Can You Kill Bed Bugs With a Hair Dryer?
Bed bugs are some of the most irritating pests you can get in your home.
Thus, when many people hear that heat can kill them, they start to wonder if a hair dryer could be their saving grace.
Unfortunately, though, if you attempt to kill bed bugs with a hair dryer, you’ll just be wasting your time. Although many hair dryers can get hot enough to kill bed bugs, the bugs will run from the dryer, meaning you won’t be able to heat them long enough to kill them.
Do Hair Dryers Get Hot Enough to Kill Bed Bugs?
You can get most hair dryers hot enough to kill bed bugs.
At 118°F (48°C), bed bugs will die within 20 minutes.
Bed bug eggs, on the other hand, need to endure this level of heat for 90 minutes before they’ll die.
And most hair dryers will get this hot since, on the maximum setting, they usually get up to 140°F (60°C).
Why You Shouldn’t Use a Hair Dryer on Bed Bugs
The vast majority of the time, killing bed bugs with a hair dryer is a waste of your time and even possibly dangerous, and I will explain the reasons why below.
1) The Bed Bugs Will Run Away
The number one reason that killing bed bugs with a hair dryer is a waste of time is that you need to heat the bugs for a while before they die.
Even if you crank your hair dryer’s temperature all the way to the maximum, you still need to apply the heat for several minutes before the bugs will die off.
And if you blow heat onto, say, your mattress, the bed bugs will just run away.
Bed bugs are particularly good at escaping, too, since they are almost completely flat and as small as an apple seed.
Thus, just blowing a hair dryer around the affected area will not kill any bed bugs.
2) Heat Dissipates
You also have to remember that heat quickly dissipates, meaning that the air just a few inches from the dryer’s head won’t be that hot.
Therefore, even if you somehow corner the bed bugs, you would need to hold the hair dryer almost directly on them for several minutes to get the temperature high enough to kill them.
3) Hair Dryers Can Be Dangerous
It isn’t too uncommon for hair dryers to catch fire by themselves because of all the heat they produce.
However, when you add something flammable to the mix, like a mattress, you can easily cause a fire that is hard to put out.
A quick Google News search reveals several articles detailing people who accidentally lit their mattresses on fire while misusing a hair dryer.
For example, in 2018, a German teenager caught a building on fire when she tried to use a hair dryer to warm her mattress before bed.
Additionally, the London Fire Brigade reported 17 fires between 2008 and 2013 started by hair dryers, curlers, and straighteners.
You should also keep in mind that mattresses are some of the most flammable items in the home.
In fact, the US Fire Administration reports that about 21,000 fires every year start with mattresses or bedclothes.
Thus, you should never try to use any product that produces heat to kill bed bugs without the help of a professional, especially if you’re trying to get them off a mattress.
How Do Professionals Kill Bed Bugs With Heat?
Professional exterminators use steam and industrial-sized heaters to raise the temperature in infected rooms to between 120°F (49°C) and 140°F (60°C).
They then allow the heaters to run for several hours to make sure they have killed as many bed bugs as possible.
Pros also have ways of detecting and heating cool spots that form throughout the room.
If they didn’t heat these spots, the bed bugs would hide there and escape the treatment.
Can I Kill Bed Bugs in a Clothes Dryer?
Yes, you can kill bed bugs in a clothes dryer, and this method is a lot safer and much more effective than using a hair dryer.
How to Kill Bed Bugs in a Clothes Dryer
First of all, you need to retrieve the infected clothes and bring them to the washer and dryer without allowing the bed bugs to spread.
The best way to do this is by putting the clothes in plastic bags before taking them out of the room.
You should also sort them by color first so that you can easily dump them into the washing machine without having to handle them too much.
And remember that sealable bags are preferable in this case because bed bugs are small and can slip through even the tiniest of cracks.
Also, if you are going to use the dryer to kill bed bugs, you might as well wash the clothes first.
The washing machine can kill bed bugs too, and using both the washer and dryer can help you make sure you’ve killed all the bugs.
So, go ahead and open the bag of clothes once you get to the washing machine and pour them directly inside.
Next, fold your plastic bag over and wrap it around itself so that any bugs that may have been in the bag can’t get out.
Plus, bugs in the bag will suffocate and die if you wrap the bag tightly.
Now, wash the clothes on the machine’s highest setting.
Afterward, dry them on the highest setting.
Once the clothes have gone through the washer and dryer, no bed bugs should have survived since they will have encountered temperatures over 125°F (52°C) for about an hour.
Even though many hair dryers can reach temperatures hot enough to kill bed bugs, trying to eliminate them this way is a waste of time.
You would need to place the hair dryer directly on top of the bed bugs for several minutes, which just isn’t possible since the bugs will immediately run away from the heat.
Additionally, using a hair dryer on a mattress or other furniture is risky since it can start a fire.
Table of Contents
- Do Hair Dryers Get Hot Enough to Kill Bed Bugs?
- Why You Shouldn’t Use a Hair Dryer on Bed Bugs
- How Do Professionals Kill Bed Bugs With Heat?
- Can I Kill Bed Bugs in a Clothes Dryer?