Cloth dryers are equipment at homes, hotels and institutions – we use them to dry clothes after washing.
The simple answer is, YES, the high temperature in dryers (between 39o C to 51o C) will kill bed bugs, their nymph and eggs – especially when the exposure is for over 30 minutes.
Let’s get into the details.
Related: Pictures of Bed Bugs
Does Dryer Kill Bed Bugs?
To kill bed bugs, you’ll need to set your dryer temperature at between 39o C to 51o C. However, below are the steps to take in the drying process.
1. Sorting – Select bed bug infested clothes according to:
2. Fabrics – Cotton, wool, linen, nylon synthetic etc.
3. Fabric dying temperature range –
- Cotton 150 – 160 C
- Wool 30 – 40 C
- Synthetic 140 – 150 C
- Silk 110 – 120 C
4. Vacuum – Next, vacuum your bed bug infested clothes. However, attach a crevice tool on your vacuum machine to suck or capture the visible bed bugs and their eggs on the fabric, or in crevices and cracks. This prevents crawling bed bugs from finding their ways into the compartment of the washing machine or dryer before it is turned on.
5. Loading – Feed one type of fabric directly into the dryer at a time- this is done in case you do not need to wash yours clothes first. NB: Consider fabrics’ drying temperature guide.
6. Dryer Operation
- Set the temperature of the dryer at medium i.e. 100 Fahrenheit- this is necessary to ensure gradual heating of bed bug infested clothes.
- Turn on the dryer and allow it to run for the first 10 minutes at the set temperature.
- Change the temperature to optimal (any temperature between 120 to 135 Fahrenheit) and leave it to run for another 20 minutes.
- Switch off the dryer and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes.
- Unloading and storing – Once the dryer has cooled, remove the clothes and store them in a laundry basket separately and away from other bed bug infested clothes.
Then, repeat the procedure for other fabrics.
NB: It is necessary to hang the clothes or use a blower immediately you remove them from the dryer – this helps in aeration and removal of dead bed bugs from clothes.
Related: Scabies Vs Bed Bugs
How long does bed bugs take to die while in a dryer?
At an optimal temperature of around 120 to 135 degree Fahrenheit, a bed bug will take 2 minutes to die in a dry cloth. A colony of bed bugs may take 5 to 10 minutes due to clouding that acts as an insulator
Depending on the type of fabric you are drying, temperature may take time to penetrate into every corner of the clothes before killing bed bugs.
Feeding moist or wet clothes in the dryer will take you 40 or more minutes to kill all the bed bugs as water from clothes must be dried before killing of bed bugs commences.
Which temperature kill bed bugs and their eggs instantly?
Adult bedbugs and their eggs won’t die at the same time. The eggs are killed at any temperature between 108 to 115 degree Fahrenheit.
However, bed bug dies instantly if exposed to any instant temperature around 123 to 130 degree Fahrenheit.
Bed bug killing temperature may vary from place to place due to the following factors:
- Weather change – Humid temperature alter room temperatures thus compelling you to adjust the dryer.
- Altitude – When operating a dryer in high altitude, you will need to use a higher temperature input as compared to those in low altitude areas.
- Climatic conditions – Hot desert climate need low dryer working temperature to enable it reach optimal heating while cold rainy climate will need would call for a higher working temperature.
Check Out: Baby Bed Bugs
Can dryer kill germs?
Absolutely! We know that bacteria cause most of the germs. At a temperature of 100 degree Fahrenheit, most bacteria will be dead.
Your clothes from the dryer will be free from germs as there is no bacteria that can survive beyond a temperature of 120 degree Fahrenheit.
Can hair dryer kill bed bugs?
The answer is simple: YES. Hair dryer generates heat, which can be directed to kill bed bugs.
You will only need to concentrate the heat from the hair dryer at a point infested with bed bugs for a longer time – this may be tedious.
However, most of hair dryers have low power rating and are also regulated by a thermal start. This limits them from producing enough heat that is required to kill bed bugs instantly.
Related: Where Do Bed Bugs Hide?
When might the dryer fail to all the Kill Bugs?
Below are some of the reasons why your dry might fail to kill all the bed bugs in your clothes – either cotton, linen, wool.
1. Loss of heat in the inner chamber of the dryer – The inner section of the dryer may be having leakage, which causes loss of heat as opposed to radiating it within the chamber. In addition, the shiny radiant surface of the inner chamber (drum) may be worn out thus reducing its heat radiation efficiency – this may require replacement.
2. Too much feed – Overloading your dryer with bed bug infested clothes may reduce the efficiency of bed bug extermination. This is due to incomplete heating of clothes in the dryer leaving some sections as escape/hideouts of these bloodsuckers.
3. Using a low power rated dryer – A low rated dryer does not generate enough heat which can kill bed bugs.
You will need to check the maximum temperature that your dryer can achieve while in operation before selecting it for bed bug killing- any temperature rating of less than 100 degree Fahrenheit won’t work for you.
You should also not select a very high rated dryer as it may destroy clothes’ fabrics during the drying process.
4. Faulty heating element – Often, dryer’s heating element may malfunction due to any of these causes:
- Get spoilt due to continued use for a long time.
- Wrong connections.
- Power fail causing dryer’s element to blow off
- Being clogged by scam or scale from clothes moisture.
- Ensure you consult electrical specialist for such checkup lest you destroy the dryer.
