Many people cannot afford the high cost of professional bed bug elimination services.

Here are some tips with regards to laundering your belongings:

If you are dealing with a low infestation that has not spread into adjacent rooms, then the dryer is one of your best tool to keep re-infestations under control.

Plan on spending a lot of time doing laundry for all clothing and fabric in those infested rooms and that includes, bed spreads and linens, curtains and furniture throws.   But you’ve got to be diligent and consistent about it.

However, before you embark on this tedious process, make sure that your dryer and/or the commercial dryer at the local laundromat reaches the right 120 degrees temperature.

Some owners of laundromats are known to keep the drying temperature down so as to collect more monies from its clientele to get their laundry dry.  Also, some equipment is so old that it does not perform to the minimum heating temperature required to kill bed bugs.  As you can see from the chart supplied by ibbra.org, the minimum heating temperature is 120 degrees F.

So how do you find out if the dryer’s temperature reaches 120 degrees F. or above?  We recommend to buy yourself an oven thermometer and throw it in 1 sock or 2, so that you don’t damage the dryer’s drum.  Throw it in your dryer, wait about 15 minutes and see if it reaches 120 degrees F.

We also recommend to run your laundry for at least 40 minutes.  Some technicians say less, but would you want to take a risk at all?

So, let me make you aware of how important this minimum temp of 120 degrees F. is.

We are all human and because of this human nature of our thinking we tend to accept a certain amount of leeway in our reasoning.  So, it seems reasonable to accept that if the dryer does not reach 120 degrees but only, say, reaches up to 118 degrees F. then “Oh! That is close enough!”, we surmise.

Well, let me tell you:  a 2 degree lower than 120 F means you have to run your dryer twice as long to ensure all the bed bugs and their eggs are killed.

By the way, washing your laundry only manages to mechanically remove some bed bugs (and kill some of course), but not all AND it does not kill the eggs.  The eggs are the hardest to kill.

So, what I recommend to people is to throw all your clean clothing only in the dryer, i.e. they do not need to be pre-washed.

Also, remember that it is the combination washing/drying that shrinks and alters your fabrics.

So, for those dirty pieces of delicate clothing that can resist high temps of 120 degrees F. , throw them first in the dryer.  That will kill bed bugs and their eggs. Then proceed with your usual  laundry process for these: washing and drying at the typical temps.

Check this story about how some establishment who could not afford treatment dealt with its own containment approach.

You can also review this story on how to get rid of bedbugs for the DIY people.

And don’t forget to call on our bed bug dogs after you are done with your cleaning project to determine if indeed all your cleaning efforts did eliminate live bedbugs.