How To Clean Your Luggage From Bed Bugs? Here’s How!

By James Smith
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After you’ve been on a vacation traveling through different countries and then arriving home to your shock you see you have bed bugs in your suitcase.

I was also wondering if I had any bed bugs so wanted to find information on about how to clean your luggage from bed bugs?

Empty your luggage and put all your belongings into a sealed plastic bag since the belongings might have bed bugs too (launder the belongings medium/high heat then put it back into the plastic bags). Take the luggage outside or in a garage vacuum the suitcase completely using a brush. Wash the suitcase with soapy water and take a scrub brush along the seams and the pockets. If you can heat-treat the luggage.

Even if you don’t know you have bed bugs it’s important to check for bed bugs, when you are traveling you encounter places where a lot of people have been such as hotels, motels or bed & breakfasts.

Heres a more detailed way to clean the luggage step by step:

  1. Unpack the suitcase, put all your belongings in sealed plastic bags or trash bags. The bed bugs might have crawled into your luggage if you have had the luggage near your bed, so placing belongings inside bags will make it sure so you don’t drop any bed bugs in your house. Make sure to unpack somewhere you don’t want the bed bugs to be for example outside, in your garage or backyard. Also, don’t bring any stuff that has been close to your bed where you stayed at into your home before it’s cleaned, you can either kill the bugs with cold or heat.
  2. Launder the belongings, if possible put the belongings you can into the dryer on around medium or high-heat on for 30 minutes at least since that will kill all the bugs, eggs and bed bugs. So wash on the highest heat the clothes and all can handle, then when done put all the clean belongings back into the plastic bags.
  3. Vacuum the luggage, use your vacuum on the maximum power with a brush or the crevice tool. Then vacuum all the pockets and around the suitcase make sure you get every spot you can. After you’re done close the vacuum bag you can seal it with tape so no bed bugs will escape. If you unpacked the luggage under bright light you can see if you see any bed bugs and if any bed bugs are on the floor you can vacuum. You can also use bug spray if you have here and vacuum again.
  4. Wash the suitcase, Use a scrub brush with some soapy water or other cleaning products and scrub all the seams, pockets, corners and seams. And if you have or can use a steam heater to heat the luggage that will make sure no bed bugs are alive.

That’s it should be clean now and no need to worry about bed bugs, many throw away the suitcase and clothes if they suspect it has bed bugs but you can actually clean it and it won’t be a problem.

Remember that high heat temperatures are very effective at killing bed bugs.

If needed you can turn to the professionals, you can talk to your state pesticide agency for help about hiring professional pest control help. But if nothing has worked for you or you don’t think it’s worth you can pay the price and buy a new suitcase.

How to prevent and protect bed bugs for your luggage

The bed bugs often travel between furniture and items so it can easily travel from a bed to your luggage for example. So how to prevent this is quite simple and good to keep in mind.

What you need to do is to minimize the contact between the hotel floors and your luggage, so, for example, some hotels have metal racks you can keep your luggage on to prevent it touching the floor and the carpet.

It’s not the most comfortable and kinda awkward to live off your suitcases on the racks or closets but that is probably the best way to prevent bed bugs in your luggage.

Another way is to use large Ziploc bags or just large plastic bags to keep the suitcase in while in the hotel.

But what is recommended is before you put out all your luggage or put the luggage on a metal rack you can inspect the room to see if there are any traces of bed bugs first of all.

So use a bright flashlight and you can actually see small bed bugs with your eyes, so check for any stains and bugs along the bed mattress, pillows, the floor around the bed, baseboards, the carpet, curtains and the furniture such as dressers, drawers, and closets. Just do a quick inspection before if you want to be sure it’s nice and clean to unpack your luggage.

Another way to confirm is to ask the people at the front desk when your room was last inspected and how they handle bed bugs and such.

Why do you get bed bugs in your luggage

Bed bugs travel around and often hitchhike with your luggage from hotel rooms. They can travel with you by your clothing, luggage, and furniture, why they do that is when they are moving around and laying eggs it might happen your luggage is what they attach to. Bed bugs are tiny and super sneaky if you think you have bedbugs don’t panic and do the steps above to get rid of them.

Do plastic bags for bed bugs on suitcase work?

Yes, you could use a plastic zip bag that fits your luggage and is sealable because that way your whole suitcase is protected.

Since it’s sealed and plastic around the bag there’s no way the bed bugs could get in.

So if you really want to stay fully protected against bed bugs that’s an option even though its a little extra work.

Does bed bug spray for luggage work?

Yes, bug sprays will work for bed bugs as well. These water base ready to use sprays have the active ingredient Permethrin which is used to kill all kinds of bugs and insects such as fleas, ticks, spiders and other insects. Make sure that you spray generously for it to have an effect. This one from Amazon will do the job.

Does heat treat luggage bed bugs

If the heat treat luggage reaches up to 117 degrees Fahrenheit to 122 F then the bed bugs and the eggs will not survive. There is some suitcase that has a feature to heat up the luggage and supposedly kills the bed bugs.

How to know if you brought bed bugs home

First, you can actually see with your eyes the bed bugs they are tiny rusty brown color. So look around your bed, your mattress, the head of your bed and furniture. Another sign is if you have any raches or bug bites but not all individuals will respond to bug bites.

Lastly, you can look for red rusty looking stains on your bed sheets or on your bed mattress that can be a sign for bed bugs.

Conclusion

Bed bugs can easily be brought home if they latch onto your luggage or clothing while sleeping at a motel or hotel. The bed bugs are not dangerous but they do leave bite marks and if you scratch a lot on them it can leave a skin infection.

If you do get bed bugs in your luggage do not fear you can get rid of them and clean the bags with the steps I listed above.

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Hi, I'm James Smith, I love traveling and always looking to optimize the traveling life to make it as comfortable and stress-free as possible. I especially love to nerd out about choosing the right luggage.

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