After I posted this article on “how to remove fleas in clothes and beddings,” a reader sent me this question – “do fleas die in the dryer”. To answer the questions, I conducted some experiments (on my dryer) and consulted my local vet.
Summary: YES – dryer heat will kill fleas, their eggs, & larvae on bedding, curtains, and clothes. First, launder the beddings and clothing at 140°F for 10 minutes. Then, dry the garments at the highest possible temperature setting, depending on the fabric.
In the Clothes Dryer
As I’ve pointed above fleas will definitely die when placed in a hot dryer. The laundering process (with water and detergent) will drown fleas or wash them away. The heat drying process will cause flea desiccation and hence death.
Fleas are killed by high temperatures (in the dryer), bleach and detergent (in the washer) or drowning in the water. Further, conditions in the laundering dyer severely dehydrate the fleas while the violent movements lead to physical destruction.
As a homeowner, I dislike finding even a single flea in the living room. When this happens, I have to push all the garments – including pet’s bedding, cushion covers, clothes, and sheets – into the washer and finally to the dryer.
So, will fleas die in water (Washer)
Despite that fleas do not die easily in water, water partly drowns some fleas and their larvae. However, simply washing the clothes or bathing the pets will not clear a massive flea infestation. Below are the ways how water will kill fleas.
a. Mix water with dish soap – Notably, fleas will float on plain water as they have a small body size and are light in weight. Particularly, the fleas float on water as they won’t easily break the surface tension of water. However, adding dawn dish soap (the original blue dawn) will break the water’s surface tension and hence the fleas will sink and drown.
b. Hot water (with soap) in the Washer – The laundering detergent and bleach will be an excellent way to kill fleas, their eggs, and larvae. In addition, the washing machine creates some turbulence along with the hot water to kill the fleas. Thus, any fleas that won’t be killed by the washer will die in the dryer due to its turbulence and high temperatures.
How to Launder Items with Fleas (plus dryer temperature)
As noted above, fleas and their eggs and larvae will be disrupted by the laundering and drying. I outline the process of washing any beddings and clothes when they have fleas.
1. Wash the garments for roughly 10 minutes – According to Flea Science, ensure that you wash the beddings and garments for minimum 10 minutes at temperatures of about 140°F.
2. Wash and re-wash bedding and garments for about 3 times – Repeat step 2 (washing at 140°F – for 10 minutes) for about 3 minutes. This will guarantee the clothes and beddings are thoroughly washed before going to the dryer. Further, the extra cleaning will remove most fleas, their eggs, and larvae.
3. Use bleaching agent on the white garments – When chlorine comes into contact with the fleas’ skin, the bugs will be corroded or poisoned. Therefore, you’ll need to soak your clothes and beddings with an effective bleaching agent.
4. Put clothes and beddings in the dryer – Next, put your garments into the drying machine and use the highest heat setting. This drying process will now kill the surviving fleas, eggs, and larvae.
5. Repeat drying process weekly after washing – Like noted above, repeat the washing and drying process every week until you’re satisfied that all the fleas are dead. Finally, here’s how to get rid of Fleas on Clothes and Bedding.
Heat on the Outdoor environment?
However, in the outdoor space, fleas die at a temperature above 95°F and humidity below 40% for over 38 hours.
Flea Eggs and flea Larvae