What to Wear to Prevent Bed Bug Bites: Tips and Myths

When it comes to bed bugs, what can you wear to prevent them from biting you? Since bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are only after a blood meal, there may be a way to protect and cover yourself so they don’t bite you, but even if you wear long sleeves and pants, they’ll probably go after your neck or face. Our carbon dioxide and body heat attract them.

Understanding Bed Bug Bites

At this time, there is no way to identify bed bugs based on looking at the bites. Most people who look at your bites only speculate on whether or not they think your bites look suspicious. Other bugs can cause bites, too; flea bites tend to be below the knees, whereas mosquito bites can be anywhere. 

Best Way for Identifying Bed Bug Bites

When it comes to bed bug bites, it’s crucial to actually find live bed bug nymphs, adult bed bugs, or bed bug signs, like fecal stains. Check out these bed bug pictures and the actual size for more information.

On some people bed bug bites can appear as raised welts on the skin. They will manifest as itchy red bumps if you have an allergic reaction to them. Furthermore, you may experience bite marks in single welts, lines, or clusters on your arms, legs, or neck. Occasionally, you might find a tiny dark spot in the center of each bite, but only sometimes.

It’s important to note that not every individual reacts to bed bug bites similarly. Some people might not experience itching, while others could react more intensely with severe itching and swelling. If you believe you have bed bug bites, keep an eye on them and avoid scratching, as this could lead to an infected area.

What Do You Wear to Prevent Bed Bug Bites?

What do you wear to prevent bed bug bites

Choosing the proper bedtime clothing can make a difference in preventing bed bug bites. Wearing the appropriate fabric and clothing style can help minimize your exposure to these bloodsuckers. Here are some tips on what to wear to bed to reduce the chances of getting bitten.


Pajamas: Wear pajamas that cover your arms and legs. Long-sleeved pajamas and long pants can create a barrier between your skin and the bed bugs. It’s a good idea to choose light-colored clothing, as it can make it easier to spot any bed bugs that may be crawling on your attire.


Fabrics: Some fabrics can help you stay comfortable and itch-free. Consider wearing clothing made of breathable but thick materials like cotton. These fabrics can often be thicker, not allowing bed bugs to bite through the clothing. We fully answer this question in the article: can bed bugs bite through clothing?

Gloves and Socks

Gloves and socks: For added protection, you can also wear gloves and socks to cover your hands and feet. Protecting your hands and feet is especially useful when sleeping in a bed with known bed bugs. One of our clients used tape to secure gloves and socks to her pajamas. She was going through treatment and terrified of having the bugs bite her. Taping gloves and socks allowed her to sleep and restored her mental sanity.

Although gloves might not be your first thought for bedtime attire, wearing gloves can provide extra protection for your hands against bed bug bites. Additionally, they can be helpful if you tend to scratch your skin during sleep.

Tucking In Clothing

can you wear socks to prevent bed bug bites

What to Wear to Prevent Bed Bug Bites?

Tucking in: Make sure you tuck in all of your clothing tightly. We mean tucking your shirt into your pants and ensuring the pants are tucked into your socks.

Bed bugs often like to go after easy-to-access places on your skin, so tucking everything in can help minimize their chances of biting you.

Child-specific Tips: Children can be susceptible to itchy skin and bed bug bites. If you suspect your kid’s bed has bugs, then it’s time to take the bed apart and perform a thorough visual inspection. Use a vacuum cleaner to perform a deep crack and crevice cleaning on their bed frame.

Remember that prevention is always better than cure. Regularly washing your clothing, pajamas, and bed linens and doing a heat treatment with a dryer can also help prevent bed bugs from finding a home in your sleeping space. 

Preventative Measures at Home

Regular Inspection of Sleeping Areas

It’s essential to regularly inspect your sleeping areas to catch a bed bug infestation in your home. Check for any signs of bed bugs on your mattress, bed frame, and surrounding furniture. Bed bugs are tiny and squeeze into places you may not see.

So pay attention to minor details, such as small stains or shed skins. Make it a habit to inspect these areas at least once a month.

Maintaining a Clutter-Free and Clean Environment

A clutter-free home makes it difficult for bed bugs to hide and thrive. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Frequently change and wash your bedding in a hot dryer (at least 130°F/54°C) to kill bed bugs and their eggs.

  • Regularly vacuum your mattress, bed frame, and surrounding areas to eliminate any possible bed bug presence. Learn more: can you vacuum up bed bugs?

  • Use a steam cleaner regularly to steam the frame and surrounding furniture. Steam cleaning for bed bugs is easy if you follow the steps in our guide.

Keeping your environment tidy reduces the chances of a bed bug infestation. However, as we all know, bed bugs have nothing to do with how clean you are because all they are after is a blood meal.

