How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in Luggage in the Summer
If you have been traveling and notice that somewhere along the line your suitcase becomes infested with bed bugs, don’t bring it inside your house or apartment. The insects can quickly spread throughout your home and then you will have a serious problem on your hands. Here are a few suggestions to clean out your luggage without the use of harsh chemicals.
What you Will Need
Plastic bags without holes
Hot vehicle and/or a Steam Cleaner
How to Clean Out your Suitcase During the Summer
Step 1: When you arrive home after a trip, leave your luggage in the trunk of your car or in the back seat in the hot sun for at least two hours. The internal temperature of your car on a very hot day (87 degrees F or greater) can reach over 100 degrees. It takes about 120 degrees to actually kill all of the bed bugs, so this may not reach insects that are hidden deep in your bag. After you leave the luggage in the car for a few hours, remove it from your vehicle and place it on the ground (preferable a dry area such as the pavement).
Step 2: Unpack your clothing. As you do, search each article thoroughly to locate any visible insects. Use a vacuum cleaner, paper towel, or other means to kill the insects. Place all inspected clothing in a plastic bag such as a new garbage bag.
Step 3: Take your clothing and immediately place them in the dryer on high heat for at least 20 minutes to kill any eggs that may be lurking in your clothing.
Step 4: After drying your clothing immediately wash them with hot water (if possible) and dry again.
NOTE: If your clothing needs to be dry cleaned, take the garments to the dry cleaners and request immediate service.
Step 5: Once your garments are washed and dried, place them in Ziploc bags. Observe the bags to see if any visible signs of bed bugs exist after a few days.
Step 6: To clean out the luggage, vacuum the entire bag to include the zippers, small pockets, interior and exterior surfaces.
Step 7: Wipe down all areas or use a scrub brush (this can be a clean tooth brush to reach in small crevices) where it is not possible to vacuum. Allow the bag to sit in the hot sun for two or three days to kill off any eggs that may still be attached.
Step 8: Vacuum and inspect the bag each day for new infestation. Store the bag in a garage or other exterior location if possible.
NOTE: If you have to bring it back into the house, place the entire suitcase in a large plastic garbage bag and tie it closed. This may help eliminate the pest if you have missed any.
Take the time to clean everything thoroughly. Make sure you do not bring in bed bugs on your clothing or in your shoes as you clean and inspect everything. Even if you don’t find the bugs in your hotel room, you may want to follow these steps when you return from a trip because you could pick up some stowaways in the luggage compartment of the plane, train, cruise ship, or bus.
In addition to cleaning your luggage and clothing, you may want to steam clean your home to prevent any missed bugs from multiplying in your home even if you do find them in your luggage. It seems inevitable that we will encounter this pesky insect, but taking time to clean thoroughly may keep them out of your home.