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How Can You Get Rid of Bed Bug-Infested Furniture?

By Chris Williams on September 25, 2015.

My son lives in a college frat house that had a bed bug infestation. He’s going to get rid of his bed and some other furniture. I told him that he shouldn’t just put it out for the trash since some other poor student would probably pick it up. What’s the best way to dispose of his bed and other stuff?

J. L., Franklin, MA

On a college campus, you can almost be certain that beds or other furniture left for trash pickup would be scavenged by other needy students. Hopefully your son understands the importance of not passing his bed bug problem on to others. Recycling furniture is well and good, unless that furniture has bed bugs (see Used Furniture Can Hide Bed Bugs).

First of all, it may not be necessary for your son to get rid of his things (unless the school has such a policy). In almost every bed bug infestation, a professional exterminator can eliminate bed bugs from the furniture (see Don’t Discard Bed Bug-Infested Furniture) or mattresses and box springs can be encased (see Do Mattress Encasements for Bed Bugs Really Work?). He should also know that getting rid of infested furniture will not, by itself, eliminate a bed bug infestation. A new mattress or box spring will shortly become infested as well unless the premises have been professionally treated.

When getting rid of a bed bug-infested bed frame, mattress, or box spring, you must take steps to make sure that no one else picks them up for use. If he can, your son should take the items to the dump himself. Otherwise, he needs to do what he can to destroy the furniture and render it unusable. Many communities require that citizens do at least one of the following:

  • Make several slices into the mattress and box spring to render them undesirable for use.
  • Break up bed frames or furniture to render them unusable.
  • Wrap the mattress, box spring, or other furniture in heavy plastic, taping it into place (this also keeps bed bugs from dropping out of the furniture as it’s moved).
  • With a large marking pen or paint, write on the bagged furniture, “Bed Bugs. Do Not Use!”
  • Coordinate the disposal with the trash pickup so the items are left out for as little time as possible. Note that some communities may have special policies in place for disposal of bed bug-infested items and may make special trash pickups.

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