Hints from (Bed Bug) Helloise: your bedbug-opinions on hanging Space Bags, Space Bag Totes

by nobugsonme on December 26, 2006 · 6 comments

in bed bugs, consumers, furnishing bedbug-free homes, tools and weapons

Bed Bug Helloise writes:

Our home was covered in XL ziplocs full of clothes and linens; you couldn’t even twirl a masked assassin bug in here. So we got some space bags: they seem airtight enough, if you vacuum them carefully (though sometimes they re-inflate). However, they should best be kept standing up vertically, according to the instructions, and that’s rather inconvenient.

So we were very pleased to see the new Space Bag Totes.

They’re a bit pricey at $19.95 (unless, that is, you need the 7 other space bags that come with them, which would be a bargain; we don’t want them.) It looks at first glance like something that would not be good for bed bugs (a cloth tote with some plastic sides and zippers: not secure at all). In fact, the space bag is inside a 5-sided box, with an entire sealable space bag inside, that once vacuumed becomes a nice, stackable cube! Perfect. To give you an idea of the size, they say it holds an entire King size bedding set (with 2 pillows) plus 5-7 sweaters or jackets. Can we get a bulk-order deal, please, Space Bags?

We are wondering about the hanging space bags (dress or suit size): again, they seem “safe” from a bed bug perspective (and you know, I am sure, that a dry-cleaner’s

bag on a hanger is not safe).

But here’s our question for anyone who’s used them: when you open the hanging bags, is whatever’s inside wrinkly, or ready-to-wear? I really need a solution to store freshly dry cleaned or washed items that need to hang. Right now, Helloise is looking a bit shabby!

I realize Space Bags are more useful for long-term storage, but with bed bugs, it is so hard to find a solution for storing must-be-hanged garments. Others have suggested setting up a metal garment rack (clothes bar) as a safe zone, treating the legs you would an isolated bed’s legs (see the FAQs). I’d personally feel much better with the clothing enclosed. If others have ideas for solutions which enclose hanging garments but make them easier to access, I’m all ears. I’d rather not call Bed Bug ‘Elmer to vacuum the bag closed each time I take out a nice pinafore.

One other comment on the Space Bag site: it says the hanging bags fit inside regular garment bag (luggage). So they make a possible travel solution: pop it inside your garment bag and go.

Editor’s note: We don’t have any connection with the Space Bags company. We do, however, enjoy seeing the animated graphics of various insects bouncing off the covers of Space Bags in their commercials. We hope they’ll include a picture of a bed bug being thusly repelled in future, perhaps even splattering on impact. While there is way too much violence in the media, we are yet to see bed bugs getting it on movies or tv, and we feel this is an oversight.

To BuggedinBrooklyn: your post is coming tomorrow! Readership has been way down for the holidays, and I didn’t want to post it during a slow time and have it be overlooked.

Update 5/29/2007: I later decided hanging space bags were a pain. On one trip, I packed in a hanging space bag inside a garment bag (the kind like a plain sleeve, not really luggage). This was all to avoid going to a conference looking like a freak with my XL ziplocs, you understand. The space bag was pretty airtight even after the vacuum seal was broken (I kept the zipper zipped, so it was sealed, just not vacuum-condensed.) But the hanger broke, and there I was with a hanger-less space bag, thrown over a chair.

1 hopelessnomo' December 26, 2006 at 9:52 pm

Space bags seem a hassle for everyday use?

I don’t use dry-cleaned clothes but if it were me, I think I’d fold each garment carefully (one or two folds if possible) with a few sheets of tissue paper beneath and/or inside the garment and then put it in a flat plastic bin. (Perhaps leave in the cleaner’s plastic sheathing too.) My so-far-favorite plastic bins are those Rubbermaid blue roughnecks that have soft plastic lids that mold closely around the bin’s edges and the handles have only two small holes that are easily taped. (Target.) I followed someone else’s advice and bought plastic shelves for the bins. The longer the bin, the less folding I’d imagine; however, not sure if flat, long bins are available.

The tissue underneath the folds of clothes is something you see in stores sometimes and I’ve packed clothes like that for travelling. (Is it only in movies that I’ve seen the old-fashioned cleaner’s boxes?)

I’m not sure if I’m explaining this well but folding with tissue is what they do with antique garments and textiles, unless they use muslin instead of tissue… Probably not necessary to be so concerned about small creases if you buy a steam iron? Might be easier to give items a quick steam for any small wrinkles than to mash them up in those space bags.

Oh, and I dislike the XL ziploc bags because ensuring that they’re really thoroughly closed is a pain and I’ve twice found them mysteriously open.

2 Bugalina December 26, 2006 at 10:16 pm

I just found the ZIPLOCS in Large..With Double Zippers…these are much better…easier to handle than the XL and the double zipper makes for an easier close…I agree with the above comment about the single zippers ones being difficult to close….Seems like the plastic bag industry is making new and improved products for “you know what”..deb

3 hopelessnomo' December 26, 2006 at 10:19 pm

Oh, and personally, I wouldn’t use those space bag totes–they have cloth outside, so no matter how well sealed the inner plastic bag is… they have potentially infestable cloth right outside! Close, very close to your stuff when you open to remove something, and not wipeable like plastic.

Now that I’ve rained on your enthusiasm… sorry.

4 nobugsonme December 27, 2006 at 12:58 am

Hi Hope!

Re: the space bag hanging models: another Bedbugger uses them and when he has one he wants for daily use, the zips the zipper (which is more secure than a ziploc one–I’ve never seen them gap or open) but does not suck out the air. I am going to give this a shot. I would still like to know if things come out unwrinkled in the hanging ones, as Space Bag claims.

I wondered that about the space totes too. But I think I’d rather slip the tote into an XL ziploc to keep the cloth clean, and then it’s great to have something small. (Space is a premium here in NYC.) But your fears are well-founded. The ziplocs do not always seal and must be checked.

Personally, the rubbermaid and other totes I’ve found have not been almost sealed–the edges have gaps, and taping them seems like a hassle to me. If you can get better ones, that’s great, but I don’t trust the ones I’ve seen without a bag inside. You’re right that folding in a box with paper can prevent wrinkles, so that seems like a possiblity with the right box.

Bugalina– the double zip sounds better. Did you find these next to the XLs?

5 itchyastoria October 23, 2008 at 5:56 pm

I just bought a few of the actual space bags. While I wouldn’t do the tote (because of the cloth issue previously mentioned) the actual space saver bags themselves don’t have any cloth on them. All plastic. 🙂 Yeah, and definitely more condusive to long term storage.

6 nobugsonme October 23, 2008 at 6:53 pm

Except when they come open or wear out.

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