Can Bed Bugs Survive in Water?

But can bed bugs survive in water? Washing clothes, bedding, and curtains regularly are perceived as one way of containing bed bugs. Washing is especially useful when you use water together with an effective bleach.

Well, bedbugs will quickly die when immersed in water because of the inability to breathe – see bed Bugs ImagesHowever, whenever they float on the surface of the water, bugs are likely to survive since they can breathe – but can baby bed bugs

Need a reliable bed bugs killer. See these quality sprays. 

Details: Can Bed Bugs Survive in Water? Scientist Results 

Whether bedbugs can survive in water depends on several factors. First, a recently fed bedbug tends to be heavy and takes the shape of a balloon. These two qualities make the bedbugs to sink when exposed to a pool of water.

When submerged in water, the bed bug cannot survive for long due to a lack of air. On the other hand, an unfed bedbug appears flat, oval-shaped, and light in weight.

These factors result in adequate surface tension, making the bed bug (check bed bug bully) float on the water surface. While floating, the bedbugs have access to atmospheric air, which makes them survive.

However, you can drown the floating bedbugs by agitating the water with a washing machine or hand. Since bedbugs cannot survive for long in the water, they will easily die because of their inability to breathe – you’ll see dead bed bugs

Whether floating or submerged, bedbugs cannot survive more than 20 minutes in hot water at temperatures above 118°F. Therefore, water above these temperatures is ideal for getting rid of bedbugs from clothes, curtains, and bedding items.

Can Bed Bug Eggs Survive in Water?

When you immerse bed bug-infested garments in cold water for 24 hours, all the adults and their nymphs will die while their eggs will remain intact.

This is according to a study conducted to investigate the effectiveness of washing your clothes to contain bed bug infestation.

However, it is possible to kill Bed Bug Eggs when the water is frozen to -13°F for several days. Freezing the water to -17°F will kill the eggs in two hours.

Bed bug eggs cannot also survive in hot water. Normally, adult bed bugs and nymphs die at between 104°F and 122°F. Eggs are more heat-resistant, and you will be required to heat water to 125°F or more for them to die. Read Also: Does Salt Kill Bed Bugs?

How to Kill Bed Bugs with Water

When used correctly, water + bleach can be used to kill bed bugs. Water is especially useful in getting rid of bed bugs from clothes, bedding, curtains, and other linen. Below is a step by step guide for washing your clothes to contain bed bugs.

Inspecting and Sorting the Clothes to Be Washed

If you suspect bed bugs in your home, inspect the entire house to confirm all the infested areas. Then sort the clothes and seal the dry-clean-only in a separate plastic bag from the rest. Read Also: Best Bed Bug Powder

The purpose of sealing the clothes in a plastic bag is to avoid scattering bed bugs in other places when moving the containers to the washing machine. Read Also: Does Vinegar Kill Bed Bugs?

Washing and Drying

  • Carefully place the clothes and other infested fabrics into the washing machine, excluding the dry-clean-only garments.
  • Fold the empty bags and seal them in the clean bag for later disposal. This ensures that no single bed bug escapes.
  • Set the temperature to 125°. This is ideal for destroying average-sized bed bugs at all stages of their life cycle.
  • Add your favorite detergent to aid in washing. Note that soaps won’t kill bed bugs but rubbing alcohol will. However, by using large amounts of detergents, you have a chance of intoxicating them to death.
  • Once the cleaning is over, allow your garments to dry – just like with Diatomaceous Earth
  • The dry-clean-only garments should be treated in the dryer to kill bed bugs. The dryer’s temperature should be set at 125°F, and the garments allowed to stay there for 30 minutes.

Folding and Storing

Before you return your clothes into the wardrobes or hanging lines, ensure the rest of the house is treated for bed bugs to prevent infestation.

In particular, the wardrobes should be sprayed with an effective bed bug spray to kill bed bugs, nymphs, and eggs.

When you’re sure the whole house is adequately treated for bed bugs, remove your clothes from the dryer, fold and return them into the wardrobes. Read Also: CrossFire for Bed Bugs


Bed bugs will quickly drown in the water when submerged. So, washing your clothes, bedding, curtains, and other fabrics provides a great way of containing bed bugs. Washing should be done with water at 125°F or more to kill bed bugs, nymphs, and eggs. 

For severe infestations, you need to include more powerful treatments to get effective results. You can combine chemical treatments with steaming and washing. Also, try these bed bug steamers

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