transporting clothing and linens

To begin the process of washing infested linens and clothing, begin by sorting your laundry as you normally would, separating items into loads with like colors, and separating your delicates. Determine the highest temperature for each load that will be safe to use without the risk of damaging your items.

Bag up each load separately into plastic trash bags. Ensure that the bag is sealed to avoid transporting any bugs into other rooms of your home.

Important note: Move items slowly and as little as possible to avoid disturbing the bed bugs.

Washing and drying

Dump the load into the washer and wash according to the pre-determined settings with the highest temperature possible. Again, be sure to move the items slowly to avoid disturbing the bugs and prevent them from escaping. Fill another trash bag with the used bags to eliminate any chance of spreading bugs left inside the bags.

When the clothes are finished washing, transfer items that are dryer-safe, and dry them on the highest temperature setting possible.

Storing clean linens and clothing

Once your clothes have been washed and dried, fold them and store them in another airtight plastic bag or container. You will need to complete this step immediately to avoid any chance of re-infestation. Be sure to fold the items in a room that is completely free of bed bugs. Keep these items stored until your home is completely free of bed bugs.

Other Methods of Killing Bed Bugs


Vacuuming carpets, rugs, couches, and other items is an effective way to get rid of bed bugs. Be sure to empty your vacuum bag or tank outside to avoid reinfestation. Clean the inside of your vacuum tank with rubbing alcohol to eradicate any hitchhiking bugs.

Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning carpet, sofas, and chairs can introduce hot temperatures that will kill bed bugs. This method has proven effective when dealing with a bed bug infestation. However, be careful not to steam clean furniture or material that might be damaged or discolored by hot temperatures.

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol can kill bed bugs on contact. However, bed bugs are capable of hiding in crevices to avoid the substance. The rubbing alcohol will have to make contact with the bugs to kill them. It may be worth it to spray items with rubbing alcohol before washing in added attempt to eradicate the bugs. Be careful not to use rubbing alcohol on items that the substance could stain or damage.

Freezing Items

Some items like delicate materials, leather, and more, can’t go into the dryer. Rather than using hot temperatures to kill bed bugs on these items, consider freezing them. Place items into an empty freezer for a few days at the lowest temperature setting possible. For best results, set the temperature to as low as 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, vacuum the items to capture the dead bugs. Empty your vacuum tank outside.


If your bed bug infestation feels too overwhelming, it might be time to consider professional help. If home solutions to getting rid of these bugs aren’t working, a bed bug exterminator could help you get rid of these persistent creatures once and for all.

How Long Can Bed Bugs Live?

One might hope that storing infested items for a few days will kill bed bugs by removing their food source. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and it is not a recommended way to handle an infestation. Bed bugs are capable of surviving two to three months without a source of blood to feed on. These creatures are cold-blooded, so they can survive even longer, up to a year, without food during the colder months.

Related Questions

Can You See Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs can be seen by the human eye, but they are small and good at hiding. They are also typically only active at night. So, they can often be hard to spot. 

How Can You Check for Bed Bugs?

You can detect bed bugs by bloodstains on your sheets or waking up with itchy spots on your skin. They might also leave dark stains on your sheets from their excrement, or create a musty odor. 

Can You Bring Bed Bugs Home?

Bed bugs are skilled and pesky hitchhikers, so it is possible to bring them home with you from a trip. They are likely to hitchhike in linens, blankets, and pillows, or on your bags and luggage. 

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Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.


You can use a washer and dryer to help get rid of bed bugs. However, the temperature setting used is more important in killing the bugs than the water or motion. Combining machine washing and drying with other bed bug killing methods will help you to effectively solve your bed bug problem in no time.

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Dakotah Forbes
Dakotah Forbes

Dakotah Forbes is a copywriter and content writer specializing in home decor and design. She is dedicated to helping readers find answers to all their home design questions by creating helpful guides and articles. In her spare time, she loves to use her creative spirit to complete her own home decor and DIY projects. Dakotah graduated from James Madison University with a BA in Media Arts and Design and currently resides in Virginia with her husband.

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