Can You Turn Your Heat Up To Kill Bed Bugs At Home?

Bed bugs are one of the worst pests to get rid of from your home. Not only do they give you nasty, itchy bites every night, but these pesky critters are notoriously difficult to kill, and you might struggle to keep them from spreading throughout your home.


Heat is an effective weapon in combating bed bugs, but you can’t just turn up your space heater or thermostat at home and expect to miraculously eliminate the entire infestation. For heat treatment to be successful and offer lasting results, very high temperatures and special equipment are necessary.


Let’s explain this in detail:

 Bed bugs will die if their body temperature reaches a critical value called the thermal death point. The thermal death point is found to be a minimum of 113 degrees F (or 45 degrees C) for bedbugs.

However, such a high temperature is rarely achieved by a thermostat consistently being used throughout the house.

It is crucial to ensure that the heat reaches every area in your home, otherwise, these pests will migrate to a colder place and will not die.


 Another issue with using your thermostat is that merely reaching the temperature of 113°F for just a relatively short time is not enough to kill the bugs.

You need to maintain the temperature above 113°F consistently for at least 90 minutes or more.


 Having your thermostat turned up can be dangerous as there is a significant risk of fire.

As you can’t live in such high heat yourself, you will have to vacate the premises without you there to control the situation, and accidents might happen.

In a nutshell, it is not safe in the least to turn up your heaters and leave your home hoping to kill off the bed bug infestation.


 Furthermore, space heaters won’t do an efficient job on their own.

They’ll need to be combined with large, commercial fans to circulate the hot air throughout the affected area or even the whole house.


 If the heat does not reach the nests of the bugs, you won’t get rid of the eggs that can hatch in time to come and recreate an infestation scenario.


 Turning your thermostat up might cause the bed bugs to seek shelter in cooler locations away from the heat.

And even though it might appear that you have gotten rid of them, as soon as you cut the heat off, they will come out of their hiding places and wreak havoc once again.


Can You Kill Bed Bugs With A Heater?

Technically, it is possible to kill bed bugs with the help of a space heater provided that the heater can produce a temperature over 113F consistently.

However, the biggest problem with using a heater to kill bed bugs is its placement.

You need to make sure to place the devices strategically so that the hot air reaches all areas of your house and there is no room for the bed bugs to hide. These critters will migrate to any area that is a bit cooler to escape the heat and survive.

And ensure that you regulate the heat, otherwise, it can be dangerous even for you.

Another (obvious) issue related to the use of a heater at such high temperatures is safety.

Heaters, if left unattended, can and have caused house fires. If you plan to use a heater to kill bed bugs, make sure that you stay vigilant for any accidents or mishaps.


Can You Use Your Laundry Dryer To Kill Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs that have infested smaller items such as clothes, shoes, and bags are often difficult to get rid of by using other DIY methods.

However, you can toss them in a clothes dryer, and it can do the job for you!

Putting clothes in a laundry dryer might be a good option to kill both the bedbugs and their eggs as the dryer’s temperature can be lethal to these pests.

So, if you want to use your dryer for this purpose, you should operate it at the “high” setting for approximately 90 minutes.

Most of the laundry dryers can reach temperatures close to 120°F at their highest settings and can effectively kill both the bedbugs and their eggs within 30 minutes or so.

They can’t survive beyond 30 minutes on high heat, however, you may need to leave the items in the dryer for longer to reach the optimal death point for the pests.

You can experiment with the time based on the type of item you want the bedbugs out of and the amount of infestation you have.

But make sure that you don’t overload the dryer and that there is enough space for the items to tumble freely inside the dryer’s drum.

One thing to be kept in mind while using a clothes dryer to kill bed bugs is the fact that such a high temperature is not ideal for all types of fabrics and some of your clothes might not be able to withstand it for that long.

Thus, it might not be wise to try and get rid of bed bugs with a dryer if your clothes are delicate or expensive.

Also, similarly to heaters, laundry driers can be potentially dangerous if you operate them for a very long time and without supervision.

For instance, the high temperature that is reached in the dryer can cause certain materials to catch fire and has the potential of burning down your house.


Advantages And Disadvantages Of Heat To Eliminate Bed Bug Infestation

The biggest advantage of heat treatment is that it is completely non-toxic and is effective in killing bed bugs and their eggs.

On the other hand, heat treatment has no residual (long-lasting) effect.

What it means is that the bed bugs can re-infest your home even a few days after the treatment. Besides, getting professional heat treatment done is not cheap!

As a result, a combination of heat and chemical treatment can be a better option to eliminate the infestation as completely as possible.

In a nutshell, heat can be a great tool to fight these irritating pests, provided that you keep in mind the things we talked about earlier.


In the following section, I’ll discuss some of the other most frequently used methods to kill bed bugs with heat:


Does Washing Clothes Kill Bed Bugs And Can They Survive In The Washing Machine?

Washing clothes in cool water will not help you get rid of the bed bugs or their eggs. They are very resilient creatures, and they most likely will survive in the washing machine.

Even if some of the adult bedbugs do get killed in the water, the eggs most probably will survive. So, you can’t rely on washing clothes as an effective method of killing bed bugs.


Will Steam Cleaning Kill Bed Bugs? Does A Handheld Steamer Kill Them?

Many professional pest control companies do use steam as an efficient method of bed bug eradication. However, the steamer that they use has a large head dispensing the steam.

Steaming to kill bed bugs is a slow process that takes a lot of patience. The steamer needs to be moved slowly enough so that the target temperature is reached.

Ideally, you should cover 12 inches of space every 30 seconds for the treatment to be effective.

A handheld steamer might get the job done to eliminate these pests from a small area such as a mattress.

However, it is not advisable to use a handheld steamer for this purpose as it is likely that the temperature required to kill bed bugs might not be reached at all, and the whole exercise might be rendered futile.

Another issue with handheld steamers is that the nozzle is not wide enough, and as a result, the steam usually comes out with high velocity.

Steam with higher speed might blow the bed bugs away and not kill them with heat.


Can You Iron Your Mattress To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs?

Technically, you can iron the top part of your mattress and bring it to a high temperature if you need to kill the bed bugs.

However, it is not a particularly effective method as the heat won’t penetrate deeper into the mattress where the bed bugs might be hiding.

What’s more, to make the temperature high within the mattress, you might need to increase the temperature of the iron, and this may damage the mattress in the first place.


Can A Hair Dryer Kill Bed Bugs?

A hair dryer, when operated on a high setting, might create hot enough air to kill the bed bugs.

However, keep in mind that the air is coming out of the hair dryer at a high rate of velocity at the high setting, which could scatter the bed bugs away before the heat can kill them.

That said, it is still theoretically possible to create a small zone of hot temperature with a hair dryer and kill the bed bugs.


On A Final Note,

Heat treatment is a great method of getting rid of the bed bug infestation at home if you know what you are doing.

However, it is not wise to expect that turning your home’s thermostat up will eliminate the bed bugs.

It is best to involve professionals to eliminate the bed bug infestation from your home and prevent them from coming back anytime soon.