How to Get Rid of Bedbugs in Luggage, USA Today

How to Get Rid of Bedbugs in Luggage

Travel Tips

Bedbugs occasionally stowaway in luggage. (Photo: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images )

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If you’ve stayed in a hotel, motel or other type of lodging that experienced a bedbug infestation during your stay, it’s possible your luggage is now infested. Unlike clothing and other washables, you can’t throw your luggage into the dryer to get rid of them. Before you call an exterminator or give up and buy new luggage, save some money and get rid of the bedbugs yourself.

Items you will need

  • Garbage bags
  • Stiff scrub brush
  • Pesticide
  • Vacuum
  • Steam cleaner

Step 1

Empty your luggage and place the contents in plastic bags; seal them until you can wash them. All clothing should be washed in hot water and dried at high temperatures, at least 120 degrees, to ensure that all the bedbugs die.

Step 2

Take the luggage outside and scrub every nook and cranny with a stiff scrub brush. This will dislodge any egg clusters and dead bedbugs. Vacuum the luggage thoroughly.

Step 3

Purchase a pesticide specially formulated for bedbugs — pyrethroid chemicals, such as pyrethrin, permethrin and phenothrin are the most common active ingredients found in pesticides for bedbugs. Spray the luggage thoroughly to kill off any remaining bedbugs. Alternatively, you can rent a steam cleaner and clean the luggage two or three times to kill the bedbugs if you are concerned about the pesticide smell lingering.

Step 4

Vacuum the luggage again to suck up the dead bedbugs, then discard the vacuum bag immediately. Wrap the vacuum bag in garbage bags and tie tight knots to make sure the bedbugs can’t escape.

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Step 5

Leave the luggage to dry in the sun. Inspect it thoroughly for bedbugs. If any are still lingering, steam clean the luggage again. Repeat the process until you are certain that no bedbugs remain.

  • If you are experiencing extreme hot or cold weather, you have a natural solution to your problem. Place the luggage in garbage bags, then set it outside if it is below freezing. Alternatively, if your car’s trunk gets up to 120 degrees while sitting in the sun, you can place the sealed luggage inside it to kill the bedbugs. Leave the luggage in either condition overnight to ensure that all the bedbugs die. Vacuum the luggage the following day.


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About the Author

Jarrett Melendez is a journalist, playwright and novelist who has been writing for more than seven years. His first published work was a play titled, «Oh, Grow Up!» which he wrote and performed with a group of his classmates in 2002.

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