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good information...
there is always a concern about whether the heat in the dryer is reaching the kill point.
if the system is controlled by thermostat, and there is a licenced heat and air conditioning tech to confirm it is reaching that kill temp, then that's great, but i have found some systems just don't deliver the temperature. One could check by using an infrared thermometer to do spot checks by stopping the cycle for a few seconds, opening the door and taking a surface reading on the clothing towards the end of the cycle when it has lost most of the moisture. Surface readings when the clothing is not at end of cycle can be deceiving as the surface is hot but the mass of clothing may not be at the kill temp at the end of the cycle. Taking the reading at the end of the cycle gives a more accurate confirmation. Another way to measure the temp is using a datalogger temperature sensor that takes readings on a set frequency and the data can be downloaded into a computer by a usb cable.
The loggers have to be well protected (I put the ones i used into a thick sock and leave them in the dryer for the full cycle). It absolutely confirms the kill temp.
the infrared thermometers are pretty good and not expensive, and easy to use. We learned some of the nuances by using both during a trial run and that is how we know that the infrareds are not accurate early in the cycle as the core temp of the laundry load is not at kill when the infrareds show kill on surface early on.
Most dryers reach the kill temp without an issue, and the commercial laundry driers are pretty good, but if there was a deficient system, and heavy infestation, it won't kill the eggs.

The target temperatures for the washer and dryer correspond to what I've heard from other reputable sources, but I've heard various things about the amount of time they need to be sustained at that temperature.

This is what I've been wondering for awhile though: if someone were to wash and dry their clothes to get rid of the bedbugs...where do the bed bugs go? should we also be instructing people to clean out the washer and dryer after use - to prevent the dead bed bugs from getting on the next person's laundry???

Hi Steph,

With washing, the bed bugs should just go out with the water. In a dryer, the dead bugs may get caught in the lint screen.

I think the risk of dead bed bugs getting on the next person's laundry is low. Plus, one shouldn't treat for bed bugs until a live bed bug or viable egg is found. Finding a dead bed bug in clean laundry would not warrant further control, just continued vigilant inspection.

Thanks for your creative thinking!

Can I kill the eggs of bedbugs if I just use the dryer and not the washing machine?

Elizabeth-
Absolutely. 30 minutes on high heat will kill bed bugs and their eggs if the clothes are dry going into the machine.

I really like your post. I found it incredibly usefull. I have to visit your website again some day.Thanks for posting your insights and experiences.

This is a problem that effects a lot of people from all walks of life, bugs, all bugs can invade someones home and more or less take over without intervention.

Some really helpful info here. I was looking exactly for the temperature to kill these bugs. I already use a clothes dryer and it seems to work good for me. Thanks again.

could you please tell me is a washer/dryer machine (combined) has the requested drying temperature to kill bedbugs (at all life stages)? I can choose the temperature for the washing but there is no choice for the drying - you can only set the cycle to drying only and choose the time.
I have tried to find these information on the internet but could not find it anywhere. thank you so mych for your help in adavance. Donatella (from UK)

Hi Donatella,

It's my understanding that your combination machine probably uses a condenser dryer (rather than venting to the outside). These systems still use heat and often take longer to dry clothes. I couldn't find information on the temperature of the drying cycle either.

30 minutes in a dryer that reaches 120F (~49C) will kill bed bugs. To determine if your dryer meets this standard, I would get a rapid-read thermometer (infrared or one used to take a child's temperature), open your machine after 30 minutes in the dry cycle, and take the temperature of the middle of the pile of (probably still damp) clothes. If the temperature is 120F or above, you should be able to reliably use your dryer for bed bug management.

Please let us know what you find out!

Thanks for the great question,
Allie

I have two bed bug questions...

If you put something like a pillow or stuffed animal in the dryer will the temp at the center of the item get hot enough to kill a bed bug, or could they potentially burrow into the center of the item to avoid some of the heat?

Also about 24-48 hours after staying at a hotel I noticed several cluster of bed bug bites. It took a few days for these bites to show up. Will each bite take approximately the same length of time to show up or will some of the less severe bites take an extra day to appear? I've had a couple of random bites appear a couple days later so I'm in panic mode right now.

Any advise would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Sally, Research shows stuffed animals (and clothing, bedding, shoes, rugs etc) can be put in the drier for 30 minutes (full load)on a high setting. Drier temp should reach 175 degrees.
Since everyone reacts differently to bed bug bites I can't say for sure how long it would take for them to appear on you. Best to be safe and monitor and inspect for bed bugs. There's monitors you can place under the legs of your bed (ClimbUp interceptors are one example).
Good Luck!
-Susannah

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