5. Mechanical failure – Signs that shows mechanical failure of a dryer include:
- Abnormal sound from dryer when in operation or when stopping.
- Incomplete air circulation from the blower.
- Difficulties when closing or turning the drum.
- Motor coupling failure.
- Instant stopping while in operation of long stopping time than expected.
6. Less operation time – Drying process requires 30 to 45 minutes for efficient killing of bed bugs. This time may vary slightly upwards.
Any duration less that 30 minutes won’t completely kill bed bugs.
7. Climate/weather change – Change in weather within your locality alters the room temperature of a working dryer.
For colder areas use high temperature feed while in hot region set the dryer at lower temperatures. Example – Texas 160 degree Fahrenheit, Brazil 120 degree Fahrenheit etc.
High altitude regions demand more temperature due to effects of atmospheric pressure as compared to low altitude areas.
NB: Before purchasing a dryer, consider your geographical location.
Will the Washing Machine kill Bed Bugs like a Dryer?
Yes! Washing machines generates no heat during its cycles operation. Bed bugs are not affected by these cycles.
As long as the detergents used in washing machine can’t kill bed bugs, all the bed bug infested clothes will come out with bed bugs after cleaning though some bed bugs may be soaked in washing water and get drained away.
Bed bugs crawl and hide in compartments of washing machine during waiting time. Frequent repair and maintenance of washing machine is necessary to help assess if there are some breeding grounds or hideouts of these bloodsuckers.
Can dry Cleaning chemical/ detergent kill bed bugs?
NO! Chemicals mostly used in manufacture of detergents (apart from Lysol) do not kill bed bugs. Soapy water won’t kill bed bugs too.
However, bed bugs suck foam from soapy water which make them fatten and easily float – a condition that they recover from after water is drained.
However, for high efficiency in killing bed bugs, dry the infested clothes at a temperature of about 123 degree Fahrenheit.
How do you pack bed bugs infested clothes for dry cleaning?
Bed bugs infested clothes when kept together with other clothes will transfer these bloodsuckers to them. To ensure safe packaging for dry-cleaning purposes, follow the guides below:
1. Keep the bed bugs infested clothes separate from others.
2. Sort the clothes according to their fabrics i.e. cotton, linen, wool, synthetic etc.
3. Put each bail in a separate laundry basket and ensure you seal completely – it should be airtight to accelerate the suffocation of bed bugs and to prevent any of them from crawling out.
4. Bed bugs infested clothes should be stored away from the other clothes in a laundry room or your house.
How much do you need to acquire a dry cleaning machine?
The cost of a dry cleaning machine varies. Cost variations is governed by factors like:
1. Amount of load (clothes) that a dryer shall carry while in operation.
2. The control mechanism used by the dry cleaner – whether electrical, mechanical or automatic.
3. Dryer Assembly – whether the washing and drying compartments are housed together or separately.
4. The power rating of machine.
For commercial purposes, you will need a high rated dry cleaner and of large load capacity. This will cost may cost you about 2000 dollars or more.
In case you need a dry cleaner for home use, 500 dollar or less is enough to purchase one from local vendors.
NB: Dry cleaners fail at times. You must therefore need to connect with the right electrician for maintenance and frequent dryer checkups – factor this in your budget.
Related: How Do Bed Bugs Spread?
How much does it cost to kill bed bugs using a dryer?
The cost of treatment of bed bugs is a function of the following factors:
1. Quantity of clothes infested with bed bugs.
The nature and type of cloth fabrics.
2. The time through which bed bugs infested clothes is ran in a dryer.
3. The extent to which clothes are infested with bed bugs – few of colonies of bed bugs.
4. Location and transportation of bed bugs infested clothes.
Whether you are hiring or own the dry cleaning machine.
5. The prevailing electricity cost per unit. Putting these into place, you will be able to estimate what you need to pay.
However, in case you are hiring for the nuclear family dry cleaning, it may cost you about 30 dollars per loading. Nevertheless, this may drop drastically to 5 dollars per loading in case you own a dry cleaner.
How to maintain your dryer
Below are some of maintenance activities that may make your dyer serve you for a longer time:
1. Frequent check up by a specialized electrician – dryer’s exhaust vents should be cleaned and inspected annually depending on the frequency of work in your house.
2. Ensure the lint trap is clean.
3. Have a trained person to operate the dryer.
4. Vacuum underneath and behind the dryer.
5. Not overloading the dryer.
6. Clean the lint screen before or after loading each time.
7. Wipe your dryer’s interior (drum) often.
8. Replace plastic vent with metallic. Check up your dryer’s balance when working.
Which are the limitations/challenges of using dryers for killing bed bugs?
Killing bed bugs using dryer may be faced by the limitations/challenges:
1. Big items like bed bug infested mattresses, couches, furniture, beds etc. cannot be treated using dryers.
2. Rooms can’t be treated using dryers – alternative means of heating the room needs to be used.
3. Some dryers like commercial ones are heavy and post transportation challenge.
4. Most dryers are electrical. In case of power breakout, the process stops. In addition, these dryers cannot be used in areas that are not served with electricity.
5. Dryers need technical training thus not everyone who can operate less they mess with it.
Dryers can kill bed bugs. You will only need to feed bed bugs infested clothes into dryer and set an optimal temperature on around 122- 135 dree Fahrenheit for about 30 to 45 minutes.
Dryers have limitations (highlighted above) that make them not suitable for some areas, always have alternatives. Dryer need frequent maintenance to sustain its operation.