How To Get Bed Bugs Out Of Suitcase? (Full Guide)

Bed bugs are annoying pests, and finding them in your clothes, suitcase or backpack when you travel is frustrating, Yikes.

I’ve had my fair share of experience with bed bugs during my trips within the US and outside the country, and I understand the stress it can cause. 

So in this post I will share my personal experience with you and provide some tips to get bed bugs out of your suitcase especially on soft bags and backpacks, I will also share some tips to prevent those vampires from getting into your suitcase.

Let’s get straight into it.

Bed bugs on a suitcase with clothes

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How To Identify Bed Bugs in a Suitcase?

Bed bugs are tiny reddish-brown insects that look like a small apple seed. They are flat, with a shape of an egg before feeding but after they get a good meal they turn into a dark red balloon shape.

  • Color and size: As I mentioned above bed bugs are tiny creatures with a reddish brown color, and when they feed they turn to darker red.
  • Eggs: bed bugs eggs are visible, with a tiny white oval shape (about 1mm).

And here is how to identify them in your suitcase:

  • Live bed bugs: the obvious way to know if your suitcase has bed bugs is to look for any moving insects, bed bugs can be noticed but they can be easily missed, so you will need to check the corners and the hidden gems of the suitcase.
  • Stains: bed bugs leave stains that look like black dots, and if bed bugs live in a suitcase for a while you should notice stains and dark spots in the lining and the corners of the suitcase.
  • Blood: if bed bugs are recently well fed, you may find blood on the surface of the suitcase or in the bed.
Bed bugs shape after feeding on a white fabric

How To Get Bed Bugs Out Of a Suitcase?

If you find out that your luggage has free bed bugs, here are some steps to treat bed bugs in your suitcase:

Isolate the suitcase

the moment you find out that your bag has bedbugs, ensure that you separate your suitcase from any other items, place the suitcase in a plastic bag and seal it tightly to prevent the bugs from escaping.

Use a steam cleaner

If you have a steam cleaner you can use it to get rid of bed bugs, steam the suitcase thoroughly, giving more attention to the corners and hidden areas.

Freezing bed bugs

you can seal the suitcase and place it in a freezer, however it will take some time for the bugs to freeze, you will need extreme temperatures for the bed bugs to freeze including their eggs.

Use insecticide

this is the most common way people use, however; it is important to use insecticide carefully, ensure that you use an insecticide that is labeled specifically for bed bugs, and spray it in the pockets, and hidden areas of the suitcase, and leave the suitcase in the sealed bag for the time specified in the insecticide label.

Call a pro

if you find out that the bed bugs are transmitted to your other belongings, DIY solutions are often hard to handle, so it is better to call a professional or a company.

The tips can be applied also for a backpack and a sleeping bag, and If you are done with the treatment, ensure that you double check for any remaining bugs and eggs, you can apply a second treatment if necessary and if you feel there are still some of the crawlers. 

How To Prevent Future Bed Bug Infestations on Your luggage?

Preventing bed bugs from invading your suitcase is the key to avoid googling ” how to get bed bugs out of my luggage ” in the first place and avoid all the hassle of treating.

  • Inspect your hotel room: Before staying in a hotel room or a rental house ensure that you inspect the bed and the room surroundings, if there are any bugs you can notice stains and blood spots, you can also check the mattress and any cracks on the bed frame. 
  • Use Ziplock Bags: It is always a good idea to pack your clothes and other items inside Ziploc bags, even if bed bugs get into the suitcase they won’t hide in your clothes .
  • Check your suitcase regularly: Clean your suitcase regularly and before your leave your hotel room, bed bugs will live in a suitcase without even noticing their hiding spots, so vacuuming the pockets and the corners from time to time will always prevent any potential bed bugs from establishing a home in your new suitcase.

Final Thoughts On Eliminating Bed Bugs From Your Luggage.

It is important to be proactive and eliminate bed bugs the moment you identify them in your bag.

Follow the steps above to get bed bugs out of your luggage.

However; it is also more important to implement preventive measures to avoid future infestations and ensure your coming trips are bed bug free.

So remember to always inspect your hotel room, bed surrounding, and use Ziploc bags to prevent them getting inside your folding clothes. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do Bed Bugs Get Into Luggage?

Just like some other insects bed bugs will crawl easily into your suitcase, hide in the corners, pockets, or inside your clothes, they will more likely get into a suitcase if you place it near an infested mattress, the cracks of the bed frame and headboard and an infested chair or couch and even in the folds of curtains.

Can Bed Bugs Survive In Checked Luggage?

Yes, bed bugs can live in a suitcase, whether it is a carry-on or a checked bag, once they get inside the comfort of a suitcase bed bugs can live without food for up to 365 days without a blood meal.

Can You Get Bed Bugs From An Airplane?

Bed bugs can hide just about anywhere like bathrooms, chairs etc.., it will mostly depend on what area of the airport, for example your suitcase is more likely to get bed bugs at the luggage carousel when it encounters a manifested suitcase that brought bed bugs from a certain destination.

Can You Get Bed Bugs From The Airport?

Bed bugs can hide just about anywhere like bathrooms, chairs and couches etc. It will mostly depend on what area of the airport, for example your suitcase is more likely to get bed bugs at the luggage carousel when it encounters a manifested suitcase that brought bed bugs from a certain destination.

Which Bed Bug Sprays Work Best on Luggage?

There are dozens of different bed bug sprays in the market, and you will need to be careful with the bug spray you are going to use.
However if you want to take care of bed bugs I would recommend this Raid Bed Bug Foaming Spray you can use it for luggage, beds and any other item.

Can Bed Bugs Get Into Closed And Zippered Suitcases?

Zippered bags won’t prevent bugs from getting inside, because their small shape will help them get in through tiny spaces, but zippers aluminum suitcases are more likely to keep bed bugs outside.

We hope you are safe

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