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Do Bed Bugs Go Away When You Wash Sheets?

If you have bed bugs, the first advice you’ll probably hear is to wash your sheets. 

But will washing the sheets actually get rid of your pest problem?

Any bed bugs on your sheets will go away if you wash them. However, just washing your sheets will not eliminate an entire bed bug infestation. Laundering your sheets and other fabrics, though, can be an effective way to reduce the number of bed bugs in your home. 

Will Washing Sheets Kill Bed Bugs?

A man in plaid long sleeves is loading clothes in the washing machine and a woman wearing a plaid long sleeves is holding the laundry basket.

Yes, washing your sheets will kill bed bugs as long as you set your washing machine to the highest heat setting. 

Bed bugs can not stand temperatures above 118°F (48°C) for more than 20 minutes, while their eggs can not handle this heat for more than 90 minutes. 

Thus, if you can get your washing machine to reach these temperatures, you can kill all the bed bugs in your sheets. 

How to Kill Bed Bugs on Sheets in the Washing Machine?

First of all, you will want to ensure you do not infest the rest of your home or the laundry mat with bed bugs when you wash your sheets. 

Thus, before you leave the infested room, you should put your sheets in a sealable bag. 

Then, you can safely take the sheets to the washer, unseal the bag, and dump them in the machine. 

Check the sides around the washing machine to ensure no bed bugs escaped when you were putting in your laundry. 

If you see any insects or eggs, scoop them up and place them in a sealable bag before throwing them in the trash. 

Now, you can set the washing machine to the highest heat setting and let it run for at least 20 minutes. 

For best results, though, it’s better to leave the sheets in for 30 minutes. 

Afterward, you can transfer the linens to the dryer and dry them on the highest heat setting to kill any remaining bed bugs. 

Read Also >> How Long Does It Take to Kill Bed Bugs in the Dryer?

What Else Should I Wash for Bed Bugs?

A mom and her daughter are loading clothes in the washing machine.

If you have bed bugs, you should wash all your bedclothes, including your blankets, pillows, and pillowcases. 

You should also check your drawers for signs of bed bugs because this is another place where they like to make nests. 

If you believe there may be bed bugs in your drawers, you should wash all the clothes in the dresser. 

Then, you need to clean out the drawers to get rid of any bed bug debris or eggs. 

Additionally, you ought to inspect other fabrics in your home for indications of bed bugs. 

Some of the most common places bed bugs like to live beside beds and drawers are on stuffed animals and rugs and behind curtains. 

If you think there could be any bed bugs on these items, you should wash them as well. 

How Can I Get Bed Bugs Off My Dry Clean Only Items? 

If you have infested items that you can’t wash in the washer, you can always take them to a dry cleaner. 

Dry cleaners deal with bed bugs all the time, so most of these businesses should be able to accommodate you. 

However, it is courteous and a time saver to call the dry cleaner beforehand to ensure they accept clothes and other objects that may have bed bugs. 

Also, you should be aware that many dry cleaners have certain rules about how they want customers to bring in infested items. 

Usually, they will ask you to put the infested articles into a sealed bag so that the insects do not get into other customers’ clothes. 

Yet, some cleaners may have different regulations, so you should check with them before visiting. 

Can I Wash Pillows in the Washing Machine to Get Rid of Bed Bugs?

You can wash most pillows in the washing machine. 

Just be sure to check the pillow’s cleaning instructions to ensure it can handle high heat. 

However, keep in mind that memory foam pillows will fall apart in the washer and dryer because they can not handle the rough movements of these machines. 

Can I Wash Stuffed Animals in the Washing Machine to Get Rid of Bed Bugs?

You can wash most stuffed animals in the washing machine. 

Just make sure you place the plushie inside a pillowcase before putting it in the washer to protect its delicate parts. 

Or, if the toy is very important to you, and you want to be sure it doesn’t fall apart, you can soak it in hot water instead. 

If you choose this option, though, you need to make certain that the water stays at the appropriate temperature. 

Furthermore, you should be aware that washing plush toys in hot water may fade their colors, so you may want to use a different method to rid them of bed bugs. 

How Do I Get Bed Bugs Off Non-Washable Items?

If you can’t wash an item in the washing machine, there are other approaches you can take to get rid of the bed bugs. 


Although vacuuming won’t kill the bed bugs, it is a great way to trap them so that you can dispose of them. 

You just need to make sure you empty the contents of your vacuum into a bag and then seal it closed before throwing it away. 

Freeze Them 

Just as bed bugs can’t stand high heat, they don’t survive long in the cold either. 

So, to kill bed bugs on items you can’t wash, you can put them in the freezer. 

To do this correctly, you must set the freezer down to at least 0°F (-18°C) and leave the objects there for four days. 

Use Pesticides

Pesticides are another great way to get bed bugs off infested items. 

Just spray or sprinkle the pesticide on the object so that the bed bugs come into contact with it. 

However, for safety’s sake, never place pesticides where children or pets can access them. 


Washing your sheets won’t get rid of your entire bed bug problem, but it will help you reduce it by killing the insects on your bedclothes.