Here are some tips to make the most of your 20+ loads to the Laundromat.
Use Bleach When PossibleFollow regular laundering guidelines, but if you don’t usually use bleach on your whites (especially while linens in this case), now’s a good time to start. Bleach will effectively kill adults and eggs.
Heat Kills Bed Bugs!Plain and simple: heat kills bedbugs. Wash everything you possibly can in HOT water. Dry everything you can in on the HOT setting of the dryer for at least 10-20 minutes.
If you are concerned that something might shrink (as washing and drying with heat can with some fabrics), just be careful with 100% cottons that have never been washed and dried before. For example, you should risk washing a cotton tee, but your $500 couch cover might be ruined. In this case, skip the washing and throw it directly into the dryer in a dryer bag. The heat should kill bedbugs, but leave it in a little longer than 20 minutes.
The temperature needs to reach over 68°CHence why you need to use the dryer for more than 10-20 minutes on the HIGH setting (don’t use the Permanent Press or Delicates Cycle). The longer the garments stay in there, the hotter it gets.
- For anything that cannot be put in a washer or a dryer, you can seal it in a clear or black plastic bag and lay it out in the sun for an afternoon. Use a cooking thermometer to make sure it is getting hot enough. Note that a clothesline will not work, unless you live in the desert somewhere. This is ideal for items like shoes, bags, jewellery, makeup bags, etc.
- Your oven and microwave can also help you out. Set the oven to a low temperature and “bake” items. Keep a close eye and maintain common sense while you are doing this! Don’t put books in the oven, because it will burn.
- A hair dryer kills more than just your hair. It generates enough heat to kill bedbugs, so you can use it in awkward crevices that can’t get washed, oven-ed, or otherwise heated.
- The drycleaner can take care of delicates, antiques and other items that you can’t risk damaging. Please do advise them that you are experiencing bedbugs, and bring the garments well wrapped so you don’t spread bedbugs. It might be a little embarrassing to tell your drycleaner, but remember that bedbugs are extremely common now.
Once Your Stuff is CleanAs soon as you have laundered, baked, or otherwise sterilized your things, NOT put them back into your closets and drawers!
Package them up airtight. Have good quality bags and plastic bins available, and keep them in the center of a room until you are bedbug free.