Even if you aren’t scared of insects, there is a chance that you’ll be terrified when you see bed bugs in your home. The reason for this is that you’ll never see a single bed bug but rather a whole pack of them. Now, the problem is that bed bugs can live in your bed but also infest your clothes as this is a similar material to your bedding.
Can bed bugs live in your clothes? Bed bugs can definitely live in clothes. Let’s say you have your wardrobe in the bedroom. Your bed is a great place for bed bugs to live in, but so is your wardrobe, which stands close to your bed. A full wardrobe with any type of clothes is heaven for bed bugs! This is why the bed bugs infestation can be very severe, to the point where you sometimes need to get rid of your bed and your clothes altogether.
In this article, we’re going to discuss the bed bug infestation of your clothes and we’re going to do it with an in-depth analysis of this problem. This article is all you need to read in order to know everything about bed bugs in clothes.
Without further ado, let’s get going.
Why Have Bed Bugs Infested Your Clothes?
Let’s say you open your wardrobe one day, you dress your finest suit for your first day at work, and you get baffled by the presence of bed bugs on your lovely suit. You think this is a stain but no, these are actually bed bugs! You then stand there, asking yourself how the hell have they infested your clothes.
If this happened to you, unfortunately, there isn’t only one reason for the bed bugs infestation. As we live busy lives, we often tend to travel every day – to school, to work, to church, etc. Bed bugs are one of the most amazing hitchhikers and they’re able to catch a ride on your pants, your coat, your shirt, and even your purse or a suitcase. When they do that, the infestation has already started, without you having a clue about it.
Another reason why bed bugs have infested your clothes is simply the environment. If you live in a dirty environment, chances are that bed bugs are going to infest your bed and your clothes. One of your neighbors might get rid of his mattress and if he does it the wrong way, which is to throw it in the container and leave it there, these bed bugs will find their way into your home.
Remember that bed bugs love drinking blood – your blood! They will find every possible way to get inside your home as this is their only mean of survival. The worst transmitters of bed bugs are humans and don’t try to argue with this.
We are the main prey of bed bugs, our blood is what feeds them, and for that reason, you always get bed bugs from other people but in different ways. Some people might have bed bugs on their clothes without knowing it and you touch these people on the bus, which leads to them catching on your clothes.
Places like public stations and transportation, airports, libraries, retail clothing stores, and especially hotels, are the places that might get you in trouble. If you don’t need to stay in a hotel, we strongly suggest that you avoid them at all costs. Use only verified hotels and stay away from the cheap ones. I know you’ll pay more but if you catch bed bugs, you’ll pay even more to get rid of them.
How Did Bed Bugs Get in Your Clothes?
So, how did bed bugs get in your clothes? As mentioned, bed bugs can easily stick to any surface, including not only your mattress and clothes but also walls. That’s why you can see bed bugs on the wall next to your bed. They don’t have nests and they live by hiding away from humans in your clothes or any suitable place.
During the day, you will rarely see bed bugs. However, during the night, bed bugs will come out and feed on your blood while you sleep. Bed bugs probably got in your clothes either from your bed or from other people’s clothes. You may share the same wardrobe with other people on your job. Some of them may have bed bugs in clothes and these bugs attached to your piece of clothing.
If you already have bed bugs in your mattress, I think that you already know how bed bugs infested your clothes. Everything that has clothing on it can and will be infested by bed bugs in your home, assuming that you have them around.
Of course, if you wash your clothes regularly, you are minimizing the chances of bed bugs infestation. The important thing here is to DRY your clothes as this will KILL bed bugs, and not the washing process itself. More on this in just a second.
If I Have Bed Bugs, Do I Have to Throw Away my Clothes?
No, you don’t need to throw away your clothes unless the infestation has gotten out of hand. In this case, the disposal process needs to be done properly, as with your mattress. Let’s say you want to get rid of your clothes. The best way to do this is to make a deal with your trash collectors and give them the clothes straight away, without keeping it close to your house or your neighborhood.
The clothes will need to be packed properly to avoid bed bugs getting out. Alternatively, you can always wash and dry your clothes before getting rid of it, especially if the infestation is quite significant. When you get rid of your clothes, make sure to check your wardrobe for other signs of bed bugs. You can use some of the bed bugs sprays to ensure that your wardrobe is clean.
Our list of the best bed bugs sprays is in our other article about bed bugs, which we recommend that you read.
In case you don’t want to throw away your clothes, is there any other way to get rid of bed bugs? Yes, you can use your washing machine. Everybody has a washing machine, right? Bed bugs can technically survive the cycle of the washing machine.
The washing process will still kill a majority of bed bugs in your clothes but the heating process is what kills them completely. The heat of drying is deadly for bed bugs and having in mind that bed bugs can’t stand the heat, this is the recipe for killing them.
Bed Bugs in Clothes: Everything You Need to Know
Can Bed Bugs Live in Leather Clothes?
Let’s make something clear – bed bugs can live in any kind of material but as far as the leather goes, they prefer hiding somewhere else. This is because leather isn’t very climber-friendly and bed bugs want to move quickly and without hassle.
Since they can’t burrow, bed bugs can’t pierce through your leather jacket but they can hide inside sleeves or pockets. This means that bed bugs can live inside your leather clothes but they will still prefer your cotton shirt, for example. If your leather jacket has a tear, bed bugs will not hesitate to hide inside and this is where the problem begins. Inside the material, they can hide and lay eggs, making the infestation far more dangerous.
The leather clothes don’t represent a problem for bed bugs in terms of being able to live there, as there are sleeves that can help them hide. Still, leather isn’t the most friendly material to bed bugs and makes their lives harder but doesn’t kill them.
Can Bed Bugs Hide Eggs in Clothes?
