How to Check and Treat Used Furniture For Bed Bugs

How to Check and Treat Used Furniture For Bed Bugs

Most Effective Products

Pyrid Insecticide Aerosol
As low as $27.99
D-Fense Dust Insecticide
As low as $12.33
Flex 10-10 Insecticide
Emulsifiable Concentrate (EC)
As low as $54.99
Gentrol IGR Concentrate
Emulsifiable Concentrate (EC)
As low as $5.76
Clean Rest Pro Mattress Encasement
As low as $38.22
Clean Rest Pro Pillow Encasement
As low as $12.34
Clean Rest Pro Boxspring Encasement
As low as $31.36
Keith's Pro Tips

"For further bed bug inspection, you can simply take a blank white sheet of paper or bed bug monitoring device and place it underneath each furniture legs to see any bed bugs traveling to and from the item."

How to Check and Treat Used Furniture For Bed Bugs

This page is a general control guide for checking bed bugs in used furniture or more severe cases treating them in received secondhand furniture. Follow the associated links and use the recommended products and we guarantee complete control of bed bugs.

Whether you found a gently used nightstand or couch while thrift shopping, we all love a good deal. So what do you do when you find bed bugs in your secondhand furniture? Its only natural to be alarmed when these pests are found in your used furniture. From their biting activities, and ability to hide in the smallest of crevices to escape pesticide treatments makes the bed bug one intimidating pest.

What might start off as a small infestation in your home, can quickly become a larger population making these pests difficult to control. And even worse, these pests have the ability to become resistant to pesticides. For this reason, take a look at the tips and products listed throughout this article to help you avoid and control bed bugs in your home when buying secondhand furniture.

What to Use For Bed Bugs Check in Furniture

Be prepared to inspect the furniture or secondhand item with the following tools. By using these tools you can avoid bringing bed bugs home or into your vehicle. You can also avoid the purchase of the furniture and continue your search for a good secondhand furniture.

  • Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), such as latex gloves. With a glove covered hand, run it along the fabric, in-between and underneath cushions, tufts, seams, folds, and the back, side, and underneath of the furniture without being exposed to the pest.
  • A flashlight to better spot the bed bug and signs of this pest.
  • An old credit card or flat, thin card to dislodge any bed bugs that are hiding in these tight spaces. Bed bugs have flat bodies that fit in spaces as small as a credit card.
  • A magnifying glass, to better spot any bed bugs, shells, or their eggs.

Signs of Bed Bugs in Furniture

Bed Bugs on Mattress

Before you bring your furniture into the house or even consider purchasing it, its important to check for bed bugs. If any of these signs are present, do not take the item into your home or vehicle as well as any other items that were near it.

  • Small, itchy red welts on your arms, legs, chest, back, and other places on your body can be caused by bed bug bites.
  • Red or black colored stains on the furniture, especially in hard to reach areas like the crevices, sides, backside, mattress seams, bed frames, and wood frames. Since they feed on blood from their host they will leave behind small droplets or if they were squished while feeding. As bed bugs move about it will leave behind its feces, which resembles dried blood. Bed bug feces also appears as if someone has taken a marker and drawn several spots with it or dark smears.
  • Bed bugs shed their skin as they grow, so look for their skin shells. Inspect the seams on the mattress, chair, couch, and between cushions as well as the space between shelf drawers in nightstands or dressers.
  • If you see white spots on the furniture, it could be bed bug eggs or shed skin cells. They are shaped like a grain of rice, but smaller, and have a translucent pear white color.
  • Of course, the pest itself. Bed bugs are incredibly small pests that are wingless, flat oval-shaped, and brown. Adult bed bugs measure about 5 to 7 mm in length.

What Kind of Furniture Has Bed Bugs


Bed bugs hide during the day, and look for people to bite at night. However, they can come out in the morning if you work during the night and sleep during the day. These pests hide in various places, including furniture. Common pieces of furniture bed bugs will inhibit are listed below:

  • Beds, including sofa beds, roll-away beds, or trundles.
  • Bed sheets, mattresses, covers, and pillows. Be sure to check the top and bottom of mattress seams, between the mattress and box springs, and along the edges and tufts of the mattress.
  • Nightstands, bed frames, head and foot board especially between the board and the mattress, dressers, picture frames, electronics such as outlets, curtains, or ceiling fans.
  • Crack and crevices and spaces between cabinets, shelves, carpet, dining chairs, desk, living room couches, baseboard where the carpet meets the wall, and other upholstered furniture. Be sure to check furniture legs, crevices, (especially where the upholstery creases and seams), back, and sides.
  • Anything hanging on the wall from picture frames, posters, and so on.
  • In the closet look under stored items such as blankets, iron, ironing board, and other plastic containers or storage items. As well as the closet rack and anything hanging from them.
  • Anywhere else that has a space as thin as credit card.

