Clothes dryers typically reach temperatures of at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit, although exact temperatures vary by model and age of the appliance. To kill bedbugs, which are resistant to insecticides, bedding and other fabrics should be placed in a dryer at a minimum temperature of 113 degrees Fahrenheit for 90 minutes. Alternatively, the fabrics may be in the dryer at a temperature of 118 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.
Placing wet or dry fabrics in a dryer at the recommended heat level kills bedbugs, lice and their eggs. It may take 10 to 15 minutes for a typical dryer to reach a temperature of about 120 degrees. To kill all bacteria in laundry, disinfecting products must be used along with the heat of the washing machine and dryer.
Although it is rare to become ill from handling clothing and bedding that a sick person has used, people laundering such items are encouraged to wear rubber gloves. Pine oil disinfectants and phenolic disinfectants, such as Lysol, can be used on both white and colored items in hot or warm water. Liquid chlorine bleach can be used on white items at any temperature. It should be diluted before being added to the wash. It is not safe for certain fabrics, such as silk and wool. Quartenary disinfectants also can be used to disinfect laundry in all water temperatures.