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LIVE from the Camino What CAN’T go in the dryer when treating for bed bugs?

hawkeyepierce

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances July 22
Found a bedbug this morning crawling on the headboard. Just one, which I believe bit me. I had inspected the bed when I arrived and saw no signs so it may have come in with me (it was a private room).

I’m going to message tonight’s albergue to give advance warning and confirm they have a dryer. My pack is treated with permethrin but I want to be sure.

What should I not put in the dryer? My phone and prescriptions seem like obvious no-goes here. What about my passport or credit cards? My credencial?

Won’t lie this is a big blow to my morale and I spent the morning in a bit of a mental tailspin.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Had you checked the walls and skirting boards around the bed too?

Just put your clothes and bedding in the dryer later, and examine your other items very thoroughly.
If you have treated your pack with permethrin, your ‘sundries’ should be okay and you will most probably not be carrying live bugs to the next stop. But check your stuff anyway.

Buen Camino!
… don’t let this lower your mood for too long … something wonderful will probably happen down the road!


And have a look at this thread:

 
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I did check the walls and such. No live bugs (other than the one I found), no eggs, feces or shedded skins.

I informed the hospitalero who just pointed at their mattress encasements and seemed to think that was enough.

I gave my bag a cursory inspection with a flashlight and found nothing. I will do a more thorough search later today.
 
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I messaged my albergue for tonight to warn them that I will need to treat my gear and got a facepalm emoji in reply. I’m not sure how to take that.

Does anyone have experience with an albergue or hotel in Palas de Rei with a good bedbug treatment protocol?
 
Just put your clothes and bedding in the dryer later, and examine your other items very thoroughly.
If you have treated your pack with permethrin, your ‘sundries’ should be okay and you will most probably not be carrying live bugs to the next stop. But check your stuff anyway.

Yes, just clothing and bedding.
You have already seen a bedbug, so you know what to look for in the rest of your gear. They aren't microscopic!

It's best if you don't wash your things first, as some fabrics could be damaged or shrink if they go into a hot dryer while they are wet. Put your dry clothes and sleep gear into the hot dryer for half an hour. Then if you want to wash things do it according to label directions after the heat treatment.

It doesn't look like Palas de Rei will be warm enough to put your non washable things in a black plastic trash bag to set outside to heat up.

I had a hospitalera put all my non washable items in a plastic trash bag then spray everything inside with insecticide before sealing up the bag and leaving it for a few hours.
 
I found an albergue in Palas de Rei that has been very understanding and helpful. My clothes and such are in the dryer and I’m sitting in the common area in naught but a towel!

I thoroughly inspected my pack with a very bright flashlight and couldn’t find any signs of them. No eggs, no bugs, no molted skins. I went over EVERY seam and pocket for about half an hour. I also treated my pack and stuff sacks with permethrin before I left home.

At home I have a PackTite that will bake all my stuff at the right temperature for eight hours so I know I won’t be bringing them home, I just want to make sure I don’t spread them before then. Just wasn’t sure what temp dryers might be so I wanted to make sure I didn’t put anything in one that could be damaged.

I’ve also asked my friend who will be picking me up at the airport to bring some giant trash bags just in case.

I’ve calmed down a lot since finding the bug this morning. Three more days to Santiago!
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
You are welcome. :)

I think I’ve done all I can short of throwing my backpack in the dryer, but I fear that would damage it. I hope my inspection was enough.
Best to not share the good news when you arrive home. First - and only - time I disclosed a close encounter with bedbugs to Mrs Henrythedog I was made to strip in the garden on return (thankfully we live in a rural location) and every scrap of fabric I had with me was burned. My boots and rucksack had to live in the barn for a month.

You’ve done everything right but; if you have the time; I’d do it again.
 
Best to not share the good news when you arrive home. First - and only - time I disclosed a close encounter with bedbugs to Mrs Henrythedog I was made to strip in the garden on return (thankfully we live in a rural location) and every scrap of fabric I had with me was burned. My boots and rucksack had to live in the barn for a month.

You’ve done everything right but; if you have the time; I’d do it again.
I plan on re-inspecting my pack again each evening for a bit and I may throw everything back in the dryer tomorrow for a second round. I’ll see how I feel in the morning.
 
