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what to do with the shoes

(21 posts)
  1. mangycur

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Sat Sep 15 2007 19:32:21
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    I've been reading a lot of FAQs and posts and threads but haven't seen anything conclusive regarding what to do with shoes. If I put them in the dryer they'll melt. I was thinking that if I wash the outsides with a wet wash cloth and look closely I'll know I've gotten off any eggs. Then vacuum the insides and wipe the insides with rubbing alcohol. Then seal them in ziplocs. Take them out to wear, wipe them out to put them away.

    The sneakers I can wash in hot but then if I leave them out to dry they could get bugs inside them which puts me back to square one. If I put them in ziplocs while wet, they'll mildew. What do y'all think?

  2. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Sat Sep 15 2007 23:05:46
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    There's a FAQ on drying things that applies to shoes. 5 minutes in a dryer ONCE THEY'RE DRY should not hurt them but try a pair to be sure.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  3. mangycur

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Mon Sep 17 2007 22:03:02
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    None of the laundrymats in my area will let us put shoes in their dryers. I washed my sneakers on hot, let them dry outside. Then I spritzed them with dilluted rubbing alcohol and swabbed the crevices with qtips and cotton balls drenched in full on rubbing alcohol. My neighbors think I'm insane. They're just tromping around in their shoes as always. I suppose the risk of spreading is relatively low, isn't it?

  4. crushworth

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Tue Sep 18 2007 14:30:15
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    I'm having the same problem. No shoes in the dryers. Also, no drying unless you wash first! I feel like saying "No, seriously, you WANT me to dry these."
    I also have a bunch of high heels that can't really be dried... not sure what to do. Maybe I'll freeze them for a couple of weeks and leave them bagged for a couple months.

  5. Beatrice

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Wed Sep 19 2007 11:29:03
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    I still have no idea to do with my boots even after reading the FAQs.

    I can't see the inside of two pairs of tall boots that I own and do not want to get rid of. They have been sitting in a bag in since before I even found out I had bbs. The bag has a hole in it and I don't think it was ever in the infested room.

    The only think I can think to do is vacuum them and leave them out with a dusting of DE around them for 10 days and then vacuum them again. Or maybe I should seal them in a bag with DE?

    Seriously lost with this one.

    I destroyed a pair of shoes already, don't want a repeat:(

  6. Beatrice

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Wed Sep 19 2007 11:29:53
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    I've also considered dusting the inside of the shoes and then vacuuming that out after ten days.

  7. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Wed Sep 19 2007 13:21:10
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    DE can irritate your skin, which means it is not probably a good thing for insides of shoes.

  8. Beatrice

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Wed Sep 19 2007 13:39:26
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    I just spoke with someone at Dirtworks and he said at the most it would probably only dry out my skin.

  9. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Wed Sep 19 2007 14:21:36
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    Yes, I know. We recommend food grade DE because it is safe, Beatrice. I wouldn't want to have it in contact with your skin, because drying it out longterm is not good. Dry skin itches.

  10. Beatrice

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Wed Sep 19 2007 14:36:41
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    It really hasn't bothered my skin. Of course I am not saying other people should put it in their shoes.

    Nobugs, how did you treat your shoes?

    I'm scared of throwing them in the dryer will break the heels off and these are pricey shoes.

  11. bugalew

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Wed Sep 19 2007 16:57:02
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    I was guided to thoroughly vacuum them out w/a high power vacuum just prior to wearing them. It seems to be ok.

  12. downonbugs

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Thu Sep 20 2007 10:27:51
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    I was just logging on to ask this identical question about shoes. I was told by my PCO to vacuum them and seal them in bags, but I am not convinced that is enough. What about spraying some Suspend into the bags and then sealing for some time? Then taking them out, vacuum again, rub down with alcohol? I now vacuum all my shoes before wearing. I am really sick of my vacuum cleaner right now.

    91% rubbing alcohol kills bugs AND eggs? I also heard that mothballs kill eggs. What about throwing mothballs into sealed bags for a few days too? Just thinking aloud. It kills me that there aren't foolproof ways to do this and we are all running around in the dark.

    I am also confused since if the pesticide is down and the shoes are out, won't they try to get to you in bed and then hit poision and die?

  13. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Thu Sep 20 2007 11:31:34
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    downonbugs,
    I haven't heard from a reliable source that mothballs kill bed bug eggs.

    beatrice,
    my own experience is not a very good guide. however, for what it is worth, i threw a lot of shoes away (since they were stored on the floor, near the bed). i froze some for months in a ziploc.

    everyone,
    why vacuum shoes before every wearing? what i would recommend is not wearing shoes in your house. (you can have some waterproof flip-flops if you like something on your feet indoors--slippers, obivously, are cloth or leather and a bad idea.) when you get home, put the shoes which you believe to be bug free on a metal shelf near your door. Even better, buy a new shelf or metal shoe rack and isolate the feet as per our FAQ on protecting the bed. Bed bugs are not likely to be attracted to your shoes without you in them, but you're right to be concerned and also right that bagging shoes can be a smelly option.

