Will Washing Machine Kill Maggots, Fleas, Ticks, Mold, & Roaches?

By - Ron Singh

Updated -

There’s nothing more irritating than to find these insects in your clothes. You begin to wonder if you should dispose of the clothes, wash them or call the pest company to help with it.

If you then decide to do your laundry, you wonder if your washing machine can kill them.

Well, you’re not the only one who falls into this category. I recently found a roach in my clothes before washing them and proceeded with my laundry.

Yes, a washing machine can kill larvae, fleas, and roaches, except ticks, after it heats the water used in washing the cloth. It can even remove mold found in your cloth if you add bleach to the water in the washing machine. However, this is just a temporary solution, and remove these pests from your clothes and not your home.

In this article, I will explain how your washing machine kills larvae, fleas, ticks, mold, and roaches. Also, what to do to eliminate them in your washing machine. 

By the end of the article, you will know if you can go ahead with washing cloth with larvae, ticks, fleas, mold, and roaches in the washing machine and be sure it will eliminate them.

Will a Washing Machine Kill Maggots?  

Will Washing Machine Kill Maggots, Fleas, Ticks, Mold, Roaches

Yes, a washing machine can kill maggots found in your cloth. You need not wait to call the pest company to help if it’s still inside your cloth and not elsewhere in your home.

Immediately, you put on your washing machine with the maggot-infested clothes in it; the larvae stand of chance of making it out of there.

Put your maggot-infested clothes in the machine and add water and detergent. The washing machine heats the water, and the heat from the water kills the larvae in the cloth.

Adding bleach to the washing machine can also quicken the maggot’s death. However, you can kill larvae in your cloth without turning on the washing machine.

You only need to find the spot where they will die of dehydration. You can also ensure they are dead by setting your washing machine to 194°F.

When set to this high temperature, the larvae stand no chance of surviving. Ensure that after washing your maggot-infested cloth in your washing machine, you properly clean the machine to avoid future infestation of this pest.

After washing maggot-infested cloth in your washing machine and you still find them in your cloth, there’s a problem with your washer.

Will a Washing Machine Kill Fleas? 

Yes, a washing machine can kill fleas in whatever stage in their life as long as they are in heat and soap. 

There is no guarantee that your washing machine can kill all fleas. Ensure you set your washing machine’s temperature to at least 95°F; this should take out most of the fleas in the cloth.

So, if you place your flea-infested cloth in a washing machine, the heat the machine creates kills the flea alongside the detergent added to it.

Note that placing your flea-infested cloth in your washing machine cannot ordinarily kill a flea, but the presence of detergent and heat.

The table below shows ways to increase your washing machine’s chances of killing fleas.

High-TemperatureSmall LoadsAdditives
Use high temperatures to wash without damaging the fabric.Wash in smaller quantities to eliminate fleas.Add laundry additives that help with fleas during washing.

Most detergent contains an acid known as Boric acid, which can kill a flea. Hence, it is important to use water and add detergent while washing flea-infested clothes.

Washing flea-infested clothes in your washing machine only ensure that your clothes are flea-free and don’t guarantee your home is free.

So, you must take extra precautions to ensure your home is free from this pest.

Will a Washing Machine Kill Ticks? 

No, your washing machine cannot kill ticks. That’s because they are tough to kill, unlike other insects. Even after setting your machine high and adding detergent, it won’t die.

You can kill a tick in a washing machine first by using the dryer to kill the tick before putting them in the washer to wash. 

Set your dryer to 15 minutes to kill the tick. An extra five minutes if you’re using an electric dryer. 

The dryness and lack of moisture in the dryer kill the tick as they require moisture to survive. The dryer sucks the moisture from its body, leaving it dead.

You must put the tick-infested cloth in a dryer for a couple of minutes to dry off the tick in it.

Then go ahead with putting your cloth in a washing machine. After ensuring you’ve successfully cleaned your cloth and it’s free from ticks.

You need to check your surroundings and body to see if a tick has attached itself to you. You can take the appropriate steps to rid yourself of these bothersome ticks.

Will a Washing Machine Kill Mold? 

Yes, a washing machine can kill mold. Just like you use washing machines to kill roaches and maggots with hot water and detergent, it’s the same with mold.

You only need to add bleach to the washing machine with hot water and detergent and get rid of the mold. Let the bleach on the affected clothes for a while before washing them.

You can also use other items apart from bleach to kill mold, and they are;

  • Vinegar
  • Borax

#1. Bleach

Although you can add bleach to the washing machine to remove the mold in clothes, it is very effective but only sometimes advisable.

That’s because the chemical in bleach is high and can damage some fabric materials, so it isn’t good to use it on some clothes. It’s best if you wear it only in white cloth.

If you decide to use bleach to kill mold, ensure you take proper precautions and wear rubber gloves, and you should keep the place properly ventilated.

#2. Vinegar

You can use white distilled vinegar to kill mold and remove the musty smell from your cloth. Add 250ml of vinegar per cycle to your washing machine and wash as usual.

Ensure you do not use vinegar with bleach to avoid chlorine poisoning. Just vinegar is fine and will eliminate the mold in the cloth due to its acidity.

You can also soak the cloth with vinegar the night before you put them in the washing machine to prevent them from growing again.

#3. Borax

You can use Borax to kill mold. You only need to add it to your washing machine as per the instructions to wash your clothes and eliminate the mold in them.

Will a Washing Machine Kill Roaches?

Yes, a washing machine can kill roaches if it’s turned on. As long as your washing machine is on and working with detergent, the roaches stand no chance against the heat and will die.

If the machine is off, there are places for the roaches to hide, and they can survive there.

But, if your machine’s temperature is over 125°F, the roaches will die as they can’t withstand high heat.

If you notice that the roaches aren’t dead yet, increase the rinse time to an hour, as roaches can hold their breath for 40 minutes.

By increasing the rinse time, they’ll drown in the water if they escape death by heat and detergent.

You can also add bleach to the washing machine to quicken the roaches’ death. To ensure the roaches die, you can put the cloth in a dryer and leave it for 30 minutes. 


In summary, using detergents like Borax and hot water, a washing machine can kill roaches, larvae, and fleas.

It can also work for mold; you only need to add bleach or vinegar to eliminate the mold. As for ticks, you need to dry the cloth to kill the tick before putting it in the washing machine.

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