I plan on re-inspecting my pack again each evening for a bit and I may throw everything back in the dryer tomorrow for a second round. I’ll see how I feel in the morning.
You're doing a great job with this. Bed bugs are just an issue that some people have to deal with on the Camino (and other places). When I volunteer as a hospitalera, they are a part of our everyday inspection and cleaning routine. You are doing all the right things to keep them from spreading. Glad you have found a supportive albergue team.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Oh Hawkeye, this is my second-biggest fear. The first is having people point and gawk at the fat girl with her CPAP and support stockings. The second is bugs!! But you give me hope because if you can do it now, I will be able to do it next April. Buen camino!
 
Don't beat yourself up for not being able to spot them during an arrival inspection. They are so tiny and can literally be anywhere you can fit the edge of a credit card (I once found a nymph crawling out of a crack on my Kindle!). You will go crazy trying to prove a negative.

For the future, if you have a private bathroom I would leave all my belongings in the tub or bathroom area. Never leave your bag on a bed etc.

I have washed and dried backpacks in the past that didn't have a robust frame. They came out fine but the alternative was to trash it so I wasn't too worried about damage.
 
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Don't beat yourself up for not being able to spot them during an arrival inspection. They are so tiny and can literally be anywhere you can fit the edge of a credit card (I once found a nymph crawling out of a crack on my Kindle!). You will go crazy trying to prove a negative.

For the future, if you have a private bathroom I would leave all my belongings in the tub or bathroom area. Never leave your bag on a bed etc.

I have washed and dried backpacks in the past that didn't have a robust frame. They came out fine but the alternative was to trash it so I wasn't too worried about damage.
I might risk throwing the bag in the dryer in Santiago.
 
Oh Hawkeye, this is my second-biggest fear. The first is having people point and gawk at the fat girl with her CPAP and support stockings. The second is bugs!! But you give me hope because if you can do it now, I will be able to do it next April. Buen camino!

Fortunately for you there are usually fewer bedbugs at the beginning of the Camino season.
My fist Camino started the last week of August, and by the time I reached Logroño several pilgrims I was walking with had been bitten. I saw bed bugs in my albergue in Astorga that year.

Contrast that to when I started in May. I didn't meet a single pilgrim who had been bitten by bed bugs.
Don't beat yourself up for not being able to spot them during an arrival inspection. They are so tiny and can literally be anywhere
They aren't that tiny. The problem is that during the day they are hiding in crevices in furniture and in the walls, so you can't find them.
 
You have gotten some good advice, and great assistance on-site. More importantly, you have learned that having a bedbug encounter is NOT the end of the world. It is a significant nuisance but it can be managed, particularly if your belongings are minimal and they are fairly well organized.
What should I not put in the dryer? My phone and prescriptions seem like obvious no-goes here. What about my passport or credit cards? My credencial?
As @trecile said, bed bugs are not microscopic. If you calmly sit down and methodically inspect everything that shouldn't go in the dryer, you have done what is appropriate.

I plan on re-inspecting my pack again each evening for a bit and I may throw everything back in the dryer tomorrow for a second round.
I also do this at the end of my Camino, on my last day, whether or not I have had a bedbug encounter. I then take a little extra care to protect my backpack and contents in a closed pack that last night.

On arrival home, I don't burn my belongings, or allow a hosing of my body, or get highly paranoid. However, I do put my things into a large plastic bag, go straight to the bathroom, bag my clothes, and have a bath. Then I inspect my phone, and relax. The further inspection and treatment can wait a day or two. There is no point in alarming my husband! :eek:

Each time you inspect, isolate or heat-treat, you are reducing the risk of allowing any bedbugs to survive. That is the best you can do, and seems adequate to me for this non-life-threatening problem.

I might risk throwing the bag in the dryer in Santiago.
Hint: If you can, remove any plastic panel that might be inserted in the back of the pack. I deformed the shape of one backpack this way. But if it makes you feel better, it may still be worth doing. But be sure to have a large plastic bag to protect your back pack for the remainder of your stay.
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
Fortunately for you there are usually fewer bedbugs at the beginning of the Camino season.
My fist Camino started the last week of August, and by the time I reached Logroño several pilgrims I was walking with had been bitten. I saw bed bugs in my albergue in Astorga that year.

