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Is the "30 minutes in a dryer" advice reliable?

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  1. fightingthefight

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Tue Sep 5 2017 10:09:49
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    I have read in several authoritative places (university web sites, pest control companies) that 30 minutes in a hot dryer is sufficient to kill bed bugs. However the technicians from the company I have just dealt with (Rentokil) have told me that it isn't since it isn't certain that the dryer will reach 60° C. Can anyone explain why there is this disagreement, and also whether the dryer method (at a launderette/laundromat) can be relied on for the following cases:

    1. A big bag of clothes that I distributed, dry, into a number of dryers (to avoid delay in the core of the dryer heating up) for 30 minutes on hot, and then put into another bag and sealed. I am now afraid to open the bag, but I hesitate to go back and wash it all because there are things I can't wash and will have to throw away (because my access to a freezer is very limited). Plus the expense of course—I don't want to blow my budget before I've finally got rid of the bugs. I need to make a decision about this bag soon because sooner or later it will tear and I don't want that.

    2. A very precious teddy bear who has been getting damaged in the washing machine. And if I can properly treat the bear in the dryer, is it OK to put him inside a pillowcase first?

    Many thanks in advance.

  2. psychologically_messed_up

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Tue Sep 5 2017 11:17:49
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    I can tell you, without a shadow of a doubt, that the dryer on the highest heat setting killed all bugs on my items. I put blankets, quilts, stuffed animals, clothes, house shoes (slippers), running shoes, etc in my dryer for 30-40 mins, and when finished I thoroughly checked them... nothing on the items, but quite a few dead ones in the lint trap.

    "When you hear hoofbeats, think horses not zebras" Theodore Woodward

    I am, by no means, a pro. I'm simply a person that has had unfortunate luck, and somehow acquired the little guys.
    Any/all 'advice' I have to share is based on my own personal history and/or things I've read from the professionals on this site.
  3. psychologically_messed_up

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Tue Sep 5 2017 11:20:20
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    I also had a very dark, chocolate brown fleece blanket that I put through on its own (because it was big). The lint trap was filled with dark brown lint as well as a couple dead bugs and visible dried out eggs. I didn't notice them in any other laundry, but the lint from that wasn't as dark. To be safe, I put all the lint in a quart sized ziplock and sealed it tight before throwing away.

  4. BigDummy

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Tue Sep 5 2017 11:41:10
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    No need to wash anything, the dryer is what kills the bugs.
    It's perfectly acceptable to put the bear inside a pillowcase or mesh bag or something similar.

    Not sure where the concern is about dryers reaching temperature, as long as it feels hot to you it's working. If you feel like you would have difficulty breathing that temperature of air then it's getting hot enough to kill bed bugs.

    What whispers the whisker?
  5. fightingthefight

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Tue Sep 5 2017 12:28:57
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    Thanks for the replies.

    BigDummy, you say that so long as it feels so hot that I wouldn't be able to breathe, it's hot enough, but the Rentokil people were saying it needed to be 60°C, which is quite a bit hotter than that since I would have trouble breathing at 50°C. While my instinct tells me that what you and the others here are saying is probably right, I want to be cautious about information from an anonymous forum because I can't afford to make a mistake. Do you, or does anyone, know of somewhere trustworthy on the web that says what the minimum dryer temperature should be more precisely than just "hot"?

  6. BigDummy

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Tue Sep 5 2017 14:36:08
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    Do you have a meter with a thermocouple to test a dryer?

    60C would be on the lower end of the spectrum for dryers that I've worked on, they tend to run much higher.

  7. fightingthefight

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Tue Sep 5 2017 15:02:50
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    I don't have any kind of meter. We are talking about a laundromat, so there is a limit to how much I can mess about there. Subjectively, for what it's worth, the dryers seem hot, and they seem to get the drying done quickly enough.

