It can be quite challenging to deal with a bed bug infestation. Those tiny pests can hide anywhere, under your bedding, behind your furniture, and in your clothing and personal belongings. Using insecticides seems to be the best way to kill bed bugs, like any other pests, but that is just a misconception. The reason is that modern bed bugs have developed immunity to insecticides. Moreover, it is not a practical way to use insecticides considering their bad effects on human health.
However, heat-treating your home and belongings is what works perfectly well. You can actually kill bed bugs in all their life stages through heat treatment (such as using a home drier to kill bed bugs), The only thing is to know how high the temperature should be and how long to expose infested items to high temperature.
Laundering is certainly an effective way to de-bug your personal belongings, and simply putting things in the dryer will help resolve the issue. You need to be sure about what temperature setting to select. If you do not select a right temperature, you will not be able to kill bed bugs as well as their eggs. Similarly, not exposing your belongings to high temperature long enough will also change the outcome.
To make heat treatment effective, you need to know the thermal death point of bed bugs. This point refers to the temperature at which bed bugs cannot survive. Most bed bugs cannot survive when exposed to a temperature around 113F. You have to expose bed bugs to this temperature for at least 90 minutes to get positive results. The problem is that you cannot kill eggs at this temperature because they can withstand this temperature and even temperatures slightly higher than this. If you increase the temperature to 118F, you would be able to kill bed bugs in 20 minutes only. Again, the temperature is high but eggs can withstand it for some time – the eggs would die when exposed to this temperature for 90 minutes.
Some studies have found that you can kill bed bugs by exposing your infested items to 175F for only five minutes. This high temperature is good enough to kill bed bugs as well as their eggs and nymphs too. Most dryers run at low, medium, and high heat settings, and usually produce around 140F, 150F, and 180F respectively. You can de-infest your toys, area rugs, backpacks, stuffed animals, etc., by leaving them in your dryer for a few minutes. You should also keep in mind that you cannot clean all items at home though and may require professional dry-cleaning.
While using heat to kill bed bugs, you should also bear in mind that some machines would take more time to heat up. What it means is that you should first achieve a specific temperature and then start counting the minutes. You should leave your infested items in the dryer for 90 minutes only when your dryer reaches 118F or 120F. Some dryers take 10-15 minutes to reach this temperature, so ensure that the dryer is hot enough to kill bed bugs.