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Don’t bring bedbugs home from vacation

Five years ago, many people thought that bedbugs were just a myth from a children’s nursery rhyme. It’s become apparent recently that bedbugs are not only real, but that they are a major concern—especially for travelers.

No one wants to come home from vacation covered in bedbug bites or, even worse, to bring the pests home with them. This very real epidemic should be in the forefront of the mind of every person planning a family trip—specifically if a hotel stay is involved.

Bedbugs often live in sheets and other fabrics, and are transported from hotel room furniture and beds, to humans and luggage and carried home. Because there is an understanding of how the insects travel, there are ways to keep them away from your family.

Bag it all up

Packing garbage bags for your next trip is an excellent preparedness step to take at the start. Choose a large variety that will hold an entire suitcase.

When it’s time to pack up to head home, place every piece of luggage into the plastic bags you packed. This will prevent the spread of bugs to your car on the way home. It’s the first and one of the most important steps.

Strip it all down

Upon your return to your home. If at all possible (perhaps leave a change of clothes or towels in your garage before you leave), strip out of anything that has been in the hotel in your garage or somewhere concealed outside. Take the clothes that you had been wearing and put them directly into the dryer. Remove the clothes from your suitcase and do the same.

Remember to leave the suitcases in the garage. It will free up your closets for storage and will keep any bugs still attached out of your home. If you use carry-on bags instead of suitcases, follow the same routine as with the clothes.

It seems a little backward

Yes, you read correctly, put the clothes from your travels in the dryer first. Dryers tend to kill bedbugs, so taking the extra step of drying before adding them to the wash cycle is your best bet. Will it use more energy? Yes. Will it add an extra step to ensure that bedbugs don’t make it into your home? Yes. It’s worth the effort.

So there you have it, bag, strip and dry. By following these steps, your likelihood of bringing bedbugs home from your trip decreases dramatically. And that assurance is sometimes worth all the trouble in the world.