Does Laundry Detergent Kill Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are pesky, nocturnal parasites that mostly live on your bed and wardrobe’s hidden spots. The insects feed on human blood, which they suck at night when one is asleep.

Bed bugs are hitchhikers, and their occurrence in your home is mostly after a few got caught in your luggage. The insects are stubborn, dangerous to your skin, ugly, and dirty; so, you need to exterminate them.

Does Laundry Detergent Kill Bed Bugs

The primary question that this article is here to answer is; does laundry detergent kill bed bugs?

Before delving into the matter, we need to understand the significance of eradicating them. Besides, it’s essential to understand their survival tactics and conditions, movement, and other attributes.

The article will also educate you about cost-effective and surefire methods of killing bed bugs.

Health Problems Caused By Bed bugs:

Allergic Reaction

Some people may experience a hypersensitive reaction to bedbug bites, which may cause more severe problems. A good example is the occurrence of an anaphylactic situation. In case of severe reactions to stings by a bedbug, it helps to seek a doctor’s intervention for treatment and or preventive measures.

Infection (From Scratches)

Bed bugs will bite and leave you with the urge to scratch the affected point on the skin. The itchiness may last long so that you keep scratching it until a wound forms at that part of the skin.

While the wound may not be troublesome, germs that enter it can cause diseases. This is the most popular way through which bed bugs can cause infections and diseases. However, bugs do not transmit diseases.

Sleep Deprivation

Nocturnal parasites disturb at night. Bed bugs are typical examples. The parasite will wait for you to get asleep so that it starts sucking your blood. The irritation that comes with its bite won’t let you sleep peacefully, and that’s when the night starts getting long.

Other Problems:

They Soil Clothes

When bed bugs suck your blood to their fill, their bodies become turgid. At this stage, they can easily burst to release the blood they’d sucked. The blood then soils your bedsheets and clothes alike.

This often happens in the night when you toss and turn in irritation after a bite. You accidentally lie on the parasite, and it bursts to release the blood, which makes your linens dirty. Washing out the bloodstains can be another problem.

They Contaminate Food

A bed bug infestation can cause food contamination. Bed bugs sometimes fall into uncovered food while some enter the food to eat it. You risk contracting diseases when this happens to you.

Does Laundry Detergent Kill Bed bugs?

Yes, but it’s not useful for a terminal expulsion of the insects from clothes and sheets in case of an outbreak. The laundry detergent has no proven power (or chemicals) that kill bed bugs, but it has always shown positive results during washing.

However, particular types of laundry detergents made for bed bugs also exist. They seem to be better at destroying the insects than the ordinary type.

Formula 4 Bed Bug Detergent

How To Launder Clothes With Bed bugs:

Note: when I mention clothes, I mean quite a number of fabrics — bed sheets, pillowcases, and others.

The process of washing your bedbug-infested clothes doesn’t follow the usual procedures. There’s a tweak in the number and types of stuff to use, as well as machine settings. Here are the steps.


Spray the rubbing alcohol on all your colorfast clothes and sheets. The alcohol kills all bed bugs it gets in contact with. Otherwise, stuff the remaining non-colorfast garments in a plastic bag. Non-colorfast garments may get damaged upon spraying by rubbing alcohol.

Sort Your Clothes

For the sake of preventing the spread of bed bugs to other areas, sort your clothes in a confined space. Sorting should ensure that darks, whites, and other categories of clothes are separated. Also important is to keep clothes that need dry-cleaning in a separate basket/bag.

Prepare The Machine

This is the time to add your detergent and set the machine to the right temperature. You can use the regular detergent or one made to attack bed bugs. No matter what you use, setting the machine to the right temperature can kill all the bugs. Set the machine to the maximum laundering temperature that won’t damage your clothes’ fabrics.

