How To Tell If Bed bugs Are in Your Clothes

by | Last updated Jun 28, 2023 | Bugs

Lately, the headlines have been splashed with scary stories about bed bugs terrorizing people all over. And you worried that you might pick up these creepy bugs or take them home.

It’s no secret bed bugs can live literary anywhere, from your car seats and hotel beds to church seats and hospital lobby. So it’s evident you can pick them anywhere!

How To Tell If Bed bugs Are in Your Clothes

So the burning question is how to tell if bed bugs are in your clothes? Well, to begin with, you will hear people asking, can bed bugs travel on clothes you’re wearing?  It’s improbable that bed bugs will travel in the fabrics you are wearing because you tend to move a lot, and bed bugs prefer a stationary setting.

On the other hand, bed bugs might take up residence in your unpacked luggage, suitcase, or something along those lines. When staying in a hotel, it is advisable not to place your clothes on the bed. Bed bugs will happily infiltrate your clothing or hide directly into your suitcase. In fact, this is likely the most explainable way for bed bugs to get into your clothes.

To be able to tell if bed bugs are in your clothes, we first have to explain how they got there in the first place.

How Did Bed Bugs Get In Your Clothes?

So, how did bed bugs find their way into your belongings? As previously mentioned, Bed bugs can comfortably cling to anything, including the walls next to your bed. Bed bugs don’t have nests, and they survive by hiding in your clothes, mattress, and other dark places.

Bed bugs most likely got into your clothes from your bed or other people’s clothes, especially if you share the same locker or cabinet with other people at work. Some might have carried bed bugs with their clothes, and the bed bugs crawl to your clothes.

Assuming you already have bed bugs in your bed and mattress, then you already know how they got to your clothes. Of course, washing your clothes will reduce bed bug infestation. But for it to be effective, you need to dry your clothes in high temperatures to kill the bugs.

How do you Check For Bed Bugs In Clothes?

Another important question when dealing with bed bugs is how to check for bed bugs in clothes? For starters, all your clothes should be safely bagged or box. Then take the bagged clothes outdoors where there is plenty of natural light. This way, the bed bugs will not be able to get back to your premises.

Once outside, take each piece of fabric one by one, checking carefully for bugs. If necessary, wipe the clothes with a piece of cloth or using your hands. You never know. You might wipe off any sticking bed bug that has not yet run away. Don’t forget to check the bag or suitcase – they might be hiding in the corners.

Related reading: How Do Bed Bug Traps Work

How Long Do Bed Bugs Live On Clothes?

One question that always pops up when dealing with bed bugs is how long do bed bugs live on clothes? Amazingly this creepy creatures can survive for two months without feasting on blood. Furthermore, in colder temperatures, these cold-blooded creatures tend to slow down their metabolism and are capable of living for up to a year without blood.

Usually, bed bugs eat once every few days. Imagine how long they can stay hidden in your suitcase, especially during the cold season.

Another reason why bed bugs tend to stay for long on your clothes is the use them as a hiding point after they have fed. Once they have fed to their full, they won’t stay around your body like ticks and lice. They are not fond of heat, so they will retreat backpack, closet, and suitcase where it’s dark and safe.

Related reading: What Scents Attract Bed Bugs

FAQ on bedbugs and clothes

Can Bed Bugs Live in Leather Clothes?

Let’s be clear – yes, bed bugs can live in any type of fabric, but they to shy away from leather clothes. The reason being, leather fabrics are not crawler-friendly, and bed bugs love moving quickly and easily.

Even though leather isn’t the most favorable fabric, bed bugs can still live in the sleeves, pockets and if your leather jacket has an opening, it provides a perfect hiding ground for laying eggs.

To answer the question, even though leather clothes give them a hard time, they can still survive very well inside a leather jacket.

Can Bed Bugs Hide Eggs in Clothes?

Yes, bed bugs can lay their eggs in your clothes and shoes and would not pass an opportunity to do so.  They will hide their eggs in your clothes, especially those tucked away, and you don’t wear very much. A good example is how they hide their eggs in mattresses. The same applies to clothes.

The most likely place to find bed bugs eggs includes the sleeves, collars, and any openings in your clothing. These are by far the best places to find bed bugs eggs. The closet and suitcase are also excellent hiding spots for bed bugs. They just crawl in and openly enjoy the liberty of picking any cloth they feel they like.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in Clothes?

Heat is one thing bed bugs despise. Yes, they can survive very well in cold areas. But when you introduce heat and high temperatures, they can’t handle it. To remove them, you first need to sort out your clothes, then vacuum each part of your clothes carefully. Be patient and take your time.

After that, grab a steamer and give the clothes a good steam bath, around 120 degrees Celsius; this will most definitely kill any remaining bed bugs.

Related reading: 4 Bugs That Are Usually Mistaken For Bed Bugs


Nobody is happy finding bed bugs in their clothes. However, if you are confident you have bed bugs and are not sure where they are hiding. You will have to pull up your sleeves and hunt for them.

Take everything out from your suitcase, comb the clothes one by one, also don’t forget the suitcase and closet. These clever guys love hiding in dark corners.


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