what to do with everyday cloth items during treatment?(10 posts)
so what do you all do with your towels, washcloths, kitchen linens, pillows; just like regular everyday stuff during treatment? do these things have to be bagged for laundry immediately after use? i mean at that rate my supply of linens is going to be exhausted quickly, plus i don't have onsite laundry so that means way more time at the laundromat.
i am used to using a laundry service, but not since getting bbs. i hate wasting my valuable time slaving at the laundromat.
i use outside laundry service and did so throughout my bb experience...i told them i had them and they knew what to do and they suggested that much of what i had only needed to be run in the dryer to kill the bugs (if any)...that saved me some money.
i also just can't justify using my time sitting in a laundromat.
I suggest you get a packtite because that will help with these everyday things.
But as you are preparing for treatment, put your everyday things (washcloth, towel and sheets, mattress cover, pillows and pillow cases as well as the clothing you'll be living in over the next couple of weeks into a bag and secure it before treatment. Make sure those things have been put in the dryer for at least 1/2 AFTER the dryer reaches about 120 degrees. After you take them out of the dryer you bag them and close it tightly...when home...let's say it's the morning of your treatment...after you're showered completely and all the things you just took off are enclosed in a separate dirty clothes bag, you'll open up your clean bag quickly and take out and put on the clothing you'll need right then..your jeans, underwear, socks, footwear, shirt...then close up the bag very quickly so no bugs can get in there. get dressed quickly so the clothes you just took out aren't sitting somewhere for a bb to crawl onto...then when you come in that afternoon after treatment and take your shower, you take those and put them in your dirty bag. Take your evening house wear out of the clean bag and put it on and after that if you don't see any bugs or have any new skin reactions, you'll probably be okay to rewear the clothing you wore after treatement...just limit yourself to a few changes of clothing for the first week and maybe you can introduce one or two items of clothing, a second pair of shoes, a second pair of pants and a couple of other shirts the following week. But then stay with those for the first 3 or 4 weeks if you can. Limit yourself to just enough different underwear so that you have your laundry done once a week. Oh...one other thing i did was to have two changes of linen. i changed the bed every 3rd day and then 4 days after that...
i think you'll be okay...it's mostly a logistical thing..
I didn't have chemical treatment, so I only had a week or two of having to deal with isolating fabric items. (It also happened during the summer. Since I teach at a local university, I wasn't teaching a class at that time. I did have a few hours a week in a local community college's writing center, but that is only one day's worth of work outfits per week. Just to be clear, I was still working, I just was able to work from home the other 6 days of the week.)
I did not deal emotionally well with the whole bed bug thing--partly because I already had insomnia before this all started, so during those weeks, I just couldn't bring myself to sleep in the bed--at least not all night long. I knew I was supposed to, so often I would fall asleep on the couch and then move to the bed for a few hours when I was too tired to realize fully what was going on.
When I was sleeping on the couch, I slept on a bed bug proof mattress encasement that I spread out like a flat sheet. I used a single sheet as a cover, and I used one encased pillow. So I dramatically cut down on the linens I was using (and my comfort level, btw. I don't recommend it as a practice).
I used one towel instead of my customary two (one for me, one for my hair). I would use the same towel for about 3 days, and then I would take everything to the laundromat (bagged up) and wash it, dry it until 20 minutes past hot (except the mattress encasement, which I just inspected), and rebag in clean bags.
In other words, what I found to work was this: I couldn't do laundry daily. But remember, the laundry is really about heating the items up to kill bugs.
Individual bed bugs only feed once every few days.
If you're in treatment, and you didn't have a massive infestation to start out with, it seems to me that laundering the items in question every three or so days is probably okay--unless your PCO has said otherwise.
Remember, that the laundering--or more specifically the heat that comes with laundering--is really about killing any bugs who've sought to hide in the fabric items. Chances of the bed bugs hiding in a towel hung on a drying rack in your bathroom are fairly slim--slim enough that you can use one for a few days without needing to debug it daily.
(If you have laundry in your home, and it makes you happy, wash them every day. But I have to drive to a laundromat, so . . . I just couldn't.)
I also bought three cheap outfits at Target: polo shirts, basketball shorts, and sports bras (insert obligatory joke about how much of a lesbian I made myself look like. Heck, if I went to class dressed like that, it's possible that my students would have figured out that I am a lesbian, which they often don't.) I didn't necessarily wear each one only once; on the days that I went out of the house, I changed into "out of the house" clothes that I pulled from clean bags before I left. And after being outside, I took them off first thing upon arriving back at the house and put them back into bags that were of other "non-bug exposed" items, so I didn't have to dry the ever-living daylights out of them again.
As a result, those three outfits would last me just as long as the few days worth of linens and towels, which I would wash every three days or so--until treatment was done.
In other words, remember the following key points:
Laundering is there to do a few things: 1. Kill bugs through heat in places that they might have been hiding. If you can keep the bugs out of already laundered items, you can cut way down.
2. Reduce the total number of items you're using as much as possible to cut down on what you launder. Unless you're in the southern hemisphere, this is a good time of the year to have bed bugs, because you likely don't need as many blankets and layers of clothing, so reduce down what you can.
3. Items that are farther away from the infestation (like bathroom towels or kitchen dishcloths) can probably go a few days without being washed daily--esp. if your PCO hasn't said anything about it.
4. Consider getting some "in the infestation" outfits that can be worn more than once inside the home to cut down on the overall amount of washing. Esp. if you're leaving for work and wearing work clothes for most of the day, chances are you can wear your in the infestation clothes for more than one day inside the home without it being a huge issue.
Hope that helps.
