Having bed bugs in your clothes can be a nightmare. These pesky insects not only bite your skin, but they can cause skin infections and allergic reactions too. And, the worst part is that you can’t spot them easily.
So, how to tell if bedbugs are in your clothes? The most common way is to look for bloodstains and a musty odor. But, since it’s easy to mistake these signs for something else, it’s best to understand the behavior of bed bugs on clothes.
In today’s post, we will discuss why bed bugs hide in clothes and how to identify them. We will also discuss ways to treat infected clothes and prevent a future infestation. Let’s get started!
Do Bed Bugs Hide in the Clothes You Are Wearing?
Bed bugs are tiny, parasitic insects that like to stay well-hidden in humid locations. They will hide in seams of beds, couches, mattresses, folds of curtains, and even joints of your wooden dresser.
So, don’t be surprised to find a bed bug in the clothes you are wearing. Bed bugs can hitch a ride on clothing, especially if it has been in an infested area. Even if you passed by someone whose clothes were infested, chances are that bed bugs have landed on your clothes too!
When bed bugs are on clothing, they tend to hide in seams, pockets, and folds of the fabric. All these places are dark, humid, and well-hidden from the naked eye. However, bed bugs do not typically live on clothing for extended periods of time.
They prefer to stay close to their hosts, which are usually humans or warm-blooded pets (cats and dogs). And so, they will typically move from clothing to another place where their hosts are resting. This includes bedding, chairs, etc.
Also, please note, bed bugs are attracted to the carbon dioxide and warmth that humans emit while sleeping. It’s why they are more likely to be found in bedding and furniture in close proximity to sleeping humans.
However, if your home is badly infested or you have visited an infested area, bed bugs will jump onto your clothing to feed. They will stay in the same clothes until you decide to change.
So, it’s always a good idea to inspect clothing and other items for bed bugs before bringing them into your home, especially if they have been in an infested area. If you suspect that you may have bed bugs in your home, it’s important to take steps to get rid of them as soon as possible to prevent an infestation from spreading.
How Long Do Bed Bugs Live on Clothes?
As mentioned, bed bugs don’t stay on clothes for long periods. But they can survive for several days to a few weeks on fabric, depending on these factors:
Bed bugs can survive on temperatures as low as 7 degrees Celsius. However, when their body temperature reaches above 45 degrees Celsius, they will die.
Like all living organisms, humidity is essential for a bed bug to thrive and survive in any environment. The humidity enables them to mate and reproduce. It’s one of the many reasons why a bed bug will live in a fabric seam or fold.
- Access to the Host
Bed bugs won’t stay in a place where access to the human body is limited. For example, if you are not wearing your clothes, it is unlikely for the bed bug to stay on them for a long time. It will move to another place.
Please note bed bugs can travel long distances to find a suitable host. When a bed bug finds a host, it will usually detach from the clothing and move to the skin to feed on the host’s blood.
With that said, bed bugs are also resilient insects that can survive for extended periods without a blood meal. However, they prefer to feed every few days to maintain their reproductive capacity and survival.
The length of time bed bugs can survive on clothing also depends on how long they were exposed to the fabric, the degree of the infestation, and the number of bed bugs present. If there are more bed bugs, a bed bug will stick around for mating.
It’s important to note that while bed bugs can live on clothing, they do not typically create a nest on clothing. Instead, they tend to lay eggs and establish harborage sites in cracks and crevices near sleeping areas.
To prevent a bed bug infestation, it’s essential to regularly inspect sleeping areas and nearby furniture for signs of bed bugs and take prompt action to eliminate them.
How to Tell If Bed Bugs are in Your Clothes?
Bed bugs are pesky and tiny. It’s near impossible to detect a single bed bug with your naked eye. Even if you do spot it, you are likely to mistake the red dot for something else.
This tiny size and ability to hide put the insects in an advantageous position. They can escape quickly and infest other places. So, before that happens, it is important to know how to detect these parasitic insects.
Here are some signs that bed bugs may be in your clothes:
1. Bites to Tell If Bed Bugs are in Your Clothes
One of the most obvious signs of bed bugs in clothing is bites on the skin. Bed bug bites are typically small, red, and itchy. They may appear in a cluster or in a line.
They are often mistaken for other insect bites, such as mosquito bites, but they tend to be more severe and persistent. You are likely to wake up from the itchiness and irritation.
2. Stains to Tell If Bed Bugs are in Your Clothes
Bed bugs leave behind dark stains on clothes and bedding. These stains are actually fecal matter and blood that the bed bugs have excreted. Look for small, dark spots on your clothing, especially in areas like seams, pockets, and cuffs.
3. Live bed bugs to Tell If Bed Bugs are in Your Clothes
If you can see live bed bugs on your clothing, this is a clear sign of an infestation. Bed bugs are small and flat, about the size and shape of an apple seed. They are reddish-brown in color and may move quickly when disturbed.
4. Cast skins to Tell If Bed Bugs are in Your Clothes
Bed bugs shed their skins as they grow, and these skins can be found on clothing and bedding. They are translucent and look like empty bed bug shells. If you find a lot of cast skins in your clothing, it’s a sign that bed bugs have been feeding and reproducing in the area.