Using Light Colored Bed Sheets

light colored sheets help you spot bed bug stains

Using light-colored bed sheets can help you spot and prevent bed bugs because the lighter color makes detecting any signs of an infestation easier. Bed bugs’ fecal stains are often dark blackish, making them more visible on light-colored sheets than darker ones. 

Plus, this increased visibility can allow you to identify the presence of bed bugs at an earlier stage, enabling you to take prompt action to prevent a more extensive infestation. Additionally, light-colored sheets make it easier to spot any live bed bugs or shed exoskeletons, providing an opportunity to address the issue before it becomes more widespread. 

By choosing light-colored bed sheets, you can enhance your ability to monitor and prevent bed bug infestations.

Regular Washing and High-Temperature Drying

Maintaining good hygiene for your bed linens is crucial in keeping bed bugs at bay. Wash your linens, covers, and even the mattress toppers regularly. You should wash at least once a week or more often if you’re experiencing a bed bug infestation.

Use the hottest setting on your washing machine when washing, as bed bugs are highly susceptible to heat. However, it’s really the dryer that kills bed bugs since the hot water is never hot enough to kill them. 

Learn more here: How long does it take to kill bed bugs in the dryer?

After washing, dry the items in a dryer at the highest heat setting if the fabric allows. High-temperature drying will help to eliminate any remaining bed bugs or their eggs.

To summarize:

  • Fasten encasements on mattresses, box springs, and pillows (you don’t have to use encasements on pillows since there are fewer hiding spots)

  • Select a mattress encasement with solid zippers and tight weave fabric – 

  • Wash and dry linens, pillows, and all bed covers regularly at high temperatures

By following these bed bug prevention guidelines, you can effectively protect your furniture and bedding from bed bugs and minimize your chances of getting bitten.

Encasing Mattresses and Pillows

To effectively prevent bed bug bites, it’s essential to protect your mattress, box spring, and pillows. One way to do this is by using encasements designed explicitly for bed bug protection. They make these covers with durable materials that can withstand bed bug bites and keep the bugs from finding a hiding place in your bedding. Learn more about how bed bug encasements work.

When choosing encasements, ensure they have strong zippers that fully seal the mattress and pillows. Additionally, look for those with a tight weave fabric, which helps prevent bed bugs from crawling through. Check out our guide on bed bug mattress and box spring covers. Here’s a simple table to guide your selection:

Proper Storage of Clothing and Bedding

Storing your clothing and bedding in airtight containers can help prevent bed bug infestations. Follow these tips to ensure proper storage:

  • Store your belongings in sealed plastic containers, preventing bed bugs from accessing them.

  • Keep off-season clothing in vacuum-sealed bags to minimize the risk of bed bugs entering your wardrobe.

  • When returning from a trip, wash and dry all your clothes at high temperatures to kill any bed bugs that could have hitched a ride.

These preventative measures help protect yourself and your home from bed bug bites and infestations.

Travel Tips to Avoid Bringing Bed Bugs Home

Inspecting Hotel Rooms and Luggage

When you arrive at a hotel, it’s essential to inspect your room and luggage for any signs of bed bugs. Check the mattress, box spring, headboard, sheets, and pillowcases for small, reddish-brown bugs or their droppings.

Look for tiny black spots, which could indicate bed bug fecal matter. Also, examine the headboard, luggage racks, and any upholstered furniture.

Learn more in our guide on how to check for bed bugs.

After you get home, inspect your luggage by following these simple steps: 

  1. Set your luggage on a hard surface that’s brightly lit, like a bathroom floor or countertop.
  2. Check the exterior surfaces, zippers, and seams for any bed bugs or their signs.
  3. To be extra careful, look inside your luggage, paying attention to corners and pockets.
  4. Put all your items through a high-heat dryer or bed bug oven. Check out our guide on the best heater for bed bugs.
  5. If you can’t get to this immediately, place your luggage into a sealed plastic bag until you are ready to process it through heat.

Protective Measures for Clothing and Belongings

Protective measures for your clothing and belongings can reduce the risk of bringing hitchhiker bed bugs back home. Here are some tips:

  • Pack your clothes, shoes, (and belongings) in sealed plastic bags: Use large, sealable plastic bags to store your clothes, especially when packing dirty laundry. Bed bugs are attracted to dirty worn clothing, so keeping them sealed away can help prevent infestation.

  • Keep your luggage off the floor: Avoid placing your luggage on the floor, as bed bugs can crawl into the bag. Instead, use the bathtub, luggage rack, shelf, or any other hard surface that you can quickly check and look for signs.

