We need to touch on something before we go any further. Just because you have a bed bug problem doesn’t mean you should start spending your hard-earned cash to throw away and replace everything that might be infested. That might seem like a good idea:
I just want the bed bugs out of my home.
Throwing things out might make you feel better but it’s not necessary. You could waste a lot of money handling things that way. If you believe that’s the solution to dealing with your bed bug infestation, you’ve been getting information in some rotten places. PLEASE, keep reading.
All Kinds of Things Can Be Infested
You should know by now that you can protect your mattress and boxspring with encasements. If they are infested you do not have to throw them out. (You do know that right?) Likewise, you can treat your bedding and all your washable clothes by washing and drying them on high heat. And you can treat your bed frame, furniture and home with pesticides, diatomaceous earth and steam (or you can call an exterminator and they can do it). You can handle all of these things without resorting to “tossing and replacing” in most cases.
But what about things like your shoes? Your belts? Your bags? Books near the bed? Your pillows? Things you can’t launder. How do you deal with all of those things? That’s an issue that tends to get glossed over. Or you find the “toss and replace” answer.
And one big concern if you travel a lot: how do you deal with your luggage and make sure you don’t bring bed bugs into your home? You’re certainly not going to toss and replace your luggage after each trip.
So again, how do you handle those kinds of items that seem hard to treat?
The Ol’ Black Trash Bag in Your Car, Parked in The Sun Routine
One solution I’ve seen is to park your car in direct sunlight, seal infested items in a black trash bag, then put the bag out in your car. That is a frugal, clever approach. It makes my inner cheapskate giddy. But it’s hardly a controlled scenario. Right away I have several concerns:
- Do I know for sure that the inside of that bag got hot enough, for long enough to kill bed bugs?
- What if the bed bugs can find a cool spot inside the bag that isn’t hot enough to kill them?
- What happens if it’s cloudy out or it’s the winter?
- What if I didn’t seal the bag tightly enough? Did I just spread bed bugs to my car?
Some people might feel comfortable with this approach. Frankly, I just can’t put much trust in it.
The Bed Bug Bake Approach
I’ve read suggestions that you can put things on the rack inside your oven and bake them on very low heat for a few hours. I can see it working for some kinds of items provided your oven doesn’t get too hot. Most ovens aren’t very large though so this technique would be limited to small items. And you don’t want stuff touching the heating coil or the edges which might be hot enough to melt your belongings. I think you’d have to be careful the rack itself didn’t get too hot as well.
The “Gee, I Hope Nothing Explodes” Microwave Approach (Not Recommended)
One reader wrote in to tell me she’s been putting things in the microwave. I can’t find any information on using microwaves to treat bed bug infested items. It doesn’t sound like a safe practice. Even if it did work, microwaves are small inside. And you can’t microwave things that are metal or have metal parts on them. So that limits the usefulness of a microwave. But like I said, it just seems unsafe and I can’t recommend it.
What about Sprays and Dusts?
For some items you can use sprays and dusts. Alcohol will also kill bed bugs and may have some use here. I haven’t found a set of best practices for how to treat household items with these however.
A lot of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) types prefer to have a crack at their bed bug problem before calling in an exterminator. And I can understand that entirely. If you are DIY-inclined, then I could see using sprays, dusts or alcohol, tweaking to figure out what’s effective (keeping in mind manufacturer warnings and such). With bed bugs though, DIY isn’t too appealing to me. Not without a structured set of tested best practices.
What is PackTite and How Does it Work?
The PackTite Portable Heating Unit makes a lot more sense than these other approaches. It’s obviously going to cost money. But ultimately you’re going to be a lot happier with something safe, reliable and easy to use. Wouldn’t you rather know that the job was done thoroughly and correctly than wondering “What if?”
The PackTite is folding container with a built in heater. You put infested items inside, close the PackTite and turn the timer dial. It will heat up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and stay there, killing all stages of bed bugs. That sounds a lot more controlled to me. A lot more reliable. Better than fooling around with trash bags or burning my house down by shoving things haphazardly into my oven or microwave.
Here are some specifics:
- Easy to set up, easy to use.
- Safe and chemical-free.
- With a heat range 120°F – 150°F it kills all bedbug life stages.
- It is large and can fit most kinds of luggage and many types of personal belongings. Inside dimensions are 18 inches long x 30 inches wide x 15 inches high.
- It’s easy to store, folding down to just 11 inches tall.
- You can wash the outer cover for added peace of mind.
A Solution for Hard-to-Treat Household Items
So what kinds of items can you put in there?
- Clothes (including dry clean items)
- Sleeping Bags
(PackTite doesn’t recommend you use it to deal with personal electronics which are sensitive to heat.)
That accounts for a lot of things that can get infested that don’t lend themselves to easy treatment. So instead of throwing those things away and replacing them, you can just treat them with the PackTite.
The new version of the PackTite, called the PackTite 2 costs a little over $30. A bargain, considering it could easily save you two or three times that amount of money and allow you to treat priceless and irreplaceable items. If you want an easy tool to treat your bed bug infested items — something you can depend on and use repeatedly — I don’t know of anything out there like this.
Prevent Bringing Bed Bugs Home After Traveling
I only travel once every few months and I’m fanatical about doing research to avoid bed bugs before I even make a reservation. Some of my friends however travel every couple of weeks. And they often have to stay at corporate-approved locations. Not only that, what are the chances they heed my warnings and check accommodations before they book and then inspect their rooms when they check-in?
Slim to none?
All those things raise the chances they’ll bring bed bugs back home. If you’re in situation similar to theirs, PackTite is seriously worth the investment as a defensive measure.
Protect Your Home by Treating Used Items
Sometimes people don’t think of this but when you bring used items into your home, you could be exposing yourself to bed bugs. Consider:
- Do you really know where that bag you bought off eBay or Craigslist came from?
- What about those used books you got from Amazon Marketplace?
Are you happily letting bed bug taxicabs such as books and clothing into your home? I’m not advising you grow irrationally paranoid. But if you bring a lot of used items into your home, the PackTite could be a handy way to make sure they’re free of bed bugs.
How to Buy
You can buy from the link below.
But first, here’s a quick review to make sure we covered the main points.
See if you agree.
- You don’t want to throw away and replace all your bed bug infested items.
- You do want control over the process of treating items so that you know bed bugs are dead.
- You don’t want to take risks by using household appliances to do things they weren’t meant to do.
- You do want to protect your home after traveling by treating your luggage.
- You don’t want to handle sprays or dusts or expose your family and pets to them if it’s not necessary.
- You want to know that you’re getting the job done properly.
- You don’t mind spending a little money to save a lot of money.
If you agree, then PackTite is probably a good fit for you.
Keep your home safe. Buy the PackTite and easily treat your bed bug infested items. »
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