The Must-Do Trick for Keeping Bed Bugs From Latching on While You Travel

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Need a quick way to instill fear in anyone? Just mention bed bugs. These little apple seed–sized critters fly under our radars, and then crawl all over the place and remind us that they can wreak total havoc on our bodies, our home, and, let's be real, our wallets. 


Since the early 2000s, bed bug infestations have become more common across the United States, Canada, and Europe, according to Live Science. All they need to do is latch onto people's clothing, furniture, or luggage. Plus, these monsters, er, bugs, can live for up to a year without feeding on a new host, aka you. I think we can all agree that the thought of unassumingly bringing home bed bugs is pretty terrifying.

Not all hope is lost. Luckily, researchers have discovered a trick that they think could save you and your entire home from a bed bug attack: washing your clothes before returning home from traveling, Today reported.

In a recent study, researchers from Sheffield University in Britain found that bed bugs were twice as likely to crawl into bags with dirty clothes in them over clean clothes. Researchers think this is because dirty clothes have the smell of human odor, which attracts bed bugs in the first place. (More research has to be done on which kind of odor attracts bugs, since human odor is "complex.")

More from CafeMom: Mosquito Bites vs. Bed Bug Bites: How to Tell the Difference 

To find this out, they had people wash with the same unscented soap and then wear clean clothing that was washed with unscented detergent for an afternoon. Then the clothes were left in tote bags around a faux hotel room contaminated with bed bugs.

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Another fun fact about bed bugs is that they can't climb on smooth surfaces, like the metal legs of luggage racks, so you might want to start using those racks they have in hotel rooms if you don't already.

"Stopping people from bringing bed bugs home can be a big step in preventing them spreading throughout the world," William Hentley, one of the study's author, told Gizmodo.  

We'll be trying this for sure! 

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