Bedbug cleaning - how do I prevent repopulation?
December 2, 2015 11:02 AM   Subscribe

I've had bedbugs in my apartment. My landlord hired exterminators to treat the place using a heat treatment, so I did all the steps they requested, including washing/drying clothes and keeping them in a plastic bag until you leave the apartment (check) and taking very little with you (check). I'm in the library as I type this and I JUST saw a bedbug crawl across my bag. What can I do to keep my place from getting reinfected?

In order to get work done, I took a bag of bare necessities from the apartment: my laptop, a water bottle, and my phone charger. I'm realizing now that the bag I used and the coat I wore were in the bedroom before and didn't get washed.

My concern is that if I go home with the bag, any bedbugs or eggs in it will repopulate my apartment, and I'll have to get the place treated again.

What can I do to minimize this risk?
posted by LSK to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I mean the scorched earth approach would be to trash the bag and the coat. If that's financially impractical just carefully put anything that could still have bugs in a plastic bag and go blast it in a dryer like everything else.
posted by Wretch729 at 11:06 AM on December 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Please follow the advice above and get out of the library. A bedbug infestation in a library is a major nightmare scenario that you do not want to cause.

This article talks about the possibility of bedbugs in your laptop and how to address it:

Your water bottle and charger should be fine. What about the clothes you are wearing?
posted by galvanized unicorn at 11:25 AM on December 2, 2015 [8 favorites]

Best answer: You could do a cleanup of those items as you get home, but you need to go buy a bunch of ziplock bags right now to put your possibly contaminated stuff into to take into the house.
Go through your handbag, separate out the stuff. Non-porous in one ziplock, you can basically wipe this stuff off and be ok. Bakable stuff (papers) in another. Porous washable item (eg makeup pouch) that was in your handbag. Put all bakable porous items (eg paper) in a large ziplock. Throw out non-washable porous handbag items.

If either the coat or handbag itself is neither washable nor bakable, throw it out. Otherwise, Put the coat and bag in a big plastic sack (knotted shopping bag better than nothing). Go in the door, go straight to the laundry room, take off every item of colthing you currently have on (that you were wearing with the coat) and wash it all (with coat and bag) immediately.

Alternately, buy new clothes right now and do all this at the laundromat, or buy new clothes and throw out everything you're wearing.
posted by aimedwander at 11:26 AM on December 2, 2015

After you go to the laundromat and wash everything (or trash and rebuy), please let the library know you saw a bedbug...
posted by three_red_balloons at 12:26 PM on December 2, 2015 [4 favorites]

Agreed with above. But I will add that getting rid of bedbugs is a multi-stage thing. It can take multiple visits, over several months. You need to be vigilant about the routine.

And tell the library immediately.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:44 PM on December 2, 2015

Best answer: My solution was to get the strips the exterminators will give you, and put EVERYTHING that could have even maybe been infected in those thick contractor .5mil trashbags. This means your bag and coat need to go in there.


I had like one outfit that had been kicked under my living room desk when i got home from work and was lazy. I also had a thin windbreaker that had been ditched in my entryway. I put the clothes and the jacket on, went to a used clothes store and bought a leather jacket, then went to target and bought a BUNCH of shit(comforter/pillowcase/sheet combo set on clearance, pillows, etc).

A couple days later i went out and bought an extra pair of pants and a couple shirts. I ran a bunch of stuff through the laundry and dryed it extra, and wore the same shoes, those two pairs of pants, and the same jacket for like... i don't know, probably six weeks?

It was MISERABLE, but being incredibly strict about it made them go away on the first try. Everyone i've talked to was like "o my god you had it so easy!" and it's like... no, you guys just "cheated" like people do on diets. It definitely sucked, a lot. I didn't have a backpack or bag that whole time and was carrying my stuff around in a reusable shopping bag. The jacket got really stinky, but i couldn't dry clean it because then i'd have no jacket. I didn't have the money to just keep expanding my auxiliary wardrobe.

I pretty much had nothing. Everything with holes that had been in the bedroom went in bags. I watched a lot of TV.

Worked though.
posted by emptythought at 1:38 PM on December 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Update-in-progress: Went to the store, got big bags and new clothes, and went directly to my building's laundry room, where I quickly changed, then took everything out of my bag and put my bag, coat, and old clothes into the dryer at maximum heat. Everything else went into a bag, where it's now sealed. Fingers crossed.
posted by LSK at 3:22 PM on December 2, 2015

I had to deal with a bedbug infestation recently (single-family dwelling, single occupant). This is not a solution to your immediate problem, but have you looked into getting a PackTite or ZappBug? Both are enclosed heating devices that you can use to 'bake' your things when you walk in from outside. Super useful to make sure you're not bringing in new hitchhikers.
posted by hanov3r at 4:23 PM on December 2, 2015

Did you drive to the library? If you have a car you should have it checked. And nthing what others have said, please inform the library. I'm sorry you're going through this. :(
posted by pazazygeek at 7:21 AM on December 3, 2015

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