As you prepare for winter, you’ll be thinking about staying cozy while the bitter chill sets in. The last thing you want is to make your home snug for bed bugs. These bothersome pests may not survive the cold weather when exposed to the elements, but they’ll thrive inside of your home unless you do something to avoid an infestation. Take the following tips to ensure that the bed bugs stay away while you’re holed up during the darkest, coldest months of the year.

Take Extra Care When You Travel

Experts believe that the main reason bed bugs have made such a comeback is the fact that people are traveling more often. If you are on the go and staying at a hotel in the winter, be sure to take extra precautions while you are away. Bring a special laundry bag for all of your clothes, even while they are in your suitcase. Add a suitcase liner that has been designed to keep out bed bugs for added protection. Keep a spare laundry bag for your dirty laundry, changing your clothing in the bathroom as an additional measure of protection.

Inspect the hotel bed closely. If you see any signs of bed bugs, ask for another room. Bring your a pillowcase and pillow that is specifically intended for avoiding bed bug infestations. When you get home, put all of your clothes, the pillow, pillow case, suitcase liner, and laundry bags on the hottest cycle of your washer and dryer to ensure you kill anything that may have come home with you. You can leave your suitcase outside overnight because the cold will kill any bed bugs are in your suit case.

Change Your Clothes When You Get Home

It’s hard to believe, but you could pick up bed bugs anywhere that you go, from someone at work to a family member’s home or the place of a friend while visiting. As soon as you get home, remove your clothing and run it through the wash at high temperatures. Shower and change into fresh clothing. You might feel like you’re going overboard, but it’s worth it to keep those nasty bed bugs away.

Change Your Bedding Often

The more you launder your bedding, the greater level of protection you will have. As a rule of thumb, strip your beds at least once a week. While your sheets and blankets are in the wash, vacuum your mattresses. You can even take it up a notch and steam clean your mattresses to ensure bed bugs have not taken up residence with you.

Clean Your Rugs and Furniture on a Regular Basis

When you’re doing your weekly housekeeping, vacuum your carpets and upholstered furniture. Run a steam cleaner on occasion as well to combine a thorough cleaning with heat.

Keep the Rodents Out

Bed bugs can come in with rodents at any time of year, but winter is the point when you’re at the greatest risk for mice that want to find a safe haven in the cold. Close up any cracks in your foundation, make sure your windows are sealed well, and check your roof for any place where rodents could get in. Keep little critters and their bed bugs out of your home while you’re staying toasty in the winter.