Last Updated on January 5, 2023 by Alene Schill
You’re probably here because you want to know if you can get bed bugs from your current shared laundromat or laundry area.
Can you get bed bugs from a laundromat?
We’ll be unloading the real deal on this terrifying scenario.
Getting Bed Bugs From A Laundromat
It’s highly unlikely that you’ll get bed bugs from a laundromat, but not impossible.
You see, it’s not the washing and drying of the clothes that get you exposed to the bed bugs. Bed bugs are not built to withstand the chemicals used and the heat from the washer and dryer, so any bed bugs clinging to dirty clothes, beddings, linens, and sheets will have been killed by the time the wash cycle is done.
Having said that, it’s still possible to get bed bugs from the laundromat from other people who have been less than cautious.
If another person with a live bed bug on their clothes or belongings were to enter the laundromat, that bed bug could hitch a ride on you, and you could unknowingly bring them home, which would be enough to start an infestation.
How To Protect Your Clothes From Bed Bugs
Use Plastic Bags
Bed bugs do not like plastic, so you can start using plastic bags to put your dirty laundry in instead of cloth bags. Make sure that you empty the plastic bag directly into the washer to minimize contact with other surfaces.
If you must use a cloth bag, that’s okay — make sure that you wash and dry the cloth laundry bags alongside your clothes.
It’s common knowledge that heat treatment will kill bed bugs. Wash and dry your clothes using the hottest temperature the fabric can withstand to ensure no bed bugs survive after the wash cycle. Bed bugs die at temperatures of over 120 degrees Fahrenheit when sustained for at least a minute.
If you have delicate clothes that can’t be dried at a high temperature, you need to check them once you take them out of the dryer.
Check Laundry Baskets
Laundromats have common laundry baskets. We strongly advise against using them, but if you have to, make sure that you inspect them for bed bugs thoroughly before putting your clothes in. Refrain from putting the laundry baskets on the floor or near seats.
Check The Folding Tables
We don’t advise using folding tables in laundromats but check for bed bugs first before setting your clothes on top if you prefer using them.
We’d rather you bag your clean clothes and fold them at home to keep you and your belongings safe.
Inspect common seats in the laundromat before you sit down. Most people get bed bugs from laundromat seats without even realizing it.
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What To Do When You See Bed Bugs?
When you see bed bugs inside the laundromat, the first thing to do is to secure evidence. You can take a picture with your phone or, even better, catch one and put it inside a Ziploc bag for proper identification. Some insects look exactly like bed bugs, so you mustn’t cause panic if you don’t have to! 
Once you have the evidence that there are bed bugs in the establishment, let the laundromat management know so they can take the necessary measures. You can also seek assistance from your local health department or office.
Can Bed Bugs Survive A Laundry Wash?
Most bed bugs will not survive a laundry wash because the combination of cleaning chemicals and heat will be more than enough to kill them off.
However, some bed bugs are smart enough to find cool temperature pockets within the clothes to survive the wash cycle, so it’s important to inspect the clothes before you pack them inside your bag.
Can You Use Laundromats If You Have Bed Bugs?
Yes, you can use laundromats if you have bed bugs. Some dry cleaning services specialize in bed bug treatment to help you with your woes. They pick up your clothes directly and drop them off so you don’t have to make trips that could spread bed bugs further.
Are laundromat machines sanitary?
Yes, public laundromat machines are fairly sanitary, provided they are well-maintained. The best tell-tale sign that the laundromat machine is sanitary is the general scent of the place — if it smells “fresh,” you can assume that the place is clean.
How much heat does it take to kill bed bugs?
Bed bugs will die when exposed to over 120 degrees Fahrenheit, provided that the temperature is sustained for at least one minute. Many pest control companies use a combination of heat treatment and pesticides to eradicate bed bugs fully.
Do dryer sheets keep bed bugs away?
Unfortunately, there is no solid evidence proving dryer sheets keep bed bugs away. It is said that the scent of dryer sheets repels bed bugs, but even if it did, the bed bugs would move to another location, and you would still have the bed bug problem.
Yes, you can get bed bugs from a laundromat, but it’s highly unlikely that you will.
The combination of cleaning chemicals and heat treatment done in laundromats is more than enough to kill bed bugs, so your clothes are safe.
However, that does not mean that you can’t get bed bugs from the laundromat themselves, as the pests could be hiding in seats, folding tables, shared laundry baskets, and other nooks and crannies, just waiting for the perfect opportunity to hitch a ride on you. You can unknowingly bring them home once they get on your clothes, shoes, and other belongings.
It’s highly important to inspect yourself and your belongings whenever you visit the laundromat to ensure that you don’t pick up the rogue bed bug.
Alene Schill is a property manager from Columbus, Ohio, who has dealt with numerous pest control agencies. She helps families find the perfect homes and knows very well that bed bugs are an ultimate deal-breaker. She enjoys cycling around Scioto Mile during her spare time.