  • Cover your suitcase: Consider using a protective luggage cover or plastic bag. Sealing your luggage while it’s in the hotel room will help keep bed bugs away from your luggage.

  • Wash your clothes promptly after your trip: When you return home, wash and dry your clothes at the highest temperature setting. High heat drying will kill any bed bugs hiding in your clothes.

Following these simple bed bug prevention tips can reduce the chances of unknowingly bringing bed bugs home from your travels. Remember, inspecting your hotel room and luggage and taking protective measures for your clothing and belongings are crucial to preventing bed bug infestations.

Bed Bug Treatment Options

When dealing with bed bug infestations, there are two main approaches to consider – professional pest control services and do-it-yourself (DIY) treatments. In this section, we will explore both options and their benefits.

Professional Pest Control Services

Hiring a reputable pest control company is an great way to handle bed bug infestations. A professional exterminator has access to various treatment methods, some of which may be more effective than what you can accomplish on your own. These methods may include:

  • Pesticides: Professionals use a range of EPA-approved chemical treatments to eliminate bed bugs.

  • Heat treatments: A popular and eco-friendly option, heat treatments involve increasing the room temperature so bed bugs cannot survive.

  • Freezing treatments: Exterminators might also use freezing temperatures to eradicate bed bugs.

  • Fungal treatments: Bed bug specialists may use Aprehend, which is a biopesticide application that utilizes a naturally occurring fungus, Beauveria bassiana, to target and control bed bug infestations

It is essential to consult with a pest control company to evaluate your infestation and determine the most suitable treatment for your situation.

DIY Treatments and Natural Solutions

If you prefer to tackle the bed bug problem yourself, there are several DIY treatments and natural solutions that you can try:

  1. Vacuuming: Thoroughly vacuum your home, especially in all crevices and seams of your mattress and furniture.
  2. Washing: Wash and dry all your bedding, clothes, and curtains at a high temperature to kill any bed bugs.
  3. Sealing: Seal any cracks or crevices around your home to prevent bed bugs from hiding or entering.
  4. Encasements: Invest in mattress and box spring covers to reduce the chances of bed bugs hiding in your bed.
  5. Traps: Place bed bug interceptors under the legs of your bed to capture any bugs trying to climb up.

For those who prefer natural solutions, consider these options:

  • Diatomaceous earth: This natural powder can be puffed into cracks and crevices or behind outlets to kill bed bugs by damaging their exoskeleton.

  • Essential oils: Some essential oils, like peppermint, tea tree, cedar, and lavender, have been found to repel or even kill bed bugs.

  • Steam and heat: A handheld steamer or a hairdryer can help eliminate bed bugs by applying high heat directly to the affected areas.

Remember, while DIY treatments and natural solutions may provide temporary relief, they might not be as effective as professional treatments. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of clothing can help protect against bed bug bites at night?

To protect yourself against bed bug bites, wear long-sleeved pajamas and pants made of tightly woven materials such as cotton or polyester. Thick material will create a barrier between your skin and the bed bugs, reducing the chances of getting bitten. Tuck them into your socks, and consider wearing gloves.

Which repellents are effective for warding off bed bugs?

While various repellents are marketed for warding off bed bugs, their effectiveness is only sometimes guaranteed. Products containing essential oils may provide some level of protection, but it’s important to remember that repellents are not a foolproof solution to bed bug problems.

bed bug crawling on skin

Are there any lotions or skin products that deter bed bug bites?

Lotions or skin products specifically designed to deter bed bug bites are scarce. However, some anecdotal evidence suggests that applying products containing menthol or eucalyptus oil may have a mild repelling effect on bed bugs. Remember that these are not guaranteed solutions and should not replace professional extermination methods.

What measures can be taken to avoid bed bug bites while staying at hotels?

When staying at hotels, check the room for signs of bed bugs, such as minor reddish-brown bugs, dark fecal spots, or shed bug skins. Read up on what to do if your hotel has bed bugs.

Keep your luggage off the floor and place it in the bathtub. Additionally, consider putting your clothes and luggage in sealed plastic bags to limit potential exposure to bed bugs.

Can bed bugs bite through typical bed covers, and how can I protect my mattress?

Bed bugs can bite through thin fabric, so regular bed covers might not offer sufficient protection. Instead, use special bed bug-proof mattress encasements to keep bed bugs from entering or escaping your mattress. They make these encasements from durable materials with tight-fitting zippers that create an effective barrier.

What natural methods exist to prevent bed bug bites?

Natural prevention methods for bed bug bites include maintaining a clutter-free and clean environment to reduce hiding spots. Essential oils like cedar, tea tree, or peppermint may have some potential repellent effects but should not be relied upon as a sole prevention method. Washing and drying your bedding regularly on high heat can also help kill any existing bed bugs.