Three Tips For Heat Treating Bed Bug Infested Items In Your Car

27 July 2016
 Categories: , Blog


There are many ways to treat items that are infested with bed bugs, including using heat. While some items can easily be placed in your clothes dryer, other items are more delicate and can't withstand the tumbling. For these items, you may want to try heat treating them in your hot car on a summer day. Here are three tips for heat treating infested items in your car.

Securely bag the infested items

Even on a hot day, some areas of your car will be cooler than others. While the surfaces of the seats and the dashboard may be very hot, the shaded areas underneath the seats may be cooler. If you don't bag your items, the bed bugs could flee into these cooler areas and survive the heat treatment. If bed bugs get loose inside your car and survive, you'll have an infested car in addition to the infested items you were trying to treat.

Place the infested items inside garbage bags and tie the bags tightly. For extra protection, double bag the items. You can also tape the tied end of the bag shut with duct tape or packing tape to make sure that no bed bugs can squeeze past your knot.

Don't overload the bags

If you're treating a lot of infested items—like a full bag of delicate clothing—spread them out between multiple well-sealed bags. This is important because the entirety of each item needs to reach a high enough temperature to kill any bed bugs that are present. If you put an overloaded bag of clothes in your car, the clothes in the center of the bag could be shielded from the heat. This could allow the bed bugs to survive!

Use a thermometer

The interior of your car will get hot quickly on a summer day, but you'll need to use a thermometer to know if the temperatures are hot enough to kill bed bugs. For example, when the outside temperature is 70°F, the interior of your car will only reach 104°F after 30 minutes; this is uncomfortably hot for a person, but it won't kill the bed bugs. Adult bed bugs die after being exposed to temperatures of 118°F or more for 20 minutes, while their eggs take 90 minutes to die at those temperatures.

If you don't have access to a thermometer, choose a very hot day to ensure the car gets hot enough. When the outside temperature is a sweltering 95°F, the inside of a car can be expected to reach 129°F within 30 minutes, which is more than enough to kill bed bugs.

A hot car can kill bed bugs that are infesting your delicate items, but only if you're careful. If you're not able to kill the bugs inside your car, a pest control company can heat treat your items in a cabinet designed for this purpose. Check out a pest control company by visiting a site like