  8. psychologically_messed_up

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Tue Sep 5 2017 16:13:13
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    I don't have any sort of temperature gauge other than 'air, low, Med, high' and I choose high. When the cycle is done, the clothes kinda burn my hands for the first few minutes. I don't k ow what temp they are, other that 'oh shit that's hot' and it killed them dead. 😉

  9. fightingthefight

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Wed Sep 6 2017 1:34:21
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    I got a reply to this question from the bedbug helpdesk of the University of Minnesota department of entomology. What they say is that their own research shows that a hot dryer will do the business. They suggest that perhaps the pest control company was being cautious because of people trying to overload dryers, and especially small home dryers. But if you put light loads into commercial dryers, that will work.

    That said, I'm still nervous to open the bag of clothes because I suffer from anxiety and bedbugs make me super anxious.

  10. mp7ski

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Wed Sep 6 2017 8:50:09
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    In my signature is a pdf with a study on thermal death points for bed bugs. Most driers get well hot enough. I bought a laser temperature meter and my drier fluctuates from 125°F to 170°F... plenty to kill all bed bugs and eggs. I have also seen a 4 stage instar bed bug fall out of sweat pants after drying that was as dead as it gets. You can pick up a cheap laser thermometer online for less that $30, I bought mine online from Walmart and picked it up at the store.

    I am not an expert, any advice I give should be considered as amateur advice and not taken as fact. I mean well with all my posts and try to give back. If you plan on using any of my advice, I suggest doing research into said advice to make sure it is in your best interest.
    Study on Thermal Death Points(pages 18-29 of pdf) : http://www.propanecouncil.org/uploadedFiles/Council/Research_and_Development/REP_12221%20Efficacy%20of%20Heat%20on%20Bed%20Bugs.pdf
    Study on Cimexa: http://www.pctonline.com/article/pct0814-silica-gel-research-bed-bugs/
  11. stylinmama21

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Fri Sep 8 2017 10:07:03
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    I don't have any concrete evidence but my exterminators told me a full 60 minutes in the dryer on high will work. But the items need to be dry first. So if you're washing anything you would wash it, dry it then dry it again for an hour once it's dried. This is adding a significant time to every load of laundry I do. It now takes 3 hours for me to do one load. My washing machine cycle is 50 minutes and then an hour to dry. Then another hour to kill anything on the load. Very time consuming. 👎

  12. psychologically_messed_up

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Fri Sep 8 2017 11:54:52
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    Styling mama-
    I'll be honest, I've NEVER done a second dry cycle. Whether the items went in wet and freshly washed or already dry, they get 75 mins on high. And I always check my lint trap after, finding dead bugs or dead bug pieces... I'm not a pro by any means but I would say an hour on high heat, and clothes that feel hot would do the trick. Pull them out of the dryer and straight to a garbage bag... for peace of mind, when you pick everyone's clothes for the day, toss just those things in the dryer for 30ish mins on high. You'll get any stragglers plus you'll put nice, warm clothes on on a cold morning.

  13. Buggernet

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Sun Sep 10 2017 18:35:13
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    I have been told by my professional to wash and dry at the laundry mat. Pour them from the bag into the washer. Don't pick them out to put in the washer. Dry on high heat at least 30 minutes. He discourages using your own washer and dryer since it does not get hot enough to kill them. He seemed to know everything he was talking about. Everything that I had read and researched about he was pretty much repeating it verbatim.
    I'm not saying anyone else on here is wrong. I am new to this experience myself.
    I just want you to have all the knowledge you can get. When you do, that helps the anxiety.
    I thought I conquered my infestation on my own and found out a month later, they were back.
    I spent days and days washing, vacuuming and cleaning everything. And then I stirred them up somewhere else. What I found is the first sight of them, call the pros. Don't do it yourself and listen to them. That is why they are the pros.
    I am in the middle of this still. I am setting up an appointment to get my house done. If I had done it in the beginning, I would have spent way less. Live and learn!
    I am throwing everything out that I don't need, and some things, well they were ruined by this so I had to throw it out. I got a new couch and that will get treated with the rest of the house. I will be dealing with this for another month and half.
    I have not eaten much nor slept well. It is truly humbling I have to say. It is like losing everything to a flood or a fire. You have no control over it and you have to just let it go.
    I don't think it would be a bad thing to put things in a pillowcase in order to dry it in the dryer. It will still work.
    I wish you well and I hope your anxiety fades. (mine too)
    Stay strong. You will get through this!

