How To Bring Home Used Furniture Without Inviting Bed Bugs In
Used furniture can save you thousands of dollars when you're trying to decorate on a budget, but you could easily spend those saved thousands if your furniture purchases leave you with a bed bug infestation. No matter who's selling the item or what they promise about it, you must do your own inspection before bringing a single side table or couch throw pillow into your home. These four tips will help you spot the pests before they're living it up in your living room.
Skip Sleeping Fixtures
If someone sleeps on it or has slept on, skip it. It's risky enough to buy used upholstered furniture at all, but bed bugs are particularly likely to live on mattresses, fabric covered headboards, and sleeper couches that have been in use recently. Even if someone is selling a mattress or headboard that is like new and they have a receipt showing they purchased it just weeks or months ago, there's no guarantee that bed bugs aren't already hiding in the seams.
Ask About Cleaning
You'd think that it would be better to buy used furniture that was recently steam cleaned or vacuumed, but these efforts to spruce up the fabric also hide the most visible signs of bed bugs. Ask the seller when they cleaned the furniture. If it's been less than a week or two, you won't be able to properly check the item for the tell-tale droppings and live bugs, so skip items unless they've been sitting for a while or so without a thorough cleaning.
Do a Basic Inspection
While it's not always possible to find signs of bed bugs before you bring a piece of furniture home, it's well worth trying to spot them. Try a quick on-the-spot inspection by
- Spreading out a canvas painting drop cloth or a white sheet under the piece of furniture
- Putting on a pair of white latex or vinyl gloves
- Running a credit card or other flat-edged plastic scraper over the upholstery and down the seams
- Looking for dark red crumbles or the small dark brown and red bugs themselves to appear on your gloves or the sheet below.
Shop at Trustworthy Stores
For the most protection, look for used furniture stores that treat every piece of upholstered furniture before putting it up for sale. With the right equipment, it becomes fairly inexpensive for the reseller to offer this extra step to their customers. Talk to furniture stores like the one represented at http://buckscountyestatetraders.com/ to learn more about their processes. If you can't find a seller that goes the extra mile, you can treat furniture yourself by parking it on your lawn, bagging it in an air-tight plastic furniture bag, and soaking it with a bed bug pesticide spray before bringing it indoors.