How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in Luggage in the Winter
Many people travel during the winter to escape the snow and ice at home. While traveling, if you discover you have brought home some unwanted pests (bed bugs) in your luggage from the hotel, airport, or bus station, you need to take immediate action to clean up the problem before the bed bugs infest your home. Because you do not have access to a hot car in the winter, it may be more challenging to eliminate unwanted pests in your luggage. Trying to freeze them out may take a few weeks and that is not typically an option. To eliminate the pest quickly you will need to acquire a steam cleaner to assist you in the process. Here are few suggestions on cleaning out your luggage during the winter months.
What You Will Need
Plastic bags without holes
How to Clean out your Suitcase During the Winter
Step 1: The first thing you need to do is remove all clothing from your luggage and place in plastic bags. Other sites suggest shaking out your clothes. Please do not shake the clothes as this may create a larger problem than you expect. Simply inspect the clothing for any live bed bugs as you remove the clothing from the luggage. Kill any bugs as you see them.
Step 2: Dry your clothes (on a high heat setting for at least 20 minutes), wash (perferable in hot water), and dry as detailed for summer removal.
Step 3: Place all clothing into Ziploc brand plastic bags and seal tightly.
Step 4: Using your steam cleaner, steam clean the entire suitcase inside and out. Keep your eyes open for any signs of live bugs or eggs. Plan to repeat this step a few times in the next 10 days to ensure all insects are eliminated.
NOTE: You can typically rent commercial steamers such as the Rug Doctor from Home Depot or Meijer as well as other locations. Hand held steam cleaners can also be used to clean out your luggage, but investing in a McCulloch MC-1275 for about $110 at Home Depot may be the best option. If your luggage is old and you simply want to throw it away, wrap the luggage in plastic and clearly mark it with “BED BUGS” so no one else takes your problem home with them.
If you plan on keeping the luggage, steam clean it 3 or 4 times to ensure the insects are eliminated. Do this over a 7 to 10 day period to catch any new hatchlings that have emerged during the week.
Step 5: After your bag is clean, place it in a large plastic bag and store it, preferable in an area away from your sleeping area. Inspect it before you use it again to see if any signs of bed bugs are present.
These steps can help to prevent the spread of bed bugs. Take your time and make sure your items are clean before you bring them into your dwelling. Good luck keeping the bed bugs out!