While it may seem unlikely, some spiders can survive a full cycle in the washing machine. According to a study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology1, brown recluse spiders can survive being washed in a washing machine. In the study, over 2,000 brown recluse spiders were found in a home in Kansas, and several had been washed in the washing machine without being killed.
The study states that the spiders were not intentionally placed in the washing machine and were likely accidentally trapped in clothing or bedding.
It’s important to note that not all spiders are able to survive a trip through the washing machine. Some spiders have a tougher exoskeleton that can withstand the force of the water and detergent, while others may drown or be crushed. Washing machines with higher water temperatures or longer wash cycles may be more likely to kill spiders.
Can Spiders Survive the Washing Machine?
Some spiders may be able to survive the wash cycle, others are unlikely to make it out alive. In this section, we’ll explore the science behind spider survival and the factors that can affect whether a spider will survive a trip through the wash.
The Science Behind Spider Survival
Spiders are incredibly resilient creatures that have adapted to survive in a wide range of environments. They have a number of adaptations that help them survive in harsh conditions, including the ability to go without food and water for extended periods of time. However, when it comes to surviving a trip through the washing machine, spiders face a number of challenges.
One of the biggest challenges spiders face when exposed to water is the risk of drowning. Spiders breathe through small openings in their exoskeleton called spiracles. When a spider is submerged in water, its spiracles become clogged, and the spider is unable to breathe. This can quickly lead to drowning and death.
Another challenge spiders face when exposed to water is the risk of desiccation. While some species of spiders are adapted to living in moist environments, others are not. When exposed to water, spiders that are not adapted to living in moist environments can quickly become dehydrated, which can lead to death.
Factors That Affect Spider Survival
Whether a spider will survive a trip through the washing machine depends on a number of factors, including the species of spider, its size, and the length of time it spends in the wash. Some species of spiders are more adapted to living in moist environments than others, and are therefore more likely to survive a trip through the wash.
The size of the spider can also affect its chances of survival. Smaller spiders are more likely to be able to cling to clothing or other items and avoid being washed away. Larger spiders, on the other hand, may be more likely to drown or become trapped in the wash.
The length of time a spider spends in the wash can also affect its chances of survival. The longer a spider is exposed to water, the greater the risk of drowning or desiccation.
Whether a spider will survive a trip through the washing machine depends on a number of factors, including the species of spider, its size, and the length of time it spends in the wash.
While some spiders may be able to survive the wash cycle, others are unlikely to make it out alive. If you’re concerned about the presence of spiders in your clothing or other items, it’s always best to shake them out before washing to avoid any potential harm to the spiders or damage to your washing machine.
What to Do If You Find a Spider in Your Washing Machine
If you have found a spider in your washing machine, you may be wondering what to do next. Here are some steps to follow:
Removing Spiders from Your Washing Machine
- Turn off the washing machine and unplug it from the power source.
- Open the lid or door of the washing machine and use a pair of tongs or gloves to remove the spider.
- If the spider has already been washed, you may need to clean the washing machine. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct cleaning process.
Preventing Spiders from Entering Your Washing Machine
- Keep your washing machine clean and free of debris.
- Store laundry in a sealed container or bag to prevent spiders from crawling inside.
- Regularly check and clean the areas around your washing machine, including the hoses and drainage pipes, to prevent spiders from entering.
- Consider using natural spider repellents, such as peppermint oil or vinegar, around your washing machine.
Remember that spiders are generally harmless and play an important role in the ecosystem. If you are concerned about spiders in your home, it is best to contact a pest control professional for advice.
Washing machines are not a hospitable environment for spiders. The combination of water, detergent, and the mechanical agitation of the machine can be fatal to spiders. However, whether or not a spider can survive a trip through the washing machine depends on several factors such as the species of spider, the size of the spider, and the duration of the wash cycle.
If you accidentally wash a spider with your laundry, it is unlikely to survive. However, if you find a spider in your clothes before washing them, it is best to remove it and release it outside. This is not only more humane but also prevents the spider from potentially damaging your washing machine.
It is important to note that spiders play a vital role in the ecosystem, as they are natural predators of insects and other arthropods. Therefore, it is important to treat them with respect and not harm them unnecessarily.
While spiders may not survive a trip through the washing machine, it is always best to take precautions to avoid harming them. If you do find a spider in your clothes, it is best to remove it and release it outside, rather than risking its life in the washing machine.
- Richard S. Vetter , Diane K. Barger, An Infestation of 2,055 Brown Recluse Spiders (Araneae: Sicariidae) and No Envenomations in a Kansas Home: Implications for Bite Diagnoses in Nonendemic Areas , Journal of Medical Entomology, Volume 39, Issue 6, 1 November 2002, Pages 948–951, https://doi.org/10.1603/0022-2585-39.6.948
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.