Edited to Add: I meant to say this. Very few women's clothes these days are made to be dried on hot. Even t-shirts tend to tell you to dry them on low. I never dry silkscreened t-shirts in the dryer, but I had a devil of a time finding clothes that could do into the dryer on hot. As a result, I bought some cheap clothes that I didn't care about to use for my in the infestation clothes since I was afraid that all that drying would ruin the clothes I cared about. Those cheapo sports bras, for example, are shot from all the drying. The shorts and polo shirts actually made it through unscathed; I still wear them around the house when I'm cleaning and such.
If you already have three outfits of grubbies that you can wear as in the infestation clothes that can withstand the high heat, you can just designate those as your "in the infestation" outfits instead of having to buy new ones.
the "in the infestation" clothes don't even get bagged. they are already in the infestation, right?
Let me see if i can clarify...
You have clothing and things that are "possibly infested" and those things will be laundered or heated as recommended to kill the bugs and when they are cleared of bugs they will be immediately bagged and sealed up. These will not be opened again until you are finished with your treatment and you are all cleared of bbs.
Then you have clothing that are "possibly infested" but that you will need to use during the treatment and during the time after the treatment until you are cleared of bbs. These are the things that you will treat as we described above.
Then you have things that are possibly infested but that you can't treat by laundering, drying, or steam...you will get a PackTite if you can and while you are waiting for the PT to be delivered, you will bag up those things tightly and keep them sealed unti l you get your PT and then bag by bag you will open the bags and place the bag with the items inside into the PT...put the thermometer in the middle of the things..close it up and heat up those things for the requisite period of time at the requisite temperature.
I hope that it's clear now...but if it isn't go ahead and ask away until it's absolutely clear in your mind. It's absolutely imperative that you are clear on how not to reinfest your place not only so that you actually don't reinfest your place..but also so that your mind will be able to relax a little knowing that you did everything the way it was supposed to be done. That sense of doing things in the "right way" may go along way to giving you back some sense of wellbeing and hopefullness.
i bought the packtite, but i just don't know if i can live so rigidly. i think it will be easier the pt comes though. just throw everything in there instead of hanging them over the handlebars and seats of the various bikes in my living room. i don't know. this shit is just too much.
I know it's difficult, but it's not impossible...and you've got to get organized in order to beat the bbs. I don't know what you mean by things hanging on the handlebars of your various bikes...but you won't have clothing hanging around your house like that immediately before and after treatment. Everything should be bagged securely. Really..that's important. You might as well make up your mind that you want to do this ONCE and get it as right as you can the first time so that you're not still infested 3, 4,5 months from now...or a year from now.
Try to get in a positive frame of mind...you CAN do this. you WILL do this...and you will conquer your bb problem and get back to sleeping through the night and relaxing at home and feeling positive about the future (without letting down your guard completely so that you become reinfested).
The PT holds a lot of stuff, but you can't over stuff it. It's better to do smaller loads if you can because then it takes less time for it to reach the requisite temperature.
I wish you success.
This post is exactly what I was looking for! I have a light infestation (if any infestation at all) and the PCO is coming in 3 days. Could you clarify a few points:
I have washed and dried my towel and bath mat on hot, and sealed in a bag. I would like to take them out and use them, only in the bathroom. It's probably alright to leave them in the bathroom, not in a bag, and wash and dry again ASAP? You say 3 days is ideal, but is a week unheard of?
Similar situation with my pyjamas, except that they are kept in the bedroom, on the bed (which is isolated, mattress and bunky board encased, climb up interceptors on the feet, sheets just washed and dried). Should I actually keep the pyjamas in a sealed bag during the day? Is it ok to wash the sheets just once a week?
I did keep my sleepwear and around the house wear in an isolated (not heavy) clear plastic bag at least for the first week. I really think i did that more in order that the clothing did not touch anything that had the insecticide on it (as when i returned to my crib, i noticed that it did still have th insecticide smell and i knew that i did not want it next to my skin if at all possible. But when i saw that i was not having any new skin reactions about a week after treatment, i started to hang my sleeping stuff and my everyday wear on the back of the chair in my bedroom.
Regarding the carpet in the bathroom...i decided on using an older towel on the bathroom floor because it was not as heavy as the little carpet and less expensive to launder. So i packed my heavy bathroom floor rug away until i felt i was clear. The towel worked just fine and i could change it every three days when i did the laundry. i left that towel in place on the floor of the bathroom except to shake it out over the tub to examine in anything of interest was in it when cleaning the bathroom.
Remember that it's not necessarily the washing on hot that is going to kill bugs, nymphs and eggs...it's the drying at a sustained temperature of at least 120 degrees for at least 1/2 hour that's going to do the trick.
You can wash the sheets once a week if you like, that is not the issue i think. The issue is how many times are you going to change the bed and examine your sleeping area? I highly recommend changing the bed every third day and then four days after that so that you have a chance to have fresh sheets and a chance to examine your bed closely twice a week. Please be sure to keep the used sheets in the dirty clothes bag until they are sent for laundering. Nothing goes into your hamper. Your hamper will be the heavy plastic bag of other dirty clothes and things.
Also..when you climb into a bed of fresh clean and clean smelling sheets, this may contribute to a sense of well-being at rest time, which is a good thing to be encouraged.
In answering your question i have assumed that you found bbs in your bathroom and in the bedroom areas.
Thank you so much! I only have one pair of sheets, so changing them without washing is not an option. We've only seen one bb in the bedroom, on my boyfriend's shirt 10 minutes after walking into the apartment from a day around the city. So we are not sure that we have a true infestation. It makes it hard to be motivated to prep for the PCO, but I am doing my best to be thorough. I just want to get this right the first time. You can read my first post to see my story - any thoughts?
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