Bed bugs are wingless bugs that grow to be 1/4 inch long and can be white, light brown, dark brown, burnt orange or reddish in color. Bed bugs live in dark places and are commonly found hiding in mattress cracks, bedroom furniture crevices and nesting deep in pillows. If you find bed bugs or see evidence of their bites on your skin, treat the entire household or seek an exterminator to properly remove them. If you fail to remove all of the bed bugs or their eggs, they will continue to infest your home and belongings.
Laundering the Pillow
Wash the pillow in a washing machine using laundry detergent and the hottest water the pillow material will allow.
Place the pillow in the dryer on the highest setting the material will allow. Once the pillow is almost dry, turn the heat up to the highest setting on the dryer for at least twenty minutes. The temperature must reach at least 113 degrees F to kill bed bugs. Once the dryer cycle is complete, immediately remove the dryer lint and throw it away.
If it is not possible to place the pillow in a dryer that gets up to 113 degrees F, place a freshly laundered, completely dry pillow in a plastic bag. Place the plastic bag in a freezer. The freezer temperature must be 22 degrees Fahrenheit or below to kill the bed bugs. Leave the pillow in the freezer for five days and then remove. Vacuum the pillow to remove any dead bed bugs or eggs. Immediately dispose of the vacuum contents.
Sealing your Pillow
Vacuum your pillow to remove as many bed bugs and eggs as possible. Immediately dispose of the vacuum bag contents.
Place the pillow in a plastic or hypoallergenic zip-up pillow cover. This seal must be kept on the pillow for at least a year. Sealing the pillow prevents bed bugs from feeding and spreading. Bed bug nymphs live for two months without feeding, and adults can survive a year without feeding.
Remove the pillow zip-up cover after at least a year. Vacuum the pillow to remove any dead eggs and bugs. Immediately dispose of the contents in the vacuum.