Bugs on my clothes on drying rack?

amandalintnOctober 12, 2008

This is the first time I have had this issue...

I hung 2 loads out to dry on my back deck on drying racks and when I came home a couple of hours later there are little brown flea looking bugs everywhere. They do not jump like I remember fleas doing though... I use Ecos detergent and straight out to the rack...

Any thoughts? Has this happened to anyone else? Despite my shaking, flicking, and careful inspection, some still managed to make it inside the house now I itch from head to toe (just because I feel like theres bugs all over my house)



Amanda L in TN

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Although they may make you feel fidgety, I doubt the little bugs are a problem for human health.

What happened was that your local weather caused a hatch of some particular kind of bugs and they were attracted to your laundry in large quantities. It's unlikely that they are consuming the cloth or feeding on any residual chemicals; it's more likely that the laundry just appeared to them to be an ideal place to spend a portion of their probably very short lives.

I hang my laundry out every day of the year and from time to time this happens to me, too. I live in northern NY and I can even get a snow flea (not real fleas) eruption on some sunny, frigid, days in February. I wouldn't be surprised if over the course of a year, I get insect eruptions or swarms of one kind or another on my laundry maybe 5 or 6 times.

This is not really a big laundry problem, and best handled just exactly like you did, but perhaps with a second round of shaking the things out outdoors but in a different micro-climate than where the laundry was when you found the bugs, i.e.e if it was sunny and warm on the line, then shake in the sahde and cool area. The reason to this is to keep the just-shaken stuff from attracting new bugs.

One other slightly vexing bug issue occurs here in the late summer. I use evening dewfall to dampen items that need ironing (quite of lot things in my household). Sometimes, particularly on moonlit evenings when I have light colored things like napkins, pillow cases and dress shirts hanging on the line, I will get little spots of bug poop on them. The spots will come out (unless ironed in with hot iron) but that requires rewashing. I often forget about this from year to year, and kick myself every time I need to relearn it.

Chances are you won't have this problem again until the conditions are exactly the same next year. And it is likely that if you had done nothing, or arrived home much later, the bugs might have migrated en masse to another perch and you'd never have known they were there.

Except for when I find wasps holed up in long sleeves and pants legs, my laundry and I get along pretty well with bugs.


    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 7:14PM
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Amanda L,
Sorry to hear about having bugs on your clothes. Maybe you can add some distill white vinegar on the rinse cycle. Bugs will not like the scent of the vinegar nor the taste of it as well.

Hope that helps &
Good luck

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 9:20PM
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The bugs could be drawn to the water in the clothes. The vinegar would certainly be a good thing to try as a repellent.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 8:57AM
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