Things to Avoid When You Have Bed Bugs

Moving Furniture

If signs of bed bugs are observed in used furniture, then consider the following precautions.

  • Do not move furniture, clothing, or other objects from an infested room to other rooms. Trying to move these items to an outdoor garbage bin will only accelerate and spread the infestation further into your home, or even into your yard. Leave all items in the infested room in their original place until bed bugs are eliminated.
  • Never give away infested furniture or sell it to other individuals.
  • Avoid using items from an infested area in another part of the home, this also includes adjacent rooms whether it is the side, top, or even rooms underneath the infested level such as the basement. Reason being is bed bugs can attach themselves to smallest of fibers from your shoelace to fabric fibers hence the nickname hitching bug. They may also travel through the shared ventilation between each room.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs In Used Furniture

Before proceeding with treatment, make sure to wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect yourself against pesticides and the pest itself.

Bed bugs are a serious, fast-acting pest that will need to be quickly controlled with the following steps. For further knowledge about how you can prevent and control this pest then check out our DIY Guide about Bed Bug Control.

Step 1: Clean the Infested Area

Vacuuming Floor

The first thing you should do is clean the infested area where bed bugs have been spotted. This involves vacuuming the floor, the underneath, sides, top, between cushions of furniture, curtains, folds of mattress and bed frame, and especially the mattress and box spring. It would also be best to dissemble furniture, such as the legs, head board, and foot board to effectively clean these areas as bed bugs can hide in the smallest of cracks and crevices.

Once done vacuuming, immediately dispose of the vacuum contents in an outdoor garbage bin that is several feet away from your homes foundation. Properly sanitize the inside and outside of the vacuum as bed bugs and their eggs can still harbor in these machines and make their way back into your home.

Place all clothing, bedding, pillow cases, cushions, covers, curtains, linens, clothing, rugs, and other cloth materials from the infected area or rooms near it in a plastic bag. Leave all items in the plastic bags in the room until it is ready to be washed and dried in your washing machine. We recommend machine washing these items in hot water and drying them on a hot cycle (above 120 degrees Fahrenheit). Other items that cannot be washed then you will need to vacuum them and steam on high heat to kill bed bugs and their eggs.

Step 2: Apply Flex 10-10 and Gentrol IGR

Treating Mattress for Bed Bugs

We recommend applying Flex 10-10 to your mattress, bed joints, baseboards, moldings, floors, box spring, and other furniture. Flex 10-10 is a synthetic pyrethroid that provides a fast control over bed bugs on the inside and outside of your home. To further control future generations of bed bugs, you will also want to use Gentrol IGR, which is an insect growth regulator to control underdeveloped stages of bed bugs, like the eggs and nymphs.

You will first need to apply only Flex 10-10 over your mattress as Gentrol IGR cannot be applied on mattresses.

To perform spot treatments with Flex 10-10 in a handheld pump sprayer at the rate of 3.2 fl. oz. of Flex 10-10 per gallon of water per 1,000 sq. ft. For severe bed bug infestations, you can use 6.4 fl. oz. of product per gallon of water per 1,000 sq. ft.

To mix, fill your sprayer with half the amount of required amount, add measured amount of product, then pour in the remaining half of water. Close the spray tank lid and shake until solution is evenly mixed. Once mixed, apply the Flex 10-10 mixture to your mattress from the tufts, edges, seams, and folds.

After the mattress has been treated, you may then apply Flex 10-10 and Gentrol IGR together. Apply 1 fl. oz. of Gentrol IGR per gallon to the Flex 10-10 solution to treat 1,500 sq. ft. Only apply the Flex 10-10 and Gentrol IGR combination to the bed frame, box spring, furniture, closet, flooring, and all along the baseboards of the room.

Step 3: Treat Cracks and Crevices 

Crack and Crevice Treatment

To further treat crack and crevices, we recommend applying Pyrid Insecticide Aerosol to control bed bugs that may have escaped the spray application. Pyrid Insecticide Aerosol is an insecticide aerosol that will flush out bed bugs from the smallest of crevices or eliminate them directly on contact.