Bed bugs can hide their eggs almost anywhere they want. Wherever there is a tear in your clothes or a piece of clothing that you don’t use often, they will prefer to hide their eggs there. If we take mattresses, for example, bed bugs will hide their eggs inside it, if possible. The same applies here.
The things that make it easier for them to hide and lay eggs in clothes are sleeves and openings on your clothes. This is, by far, the best way for bed bugs to infest your clothes. The wardrobe is also a great place to hide. They can climb inside and freely enjoy their freedom in choosing from a plethora of clothes inside.
So, can bed bugs hide eggs in clothes? Yes, they can and they will not miss a chance to do so.
Can Bed Bugs Travel On Clothes?
Bed bugs can travel for miles on your clothes, without you noticing it. They’re all about catching a ride to the next house, hotel or a bus, and infesting every piece of furniture and clothing. They do all of this for a drop of your blood and they’re pretty good at it. Bed bugs love traveling, as this ensures that their eggs can be scattered around.
Bed bugs will not travel directly on your skin. The clothes can also have a higher temperature sometimes, meaning that they will prefer your purse, backpack or a suitcase. In some cases, if your commute isn’t too long, bed bugs will hide in the clothes and be able to survive. In the long commutes, bed bugs will hide directly in your clothes and be carried directly to your home.
Don’t fool yourself. Bed bugs will not miss a chance to travel around with your wherever you go. If you suspect that you have bed bugs in your clothes, be sure to inspect every corner after wash and dry it thoroughly, as said above.
Can You Carry Bed Bugs Home on Your Clothes?
Yes, you can carry bed bugs home on your clothes. This is the way that bed bugs get into your home. Even if you pick up a small number of bed bugs, they will multiply in a short period and infest your clothes and mattress. You can carry bed bugs not only in your home but also in your car or other’s people homes.
Will Bed Bugs Bite Me if I Have My Clothes On?
The whole purpose of bed bugs infestation is to be able to feed on your blood. However, bed bugs can survive up to two or three months without a meal, meaning that the frequency of them biting is relative. If we’re talking about a cold temperature, bed bugs can live without a single drop of blood for a whole year! Sure, bed bugs will bite you when you have your clothes on but this can sometimes be unnoticeable as they feed once every five to ten days.
You’ll start to notice red spots on your skin, which will quickly become itchy and unfortunately, this is the way people notice that something isn’t right.
When will bed bugs bite you, then? Bed bugs are most active approximately one hour before dawn but they can also feed anytime they want if they’re hungry. The feeding lasts about 5 minutes and after that, the bed bugs return to their hiding spot. Since bed bugs despise heat, they will not stay on your skin for long, because we all emit heat.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in Clothes?
The only thing bed bugs hate is heat. Since they’re cold-blooded animals, they can survive for as long as they want in cold but when it comes to heat, their time is pretty limited. That’s why many professionals use heat to dispatch every bed bug in your clothes and mattress.
You don’t always need to call professionals. Sometimes, you can do it all by yourself and save some cash. In severe cases, you’ll still need to call the professionals. After all, it’s important that you safely get rid of bed bugs before they’re able to destroy your furniture or your clothes.
Because this is an informative article about bed bugs and clothes, we have the special methods of getting rid of bed bugs in our separate article – How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in Clothes – Easy Instructions. This article is all you need to successfully get rid of bed bugs in clothes.
How to Prevent Bed Bugs from Getting into Clothes
In this section, we’ll take a look at some of the most effective methods of keeping bed bugs out of your wardrobe.
- Frequent Washing and Drying
Frequent washing and drying are essential for complete extermination and prevention of bed bugs infestation. When washing your clothes, be sure to use hot water to maximize the effectiveness and don’t forget to dry the clothes completely.
If you store your clothes in your bedroom, always wash the clothes before putting them in that room to avoid additional infestation of your bed.
- Proper Storage
Storing your clothes in your wardrobe isn’t going to help. When treating your home for bed bugs, you must prevent them from spreading around your house by properly storing your clothes. The best way to do this is to store your clothes in tightly-sealed plastic containers or heavy-duty plastic bags. This will ensure that no bed bug can escape.
- Steaming and Vacuuming
Introducing high temperatures to your clothes is the finest way to kill bed bugs. If you have a steamer in your house, now you can use it to steam the areas where bed bugs usually hide. Your sofa, bed frame, wardrobe, carpets, and mattresses are usual spots that need to be steamed properly.
To further eliminate living bed bugs, you can use your vacuum cleaner where your steamer can’t reach. In combination, these two should be optimal for eliminating a vast majority of bed bugs.
What we learned today is that bed bugs can live in your clothes. Getting rid of bed bugs isn’t very hard but before you do that, it’s necessary that you properly grasp the information we’ve given you in this article.
If you don’t have bed bugs in your house, take drastic measures that we’ve mentioned to prevent them from infesting your home. It’s always better to prevent than to treat it later!
List of Sources
Preparing for Treatment Against Bed Bugs. Oct 17, 2015, United States Environmental Protection Agency
[USDA] U.S. Department of Agriculture. 1976. How to Control Bed Bugs. USDA. Washington D.C.
Snetsinger R. 1997. Bed bugs & other bugs, pp. 393-425. In Mallis A, Hedges SA [eds.], Handbook of Pest Control, 8th ed. Franzak & Foster Co., Cleveland, Ohio.
Krueger L. 2000. Don’t get bitten by the resurgence of bed bugs. Pest Control 68: 58-64.
Jones Sc, Bryant JL. 2012. Ineffectiveness of over-the-counter total-release foggers against the bed bug (Heteroptera: Cimicidae). Journal of Economic Entomology 105: 936-942.