how to tell if bedbugs are in your clothes

Do you know how to tell if bedbugs are in your clothes? Can you feel them even before you put your clothes on?

I had this challenge too, especially because the area I live in is a region where bed bugs thrive in. So, I did what I could to find information about it.

You can tell that there are bed bugs thriving in your clothes if you notice bloodstains on them, shells, fecal spots, or other signs of excrements, or if you notice a strong and musty odor.

During my research, I found out that understanding the overall behavior of bed bugs is the faster and easier route. You’ll be able to determine the real reason why they stay in your clothing.

Where Do Bedbugs Hide?

where bed bugs hide

Bed bugs are insects that like to stay hidden. Therefore, they will try and look for the perfect location where they are neither easily seen nor accessible.

In my experience, I was able to find them in various spots and locations inside my house.

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The most common are:

  • Seams of couches, beds, cushioned chairs, and other soft furnishings
  • Carpets and mattresses
  • In between folds of curtains
  • Joints of drawers, cabinets, and dressers
  • Hidden spots in walls, clothes, and shoes

Out of all these perfect hiding spots, why would they choose to stay in your clothes? If it’s more comfortable staying in humid locations, what’s in it for them to spend time in clothing?

Do they eat the fabric or your clothes? Let me uncover the truth behind it.

Why Do Bedbugs Stay in Clothing?

bed bugs in clothing

Bed bugs are just like the usual insects you suspect of being inside your home. They’re pesky, they bite, and the worst of all – they never go alone!

Contrary to what you believe in, it’s not like they choose to go and stick in clothes. They’re bugs, so they will stick to any surface that they find warm and humid.

Fabric, naturally, is warm – talk about wool, cotton, and polyester, these are some examples of warm and comfy environments.

I recall a time when I saw bed bugs on my newly washed laundry. I left them unfolded because I had to organize all my laundry materials and equipment. I left them for 10 minutes, and there they were!

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If my eyes weren’t good, I wouldn’t be able to see them. They were so tiny, and they looked like small dots on the surface of my clothes.

This is why learning how to know if bed bugs are in your clothes is necessary.

Do They Eat Clothes or Fabric?

does bedbugs eat clothes

The most common misconception people have about bed bugs is that they feed on fabric, and I’m here to tell you that they do not.

Bed bugs do not feed on clothes, blankets, bedsheets, or fabric of any sort. They’re simply labeled and called bed bugs because they prefer living inside the homes of humans, like in beds and other types of furniture.

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In fact, the meal they always favor is the blood of their host – you or other animals living with you.

Although bedbugs always prefer human blood, they can decide to feed on other creatures too (warm-blooded) like cats and dogs.

Do Bedbugs Bite?

Yes, bed bugs bite and they usually do so when people are sleeping. 

This is one of the common reasons why you’ll most likely find bed bugs near your bed, under your bed frame, or even close to your bedside table.

They bite because they need to feed in order to survive. So, they’ll suck up your blood by biting you.

How to Tell if Bedbugs Are in Your Clothes?

how to tell if bedbugs in clothes

Seeing a single bed bug crawling up your walls is one thing and identifying if there’s an infestation going on in another.

So, how do you know that your clothes or any type of fabric have been infested with these bed bugs?

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Here are a couple of the most important bed bug infestation signs:

1. Red Itchy Spots on Your Body

One of the best and most accurate signs of bed bug infestation would be multiple itchy spots on your body, especially when you experience this after putting on your clothes.

These spots could be on the stomach area, your torso, your back, your arms, and even your legs.

I saw a ton of these at the back of my leg one morning before going to work, and that’s when I knew what was up.

2. Bloodstains on Clothes

blood stains

Have you ever seen bloodstains on your clothes, and you can’t find any wound or scratch on your body?

If so, then yes, it could be a sign that bedbugs are currently thriving.

A stain is a sign that a bedbug has splattered or has been crushed after feeding on your blood.

NOTE: These bloodstains would usually be small dots that would be patched on the fabric of your clothing.

So, these excrements could also be on the floor or even on your mattresses or sheets.

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3. Excrements Inside Your Closet or Cabinet

Another sign that there’s a bedbug infestation would be excrements or waste near your closet or cabinet or where you store your clothes.

bed bugs excrements

Akin to bloodstains, these excrements appear in the form of dots. They’ll appear like droplets or droppings of blood that have been digested; they’re usually brown in color.

NOTE: Take a look at your flooring, too. When their bodies are filled with blood, they will find it difficult to move – they move a lot slower. 

4. Egg Shells or Shredded Skins Near Your Closet/Cabinet

These insects like to shred their skins, so it’s an easy thing to spot.

The shells appear pearly white and are often scattered. It’s one of the most obvious signs of a bedbug infestation.

5. Musty Odor

a musty odor

Last, but most definitely not least is the presence of a strong, unpleasant, musty, and moldy odor.

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This is the typical smell of bedbugs, and if you’re smelling this, then they’re probably around.

What I usually smell is mildew and molds and the stench is coming out of a humid place – my walk-in closet.

That’s when I know that that tiny space has already been infested by bedbugs.

If you’re experiencing one or more of these signs, then you need to act to get rid of the bed bugs trying to creep up on you while you sleep!

How Do You Keep Your Clothes Free From Bedbugs?

I’ve learned that even if you kill bed bugs, their eggs could still be scattered around your home.

These eggs will eventually hatch, some of which will transform and become bed bugs.

So, to ensure that your clothes will be safe from these pesky critters, follow these steps:

keeping clothes bedbugs free
  1. Sort dirty clothes from clean clothes properly.
  2. Seal all clothes you suspect to have bed bugs in a sealed bag (Ziploc).
  3. Spray a mixture of rubbing alcohol and colorfast into the bag.
  4. Wash these clothes thoroughly.
  5. Dry your clothes at the highest temperature of your dryer for instant extermination.
  6. Have a pest control service company work on your house.
  7. Keep mothballs to repel bed bugs from visiting your closet again.
As a progressive solution, always make sure that you spray insecticide strategically around the house.

What I do is spray insecticide whenever no one is inside the house for a minimum of 2 hours. I spray all crevices, cracks, and holes, as well as the corners of some rooms.

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Once your area is free from bed bugs, store the clothes back to where you regularly store them. This time, you wouldn’t be worried about another bedbug infestation!

Ensuring that your space is free from bedbugs is neither easy nor difficult. What I’m sure of is that you’ll need to put in a lot of work to be free from it.

Final Verdict

If you don’t know how to tell if bedbugs are in your clothes, then this guide is for you!

It is something I had to learn the hard way – and you don’t! With this guide ready, you don’t have to wait for them to bite and sting you to be aware.

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Always take note of the earliest signs of bedbug infestation and never be bothered by the itchy and annoying sensation they emit. Keep your clothes free from bed bugs!

Kristina Davis
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