You have probably seen lots of articles and blogs written about how to avoid bed bugs when you travel. If you weren’t planning a trip or weren’t thinking about bed bugs, you probably didn’t read them. I know I wouldn’t unless I worked where I do and talk to people on a daily basis with bed bug problems.
To summarize the articles on how to avoid bed bugs:
- put luggage in back seat and not trunk of rental car;
- never place luggage on floor or bed of hotel/motel room;
- inspect bed upon arrival for signs of bed bugs;
- keep luggage closed and zipped up while it is in the room.
But, what about if despite these precautions you bring home a few souvenir bed bugs? How can you keep this accident from becoming a large problem?
Don’t unpack your luggage in your house and by all means, don’t ever place your suitcase on your bed! That’s right, when you come home, no matter how tired you are, put the suitcases in the garage, carport, or patio. Don’t bring them in the house. If a bed bug was hitching a ride, then when he decides to go mobile, he won’t do it in your house. There isn’t much to eat or do in the garage or carport or patio so he can starve or die of loneliness. Its not your concern. Much like a vampire, you just don’t want to invite him inside.
Once you are ready to unpack, gather all your clothing and take it straight to the laundry room and into the washer. If it is more than one load, leave it outside until it can come into the washer. If your clothing is not washable, then put it in the dryer on high heat for 20 minutes.. That will kill any hidden bugs.
Once the luggage is empty, carefully inspect all the creases and folds, especially the lining. A flashlight can make this job easier. Look for hidden bugs. If you own a dry heat steamer (like the Vapamore Primo) this is a great time to steam the inside and outside of the suitcase. Even if you don’t see signs of bugs, its a good idea to freshen up your suitcase on occasion, just for hygiene purposes. Make sure the item is completely dry, zip it closed and now you can store it. Because I keep my suitcases in a closet that contains off-season clothing, I never put my suitcase right away. It doesn’t hurt the suitcase or take up too much room in my garage if I keep it out there for 7 to 10 days just to be sure. Not that I have a paranoid fear of bed bugs, but like I said, I talk to people every day that bring the buggers home from a trip.
If you have one of our zippered bed bug covers already on your bed, you know that no matter where they roam, the bed bug won’t make it into your mattress. That is also a comforting feeling when you get back in your own bed after a long trip. Dorothy was right, there really is no place like home. Just don’t share yours with bed bugs.
Til Next Time!