How to prevent bedbugs after a trip
Going on vacation should be all about fun, not a time to worry about bugs. The last thing anyone wants is to bring an unwanted visitor home from their trip. These pests can be hard to detect, and can latch onto your clothing and luggage, biting you while you sleep, without you even realizing it. To prevent bedbugs returning home with you, take a look at the following precautions. If you follow through with all of these, you can minimize your chances of an infestation, saving you time and money in the long run.
Check the hotel beds beforehand. Before you leave home, pack a small flashlight so you can inspect your hotel room more easily. Remove the sheets and inspect the mattress. If you find any dark dots beneath the seams of your hotel room bed, alert the concierge. This is a tell-tale sign of a bedbug infestation. At the very least, you should be allowed to move to a new room, though refunds should really be on the table. Go beyond just the sides and check the whole bed, including the headboard, thoroughly, looking for black dots (which are digested blood meals), eggs and the bugs themselves. Even if you don’t find anything suspicious, the best course of action is to assume the room has bedbugs and take precautions during and after your stay.
Be careful with your luggage. Never leave your suitcase open on the floor or bed. Instead, use the luggage rack. If it’s made of wood, be careful, because bedbugs like to live on wood surfaces. Ideally the luggage rack should have smooth metal legs. Bedbugs have trouble climbing smooth surfaces like this. If there’s no luggage rack or the one in the room is wood, put your bag in the bathtub. Place your shoes on top of your suitcase, and never place your clothes in the hotel’s dresser drawers.
Unpack in a safe space. When you come home from a trip, do not immediately take your luggage to your bedroom. In fact, do not even take it inside with you. Instead, unpack your belongings outside, far away from where you spend most of your time indoors. Keep your luggage in this space until you are sure no bedbugs have traveled with you.
Wash and dry your travel clothes immediately. The best way to kill bedbugs is with heat. Wash clean and dirty clothes with hot water, then dry them on the hottest setting your wares can handle. Vacuum the inside of your suitcase, too. You may want to take your suitcase to a place where it can get steam treated for further cleaning. Or, you can wash your bag by hand with a stiff brush and your typical household cleaners. Be very thorough in your post-vacation cleaning process. By leaving no seam unexamined, you can prevent a nasty infestation.
Preventing Bed Bugs From Hitchhiking to Your Home [University of Minnesota]
Ways Travelers Can Prevent a Bed Bug Infestation [Travel Ready MD]
Keep Bed Bugs From Moving in After Travel [Michigan State University]