Who doesn’t like scoring a fabulous find on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, thrift stores, or garage sales? You can find some great secondhand items at affordable prices. Unfortunately, those thrifty treasures might harbor a hidden and secretive nemesis- the bed bug. It's common for people to get rid of their furniture when they have a bed bug infestation, or they simply don’t realize that they have bugs when they make the sale or donate the item. Either way, you carry your secondhand items home and end up with a thriving colony of bed bugs.
In many states, people put their old or used items out on the curbside for others to peruse and take if interested. Sadly, many of these items are laden with bed bugs. If you see items for free at the curb and they look too good to be true, use caution as they might be infested.
Avoid Upholstered Items
While contemporary furniture is expensive, dated, upholstered furniture can be a haven for bed bugs. Even vacuuming or steam cleaning the item may not completely eradicate the bed bugs and sprays can leave dead bugs deep inside.
Mattress and Box Springs
Bed bugs like to stay close to their food source. Mattress and a box spring are typically the most common source of bed bugs. They can be filled with bed bugs hiding deep in the stitching. Even if the bed looks white and pristine, it still might hold bed bugs.
Clothing Can Hide Bed Bugs
Clothing can be a safe buy if you put it in plastic bag and through the washer and dryer as soon as you enter the house. Unload the bag directly into the washer, set on hot, and dispose of the plastic bag in an outdoor trash bin. When the clothes are done, place them in the dyer on high for at least twenty to thirty minutes.
Treating Shoes for Bed Bugs
Shoes are a little trickier to treat as they may sustain damage in the washer and dryer. If this is the case, you can try steam cleaning them. Otherwise, purchasing them new is the safest option.
Electrical Items Have Lots of Hiding Places
Laptops, stereos, phones, and clocks are all items that you may not expect but can indeed hold bed bugs. While you can’t treat these items with liquid sprays, there are various vapor treatment options available that can get deep into the cracks and crevices to kill any hidden bed bugs without damaging the item.
Bed Bugs Hiding in Books
Bed bugs can easily hide in books that have been donated or traded in for credit towards new books. The next person that buys the book accidently brings home the pests lurking in the spine or pages of the book. Before buying a secondhand book, take the time to look closely at the book focusing on the spine and binding.
Trusting Secondhand Furniture Retailers
Secondhand furniture dealers usually inspect their furnishings prior to sale. Many might even steam clean the furnishings and launder the clothing. It is still best if you check these furnishings thoroughly and treat anything that appears dubious before placing it inside of your home.
Without a doubt, buying secondhand furniture is risky business and it’s important to weight the savings against the potential risk. If it is an item that you simply cannot pass up, you should treat the item prior to bringing it into your home. If you can safely conclude there are no bed bugs, then enjoy your fabulous find!
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