Bed bug infestations are on the rise across North America, Europe and Australia. They aren’t known to spread diseases, but they do leave red, itchy bites on people, making them a major pain and frustration! On top of that, bed bugs are also very difficult and expensive to get rid of (an exterminator can charge upwards of $1,200!), so it’s worth taking these preventative measures.
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Inspect hotel mattresses. If you go on vacation, it’s a good habit to do a quick inspection of your mattress before you hit the hay, because bed bugs are usually picked up in hotels. You’re looking for the bugs themselves (they’re small and brown) or for the rust-colored smudges they leave behind. Don’t just do a quick glance at the mattress. Check out the box springs and visible parts of the headboard – especially along the bottom, sides and in-between any cracks or crevices. Note: Bed bugs hate light, so they’ll go to great lengths to hide from it.
Don’t unpack in your bedroom. When you return from your awesome trip, don’t immediately dump your suitcase in your bedroom. Bed bugs like to travel home with your luggage, so if you visit a city that’s known for bed bugs (or if you saw something on the hotel mattress), unpack your suitcase far, far away from your bedroom. We recommend unpacking in your laundry room and washing your clothes immediately, just in case.
Disinfect your suitcase. Once your suitcase is empty, it’s still not time for it to go in your bedroom (or closet). Instead, disinfect it by putting it in a large garbage bag. Tie the bag tightly and place your suitcase out of the way (a garage or mudroom is perfect for this). After two weeks, any bed bug-stowaways will have been suffocated. Tip: If you use travel pillows, be sure to clean them before they go back in your closet.
Only buy new bedding. We’re all about being green and saving money, but mattresses and bedding are hands-down worth buying new. To get the best price on a new mattress, read our Mattress Buying Guide. If you see a beautiful bed set on the side of the road, remember that it’s probably there for a reason. Resist the urge to bring it home! Mattresses aren’t the only things you shouldn’t buy used – check out these seven items you should leave at the thrift store!