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

Putting bed bugs in the dryer is one of the most effective ways to get bed bugs off your clothes and bedding. 

But how exactly should you dry your clothes to ensure you’ve killed all the insects?

It takes about 30 minutes to kill bed bugs in the dryer. You just need to ensure the dryer is on the highest setting so that it gets hot enough to kill the bed bugs. You should also wash your clothes to get rid of any bed bug residue. 

Why Do Clothes Dryers Kill Bed Bugs?

A clothes dryer inside a laundry room.

Bed bugs can not stand high heat, and that’s why putting them in the clothes dryer will kill them. 

Once temperatures reach 118°F (48°C), bed bugs will start to die because they can not live in this type of heat. 

And the average clothes dryer has a maximum temperature of 130°F (54°C). 

How Long Does it Take to Kill Bed Bugs in the Dryer?

At 118°F (48°C), bed bugs will die within 20 minutes, and their eggs will perish in 90 minutes. 

However, higher temperatures kill bed bugs faster, and your dryer can get about 12 degrees above the required temperature. 

Thus, you only need to dry your clothes and bedding for 30 minutes to kill the bed bugs on them. 

Yet, you can dry your clothes and other fabrics for longer if you want to be absolutely sure you’ve killed all the bugs and their eggs. 

Just make certain you set your dryer to the highest setting to ensure it reaches the proper temperature. 

Should I Also Wash My Clothes and Bedding?

A woman loading clothes in the washing machine.

Yes, if you have bed bugs on your clothes or bedding, it is a good idea to wash them before putting them in the dryer. 

For one, the washing machine will also help kill bed bugs if you are able to wash your clothes and bedding on the highest heat setting. 

Also, if there are bed bugs in your fabrics, there is most likely bed bug debris in them as well. 

Bed bugs defecate wherever they want, meaning there’s a good chance they’ve done so on your bedding, even if you don’t see it. 

Furthermore, if you have any bed bug bites, you may have small blood stains on your sheets, blankets, pillowcases, or pajamas. 

Thus, it’s probably just best to go ahead and wash your fabrics before you put them in the dryer. 

How Do I Get Bed Bug Bite Stains Out of Fabric?

Stains from bed bug bites are normally more challenging to get out of fabric than stains from bed bug poop

Bite stains are hard to get rid of because they are actually small blood smears, and blood can be pretty tricky to get out of fabrics. 

Ideally, you want to take care of the blood stains as quickly as possible because the faster you start to remove the marks, the easier it will be to do so. 

Additionally, you want to start fighting the stain before washing the fabric in the washing machine to remove the bed bugs because hot water can make blood set in the material. 

And you’ll want to take care of the blood spots while in the room with the bed bug problem to keep from spreading the insects across your house. 

So, to remove bed bug bite stains from fabric, you will want to: 

  1. Run a washcloth under cold water 
  2. Dab the spots with the cloth to draw any excess blood that hasn’t yet dried
  3. Soak the fabric in cold water overnight if you can do so in the infected room
  4. Pour some hydrogen peroxide onto one of the stains
  5. Dab the stain with a cold, wet washcloth again
  6. Repeat on each blood spot
  7. Put the fabric item in a plastic bag and seal it
  8. Bring the bag to the washing machine, unseal it, and immediately pour in the contents
  9. Wash the fabric in the washing machine 
  10. Dry the fabric in the dryer

Repeat these steps if you still see marks on your clothes or bedding after washing and drying. 

Then, don’t take the material back to the infected room unless you need to so that you don’t have to worry about it getting more stains or bed bugs. 

In the meantime, you may want to buy some cheap, dark-colored bedclothes to use until your bed bug problem is gone. 

Should I Wash and Dry All the Fabric in a Bed Bug-Infested Room?

Photo of a towel in the dryer with the door open.

Really, you don’t actually have to wash all the fabric in a bed bug-infested room. 

Generally, you only need to wash materials that have signs of bed bugs living on them. 

However, it doesn’t hurt to clean all the fabric in a room, and it could help get rid of your bed bug problem faster since you might be killing more bed bugs. 

Just make sure you are careful not to let the bed bugs spread when you are taking clothes, bedding, and other fabrics out of the infested room. 

You will want to place all of the fabric in sealed plastic bags before leaving the room so that no bed bugs fall off and infect other parts of the house. 

How to Tell if Bed Bugs Are Living in Clothes 

Although you can wash and dry all the clothes in an infested room, many people prefer to deal only with clothes they know have bed bugs on them. 

Therefore, you will want to be able to identify when bed bugs are living in clothes. 

Signs that bed bugs are living or laying eggs in your clothes:

  • You see bed bugs in your clothes or drawers or near your dresser
  • You find bed bug eggs on your clothes or in your drawers
  • You find bed bug exoskeletons on or near your clothes 
  • You see small, dark spots on or near your clothes 
  • Your clothes start to smell musty 

If you identify any of the problems above, you should treat the clothes as if they are definitely infested with bed bugs and wash and dry them as soon as possible. 

What Should I Do if Dry Clean Only Clothes Have Bed Bugs?

Dry cleaned clothes inside the dry cleaner.

If your dry clean only clothes get bed bugs on them, don’t panic. 

Many dry cleaners will accept clothes with bed bugs, and some of these establishments even specialize in getting rid of them. 

But, you should call the dry cleaner before you bring them any clothes infested with bed bugs. 

Dry cleaners need to protect the clothes of other customers against bed bugs, so they may have rules about how you should bring the clothes to them. 

Typically, they just ask you to put the clothes in a sealed plastic bag before you bring them to the building. 

And don’t be embarrassed about talking with a dry cleaner about bed bugs. 

Dry cleaners understand how much of an issue bed bugs are, probably better than just about anyone else. 


You typically need to leave any infested fabrics in the dryer for at least 30 minutes to kill all the bed bugs on them. 

And don’t forget that you must set your dryer to the highest temperature setting since it is the dryer’s heat that kills the bed bugs.