In a just-published study, when bed bugs were released into an empty room that had bags of clean and dirty clothes, they were much more likely to seek out the bags of dirty clothes than the clean clothes.
Bed bugs use odors on our skin as an important way to find us and get a blood meal. These odors remain on our clothes after we wear them. In the study, the “dirty” clothes were worn for just three hours—long enough to pick up our human scent.
What does this mean? If you are in a hotel or anywhere else that may have bed bugs, having dirty clothes and shoes on a bed, or on the floor (especially near a bed) will increase the likelihood that bed bugs crawl into the pile of clothes or shoes and be carried home with you, potentially starting a new bed bug infestation.
Based on these new findings, it would probably be better to have worn items in a sealed plastic bag, and when you get home, empty the entire bag contents directly into the washing machine.