There’s practically nothing you could do to salvage a booking if your Airbnb guests are getting bit by bed bugs. These tiny little begs can’t fly and prefer to stay put but have infested hotels and short term rental units all over the world by hitch hiking onto travelers.
But even worse than having to give a full refund to an unhappy guest is having to shut down your listing and cancel your upcoming bookings in order to rid your space of the infestation.
And while it’s practically impossible to completely prevent guests from bringing bed bugs to your listing, there are ways to minimize the potential for contamination and try to prevent bedbugs from entering your unit in the first place.
Here are the best tips on dealing with bed bugs according to our readers.
Prevent Bedbugs from Calling Your Airbnb Home in the First Place
Once bed bugs are in your house, getting rid of them can be a real pain. So the best solution is to prevent contamination in the first place.
So what are bed bugs attracted to most? Through repeat experiments, researchers in England found that bed bugs are far more attracted to dirty laundry than practically anything else.
What does that mean for you as a host?
Give your guests an EASY option to stash their dirty laundry away from the bedrooms using hampers with covers.
But NOT with an open hamper. Instead, we’d recommend getting hampers with lids and interior linings for easy transport and possible bedbug containment, if needed.
Host Recommended: We asked our hosts which hampers they’d recommend most and here are their top recommended (and affordable) options:
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PRO TIP: Placement is key to usefulness. Ideally, if the bathroom is connected to the guest room, place the hampers in the bathroom where it’s most convenient for the guest to place soiled clothing in the hampers. Guests are unlikely to remove their soiled clothing more than a few feet where they’re most likely removing clothing–bedrooms and bathrooms. Because preventing bed bugs is the last thing on their minds, it’s up to you to the hamper where they’ll actually use it. If you must place the hamper inside the room, place it on the opposite side of the bed or near the entrance. If you have a walk in closet with a changing area, place it there instead.
Protect Your Mattresses
As a Airbnb host, you quickly understand the relationship between good night sleep and a 5-star review. Having comfortable mattresses is often a necessary and pricey investment you make for your Airbnb listing. And to make sure you don’t inadvertently host unwanted guests in bed bugs, you will want to protect your investment with proper mattress covers.
Some covers are great for protecting against stains but not for preventing or kill bed bugs. Follow these tips for finding the right protective cover that can do both.
- Find bite proof fabric – Many mattress covers are not bite proof. They can help protect against liquid stains but bed bugs will be able to move freely through the fabric.
- Avoid vinyl covers – these covers will prevent bed bugs from entering OR leaving your mattress, meaning they can be great for prevention and for kill bed bugs. Although cost effective (often <$20), they tend to be noisy with a very plastic feel and can make guests feel hot and sweaty. Not recommended for delivering a great guest experience.
- Polyurethane-lined covers – has the same protective ability as vinyl covers but is often made alongside softer fabrics to create a quiet and softer feel. And because it’s breathable, it allows for a much cooler and more comfortable sleeping experience.
- Good, tight zippers – some covers will have large zipper teeth that fall short of the seams and a tiny space as little as 1mm wide allow bugs to get in. Find one with tight small zipper teeth that closes entirely or rub some candle wax over the opening to seal from bugs but still be able to unzip when you need to.
PRO TIP: Put one of these LinenSpa Polyurethane Mattress Covers on every mattress in your Airbnb listing. It is vinyl free, light and breathable, absolutely waterproof, bed bug proof, and dust mite proof, and comes with added zipper encasement for additional bed bug protection.
Use Metal Luggage Racks for Luggage Storage
Bed bugs do not like climbing on metal surfaces. As a good two way protection to minimize the transfer of bed bugs between dirty luggage to your space or existing bugs from getting into your guests’ luggage, utilizing simple luggage racks with metal legs are ideal.
PRO TIP: Place one in each bedroom in your Airbnb listing.
How to Tell if Your Airbnb is Already Infested with Bed Bugs
Besides getting bitten yourself or having guests complain to you of bed bugs, here are the steps to take for you to quickly determine if you’re already hosting bedbugs as unwanted guests.
- Where to look – bedsheets, seams of any and all linen or fabric based furniture, in drawer corners and joints, loose wall paper, essentially all cracks and crevices wider than the thickness of of a credit card.
- Spot the tell tale signs of bed bugs – rusty or reddish brown stains on bed sheets or mattresses left by squished bed bugs, dark dots that could be bug excrements, eggs or eggshells about 1mm in size, and of course, live bugs.
If you suspect a possible infestation, follow the steps in this detailed wikiHow guide on proper precautions to take as you check for bed bugs.
PRO TIP: If you do find an infestation, contact Airbnb Resolution Center and work with them to notify guests of upcoming bookings (within the next 7 days) to help them find alternative accommodations. Issue full refunds. Better to lose a few bookings than to permanently damage your listing risking nasty guest reviews citing bed bugs.
Have you had an unfortunate incident with bed bugs in your Airbnb?
What did you do to get rid of the infestation? Have you taken additional precautions to prevent future infestations? Post to the comments and let us know!