With hotel bedbug plagues making the news, people who travel often for business or pleasure have been forced to take extra caution when unpacking in rooms and at home. The notion that bedbugs only stay in bed is a myth, for it’s strongly recommended to take luggage directly to a safe place after your trip and make sure all clothes and the luggage are sanitized. That said, it’s not uncommon for people to bring their own bedding on trips. Is that safe to do?
Why bring your own pillow and blanket to a hotel? Certainly there is no shortage where you are staying, and major chains make no secret of how they work to bring guests quality sheets and pillows. For some of us, however, there are important reasons why it’s necessary:
- There are health issues. If one suffers from orthopedic problems and has a pillow for better sleep support, it’s sometimes better just to bring that along.
- Sometimes, a familiar pillow or blanket offers the comfort of home one doesn’t usually find in a hotel. Especially for small children who might have anxieties about leaving home, it is not unusual to take along a blanket or stuffed animal, or even a pillow with their favorite cartoon character on the case.
So we have explored the why’s, now let’s think about the what if’s. What if your home bedding should become infested with bedbugs while you are away. There is the risk, even in highest quality hotels. As with any other infestation, you want to deal with the issues quickly so there is no chance of bringing the critters to bed with you once you’re back from vacation.
It is important to note that whatever you bring home from your stay – pillows, blankets, coats, and clothing – should not be taken directly to your room on your return. If you have a garage, clear some space and unload everything there. What can be washed, bag in plastic and take to your laundry room immediately. With pillows that cannot be washed, you may wish to consider placing them in plastic and leaving in a sunny location for a few days. Bedbugs are known not to survive in extreme temperatures. After a few days, clean as you normally would.
If you are concerned about bugs when you travel, you may want to consider leaving the comforts at home where they are safe. An investment in a travel support pillow can help, just make sure you observe the same cleaning practices when you come home. It never hurts to be cautious, especially with the risk of home infestation.
Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on organic pillows and organic mattresses.