Updated: Sep 26, 2020
You probably have a mattress cover on your bed already. And although it does a great job of protecting your mattress from dirt and moisture, and the occasional late-night snack mishap, it won’t protect it from a dreaded bed bug infestation. For that, only a bed bug mattress cover will do.
Sometimes, bed bugs can bite and feed on your blood and leave no signs at all. In such cases, other signs will tell you that you have a bed bug infestation. Such signs include; rust like stains that show up on your bedding, as bed bugs are crushed while you toss and turn, brownish spots that indicate the excreta of bed bugs, presence of tiny eggs with just a 1 mm diameter and of course live bed bugs that you can actually see around your bedding area. The smell of rotting raspberries coming from your bed is also a sign that you might have a bed bug problem.
The difference between a regular mattress cover and a bed bug mattress cover?
A traditional mattress cover covers the top and sides of your mattress. That leaves the bottom of your mattress and your box spring totally unprotected. A bed bug mattress cover, on the other hand, completely surrounds and seals your mattress or box spring– all 6 sides. It’s made of tightly-woven fabric that bed bugs can’t permeate. And, it has a specially designed zipper with teeth so small, and tightly fit together, that even a bed bug can’t squeeze through. The final protective feature is a secure Velcro enclosure at the end of the zipper that seals off any gaps bed bugs might crawl through. Once your bed bug mattress cover is on your mattress and box spring, and zipped shut, any bed bugs already living inside are trapped and can’t escape or breed, and will eventually die. But you should know that this could take over a year, so you need to be patient. Any bed bugs outside the mattress or box spring covers will be easy to spot and remove because there are no creases for them to hide in. So, bed bug mattress covers not only stifle an existing bed bug infestation, but also prevent new ones from starting.
Buying a bed bug mattress cover?
From crib mattresses to California Kings, bed bug mattress covers come in every size mattress do. And although prices can start as low as $20, if you can, shop for quality. For a little extra money, the options tend to be more reliable, sturdy, and truly bed bug-proof. As you shop around, you may find brands that offer pesticide-treated covers. Be aware that studies show the potential health hazards far outweigh the very slight increase in protection.
Don’t forget your box spring. Bed bugs are just as cozy in your box spring as they are in your mattress. So, when you pick up a bed bug mattress cover grab a bed bug box spring cover to go with it. They are the dynamic duo when it comes to getting rid of bed bugs.
When you start shopping, you’ll see that there are a lot of mattress covers out there designed for everything from bed wetting and allergies to bed bugs. Sometimes it’s hard to tell them apart. So, be sure the mattress cover you choose is actually a bed bug mattress cover – designed and guaranteed to protect against bed bugs. They will have the special features you need, such as bugproof materials and zippers.
While you’re at it, go ahead and check the reviews to be sure you're purchasing a product that is reliable and well-made. And one more thing you may want to consideration is noise. Some bed bug mattress covers are made of fabric that crinkles as you move in bed. If you’re a light sleeper, you’ll want a soft, noiseless mattress cover that won’t keep you up all night worrying about your bed bug problem.
Caring for your bed bug mattress cover?
Look for a bed bug mattress cover that’s durable and easy to clean – one you can pop in the washing machine when need be. Just how often should you wash your cover? A good rule of thumb is to leave it on for 1 year, or longer if you can, before taking it off for washing. Waiting will ensure the bed bugs die from starvation.
Here’s a helpful tip; go ahead and wash and dry the cover before putting it on your mattress and box spring:
Washing - Machine wash separately in cool water with a mild detergent (no bleach)
Drying - Tumble dry on a low or no-heat setting with sheets or towels
Wash and dry unzipped with material side facing out
Do not iron
Do not dry clean
Replacing your bed bug mattress cover
Adult bed bugs can actually live for well over a year without a meal. So, leave the cover on for at least that long. If it’s not soiled, leave it on for the life of your mattress to be sure all resident bed bugs are dead and no new infestations occur.
What to do if your home is infested
If you discover bed bugs in other areas of your home, sadly, your home is infested. In addition to the bed bug mattress covers, you’ll need to hire a professional pest management company to completely eradicate the bed bugs.
To learn more about bed bugs: how to spot them, get them out and keep them out, you can visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s website (https://www.epa.gov/bedbugs) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website (https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/bedbugs/index.html). And if you’ve been traveling, or plan to travel, make sure you’re staying at bed bug-free hotel or rental by visiting The Bed Bug Registry (https://bedbugregistry.com/) It’s a free, public database of user-submitted bed bug reports from across the United States and Canada.