Bed bugs are known to prefer living near where their hosts sleep. So, when eradicating these pests, using laundry soap that are going to kill not only the adult bugs, but also their eggs, is important.
In this article, we will list down the most effective laundry soaps or detergents that kill bed bugs and their eggs.
Will laundry soap kill bed bugs?
Yes, laundry soap can kill bed bugs. The soap you use does not even have to be expensive or hard to find. Good old-fashioned laundry soap can kill bed bugs, especially if you use it along with hot temperature water and drying the clothes and beddings in the highest temperature setting on the dryer.
How does laundry soap kill bed bugs?
Any soap product breaks down the layers of the bed bug’s outer shell. The thin layer prevents the bed bug’s inner moisture from evaporating. If that outer layer is damaged, the bed bug will die due to drying out, or dehydration. The only caveat for the laundry soap to kill the bed bug is contact. The soap needs to actually touch the bed bug’s shell for it to be effective.
Can bed bugs survive in water?
Bed bugs are not outdoor insects. They prefer to spend their lives inside, hiding in furniture, beds, and carpeting until it is safe for them to come out and feed. Consequently, they rarely encounter many of the natural elements that could do them any real harm.
Water is a bed bug’s weakness. If dropped in a glass of water, a bed bug will struggle for a minute, but will eventually drown. They cannot survive being submerged in liquids.
This is why water is one of the primary tools when dealing with bed bug infested linen and clothing. When washing the items, the bed bugs cannot survive being submerged in the washing liquid. Moreover, the heat of a standard wash cycle will also kill the bugs and their eggs.
Laundry soap that kills bed bugs
Here are some laundry soap options you can use to kill bed bugs in your clothes and beddings.
- Seventh Generation Concentrated Laundry Detergent, Free & Clear Unscented, 40 oz
- Gain flings! Laundry Detergent Soap Pacs, High Efficiency (HE), Original Scent, 96 Count
- Formula 4 Bed Bug Detergent 50 Loads
- Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Liquid Laundry Detergent, Cruelty Free and Biodegradable Formula, Lemon Verbena Scent, 64 oz
How to lander bug infested clothing and beddings
Isolate the infested clothes and beddings to avoid spreading the bed bugs throughout your home.
First, you need to bag up any clothing you think was in contact with bed bugs. This is an important step because the last thing you want to happen is to spread any of the bugs onto the other parts of your home as you are moving the affected laundry into the washing machine.
Bag everything you intend to wash at the same time, and move it to the washing area immediately. Do not do this in stages, do it all at once. Be sure to use heavy-duty trash bags that can be tightly sealed. Avoid ripping the bag along the way to keep all the bugs in the bag and for none of them to escape.
Seal the bags securely with tape or string. This is so the bed bugs cannot escape. A trick you can use is to twist the mouth of the bag shut before taping or tying it closed. Remember, it only takes a few bed bugs to restart an infestation. Female bed bugs can lay as much as five eggs a day, or up to 500 eggs in its lifetime.
Put the contents of the trash bags directly into the washing machine. Do this by taking the first bag of laundry and putting it directly into the washing machine without opening it. This is to ensure that no bugs escape during the transfer of the clothes into the machine.
When the bag is inside the washing machine, cut or tear the bag open and deposit the clothing in the machine. Once all of the clothes are out of the bag, take the torn bag and place it inside another sealable bag. When you dispose of the bags, avoid any chance of releasing bed bugs back into your home.
Once you have the clothes and beddings in the machine, add your laundry soap and set the machine to the appropriate wash cycle. Use the highest temperature possible that is safe for the fabrics you are washing. While the soapy water is usually enough to kill the bugs, the added heat will maximize the results.
After the wash cycle, place your laundry in the dryer. The results will be better if dried in the dryer rather than left to air dry. Set the dryer to the highest temperature you can. Bed bugs will die at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, so a tumble dry at a high setting will kill any bed bugs and eggs that survived the washer.
How to kill bed bugs in clothing that cannot be machine washed
Sometimes, you may be faced with the scenario wherein the clothes that were exposed to bed bugs cannot be machine washed or tumble dried.
You can take these clothes to the dry cleaner, because dry cleaning will surely kill bed bugs. Unfortunately, you may have a hard time finding a dry cleaner that will accept bed bug infested items.
Another option you have is to seal the non-washable items in a bag or plastic container. Leave the items in there for a while so the bugs die of starvation. But this may require literal months to work. This is because bed bugs can go up to 400 days, or over a year, without feeding.
There may be laundry soap that is made specifically to target and kill bed bugs in your laundry but in actuality, you can use whatever brand of laundry soap you want.
Laundry soap breaks down the layers of the bug’s exoskeleton, exposing its soft interior. The interior will dry out or dehydrate, killing the bugs. Washing the infested laundry with laundry soap on the highest temperature setting and then placing them in the dryer, also on the highest temperature setting, will for sure kill all of the adult bed bugs, as well as the bed bug eggs.
Image: istockphoto.com / Anne Boonkerdthinthai