5. Musty odor to Tell If Bed Bugs are in Your Clothes
Bed bugs produce a distinct musty odor that can be detected in areas where they are present. If your clothing smells musty, it could be a sign that bed bugs have infested the area.
Do You Have to Throw Away Clothes with Bed Bugs?
If you discover bed bugs in your clothes, it’s natural to wonder if you need to throw everything away. While it can be tempting to simply toss your infested clothing and start fresh, there are other options to consider.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Heat treatment
Bed bugs can be killed with heat. One option is to place infested clothing in a hot dryer for at least 30 minutes. The heat will kill all stages of bed bugs, from eggs to adults.
Another option is to use a commercial heat treatment service, which uses specialized equipment to heat the entire room or home to a temperature that is lethal to bed bugs.
- Cold treatment
Bed bugs can also be killed by cold temperatures. Place your infested clothing in a sealed plastic bag and put it in the freezer for at least 72 hours. This will kill all stages of bed bugs. Keep in mind that this method may not be as effective as heat treatment, especially if the infestation is severe.
- Dry cleaning
Some types of clothing, such as delicate fabrics or items with embellishments, may not be suitable for heat or cold treatment. In these cases, you can try taking the clothing to a dry cleaner that offers bed bug treatment services. This may be more expensive than other options, but it can be an effective way to salvage your clothing.
Before treating or discarding any clothing, be sure to thoroughly inspect it for signs of bed bugs. Look for live bugs, cast skins, stains, and other signs of infestation. If you can’t find any evidence of bed bugs, it’s possible that your clothing is not infested after all.
- Rubbing Alcohol
Another simple way to get rid of bed bugs is to separate and store your bed bug-infested clothing in a sealed bag. Then, spray rubbing alcohol in the bag. This will kill the insects and make the clothes safe to wash.
However, rubbing alcohol might cause some clothes to bleed. It’s best to pour a little colorfast into the bag too. Let the clothes rest for at least 30 minutes.
Next, wash the clothes with heated water and anti-bacterial detergent. When the clothes are clean, dry them at the hottest setting possible (above 45-degree Celsius). Then, hang them under the sunlight.
All of this will ensure not a single bed bug is left behind to bother you again!
How to Prevent Bed Bugs from Getting onto Your Clothes?
Bed bugs are notorious for their ability to hitchhike from one location to another, which makes it easy for them to infest clothing and other personal items. To prevent bed bugs from getting onto your clothes, it’s important to take certain precautions.
Here are some effective prevention methods:
- Inspect your surroundings
Before sitting down or placing your belongings on any surface, inspect it carefully for signs of bed bugs. Look for live bugs, cast skins, stains, and other indicators of an infestation. If you suspect that an area is infested, avoid it if possible.
- Use luggage racks
When staying in a hotel or motel, use the luggage rack provided rather than placing your luggage on the floor or bed. Bed bugs are more likely to be found on these surfaces, so keeping your luggage elevated can help prevent them from getting onto your belongings.
- Wash your clothes
When returning from a trip, immediately wash all of your clothing and bedding in hot water and dry them on high heat. This will kill any bed bugs that may have hitchhiked home with you.
- Use bed bug-proof covers
Consider using bed bug-proof mattresses and pillow covers to prevent bed bugs from entering or escaping. These covers are specially designed to prevent bed bugs from accessing these areas and can be an effective way to prevent an infestation.
- Vacuum regularly
Regularly vacuuming your home can help to eliminate bed bugs and their eggs. Pay special attention to areas where bed bugs are likely to hide, such as cracks and crevices in furniture, baseboards, and bedding.
- Seal cracks and crevices
Seal any cracks and crevices in your home where bed bugs may be hiding. Use caulk or another sealant to fill in gaps in baseboards, walls, and furniture.
- Be cautious when buying used items
When buying used clothing or furniture, inspect it carefully for signs of bed bugs before bringing it into your home. Wash clothing in hot water and dry on high heat, and thoroughly vacuum and treat any used furniture before bringing it into your home.
Please note that preventing bed bugs from getting onto your clothes requires a combination of vigilance and proactive measures. If you don’t follow these steps regularly, you are likely to end up with a bed bug infestation.
All in all, bed bugs are nasty little parasites that can hide in any crook or seam. They can be in your pillow covers, under the carpet, and even in the wall cracks. As long as they can access human blood, bed bugs will make anything their home.
But if you suspect bed bugs on your clothes, there are some easy ways to spot them before they infest everything. These include:
- Red, itchy bites
- Tiny moving dots (like an apple seed)
- Small bloodstains
- Translucent cast skins
- Musty odor
If you find any two or more of these signs, know that a bed bug is on your clothes. You must immediately remove the garments and put them in a sealed bag. Then, select an appropriate way to eliminate the problem.
We have already discussed how to treat bed bugs in detail above. Hopefully, you found this post useful and insightful. If there is still something that you will like to know about, let us know in the comments below!