Woman shares her trick to exposing bed bugs while staying in a hotel

Vlad Kochelaevskiy/Adobe Stock @janelleandkate/TikTok (Licensed)

‘Even 5 star hotels aren’t clean’: Woman shares her trick to exposing bed bugs while staying in a hotel

‘I check the entire room before I even bring my stuff in.’


Braden Bjella


Bed bugs are far more common than one would like to think. According to a survey released by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), “one out of five Americans has had a bed bug infestation in their home or knows someone who has encountered bed bugs at home or in a hotel.” 

Data from hotels themselves report an even higher amount of bed bugs. “One of the most recent studies, released in 2017 and conducted by Atlanta-based pest-management company Orkin, found that eight of ten U.S. hotels had dealt with bedbugs during the previous year,” writes Jen Murphy for Outside.

The striking ubiquity of bed bugs has long been observed online. For example, one user went viral after claiming her Airbnb rental was filled with bed bugs. Another stated that their Walmart break room had a bed bug problem, and a further user alleged that he found someone trying to donate bed bug-infested furniture.

Once one is exposed to bed bugs, it can be a pain to get rid of them, involving many wash cycles and a thorough cleaning of the infested space. Given this, many are paranoid about being exposed to bed bugs when they are traveling—and now, a TikTok user has given advice on how to detect bed bugs while traveling.

How to find bed bugs in a hotel room

In a clip with over 10 million views, TikTok users Janelle and Kate (@janelleandkate) show a woman with an iron sitting next to a hotel bed.

“So here’s a quick little trick. Pull up the comforter, get your hot iron. It doesn’t take much time, but the heat will bring all of these bed bugs to the surface of the mattress if they actually are there,” the woman in front of the camera says, pulling back the sheets. 

“Now I’ve got this iron on hot and you know they like to live around the corners of the mattress itself,” she continues. After a few seconds, she lifts up the covers—revealing what appear to be bed bugs along the corner of the bed.

The woman then offers a tip about hotel glasses. If you hold them upside down and try to put a napkin against their rim and its sticks, it is a dirty glass. If it doesn’t stick, it’s clean, she says.

Are these tips true?

It’s unclear whether an iron can truly be used to detect bed bugs.

The TikTok user appears to be implying that the heat of the iron will cause bed bugs to flock to a certain area. 

Experts do not specifically recommend against this method, but there’s little advocacy for it. Instead, experts only advise using an iron to kill bed bugs, but even then, some state that this is only a temporary solution and that further action must be taken to fully remove a bed bug infestation.

Instead, if one is truly concerned about bed bugs in their beds when traveling, Consumer Reports advises to “pull back the bed sheets and blankets and check the mattress and box spring seams for bugs, especially at the head of the bed,” among other tips.

As for the napkin trick, it’s also unclear whether this is a valid test, though most suggest that one only drink from glasses that come pre-wrapped in plastic, thoroughly washing the glasses yourself before use, or to simply refrain from drinking from the glasses altogether.

@janelleandkate I had no idea about this. #hotel #tips #nowyouknow #momsoftiktok #momtips ♬ original sound – Janelle & Kate

Commenters share their thoughts

In the comments section, users shared their own thoughts on bed bugs, with many saying they were common regardless of the perceived quality of the hotel.

“I was a housekeeper, even 5 star hotels aren’t clean,” said a user. “I was hungover and overworked sorry guys.”

“I found bed bugs behind a fabric headboard in a hotel once. And it was a very nice hotel,” added another.

“When I check into a hotel, I check the entire room before I even bring my stuff in,” detailed a third. “My family waits in the car until I say come in.”

The Daily Dot reached out to @janelleandkate via Instagram direct message.

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