Contrast that to when I started in May. I didn't meet a single pilgrim who had been bitten by bed bugs.

They aren't that tiny. The problem is that during the day they are hiding in crevices in furniture and in the walls, so you can't find them.
You can look for other signs though, like their feces or eggs. My routine was to shine a flashlight all around the bed frame, in any cracks or crevices, and around any furniture adjacent to the bed. Then I’d lift up the mattress and inspect under it.

It’s not perfect, and won’t help if someone shows up the same day as you with the bugs and they make their way over to your bunk, but it’s better than nothing.
 
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

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You are welcome. :)

I think I’ve done all I can short of throwing my backpack in the dryer, but I fear that would damage it. I hope my inspection was enough.
Personally, I would spray the heck out of my backpack if I found bedbugs - even one.
They can hide in the craziest and tiniest places - as well as lay eggs.
But otherwise, good job!
 
Can bedbugs hide inside of a passport or credit cards? :D.
Clothes, sleeping bags, bag liners etc
 
Inside of a passport? Not without you noticing. Fan every page.
Between credit cards? No; same note.
In a wallet? Doubtful; but you can throw a dry, empty wallet in a hot dryer(bag) .
Clothes? Hot dryer.
Bag liner? Hot dryer; hope it doesn't melt.
TBH, if I couldn't hot dryer my sleeping bag, I'd probably bag it up and throw it away.
 
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The other option for when you get home is to take everything you have had with you (minus technology or other things that would be damaged) and put it in a garbage bag, and then put the bag in a chest freezer for a few days....
 
I found an albergue in Palas de Rei that has been very understanding and helpful. My clothes and such are in the dryer and I’m sitting in the common area in naught but a towel!

I thoroughly inspected my pack with a very bright flashlight and couldn’t find any signs of them. No eggs, no bugs, no molted skins. I went over EVERY seam and pocket for about half an hour. I also treated my pack and stuff sacks with permethrin before I left home.

At home I have a PackTite that will bake all my stuff at the right temperature for eight hours so I know I won’t be bringing them home, I just want to make sure I don’t spread them before then. Just wasn’t sure what temp dryers might be so I wanted to make sure I didn’t put anything in one that could be damaged.

I’ve also asked my friend who will be picking me up at the airport to bring some giant trash bags just in case.

I’ve calmed down a lot since finding the bug this morning. Three more days to Santiago!
I had the zip on one of my good, down sleeping bags melt once when I put it in a commercial dryer on hot. As a result I don't now use an expensive sleeping bag in situations like the Camino.

Sleeping bags can be difficult to heat treat because they are designed to insulate from cold and this works just as well with heat.

When I heat treat a sleeping bag I always make sure that it is completely unzipped to get maximum heat to all parts of the bag.
 
Found a bedbug this morning crawling on the headboard. Just one, which I believe bit me. I had inspected the bed when I arrived and saw no signs so it may have come in with me (it was a private room).

I’m going to message tonight’s albergue to give advance warning and confirm they have a dryer. My pack is treated with permethrin but I want to be sure.

What should I not put in the dryer? My phone and prescriptions seem like obvious no-goes here. What about my passport or credit cards? My credencial?

Won’t lie this is a big blow to my morale and I spent the morning in a bit of a mental tailspin.
Not sure what the weather is like where you are, but an alternative is to put your pack etc in a black plastic bag and leave it in the sun for as long as possible. Hard shiny things that are usually kept stashed away . e.g. documents etc are almost certainly OK. Ironing is another technique, by the way - heat kills them. And a good squirt of insecticide to the outside of the pack wouldn't go amiss. Don't get paranoid, it can happen to anyone and if the perpetrator was crawling away, you are probably clear. Well done for behaving responsibly though.
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
I’m starting in 11 days for my Camino..I was thinking of briniging bin liner bags and putting my backpack into it and sealing..
Also, if sleeping in bunk bed, better to sleep on top bunk instead of bottom?
 
