Does Dryer Kill Bed Bugs

Does Dryer Kill Bed Bugs? Laundering Items

Cloth dryers are equipment at homes, hotels, and institutions – we use them to dry clothes after washing. 

  • But, do dryers kill bed bugs? YES, the simple answer is that the high temperature in dryers (between 39o C to 51o C) will kill bed bugs, nymphs, and eggs – especially when the exposure is for over 30 minutes. 

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Let’s get into the details. Related: Pictures of Bed Bugs

Does Dryer Kill Bed Bugs? Keenly Laundering Items 

Bed bugs are caused by different factors, such as purchasing second-hand furniture. Bed bugs can bite through clothing.

To kill bed bugs, you’ll need to set your dryer temperature 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 the crawling of bed bugs from finding their way into the washing machine’s compartment or dryer before it is turned on.

5. Loading – Feed one type of fabric directly into the dryer at a time- this is done if you do not need to wash your clothes first. NB: Consider fabrics’ drying temperature guide.

6. Dryer Operation

  • Set the dryer’s temperature at medium, i.e., 100 Fahrenheit- this is necessary to ensure gradual heating of bed bug-infested clothes.
  • Please 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.
  • Please 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 do bed bugs take to die while in a dryer?

At an optimal temperature of around 120 to 135 degrees 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 acting as an insulator.

  • Depending on the type of fabric you are drying, the temperature may take time to penetrate 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 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 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, the bed bug dies instantly if exposed to any instant temperature around 123 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bed bug killing temperature may vary from place to place due to the following factors:

  1. Weather change – Humid temperature alters room temperatures, thus compelling you to adjust the dryer.
  2. Altitude – When operating a dryer at a high altitude, you will need to use a higher temperature input than those in low altitude areas.
  3. Climatic conditions – Hot desert climate need low dryer working temperature to enable it to reach optimal heating. In contrast, a cold rainy climate will call for a higher working temperature.

Check Out: Baby Bed Bugs

Can a dryer kill germs?

Absolutely! We know that bacteria cause most of the germs. At a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit, most bacteria will be dead.

Your clothes from the dryer will be free from germs as there are no bacteria that can survive beyond a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Can a hairdryer kill bed bugs? 

The answer is simple: YES. Hairdryer generates heat, which can be directed to kill bed bugs – you can also use ammonia. 

Does Dryer heat Kill Fleas

You will only need to concentrate the heat from the hairdryer at a point infested with bed bugs for a longer time – this may be tedious.

  • However, most hair dryers have a 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 reasons why your dry might fail to kill all the bed bugs in your clothes – either cotton, linen, or 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.

Also, 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 healing 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 fewer than 100 degrees 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, the dryer’s heating element may malfunction due to any of these causes:

  • Get spoilt due to continued use for a long time.
  • Wrong connections.
  • Short-circuiting.
  • Power fails to cause the dryer’s element to blow off.
  • Being clogged by scam or scale from clothes moisture.
  • Ensure you consult an electrical specialist for such a check-up lest you destroy the dryer.

5. Mechanical failure – Signs that shows the mechanical failure of a dryer includes:

  • Abnormal sound from the 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 the operation of long stopping time than expected.

6. Less operation time – The drying process requires 30 to 45 minutes for the efficient killing of bed bugs. This time may vary slightly upwards.

Any duration of fewer than 30 minutes won’t completely kill bed bugs

7. Climate/weather change – Change in weather within your locality alters a working dryer’s room temperature.

  • For colder areas, use high-temperature feed, while in the hot region, set the dryer at lower temperatures.

Example – Texas 160 degrees Fahrenheit, Brazil 120 degrees Fahrenheit, etc.

High altitude regions demand more temperature due to atmospheric pressure 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 generate no heat during their cycles operation. Bed bugs are not affected by these cycles.

Frequent repair and maintenance of the washing machine are necessary to 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 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 makes them fatten and easily floata condition that they recover from after water is drained.

However, for high efficiency in killing bed bugs, dry the infested clothes at about 123 degrees 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 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. Factors like: govern cost variations

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 the machine.

For commercial purposes, you will need a highly 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 dollars or less is enough to purchase one from local vendors.

NB: Dry cleaners fail at times. Therefore, you 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, including with lavender, 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 runs in a dryer.

3. The extent to which clothes are infested with bed bugs – a few of the bed bugs’ colonies.

4. Location and transportation of bed bugs-infested clothes.

Whether you are hiring or owning a 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, if 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 the maintenance activities that may make your dyer serve you for a longer time:

1. A frequent check-up by a specialized electrician – the 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 a dryer may be faced with the limitations/challenges:

1. Big items like bed bug-infested mattresses – try encasements, 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 challenges.

4. Most dryers are electric. In case of a power breakout, the process stops. Also, 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 mess with it.


Dryers can kill bed bugs. You will only need to feed bed bugs-infested clothes into the dryer and set an optimal temperature of around 122- 135 dree Fahrenheit for about 30 to 45 minutes.

  • Dryers have limitations (highlighted above) that make them unsuitable for some areas and always have alternatives.

The dryer needs frequent maintenance to sustain its operation.