The Hidden Danger Of Buying Used Upholstered Furniture

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Bed Bugs

You know this is going to be bad news, but old upholstered furniture can be a paradise for bed bugs. Once inside, they can be impossible to detect. If the person selling the furniture cleaned or vacuumed it without realizing bed bugs where present, the superficial signs & clues of bed bug activity may be absent too.

Steam cleaning won't eradicate bedbugs from old upholstered furniture. The extreme heat necessary to kill the bugs and their eggs doesn't penetrate into the old padding of old upholstered pieces deeply enough to do the job. There are over-the-counter or on-line pesticides available that claim to kill bed bugs, if you do try chemical warfare, you'll still be left with the problem of dead bugs inside the furniture and a lingering chemical residue you won't be able to wash out completely. 

If you think you where born under a lucky star & still want to risk buying second hand upholstered items, check them thoroughly for signs of bed bugs. 

Three telltale signs of bedbug activity in used upholstered furniture:
  • Bed bugs deposit small black spots after feeding. You can sometimes see groups of pinpoint spots on hard and soft fabric surfaces. The upholstery fabric may also show reddish streaks or smears.
  • Since bed bugs spend a lot of time hiding, check the backs & undersides of any second hand  upholstered furniture for live bugs or discarded bed bug exoskeletons.
  • Bed bugs are often found hiding in the seams &  creases of old upholstered furniture, you can also find them or their eggs in screw holes.

Will heat kill bed bugs? - It has to be a continuous temperature of at least 110 degrees Fahrenheit for a period of three hours or more. This can be a tall order. Small items can be sanitized on hot days inside a sealed, dark plastic bag or bin liner.

Will cold will kill bed bugs? - As an eradication option expose bed bugs to cold temperatures of 20 degrees Fahrenheit or less for at least a week.

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