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When You Return – How to Keep Hitchhiking Bed Bugs from Coming Home With You

How to Unpack From Your Trip and Kill Any Stowaway Bed Bugs


After you check out of the hotel, you can take steps to keep any undetected bed bugs from following you home. Before you put your luggage in the car to head home, place it in a large plastic garbage bag and knot it tightly closed.

Once you get home, unpack carefully. All clothing and other machine washable items should be laundered immediately in the hottest water allowable, and then dried on high heat for at least 30 minutes. This should kill any bed bugs that managed to stowaway.

Items that cannot be exposed to water or heat can be frozen instead, although this takes longer to destroy the bed bug eggs. Keep these belongings sealed in baggies, and place them in a freezer for a minimum of 5 days.

Electronics and other items that cannot survive such temperature extremes should be inspected thoroughly, preferably outdoors or in a garage or other area of the house with limited carpeting or furniture.

Inspect your luggage, especially soft-sided pieces. Check the zippers, lining, pockets, and any piping or seams carefully for signs of bed bugs. Ideally, you should steam clean your soft-sided luggage. Wipe down hard-sided luggage and check any fabric inner lining thoroughly.

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