If you’ve been looking for a reason to do your laundry more often, we just found one. We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but it turns out that your dirty laundry might be attracting bedbugs into your home. If you’re itching rn, sorry — we are, too.
A new study published this week in Scientific Reports looked at the correlation between the itch-provoking bugs and dirty laundry, and found that bedbugs are twice as likely to affix themselves to dirty clothes than clean ones.
But why dirty versus clean clothes? Simple, really: human odor. Fascinating, right? Not to mention gross…
According to the report, bedbugs are attracted to the odor of our sleeping bodies, and the smell of our dirty clothes is attracting them in the same way. Leaving dirty clothes around our bedrooms (especially when traveling) allows bedbugs to “‘hitch-hike’ around the world after aggregating in the laundry bags of travelers.”
ICYMI, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, bedbugs are approximately the size of an apple seed, give or take, and have very skinny bodies. So they can hide themselves not only under and around your mattress, but also in the headboard, electrical outlets, and the aforementioned dirty laundry, among many other places.
Of course, there are many precautionary measures you can take to prevent an infestation of bedbugs before they destroy your life. Bedbugger.com is a great resource: It suggests, for instance, that when going on a trip, you pack your clothes in Ziploc bags, then put those sealed Ziplocs into your suitcase. Bedbugs *hate* plastic, especially bags that are sealed that they can’t get into!
Even though most of us probably grew up hearing, “Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite” as an innocent lullaby of sorts, we still have to keep that in mind today. And washing our dirty laundry is one very easy way to do so.