  14. psychologically_messed_up

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Sun Sep 10 2017 18:44:06
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    Buggernet - 5 minutes ago  » 
    He discourages using your own washer and dryer since it does not get hot enough to kill them.

    Personal, at home dryers do absolutely get hot enough when on the highest heat setting. Also, it's not the washing that kills them, it's the drying. They can survive a washing machine- I know this from experience. If you dry the items at home, for 1 hour on high, and they come out hot to the touch, it was hot enough.

  15. Jacklo

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Fri Sep 15 2017 5:49:20
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    They say 30, I put 50 minutes just in case. On highest setting, so normal drying, not delicate.

  16. Buggernet

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Sun Sep 17 2017 12:24:23
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    If that is the case, how come they don't die in my car when it is over 100 degrees in there all day?

  17. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Sun Sep 17 2017 14:25:15
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    Buggernet,
    A hot dryer is hotter than 100F.
    Also, every part of your car won't be equally hot.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  18. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Sun Sep 17 2017 14:28:51
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    Home dryers work fine. An hour is overkill for normal clothing, most items. For already dry items 1/2 hour in hot dryer is sufficient. This assumes a normal load, not overstuffed.

    Exceptions might be very thick items (e.g. Down coats, comforters). I might run those an hour.

    Don't make all of this harder or slower work than it already is!

  19. Buggernet

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Sun Sep 17 2017 16:18:45
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    I'm not a professional. Nor do I claim to be one.
    I only know that if a professional tells you to do something, there is a reason behind why they tell you that.
    I will listen to everything he tells me to do because I want them gone.
    I did what I did in the beginning using home remedies, and home washer and dryer.
    It didn't work. If it had, I wouldn't be here whining about it and paying out my butt to a professional because it is all over the place.
    I am not saying you are wrong either. Maybe some dryers will be hot enough. Not old ones, or small ones. Some electric ones do not get very hot. Gas dryers get very hot. And that is what the laundry mats use.
    My car will have to be treated now too.
    It started in one room and is now in almost every room and my car. And I am out of work for 4 weeks.
    Listen to the professionals.
    This forum is useful. But if you doubt, then listen to the pros. That is who you are paying!
    That is my opinion.

  20. Canuck

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Sun Sep 17 2017 22:26:21
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    To ensure your dryer will do the job, why not use ThermaSpot Heat Sensors to confirm? When the dot turns from white to black you know the kill point was achieved. A package includes 10 heat sensors.
    Place the sensor in the thickest or deepest area of the item to be treated. When the heat treatment has finished, inspect the ThermaSpot to determine the lethal temperature was reached. This is indicated when the senor changes from white to black. A ThermaSpot may only be used once and will not revert to the original colour once the kill temperature was achieved. It is the product we use, recommend and sell online to Canadians. A quick search showed Americans can purchase from Bed Bug Supply, Amazon, US Bed Bugs...not sure if that particular products pops up here on the right advertising column. Sheree

    Sheree Swindle / certified K9-assisted bed bug inspector
  21. psychologically_messed_up

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Sun Sep 17 2017 22:53:52
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    Buggernet - 6 hours ago  » 
    Maybe some dryers will be hot enough. Not old ones, or small ones. Some electric ones do not get very hot. Gas dryers get very hot. And that is what the laundry mats use.

    My 29 year old electric dryer produces enough heat that the clothes/towels/linens burn my hands if I reach in too soon.

    Matter of opinion.

  22. BigDummy

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Mon Sep 18 2017 8:32:01
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    Complicating something that is simple. As long as you're not in Guatemala the dryer will work.


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