I can’t tell you how many people I’ve spoken to who were advised to or just decided to throw away their mattress and box spring during a bed bug infestation. I’ve even spoken to a few that threw away everything in their house (just a little extreme). In regards to the mattress, 9 times out of 10 it’s not necessary to dispose of the mattress and box spring.
Yes, it’s very true that bed bug do enjoy the hollow cavity of the box spring and along the seams of the mattress, but that doesn’t mean they have to be thrown away. Let’s face it, mattresses aren’t cheap with the average mattress set purchased costing $599.
Rather than throw away a mattress, there are several steps you can take to sterilize and save your mattress.
- Use a vacuum cleaner to remove all the bed bug eggs, bed bugs and their feces bi products from the mattress and box spring. Vacuuming inside the box spring by removing and disposing of the dust cover below is advised. Also, thoroughly vacuum the tape edge of the mattress, which attaches the top panel to the side panel. Be sure to discard vacuum bag if applicable or thoroughly clean the removable canister (we like to use STERIFAB, which is an alcohol based spray). Also clean the hose attachments once completed as some eggs or bed bugs could be inside.
- We like to use a steamer with a wide angle attachment and cloth cover to steam deep inside the mattress and box spring. Bed Bugs are very susceptible to steam, which makes using a steamer very effective against bed bugs. The tip where the steam comes out should be above 185 degrees Fahrenheit to eliminate bed bugs with steam. Move the attachment 1″ per second to ensure the steam is able to be effective on contact. Given a steamer will make your mattress moist, it’s recommended to let the set dry fully before applying any sheets or encasements. Steam is hot and can burn so be careful!
- Once the mattress is fully dry the last step is to lightly spray the mattress and box spring with STERI-FAB or Bedlam and allow to dry. STERI-FAB is basically just alcohol and will evaporate quickly leaving little to no trace behind. Bedlam is residual insecticide that will continue to be effective for about 3 weeks. We like STER-FAB for those looking to avoid chemicals.
- The final step is to apply mattress encasements to both the mattress and box spring encasements. Brands of mattress encasements include Luna Mattress or Protect-A-Bed.
The only time we would suggest throwing away the mattress is if you want a new one because of support issues or if the mattress is so infested with bed bugs and feces that it can’t be sterilized.
If you have any questions please feel free to comment.