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Doctor Shares Easy Way to Protect Against Bed Bugs in Hotel Rooms

Why you should be checking other places than just the mattress.

Imagine this: After a steaming hot shower, you cozy up in a complimentary plush robe and cue up the TV with an assortment of minibar snacks to keep you company… only to wake up from your peaceful slumber to clusters of inflamed, itchy red bumps all over your arms and legs. It quickly becomes apparent that the hotel room was already occupied long before you checked in. And now, you're stuck with a serious case of bed bugs.

Bed bugs are the stuff of hotel nightmares. And unfortunately, hotel guests are coming across the parasitic insects more often than we're comfortable to admit. According to a Feb. 2024 survey conducted by Sleep Doctor, one in seven U.S. travelers encountered bed bugs in the past year.

RELATED: These Smells Could Mean You Have Bed Bugs, Pest Experts Say.

As alluded to in their name, bed bugs are most commonly found in the mattress, as they "prefer to hide in close proximity to their hosts, so they can sneak out at night and draw a blood meal without being noticed," Nancy Troyano, PhD, a board-certified entomologist with Ehrlich Pest Control, previously told Best Life.

But primary care physician Jason Singh, MD, is alerting his TikTok followers of other places these pesky critters may be lurking—and how you can beat them at their own game.

"So, how many of you completely unpack your clothes from your suitcases into a hotel dresser?" asks Singh before revealing that "hotel dressers, especially those that are made of wood or have joints and crevices are a risk for bed bug infestation."

"It's not just beds that have bed bugs, hotel dressers can have them, too" he reiterates.

While hotel furniture gets a quick wipe down in between guests, Singh explains that the actual hinges, tracks, and drawers in the dresser aren't being "readily cleaned." Thus, if there is a bed bug infestation brewing, you and your clothes could be at serious risk.

An easy way to protect yourself against bed bugs is by skipping the dresser altogether and taking advantage of the closet, according to Singh.

"I recommend to utilize hotel closets or hanging spaces to store your clothes or just pull your clothes straight out of your suitcase," he says in the clip.

Likewise, Anthony O'Neill, a pest expert with more than 20 years in the industry, previously told Best Life that the safest place to stow your luggage is the hotel bath or shower. "Bed bugs cannot climb smooth surfaces and you'd easily spot a bed bug in a light-colored bath," he explained.


Do you completely unpack clothes into dressers?

♬ original sound – Dr. Jason Singh


Within 48 hours of posting, Singh's TikTok video has racked up more than 400,000 views, and over 1,000 comments.

A retired pest control operator corroborated Singh's claims, instructing travelers to "keep your suitcase in the bathtub and get your clothes that you need from it."

"I never use hotel spaces," wrote another, to which someone else said, "I live out of my luggage at all times. Closed and hidden at all times."

"Nope stays in suitcase and I use trash bag for dirty clothes and bag goes in suitcase in the end of trip and bag goes straight to washer after," a person shared.

"I never unpack anything in a hotel even luxury hotels resorts," said a TikToker.

Another traveler shared their technique for fighting bed bugs: "I always purchase alcohol spray and [spray] the drawers entirely on my 1st night and morning then respray 2nd night and wipe them down."

Emily Weaver
Emily is a NYC-based freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer — though, she’ll never pass up the opportunity to talk about women’s health and sports (she thrives during the Olympics). Read more
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