Add The Clothes To The Machine

It’s now time throw in your clothes for cleaning. And don’t get me wrong; please don’t be careless with tossing your clothes into the machine. Shaking the clothes can force some bed bugs to drop off onto the floor, and that can cause another menace later. You don’t want any of the parasites to escape. Add the clothes gently to prevent them from dropping.

Dry The Clothes

If you’re using a dryer, it’s time to subject the parasites and their eggs to yet another heat. Set the dryer to around 120°F, which bed bugs in any stage cannot go through before dying! Leave the clothes to dry for about half an hour. Airing the clothes to dry after a hot launder is also correct.

Note: Clothes that cannot bear the heat above should be cold-treated. That means they should be added to the freezer and left there for some days under a temperature where bed bugs and their eggs cannot thrive. Set the freezer to 0°F and add your clothes plus other garments. Leave them there for around four days. The low temperature kills all bed bugs and their eggs.

Bonus Surefire Ways To Exterminate Bed bugs:


Some clothes won’t stand a wet cleaning process. They’re labeled with “dry-cleaning-only” writing to let you know about this. The dry-cleaning machine often works under high temperatures that will not spare the bed bugs. If you choose to outsource dry-cleaning services, ensure that you wrap your clothes separately to further avoid spreading the bed bugs.

Using Chemicals

There are various chemicals that you can apply to eradicate bed bugs in your house. Some of them will kill the pests upon contact while some may kill them in the long run, and so on. A good example is a Dessicant, which destroys the pest’s outer coat to leave it defenseless from heat. It then dries out and dies.

Not all chemicals can kill all bed bugs. The pests have different resistances; some will die; some will survive. However, Neonicotinoids tend to kill all bed bugs by damaging their nervous systems. They consist of artificial nicotine.

Outsourcing The Services

If controlling bed bugs on your own is proving a hard nut to crack, it’s wise to give the contract to the professionals. Professional bedbug-removing companies have special types of equipment and chemicals that may be quite expensive to purchase for a household.

Keeping Your House Under Investigation

After killing most (or all) bed bugs that you know to exist inside your house, the war doesn’t end there. You need to keep track of any new ones entering the house. The earlier you identify new bed bugs (if any), the better and easier it is to manage them. If you wait for another infestation, you got to prepare for another proper control.

Preventing Bed bugs:

If you have recently expelled bed bugs from your house or haven’t ever experienced an infestation — being safe than sorry is what you need. Choose the following tips and keep bed bugs at bay in the long run.

Minimize Clutter

Bed bugs love hidden places. They’ll flee open spots for places with more clutter and darkness. If you minimize clutter (which creates more hidden spots), bed bugs will prefer to leave you at peace. That’s what we all need.

Inspect Anything Foreign Entering Your House

If you buy some second-hand chairs, tables, cupboards, and other stuff, comb them for any bed bugs to avoid bringing them into your house. Sometimes, you may not see the bed bugs but their eggs; eradicate them using one of the methods described above. Don’t let one chair cause a menace in your entire home.

Cover Your Mattresses and Box Springs

This tip will help us combat the infestation of bed bugs by taking advantage of the fact that the pests love dark places where no one can see them. When you cover your mattresses, bed bugs can’t enter or get out of them. If they choose to walk on top of the covers, the bed bugs will get exposed, and this is something they’re highly opposed to.

Be Keen At The Laundromat

Sharing a laundry facility with people who have an infestation without taking proper care of your clothes can easily make you a victim of bed bugs. If you have no bed bugs in your home, always ensure that your clothes do not contact other people’s. Always use plastic bags to store and transport your clothes. On the other hand, if your clothes have bed bugs in them, don’t use the same bag that carried them to the laundromat on your way back.

The Bottom Line

The next time someone asks, “do laundry detergent kill bed bugs,” you know what to answer. Yes, it does, but only a few will die and leave you with the majority.

Nevertheless, there’s a more efficient way to kill the bed bugs using your washing machine and other methods. So while the laundry detergent can’t help you get rid of the pests, their existence doesn’t have to be a worry.

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