Bed bugs are tiny nocturnal insects that are very similar to ticks. As the name suggests, they infest beds and other furniture. They come out at night to feed on mammals—humans, cats, and dogs. These bugs are small enough to enter your home unnoticed and lurk in your furniture. Once they get there, it’s hard to get rid of them.
If you have a bed bug infestation, you need to act fast. Bed bugs can spread through an entire house in just a few days.
What Do You Do With Furniture That Has Bed Bugs?
Every year, many people are unpleasantly surprised to discover that bed bugs don’t just live in beds. Bed bugs can live in almost any piece of furniture: pillows, couches, chairs, and even ottomans.
Bed bugs breed and spread very quickly and often go undetected until there’s a massive infestation. They can go up to 400 days without eating, which is part of why it’s so hard to get rid of them. Even worse, they can lie dormant for 2-6 months, meaning the infestation in your furniture could have started many months ago.
If you’ve found bed bugs in your furniture and have decided to deal with the problem yourself, follow these tips to ensure the infestation doesn’t spread.
Step 1: Estimate Disposal Costs
Before you begin buying protective gear, you should do a quick estimate of the overall disposal costs.
Many people prefer DIY over the cost of hiring a professional, but it’s easy to underestimate the labor and expense of a project. If you plan to dispose of infested furniture yourself, make sure you factor these costs into your plan:
- Cost of protective gear
- Cost of chemicals or equipment to treat the items and surrounding area
- Cost of plastic wrap
- Cost of transporting the furniture to the dump
- Waste disposal fee
You’ll also want to check with your local dump or landfill in advance to see their policies on large object disposal. Some companies may offer a pick-up service, especially if you live in a large city.
If you’re willing to cover the removal costs, it’s time to gear up.
Step 2: Get the Right Protective Gear
You might not think to buy protective gear when dealing with bed bugs; to most people, they’re more annoying than dangerous. However, these pests are very resourceful. There’s always the chance that one or two desperate bugs may jump to your clothes or shoes, and that’s all it takes for the infestation to spread.
White coveralls are ideal because the fabric makes it easier to see any bed bugs trying to escape. Make sure to get one that completely covers your shoes and has a hood.
Be sure to use gloves as well. Bed bugs are blood-sucking insects, so you’ll want to ensure you’re completely covered.
Step 3: Treating the Bed Bugs
This step is critical, especially if you intend to hire another company to haul away the furniture after treatment. Junk removal services will not take furniture infested with bed bugs if it has not undergone a professional pre-treatment. To have the infested furniture removed, you must pretreat both the furniture and the surrounding areas.
While a professional bed bug treatment is the best choice and a necessary step if you want junk removal providers to handle the furniture for you, you can do DIY bed bug treatment. DIY options are fine as an additional preemptive step if you can’t stand the idea of bed bugs in your home for a second longer.
Follow these steps to treat your furniture for bed bugs:
- Heat treatment: Bed bugs can’t withstand high heat. You can purchase a heat treatment box and put every infested item of furniture into the hot box. Unfortunately, this method won’t take care of bed bugs that have infested your carpets.
- Cold treatment: Extremely cold temperatures —0℉ or lower—can also kill bed bugs. Wrap infested items in plastic and put them in a freezer for at least four days. This method works for clothes, shoes, toys, and anything else that fits in a freezer and can be frozen.
- Steam cleaners: You can expose bed bugs to high heat using steam cleaners as well. These devices can get into all the nooks and crannies of the furniture and surrounding area. Ensure your steam cleaner can reach 130℉ and uses a diffuse airflow—too much force can scatter the bugs.
Again, a DIY treatment is only a backup measure. Professional treatment is necessary in most cases. You should exercise caution if you go this route. Stay away from dangerous chemicals like kerosene, gasoline, and rubbing alcohol. These chemicals are toxic and highly flammable—they’re just as likely to harm you as bed bugs.
Step 4: Completely Cover the Furniture With Plastic Wrap
After treating the furniture and the surrounding area, you need to wrap the treated furniture in plastic before moving it. You’ll want to seal the entire piece so there are no gaps. No matter how thoroughly you treated it, there’s a high likelihood a few bugs survived.
Bed bugs can survive for days without oxygen, but they’ll die quickly without a blood meal. Before removing it from the house, you must ensure no bugs can get out of the plastic wrap. Otherwise, you risk them leaping onto other furnishings or spreading the infestation to your neighbors.
Some good tips for getting a complete seal are to use many layers of plastic and pull them taut. Imagine you are trying to waterproof the furniture—anywhere water could get in, bugs can get out. Use tape to close any gaps in the plastic.
Step 5: Transport the Contaminated Furniture
Once you’ve sealed the furniture, you’re ready to head to the waste processing facility.
Never put infested furniture inside a vehicle. There are a lot of fabric surfaces in a car: the seats, the floor, the ceiling, etc. Even if you’ve been thorough with the plastic wrap, the tiniest hole is enough for bugs to escape and take up residence in your car. Always use a truck or trailer.
If you’re disposing of multiple pieces of furniture, consider renting a dumpster. You’ll have to check with the dumpster rental company to ensure they accept large furniture and previously infested items.
If heavy lifting isn’t for you, you can hire a junk removal company to do all the work for you. Keep in mind that most companies will require documentation showing items have undergone professional pretreatment.
Many cities also offer pick-up services and may even have specific resources for residents to help contain beg bug infestations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Bed Bugs Be Removed From Furniture?
Yes! It is possible, but it can be tricky because you must treat adult bugs and their eggs. Many pest control companies offer furniture treatment services, including chemical and non-chemical treatments, alongside temperature-controlled heating, steaming, or freezing. Professional treatment is the most effective, as DIY approaches require specialized equipment.
Do Bed Bugs Spread Disease?
Luckily, bed bugs aren’t widely known to transmit diseases. However, their bites can cause minor allergic reactions such as itching, hives, and rashes.
Need to Get Rid of Furniture? We Can Help.
Dealing with bed bugs is challenging enough; let us help you with the heavy lifting. Nixxit Junk Removal has been operating in the San Francisco Bay Area for over ten years and has experience removing contaminated items.
We require pre-treatment by a professional and proof or documentation showing treatment before we can remove the infested items for you. In some cases, we ask that items are also pre-wrapped after treatment.
You can rest easy knowing that we prioritize sustainability and environmentally friendly junk removal practices. Our commitment to sustainable waste disposal has even earned us the title of Certified Bay Area Green Business.