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So I used the hotel laundry and uggghh....Help!

Brooklyn, New York
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So I used the hotel laundry and uggghh....Help!

Hello,

I am staying in a B&B in Sicily. While the overall facilities are quite clean, I made a big mistake when I used the washer in my apartment. As it turned out, it hadnt been cleaned in quite awhile, although I actually went over the "innards" where the clothes go with Lysol wipes. When I took out my clothes (which were still soaking wet after 3 hours), 1st, what looked like a cockroach leg fell off a pair of socks; then I realized the clothes were actually dirtier than when I put them in; and then I saw something that might - MIGHT - have been an egg.

The management was very sympathetic and helpful. I explained my fear of bringing bedbugs (or anything else!) back to the US, and they took the clothes out and put them in a bag and got them out of my apartment. I told them to just throw them out (fortunately they were all whites, and while not cheap, at least not from Macys).

This morning, I opened my door, and there was a boutique shopping bad containing all my whites - laundered and apparently ironed.

When I asked about the process they used to clean them, I was told they were washed just like everything else at the hotel: they were literally boiled (washed at extremely high temperatures), and then dried in the sun. I am not certain if they were ironed. But one of the folks who works here told me "Theres no way anything could survive the wash your clothes got."

I took the bag out on the porch with 2 huge Ziploc bags, and began inspecting every piece of clothing. I did not find any insect parts, or anything that looked - to my eyes - like an egg. They certainly looked clean (cleaner than I ever got them!) After inspecting each item, I put it in one of the bags, sealed the bags when I was done, and placed them on newspaper in the entryway to my apartment, far from everything.

I never saw a bedbug; when I moved in, I checked the entire apartment for bedbugs and their eggs and found nothing; and the idea of throwing out what might be perfectly good clothes which will have to be replaced, doesnt sit well with me. But neither does the possibility of having my life turned upside down when I return to the States.

Has anyone had an experience like this? Does anyone have any insights into just how effective an industrial strength wash at scalding temperatures would be at eliminating bugs, bed- or otherwise?

I would greatly appreciate any feedback. I leave tomorrow at 5 am, so I have to decide what to do quickly: pack them in my suitcase (which is all zipped up on the other side of the apartment) or throw them the Hell out.

Thank you,

Tom

P.S. I know this has nothing to do with Sicily, but I had to choose a location in order to post for some reason.

Italy
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1. Re: So I used the hotel laundry and uggghh....Help!

You clothes will be perfectly fine as they will have been washed at a high temperature with bleach added if they're whites so if there were any bugs or eggs they'll be long gone but I get the feeling you won't have peace of mind taking them home with you so go with your conscience.

Here & There
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for Sicily, Taormina
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2. Re: So I used the hotel laundry and uggghh....Help!

Yes ItalyBound2012, your clothing would be absolutely fine, but Chrella is correct that you need to feel comfortable with your decision.

Vagabonda

Italy
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3. Re: So I used the hotel laundry and uggghh....Help!

Hotels laundries also use a sanitizer but I have the same feeling Chrella has: even if we say your clothes are ok you aren't in peace of mind.

Here & There
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for Sicily, Taormina
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4. Re: So I used the hotel laundry and uggghh....Help!

Really your clothes would be fine through the hotel's laundry service.

Vagabonda

Brooklyn, New York
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5. Re: So I used the hotel laundry and uggghh....Help!

Thank you everyone for the feedback. This issue consumed me for the better part of my last day there and I really appreciated the responses I got. I'm back in NYC now, had an otherwise amazing time in Sicily and already want to come back and see everything I missed (which was a lot).

Here & There
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for Sicily, Taormina
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6. Re: So I used the hotel laundry and uggghh....Help!

Welcome back ItalyBound2012, and best wishes until your return!

Vagabonda

Brooklyn, New York
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132 posts
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7. Re: So I used the hotel laundry and uggghh....Help!

Thank you, Vagabonda! I'm already planning it!

Italy
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8. Re: So I used the hotel laundry and uggghh....Help!

I'm curious, what did you finally decide to do with the clothes?

Brooklyn, New York
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9. Re: So I used the hotel laundry and uggghh....Help!

Well, I obsessed about it all day. On a rational level I believed what everyone on this post, not to mention the woman employed by the place (she was lovely, she kept me from cracking up several times) told me about nothing being able to survive a hotel laundering. On the IRrational level I operate on when I'm sleep-deprived and in pain (I had messed up my knee earlier that trip) I kept re-checking the bags. Every time, I found something that I imagined might have been an egg, or even an actual bug. I knew I was probably being silly, but I also knew - as you and several others wrote - that if I brought those bags home with me, I would worry constantly. I live in New York City, where stories of the horrors of bedbugs are legion; I once worked with someone who had them, and what she went through getting rid of them would have killed me, financially and otherwise. It tore me up to do it, after they went to so much trouble, but I couldn't bring those clothes home. I dumped them just before I left. So, I need some new socks and some t-shirts. It seems like a small price to pay for peace of mind. I hope anyone reading this will not think I'm insane. I'm kind of new to this traveling thing, and while I love it, this was only my 2nd trip, and unlike the 1st one, it did not go smoothly (lost luggage, missed connection due to a hold-up at the passport check in Rome, the knee injury). So I was already primed for a freak-out. But thank you, and everyone, for your feedback. I will be back to Sicily, if this post doesn't get me flagged as mentally unfit.

Amsterdam, The...
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10. Re: So I used the hotel laundry and uggghh....Help!

Even here, in the Netherlands, the stories about New York bed bugs are well known(!)

I believe a New York saying is "You haven't been to New York if you haven't encountered a bed bug"

So I can understand your bed bug fear.

But I also think your laundry is fine :)

Edited: 29 September 2013, 17:00