Can Chiggers Stay in Your Clothes? (How Long Can Chiggers Live On Clothes)

Chiggers can stay in your clothes for a small amount of time while they look for an opening to your skin to feed. Though chiggers usually won’t stick around for too long, it’s important to get them off of your clothes before they can take a bite out of you!

Are you planning a camping trip and want to do everything you can to avoid these pesky insects? Keep reading to find out more information on chiggers, how to prevent and treat bites, and how to get them out of your clothes! 

Getting Chiggers on Your Clothes

If you like the outdoors, you’ve probably been exposed to chiggers—these pesky mites live all over the world and are found most often in temperate woodlands and grassy fields. Chiggers can latch onto your clothes while you’re walking through tall grass and bushes. So what can you do about it? 

How long do chiggers last on clothes?

Chiggers will likely not last on your clothes for more than a few hours. Chiggers need a meal 3-4 times a day, so they’re driven to find a host to feed on to proceed to the next stage of their life cycle (the nymph). As such, they don’t want to spend all their time hanging out on your clothing

How can I get chiggers out of my clothes? 

According to Texas A;M University, you should wash your clothes immediately after exposure to chigger habitats. When you get home, take off any clothes you were wearing and immediately put them in your washing machine. Washing with hot water and detergent followed by a hot drying cycle will kill any unfortunate chiggers that decide to hitch a ride. 

Do chiggers get under your clothes?

Chiggers are nearly microscopic, so they’re small enough to move through loosely-woven fibres. Chiggers also tend to migrate underneath clothing through openings such as pant legs. 

What clothes are best to wear to prevent chigger bites?

When you’re venturing into chigger territory, it’s best to wear loose-fitting, tightly-woven fabrics. Make sure you’re totally covered with long sleeves, long pants, and socks. Keep your clothing tucked (shirts tucked into pants and pants tucked into socks) to prevent chiggers from getting under your clothes. 

Chiggers at Home

So you’ve returned from the wilderness and removed the chiggers from your clothes. But is there a risk of chiggers infesting your home or pets? Are there chiggers living closer than you thought? 

Can chiggers infest my house?

Chiggers won’t infest your home like some other pests can (looking at you, bedbugs). That’s lucky, but it doesn’t make them any less gross! 

However, chiggers may find a suitable home in your yard! Chiggers prefer damp vegetation and partial sun, meaning you could have prime chigger real estate in your backyard—literally! 

How can I control chiggers in my yard? 

Chiggers have specific habitats and won’t stay in areas that don’t meet their needs. You can prevent chiggers in your yard using these simple steps:

  • Mow your lawn. Chiggers prefer taller, denser grass. 
  • Clear overgrowth or weeds. This reduces shady spaces and eliminates the chigger’s natural habitat.
  • Reduce watering. Removing a water source can be detrimental to the chigger’s development and reproduction, as adults deposit their eggs in damp soil. 
  • Apply pesticides. If you can’t get the chiggers to go away, you may need to up the ante by applying pesticides to your yard. Always be sure to take the appropriate safety precautions and follow all instructions. You can also consider contacting a pest control professional. 

Can chiggers live in your bed?

Just like your clothing, chiggers can’t live for too long in your bed. Unlike bedbugs, chiggers can’t take up residence in your mattress and keep biting you. In fact, if one happens to fall off of you before completing its feedings, it will likely die before it can find another suitable host! 

Can chiggers live on your pet?

Unfortunately, yes. Humans aren’t even the preferred hosts for many types of chiggers, and chiggers can be found on all kinds of animals! 

If you’ve taken your pet with you on a hike, it’s a good idea to bathe them with shampoo and warm water once you’re home. Any chiggers that may have latched onto your pet will fall off and die during this process. You can also wash your pet’s bed with hot water for added safety. 

Chigger Bites

Chigger bites are itchy, uncomfortable, and gross! Additionally, chigger bites can last up to two weeks! So what should you do if you’ve been bitten, and how can you stop it from happening next time? 

How can I prevent chigger bites?

Preventing chigger bites is simple!

  • Wear loose-fitting, tightly-woven clothing. It’s more difficult for chiggers to penetrate tight fibres, and they won’t be able to get to your skin as easily through loose-fitting clothes. 
  • Keep your clothes tucked in. This eliminates easy access for chiggers and keeps them on the outside!
  • Avoid sitting or lying directly on the ground. Chiggers inhabit the soil and low vegetation, which is why they usually bite around the ankles. It’s also why lying down in the dirt definitely isn’t a good idea!
  • Apply insect repellant. Repellents that contain DEET are effective against chiggers and can be applied to your skin and clothing. Reapply every few hours for optimal protection! 
  • Shower. After you’ve stripped your clothes off, take a hot shower to get rid of any chiggers that may be clinging to your skin! 

How can I treat chigger bites?

Okay, you’ve got chigger bites. Now what? 

  • Don’t scratch! Chigger bites are super itchy, but giving in and scratching them will only worsen your skin. If any bumps or pustules form, leave them alone! Bursting one can lead to infection. 
  • Take a hot bath. Scrubbing in a hot bath or shower can provide some relief from itching as well as clean up your skin. 
  • Take antihistamines. Over-the-counter antihistamines can give relief from chigger bite itching. Both oral and topical (think calamine lotion) will work! 
  • Apply antiseptic. If your skin has been irritated by scratching or rubbing against your clothing, applying antiseptic ointment will help protect your broken skin against infection.