Using Your Washing Machine, Clothes Dryer and Freezer To Disinfest Your Personal Belongings




Dr. Harold Harlan © Armed Forces Pest Management Board (with permission)

Instructions for Washable Items

 
1.Seal clothing, bedding and other washable items tightly in plastic garbage bags before removing them from the infested area.
 
2. Empty the bags directly into the washer machine and wash items in a hot water cycle. Promptly dispose of used bags promptly by placing them in another trash bag and putting them in an outdoor receptable to avoid contaminating the laundry room.Note: dissolvable laundry bags are a great idea for washable items.
 
3. Dry items at high heat for at least 30 minutes.
 
4. Once clothing and other items have been laundered, seal them tightly in (new) plastic bags or plastic bins away from the infested area. Do not return them into the room until the bed bug infestation is completely eliminated.




 
*** Items that are too large to be laundered at home should be brought to a commercial laundramat. Follow the same procedures for disposing of contaminated trash bags as you would at home to avoid spreading the bed bug infestation to other customers.
 
Instructions for Freezing Items
 
1.If you have a chest freezer, some small items may be disinfested by wrapping them in plastic and freezing them. For example knickknacks, decorative boxes and baskets, plastic toys. (Don’t use this method for items which may be damaged by moisture, for example alarm clocks, phones or other electronics. Let your pest control professional treat those if needed.)
 
2. Seal tightly in plastic bags before removing them from the infested area.
 
3. Keep items sealed in their plastic bags and place them in your freezer for four days. Make sure your freezer is set to the coldest temperature.
 
4. Once items have disinfested by freezing, seal them tightly in (new) plastic bags or plastic bins away from the infested area. Do not return them into the room until the bed bug infestation is completely eliminated.
Instructions for Heat Treating Using Dryer
 
1. Some items that cannot be washed can be successfully disinfested using your clothes dryer. For example, duffle bags, pocketbooks, backpacks, shoes, sneakers, stuffed animals and other soft toys. (Don’t use this technique for items with plastic components or other materials which may be damaged with high heat.)
 
2. Seal items tightly in plastic garbage bags before removing them from the infested area.
 
3. Empty the bags directly into the dryer and run on a high heat cycle for at least 15 minutes. Promptly dispose of used bags promptly by placing them in another trash bag and putting them in an outdoor receptable to avoid contaminating the laundry room.
 
4. Once items have been heat treated, seal them tightly in (new) plastic bags or plastic bins away from the infested area. Do not return them into the room until the bed bug infestation is completely eliminated.
 
*** Items that are too large to be heat treated at home should be brought to a commercial laundramat. Follow the same procedures for disposing of contaminated trash bags as you would at home to avoid spreading the bed bug infestation to other customers.
 
Instructions for Dry Cleaning





1. Seal clothing and other dry cleanable items tightly in plastic bags before removing them from the infested area.
 
2. Inform the dry cleaner that the items may be infested with bed bugs so they can take necessary precautions to avoid spreading the infestation.
 
3. Once items have been dry cleaned, seal them tightly in (new) plastic bags or plastic bins away from the infested area. Do not return them into the room until the bed bug infestation is completely eliminated.