How To Avoid Hotel Bed Bugs
Has the recent bed bug epidemic got you wary of travel? Rest easy during your next hotel stay and come home bed-bug free with a little bed bug know-how.
Do Your Hotel Research
Before checking in, read hotel reviews online. Here you can find helpful reviews about most hotels, including room service, cleanliness, and pest control issues. Keep in mind that one negative review does not immediately mean you should cross a hotel off your list, but multiple negative reviews involving bed bugs for a single hotel should be a red flag.
Prevention Begins With Packing
No one wants to spend a night in a hotel being devoured by bed bugs. But of even greater concern to travelers should be the possibility of bringing them home. Fortunately, strict adherence to a couple of simple preventative packing techniques can protect your belongings and your home from the introduction of bed bugs.
- Use hard-sided luggage without zippers, if possible. Bed bugs are attracted to cloth and small enough to maneuver their way through most zippers.
- Stow luggage up high, not on the floor. Most hotels provide a luggage rack, and this is best to use as bed bugs are not attracted to the metal rack and are not as likely to infest your suitcase as if it were laying on the floor or wooden dresser. In addition, live out of your suitcase as much as possible, keeping clothing out of possibly infested hotel drawers.
- Seal all items in XL sized Ziploc bags inside your suitcase. These bags should remain sealed and air-tight as much as possible while in the hotel room. If the bag is not air-tight, it is not bug proof! (Travel Space Bags are excellent because they zip and roll to eliminate excess air).
What to Check Out When You Check In
As soon as you check in to your hotel room, conduct a thorough inspection of all bed sheets and pillowcases, the mattress including seams and zippers, on and behind the headboard, around the bed frame, inside drawers, and behind wall hangings. Look for the following signs of bed bug infestation:
If you find any of these, you should request to be moved to a different room and then repeat the inspection in each new location.
- tiny black spots (excrement) on linens or other objects
- translucent light brown skin casings
- actual live bed bugs that are brown or reddish in color.
Checking Out & Arriving Home
You've come this far in your efforts to prevent bringing bed bugs home with you from your vacation-- don't slack off now! Checking out of your hotel room and then unpacking when you arrive home are perhaps the two most critical times of all to practice care and prevention.
When checking out:
- Inspect each item carefully for bed bugs or their signs before placing it in your suitcase.
- Launder your clothing in hot water if time permits, placing the freshly laundered clothing directly into an air-tight XL Ziploc bag in your suitcase. (The hot temperatures used in washing and drying cycles will kill bed bugs.)
- You may also spray Sterifab in and around your suitcase before checking out to terminate potential hitchhikers.
Upon arriving home:
- Inspect items one by one for the final time on a light-colored surface as you unpack.
- Unpack clothing directly into the washer and launder in hot water again.
- Spray suitcase all over with Sterifab as a final precautionary measure. If you already know that you encountered bed bugs on your trip, your safest bet is to place the suitcase in an airtight bag and throw it away!
Steri-Fab - this alcohol-based spray kills bed bugs, lice, ticks, lice, fleas, dust mites, fungus, bacteria, mold, mildew and it deodorizes too!
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