Pest Resources

Does Dry Cleaning Kill Bed Bugs?​


In this article, we will answer the question and explain about bed bugs, and all you need to know to kill bed bugs and their eggs.

For more information, please read on.

Does dry cleaning kill bed bugs? You bet it does! Dry cleaners use heat and chemicals to clean clothing, which altogether kills bed bugs.

The dry cleaner must use the chemical Perchloroethylene (PCE), or similar chemicals for the process to kill bed bugs on fabric. Without it, the bed bugs could survive a dry clean.

Dry cleaners know how to deal with infested clothes and the majority of them will treat the clothes.

Due to environmental issues, dry cleaners are looking to move away from chemicals, choosing healthier options, so check with the dry cleaner first, as the friendlier options do not kill bed bugs.

PCE can cause damage to the fibers of clothes if used a lot. Due to this, some dry cleaners use milder chemicals such as hydrocarbons and supercritical CO2. They are not as good at cleaning bad stains and will not kill bed bugs.


Does PCE repel bed bugs?

The answer to this question is no, I’m afraid. PCE evaporates, so it does not stay on the clothing long enough to repel bed bugs.

Research into PCE has found it can be carcinogenic, so it is advisable not to have clothes dry cleaned too often when PCE is used, as it can cause cancer.

Help! I have a bed bug problem

Firstly, you should decide on bed bug control. Are you going to deal with the infestation yourself or call in a professional pest control company?

A qualified pest control expert will work out a plan for you to get rid of bed bugs. With these pests in your house, it requires you to take action immediately.

Strip the bed

Take off all your bedding and place your laundry in a sealed plastic bag, then the laundry can be taken to the laundromat for washing in hot water.

A lot of people with an infestation use the laundromat. Take care to search the outside of your laundry bag before you take it into the house.

Some bed bugs may survive the washing process, but a tumble dryer is unlikely to let any escape. This is the cheapest and easiest way of killing bed bugs and eggs.

The clothes and bed clothes should be tumble dried at a high temperature for at least 20 minutes. It could be longer if the clothes are very wet. The high heat from the dryer kills the pests.

If clothes say dry clean only on the label, take them in a sealed plastic bag to the dry cleaners.

Replace the plastic bags with fresh ones to put newly cleaned clothes and bedding in, and dispose of the used ones. Tie them up and put them in the trash to stop the infestation from spreading.

Do not be tempted to fold clothes at the laundromat; you could pick up a pest by doing so.

Always keep clean clothes away from dirty clothes to avoid contamination with bed bugs.

Remember to empty the lint in a bag, seal it, and throw it away in the trash if you have washed and dried clothing etc. at home.

Freeze your clothes

Garments that are too delicate for washing in hot water or dry cleaning can be placed in plastic bags and tied up and put in the freezer. Bed bugs cannot survive in freezing temperatures.

The dry cleaners

Take clothes that cannot be washed at a high temperature to the dry cleaners. Be sure to let the dry cleaner know that the garments are infested with bed bugs so that they can be kept separate from other customers’ clothes. Workers of the dry cleaning business will then know to be extra careful in handling the laundry.

Can I bring freshly cleaned clothes home?


Make sure your home is bed bug-free before bringing home dry cleaned bedding, clothes, and other fabrics. If you are still infested with bed bugs, keep clean laundry sealed in bags.

Find a dry cleaner

You will need to find a professional dry cleaning business that is happy to remove bed bugs from infested clothes. Not all dry cleaners are keen to eliminate bed bugs.

What temperature will kill bed bugs?

During the dry cleaning process, the temperature in the machine reaches around 122 Fahrenheit. Bedbugs cannot live at these temperatures. They will also die in hot water and in a hot tumble dryer.

Do bed bug eggs live after dry cleaning?

The machine used reaches over 122 Fahrenheit; this is too high for eggs, killing them after about a minute.

How can I treat my mattress?

Don’t be tempted to remove your mattress, as it can cause the bed bugs to spread around the house. Vacuum all over the box spring and headboard.

Vacuum all the flooring in the room. Bed bugs are insects that like to hide, so check in all the creases and folds. Steam cleaning will kill bugs. It is worth investing in a steam cleaner to use on many suitable surfaces.

When you have finished, wash out the attachments to remove any bed bugs and eggs. Empty the canister in a bag, tie it up, and throw it away in the trash.

The entire bed and room can now be treated with chemicals to get rid of the pest problem. Check the product you use is suitable for bed bugs in the home.

Heat treatments

Dry cleaning will kill bed bugs and so does heat treatment. The property is heated up to over 120 Fahrenheit, which will kill the bed bugs very quickly.

Heat sensitive items must be removed from the property, such as plants, televisions, makeup, and photos. All pets, including fish, must be taken out of the property.

Diatomaceous earth

This is a natural white powder made up of fossilized algae, rich in silica and very abrasive. When it gets onto a bed bug’s body it absorbs the body fluids, dehydrating the bug and causing death.

Diatomaceous earth is safe to use in the home and is inexpensive to buy.

How can I remove bed bugs from gaps and crevices?

Firstly, move your bed away from the wall and buy traps. To find out more about traps, click on this link.

Bed bugs are attracted to carbon monoxide that humans give off. The trap uses CO2 and heat to draw out the bed bugs. They then get stuck on the glue put on the trap. Place the traps on the bed or on other furniture in the room.

What bed bugs sprays should I use?

There are many sprays to use, and we have found the following work well:

  • Harris bed bug spray kills bed bugs and their eggs. It is non-staining, odorless, and has an extended residual formula.
  • Bed bug zapper; this product is natural and also kills dust mites on contact.
  • Bed bug patrol spray treatment kills on contact and has residual protection.
  • Xout anti bed bug spray kills dust mites, eggs, and larva on contact, and has a pleasant fresh smell.
  • Eco defense bed bug spray is USDA biobased and kills bed bugs and dust mites. Eco defense is non-toxic and child and pet friendly.

Some tips to get rid of bed bugs for good

  • Seal your mattress in a protective casing, and keep it covered at all times.
  • bred-suitcase-with-2-blue-suitcasesIf you have been away on vacation, wash all your clothing on a hot wash and vacuum luggage carefully.
  • Vacuum your home regularly and steam clean.
  • Close up gaps, cracks, and crevices.
  • Wash all fabrics.
  • Throw away unwanted items; declutter.
  • Keep an eye on signs of bed bugs.

And finally,

We hope you have found this article useful and that we have answered the question.

If you have any questions for us, please feel free to drop us an email. We do our best to answer as quickly as possible.

And Remember

Don’t let the bed bugs bite!

Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each control method, product and process to prevent infestations effectively. 

Read more here.

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