Home » When Can Clothes Return After Bed Bug Treatment?

When Can Clothes Return After Bed Bug Treatment?

Update On

Travelers and homeowners beware. Bed bugs can invade your bed, clothes, luggage, and the hotel room. Bed bugs love the bed, dresser, chest, closets, hotel bed, hotel drawers, hotel closet, and luggage. Because bed bugs crawl on clothes and do not destroy them, the infestation is easy to remove.

Woman organizing clothes in a closet

So, when can I put clothes back after bed bug treatment? It won’t be immediate, but it won’t last a week either. You will learn whether your clothes need washing and how to handle bed bugs found in bags. You will also learn if hanging clothes in closets is safe and exempt.

Can I Put My Clothes Away After Bed Bug Treatment?

Not immediately.

Clothes laid out on a drying rack

After a thorough cleaning in the washer and dryer, examine the clothes. All wet and damp clothes should hang on a drying rack or spread out on a countertop until dry. Dry clothes should stay in an unused bag stored in a separate area from your regular clothing. It’s important not to feel water in the infected clothing because the bed bugs can come back.

When Can I Put Clothes Back After Bed Bug Treatment?

Dry clothes must stay in unused bags and separated from the non-infected clothes for two days. After two days, you can return your clothes to the storage area, chest, dresser, or closet. Waiting this long gives the clothes time to air out and neutralize the bed bug infestation. 

A modern clock with 24h printed on it

Now, you can return the clothes to their storage area in one day without issue. But, the infestation will be less likely to resurface the longer you wait.

Do You Have to Wash All Clothes When You Have Bed Bugs?

A bed bug infestation is never positive. Sorting out the infected clothing into a separate pile is wise. As you separate, place the infected clothes into a freezer bag. For example, wash all clothes inside the suitcase after returning from your trip. Another example is washing all clothes inside a closet.

A man's hand putting a towel inside a washing machine

Washing in hot water and the hottest dryer heat setting for 30-40 minutes stops the spread. One hundred forty degrees Fahrenheit wipes out bed bugs on contact. One hundred eighteen to 140-degree temperatures wipe out bed bugs in 30 minutes or fewer. Temperatures below 118 degrees will take two hours to wipe out bed bugs.

Dry cleaning clothing should go to the dry cleaners for professional cleaning. Infected shoes need a professional cleaner too. An alternative is handwashing shoes with a damp cloth of hot water and soap or washing them in the washer/dryer.

Drip dry and low-heat delicate clothing will be problematic to wash if bed bugs infect them. So, steam-clean delicate clothes. The steam heat destroys bed bugs without damaging the delicate clothing. Delicate clothing should drip dry and stay in an unused bag for two days.

How Long Do You Keep Clothes in Bags After Bed Bugs?

Is the goal of the bag to suffocate the bed bugs and avoid washing the clothing? Is it to separate the infected clothes from the uninfected? Is it to sort out clothing by washing instructions? The reasons for the bags are significant.

A woman putting clothes in a suitcase

Good luck suffocating the bed bugs. Bed bugs can survive at least a year inside a bag. The tiny creatures need little air to last inside the bag. You can keep the clothes inside the bag, but you cannot open the bag for at least two years.

A bed bug on fabric

The bed bug can crawl out and infest something else if the bag has holes or slits. You don’t have to see it for a bed bug to find one and spread the infestation. Furthermore, they won’t starve inside the bag because they need little food to survive. Stop the growth by taking the clothes out, washing them, tossing the bag, and drying on super high heat.

If the answer is to separate the infected clothes from the rest, it is suitable. It is also acceptable to use bags to sort delicates from jeans and underwear from socks. Be sure to throw away the infected bag once you wash the infected clothing. Use a brand new bag for the clean clothing and leave it there for at least two days to wipe out stubborn bed bugs.

Can Bed Bugs Get Onto Clothes Hanging in the Closet?

As mentioned in the intro, bed bugs will enter your closet. The bugs will latch onto the closet walls and the furniture inside the closet. Both are quiet and dark places to expand their population with little disturbance. The spread occurs because an infected bag enters the closet or a bed bug travels to the closet from the bed.

A lot of clothes hanging in a closet

Clothing hung from a hanger is less likely to cause a bed bug infestation. That is because the hanger is not a stable place to live. As long as the hanger hangs clothes on the closet rod, the bed bugs won’t come. But, clothes falling from the rod onto the ground are possible candidates.

The hanger hangs clothes high above where they lay their eggs. The distance they have to travel to touch clothes hanging up is too much for them. Bed bugs want easy travel, so staying closer to the ground or living in closet drawers is easier.

Bed bugs won’t have a flat, stable surface to make a home because the hanger is curvy and rigid. Bed bugs don’t like the hanger material as a nesting place.

Can I Sleep in My Bed After Bed Bug Treatment?

Not immediately. The bed is a common source of bed bug infestation that needs professional cleaning. It may take a few hours to return to the bedroom. It may also need more than one round of treatment to get rid of the infestation.

A man cleaning under the bed with a vacuum

You might have to vacuum on and underneath the bed. That removes any shells or dead bed bugs left behind in the extermination. Mopping the floor is a good idea too.

Moreover, wrap the mattress with a bed bug mattress encasement or mattress protector. That stops all bed bug growth inside the mattress and ensures the bed bugs don’t regenerate. Decorate the bed with a mattress cover, mattress topper, sheet set, duvet, and comforter. Wrap the box spring with a mattress encasement too. 


A bed bug infestation on your clothes is not the end of the road. Your clothes are salvageable. All you need to do is gather clothes in the infected area and use the washer and dryer on high heat. Don’t forget to steam clean delicate clothes and send dry clean clothes to the cleaners.

When can I put clothes back after bed bug treatment? Give it at least two days. Please tell us your experience with a bed bug infestation in the comments section!

Leave a Comment