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Does Bleach Kill Bed Bugs in The Laundry?

Bed bugs are marvelous hitchhikers. Kudos to them, but bad for their hosts – humans. Bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed as an adult, but they are masters of hiding themselves among clothing, in shoe tread, or in seams of luggage and backpacks. If you think you may have been around bed bugs, you probably have asked, “ Does bleach kill bed bugs in the laundry? ”

The Short Answer

In short yes, bleach along with many other harsh chemicals will kill bed bugs. The more important question is whether it is necessary.

Image of a bed bug

The Important Answer

It turns out that despite bed bugs durability against many conditions and chemicals, they remain very susceptible to heat. At temperatures of 118-130F, bed bugs can survive only a few minutes or less. So with regard to laundering clothes, linens, and other laundry friendly items, it is the dryer that is an effective tool. Go ahead and use whatever detergent you normally would use, just know it is the heat that will knock out the bed bugs.

Cloth items are meant to insulate so they can take some time to allow the heat to penetrate to the bed bugs. Ensure when laundering items that the cycle runs long enough to fully heat everything up to the high-temperature range.

What If It Can’t Be Laundered?

Some items would not survive a laundry cycle. Bed bugs have been known to hang out in the bindings of books for example. These items would be destroyed in either the washer or the dryer, but there are alternatives. Smaller items can be heated in an oven. Even larger items, such as a couch, for example, may require a heat chamber or some kind of other treatment to ensure they are bed bug-free.

I Laundered Everything, What Next?

Unfortunately, the items that can be tossed in a dryer is just the beginning if bed bugs are already established. Bed bugs will hide in:

  • wall voids
  • electronics
  • bed frames
  • baseboards
  • picture frames
  • shelving
  • carpet

Realistically, if it is small and protected near a food source, they are likely to live there. Bed bugs tend to stay close to the host for efficient feeding, but as the population grows, they will expand their territory. In order to find out where to look next, trace their trails. They will leave signs of where they are going including:

  • Cast skins
  • fecal droppings
  • blood smears

Experts Are Ready To Help

Eliminating bed bugs can be a daunting task. Luckily, the experts at Rove Pest Control are ready to hop in and help. We offer assistance or full service in educating staff, inspections, pre-treatments, targeted treatments, and post-treatment follow-ups. In addition, if you need help with preparing for a treatment or inspection, we can provide you with a checklist to follow.