Q And Answer: Can I Get Bedbugs From Used Clothes On EBay?

April 16, 2012

Q and Answer: Can I Get Bedbugs From Used Clothes on eBay?

Dwight asks: What is the risk of getting bedbugs from an eBay purchase and what are the proper steps to mitigate them?

The risk of getting bedbugs from an eBay or other second-hand clothing purchase is very small, but it’s not zero. It’s increased a bit if you’re shopping somewhere where bedbugs are more widespread, like New York City. Bedbugs prefer the regular blood meals that bedding provides, so they don’t travel much via clothing, but they can go without eating for quite a long time. If they end up in clothes, they can hang out for up to a year, waiting for snacking conditions to improve.

Luckily, if you’re concerned about bedbugs, it’s very simple to kill them.

Bedbugs can’t live in temperatures over about 115 degrees. So, if you want to kill any bedbugs that might be hiding out on a garment, just put it in the drier on hot for a few minutes. Expert recommend 15 or 20 to be safe, but say that even five or ten should do it. Dry cleaning will also kill bed bugs, so if you have a dry clean only garment, there’s no need to put it in the laundry.

Of course, cleaning second-hand clothes is good practice anyway. While some second-hand stores and vendors dry-clean clothing, some don’t, and dry-cleaning or laundering your new-old clothes will also eliminate the risk of bringing another terrifying pest into your home: clothing moths.