  14. (deleted)

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Thu Sep 20 2007 17:20:29
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    I think if you are new to a bedbug problem (and not already at the end of it with no more treatments in sight), you should seriously consider not sealing up your shoes that you want to wear before a year or two. I know that to bag or not to bag is the question and sometimes it's not up to you since PCOs sometimes give specific instructions, but there are only a few options with most things: seal them up for about 18 months (this is kind of an arbitrary length of time but it sounds safe and reassuring), treat them somehow, or throw them away if hopelessly infested. The fourth option is just to leave things out, provided there's space.

    Things that are really delicate or fancy should probably be sealed up if freezing and drying are not good options. But if, for example, you leave a couple of nice shoes out during treatment (the ones you don't want to live without for such a long time), on a rack like Nobugs suggests (sans the vaseline on the legs), and vacuum them of course, then when your infestation is over you know that your shoes are ok since anything would have come out to get to you. Once you seal something up, however, how can you unpack it down the road if it hasn't been 18 months? The anxiety must be tremendous.

    Or perhaps I'm missing something, apologies. I agree that for shoes to wear during the infestation, you want them to be bug free and not out unprotected. So switching to washable shoes and, if that is not possible, buying an inexpensive new pair for peace of mind might be something to consider. But for existing shoes that are too nice to dry or freeze then case-by-case decision as to whether they should be sealed up or left out? It also depends on how much overall clutter there is and whether leaving them out is feasible.

  15. (deleted)

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Thu Sep 20 2007 17:24:12
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    Oh, and we've heard of people who spray their shoes (with stuff, you know, Kleen Free or Sterifab, etc.)

    I'm sure it's worked for them, but I would not have much confidence on these methods since there are so many nooks and crannies that unless you are soaking, and thereby perhaps ruining them, I'm not sure it's 100% effective. Spraying something on the outside, whether a pair of shoes or a handbag (which I always hear people say they are doing) is to my mind pointless.

  16. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Thu Sep 20 2007 22:56:59
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    Hopelessnomo,

    I agree about spraying not being very reliable.

    The other factor we haven't mentioned is where were the shoes? Were they kept in the rooms you or the PCO suspects were infested? (I do think the entire home needs to be treated as if it is infested, but most of us are more suspicious of some rooms and parts of rooms than others). If the shoes were kept under or near the bed (or in many cases, the sofa, or other upholstered, frequently-used chairs), I'd be extra suspicious.

    If I found black specks (like black pepper) or other possibly-bug-related matter in or around the shoes, I'd also be extra suspicious.

    And although we can almost never be sure how long we've had bed bugs or where they came from (even if we think we know), I'd also be more worried if I suspected the infestation had been going on for a long time undetected, as opposed to thinking it just started.

    By extra suspicious, I mean, I'd seriously consider not wearing the shoes during the period of treatment. I'd try to clean them or freeze them, while knowing those methods might not work. I'd keep a pair of new shoes or suspected uninfested shoes to wear out during this period. Keeping one pair kind of secure and away from the trouble would mean I'm less likely to infest car, workplace, etc. You have some options: cloth shoes to wear commuting (can wash them) and then changing at work to nice, uninfested shoes. Luckily, rain boots (unlined) are "chic" now and can be rinsed or dunked in hot soapy water.

    And like hopelessnomo, I also think leaving stuff exposed is a good idea.

  17. brooklynbee-itch

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Mon Feb 25 2008 14:22:25
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    my first post and let me say...thank goodness for this blog. i already ordered my whitewing steamer and i'm wondering wouldn't that work for shoes?

  18. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Mon Feb 25 2008 14:28:28
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    Try it, brooklyn, I don't see why not. I mean, it will kill bed bugs unless they have somewhere to escape to. The question is whether it might damage an item. Dry steam may harm some surfaces, but less likely to harm than wet steam. Do some experimenting. Test things before you go whole hog.

  19. brooklynbee-itch

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Mon Feb 25 2008 14:30:50
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    dang..you're fast. i'm going whole hog. can't help myself. i've already been through a carpet beetle problem last year.

  20. lil_bit_obsessed

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Feb 27 2008 1:52:37
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    well this might sound a wee bit crazy, but when i had to travel a few weeks ago with quite a bit of gear, i "baked" my hiking boots in the oven at 120 degrees F for four hours, with a pan of water for moisture on the bottom rack of the oven. it didn't smell too hot (baking boots, eww), but it was a much better option than demolishing the inside of a dryer with those big things clunking around. also as a caution, when treating anything using oven heat you need to watch it very closely, to make sure there is no risk of fire. and of course there is always the risk of damage to the shoes depending on the material. mine seem to be no worse for the wear, but hiking boots are made of fairly sturdy stuff.

  21. fightorflight

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Feb 27 2008 3:52:32
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    LilBit - baking is an excellent idea which many here have tried. Problem for some of us is that our ovens don't go as low as 120F. I think many ovens, like mine, don't go below 200F. All of your suggestions though seem right on - monitor, be prepared for possible damage.


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