I’m starting in 11 days for my Camino..I was thinking of briniging bin liner bags and putting my backpack into it and sealing..
Also, if sleeping in bunk bed, better to sleep on top bunk instead of bottom?
Bed bugs don't care which bed you are on. Chose based on your comfort level.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
I like to use FoxRiver Coolmax liner socks. These:

They really hold up well and are comfortable, but I'd definitely not put them in a hot dryer to get rid of bedbugs. Twice, on two different caminos, I put them into a too-hot dryer and they melted. I've ruined about 6 pair that way. Ouch.
 
I like to use FoxRiver Coolmax liner socks. These:

They really hold up well and are comfortable, but I'd definitely not put them in a hot dryer to get rid of bedbugs. Twice, on two different caminos, I put them into a too-hot dryer and they melted. I've ruined about 6 pair that way. Ouch.
I think that you can carefully examine individual items like socks for bedbugs and their eggs if you are worried about ruining them.
 
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FWIW my Injini toe liners and Darn Tough merino socks have not shrunk noticeably and I’ve definitely put them in the dryer while wet a number of times along the way. Same for my Smartwool merino boxer briefs.
 
I think that you can carefully examine individual items like socks for bedbugs and their eggs if you are worried about ruining them.
Right. When I melted them I wasn't trying to treat for bedbugs. Just drying my clothes. The first time I didn't realize they couldn't hold up to the heat. The second time I was plain old careless: got distracted and didn't realize I'd set the dryer for such a hot setting.
 
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

€83,-
Decided to risk it. My backpack and everything that can be is currently in a commercial dryer. Lowest setting, 90 minutes.

My hotel room in Santiago has a balcony. Before checking in I stopped by a laundromat and put my clean clothes and their stuff sack in the dryer on high for 30 minutes. At the hotel, I put everything but the just-treated clothes on the balcony while I showered and rested a bit.

Then I removed everything from my bag that can’t go in the dryer for a hand inspection. Everything looked good. Even checked every page of my passport and journal individually.

Inspected the room itself on arrival as well, of course.

Then I went back to the laundromat and put everything into the dryer. Hopefully the bag doesn’t get damaged but if it does, it’s worth the peace of mind. I don’t really have any need for it after this anyways. I threw my shoes away, they’re too gross to keep anyways.

Now I’m at a cafe around the corner enjoying a well-earned cerveza while the dryer does its thing.
 
Decided to risk it. My backpack and everything that can be is currently in a commercial dryer. Lowest setting, 90 minutes.

My hotel room in Santiago has a balcony. Before checking in I stopped by a laundromat and put my clean clothes and their stuff sack in the dryer on high for 30 minutes. At the hotel, I put everything but the just-treated clothes on the balcony while I showered and rested a bit.

Then I removed everything from my bag that can’t go in the dryer for a hand inspection. Everything looked good. Even checked every page of my passport and journal individually.

Inspected the room itself on arrival as well, of course.

Then I went back to the laundromat and put everything into the dryer. Hopefully the bag doesn’t get damaged but if it does, it’s worth the peace of mind. I don’t really have any need for it after this anyways. I threw my shoes away, they’re too gross to keep anyways.

Now I’m at a cafe around the corner enjoying a well-earned cerveza while the dryer does its thing.
So glad you made it! Enjoy your well-deserved cerveza, 🍻 Salud!
 
Glad to report that my Osprey Stratos 36 came out of the dryer unscathed (90 minutes on low). Hope that can help anyone with a similar Osprey pack who stumbles on this thread in the future.
 
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
Glad to report that my Osprey Stratos 36 came out of the dryer unscathed (90 minutes on low). Hope that can help anyone with a similar Osprey pack who stumbles on this thread in the future.
Was it a Tumble dryer? Often it is the tumble action that destroys things like packs but some commercial dryers allow you to turn off the tumble action and provide a rack that can be placed inside the dryer so that the items don't just sit on the bottom of the drum.
 
Was it a Tumble dryer? Often it is the tumble action that destroys things like packs but some commercial dryers allow you to turn off the tumble action and provide a rack that can be placed inside the dryer so that the items don't just sit on the bottom of the drum.
Yes, it was a tumble dryer.
 

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