Many people have to deal with an ant infestation in the laundry basket at least once in their life. These insects are attracted to dirty clothes.
Can You Wash Clothes With Ants on Them? You can wash clothes with ants on them, as a soapy solution can kill them by dissolving the waxy layer. These can reach the laundry basket due to sweaty odor, food stains, moisture, perfume odor, dirt or debris, and darkness or warmth in the washer. Soak the clothes in soapy water and then run them at a regular cycle and the ideal temperature to kill ants.
Detergents can kill insects as they dissolve hard outer skeletons on their muscular bodies and make them prone to death as they lose the ability to retain water.
Why would you wash clothes with ants on them?
Ants can damage clothes if you do not remove them after finding long trails toward the laundry basket, as they can chew cotton or a few other types of fabric over time.
You can kill ants by washing as dropping infested fabric in a soapy solution can break their tough outer covering. It gets dissolved within detergent and leads to the drying of their bodies.
This detergent solution sticks to their bodies and causes suffocation when they cannot breathe within the water, and stored oxygen gets dissipated after the destruction of an exoskeleton.
Furthermore, maintenance of high temperatures, vigorous shaking, and detergent action can act harshly on these tiny creatures and make them die.
So, you can wash them with ants on them to get rid of them, as most of these insects cannot survive after 2 to 3 cycles.
What makes ants reach laundry clothes?
There are different reasons for ants to come on laundry clothes, but the most common is an odor of dirty and sweaty shirts that seems pleasant to them.
Food remains or stains
Commonly, dirty clothes have stains of food or juices that can allure the receptors of insects even if they get dried. These little insects can reach the laundry basket by detecting food odor.
Food crumbs can also be present on a dirty apron as it usually contains dry powders or some food stains when something gets dropped from hand.
They are attracted to fresh stains of ink that are usually found on the shirts of an office person or children using the pen for writing.
Presence of moisture
Some people do not dry their wet clothes when they come home during rain and drop them directly into the laundry basket after changing.
In the same way, a wet towel and even highly humid bathroom or laundry area conditions can increase the overall moisture content and create a damp environment.
These insects like to live in moist environments, so they get attracted to the laundry basket and move inside the soft fabric folds, which can only be removed after washing or spraying a repellent like vinegar.
Unwashed laundry produces an unappealing odor that is considered pleasant by the moths as they like to live in dirty clothes. The moist and dark environment within the basket can attract moths.
Ants can reach laundry in search of moths as these are one of the deadly predators of moths in addition to a few other insects like termites, flies, and caterpillars.
So, you have to deal with the moth infestations to get control over the entry of insects, as these insects will make every possible effort to reach moths and eat them.
Odor of sweat
The odor of sweat feels tangy and sour or smells like onions are pleasant for insects and allure them.
It is better to air dry them before adding them to a pile of dirty clothes as it can attract ants inside the basket. In addition, this entry can be damaging as these begin to live inside until disturbance.
Sweat contains salt and sugars that can become a source of nutrition for these insects wandering in search of salt and minerals as they usually have lesser opportunities to eat salts.
Accordingly, the presence of sweat drops or stains can become a treasure trove for them and helps meet their body requirements.
Odor of perfumes and dirt
Ants get attracted to pleasant odors as their smell receptors are diverse enough to detect small differences in the molecular structure of different aromas.
They differentiate odors as good and bad, and the criteria are the strength of a smell. Mild odors do not irritate them, but they avoid dominant smells because their pheromone trails get disrupted.
In the same way, the smell of perfumes stays for a long even if you have worn them for a whole day, which can capture the attention of these insects, resulting in long trails towards the basket.
Dirty places mimic their natural habitat as they commonly live within the soil so that they can reach the laundry in case of dirt or debris within it.
I frequently clean the basket to avoid accumulating dirt and debris and to get rid of these nuisance pests.
Darkness and warmth in the washer
They build underground mounds, needing a dark environment and warmth for survival. They prefer to live in warm conditions to mate and produce eggs.
These are two basic requirements of ants for selecting any place as a nesting spot, as they feel comfortable in the dark. Washers can also attract them inside due to damp and dark environments.
How do you wash clothes with ants on them?
Washing infested clothes is an easy and convenient method to get rid of ants from them, but it requires more than one cycle and maintenance of a proper temperature.
Add water and detergent into the washer and drop 2 to 3 shirts within it without stuffing all of them at once.
Keep the washer closed for almost an hour and allow a soapy solution to act. You can also add a small amount of vinegar solution in the laundry to repel them away in addition to detergent.
After that, set the machine for 2 to 3 cycles and a lightly warm temperature that does not affect fabric quality and check them properly before shifting to the dryer.
Dry clothes properly before folding and arranging them within the closet, as moisture drops can attract them again and create a problem.
Is it possible for ants to survive in a washing machine?
Ants can survive in the washer or even a dryer if you have not used them for long. However, a dark environment and warmth within the washing machine can attract them inside.
Most commonly, sugar, pharaoh, and flying ants prefer to live in a washing machine as these are common household pests looking for a safe spot to live and multiply.
They can get an entry from a broken door seal and reach close to the detergent dispenser. So you have to fix the broken seals to restrict their entries within a washer.
In addition, keep the machines clean and store dirty clothes in a sealed container where these insects cannot reach them because the sweaty odor can allure their receptors.
You can also spray a lemon or vinegar solution within the machine to repel these insects as they get irritated by strong odors that can wipe out their pheromone trails.