This product may be applied to the bed frame, box spring, and furniture within apartments, homes, or other labeled areas. To use Pyrid Insecticide Aerosol as a crack and crevice treatment, replace the white actuator with the red applicator straw and affix the application straw to the nozzle. Make sure all doors and windows are closed when applying this product indoors.

Insert the application straw deep into the joints and channels of beds if hollow, such as the square or round tubing, and see that the interior framework is treated. When bed bugs are found in upholstered furniture, apply only to the infested tufts, seams, folds, and edges and underneath all areas, but DO NOT apply to flat surfaces where human contact will occur.

Apply as a crack and crevice treatment to all bed frames, headboards, box springs, baseboards, moldings, beneath floor coverings and carpets, closets, shelves, curtains, furniture, and picture frames in the room.

Do not allow spray to contact plastic, painted, or varnished surfaces or directly into electronic equipment such as radios, TVs, computers etc.

Reapply every 7 to 10 days, as needed, until infestation is eliminated.

Step 4: Treat Voids

Dust Application

For voids that cannot easily be reached in or around furniture, such as wall voids, electrical outlets, along baseboards, upholstery of chairs and sofas, and all cracks and crevices in the room should be treated with D-Fense Dust. D-Fense Dust is a dry insecticidal dust made with deltamethrin 0.05%, which kills bed bugs by over-stimulating its central nervous system leading to paralysis then eventual death.

Once applied, this product will continue to eliminate bed bugs for up to 8 months after application. To use D-Fense Dust, you will need to use a handheld duster like the Pro Blow Handheld Pesticide Duster.

Fill the duster halfway with D-Fense Dust, and leave plenty of room for the air to circulate for proper application. Apply this product in all cracks and crevices, under baseboards, electrical outlets, under furniture, cracks and hollow posts of bed frames, upholstery of chairs and sofas, and picture frame moldings.

Allow D-Fense Dust to remain in contact with chair and sofa upholstery for 4-6 hours, then thoroughly vacuum these treated areas, dispose of vacuum bag. Also vacuum treated treated areas that will come into direct contact with humans and pets.

To apply this product in electrical outlets, make sure to turn off breakers. Do not apply as a broadcast application to floors and floor covering in residential areas or directly to clothing.

How to Avoid Bed Bugs in Used Furniture

Mattress Encasement

If you decide to get used furniture, choose wisely and take into consideration some of the following tips. Be sure to consider these bed bug precautions whenever you take furniture into or out of your home.

  • Avoid taking used furniture from uncreditable stores or sources, dumps, garbage bins, or side of the road. Furniture thrown away is never worth the risk, and usually discarded for a good reason, which could sometimes be bed bugs. Keep in mind you do not know why the previous ownder threw away that seemingly well-cared for furniture, but a quick inspection on the side of the road is not very thorough. Also, remember that bed bugs can hide in the smallest of crevices, cracks, and voids in furniture, and wooden frames.
  • Know that upholstered furniture is an ideal location for bed bugs, but they can be very difficult to detect. It would be best to avoid second-hand furniture all together.
  • Ask the owner of the furniture if they previously had a bed bug infestation.
  • If purchasing used furniture from a store, ask the owner if the items have been inspected for bed bugs and how they go about their inspection processes. Do not simply take the promise of the item being stored in a well-conditioned warehouse as bed bugs can survive for up to a year without food. It is highly unlikely that the seller would hold onto furniture pieces for that long before putting it out for sale. Other areas that sellers may use for storage are storage units, which can also be prone to bed bug infestations.
  • Leave the used furniture outside of your home, until it has been inspected and if needed, treated with the appropriate insecticide. Vacuum all cracks, crevices, seams, folds, and other hidden areas. Steam all cracks, hard to reach areas, seams, folds, and tufts. Remove all cushions and covers from fabric furniture and leave them in a plastic bag until it is ready to be washed or steamed. Carry them into the home in the plastic bag and wash in warm water and dry on the hottest setting. Leave items outside until they are ready to be placed into the washer and dryer, and all other items that cannot be washed then vacuumed and steamed.
  • For further preventative measures, wrap furniture with a plastic encasement such as the Clean Rest Pro Mattress Encasement, Clean Rest Pro Pillow Encasement, and Clean Rest Pro Boxspring Encasement. Each of these products features a durable, plastic cover with a zip-n-lock feature to protect the furniture against bed bugs, stains, and other pests for up to 1 year. If the furniture has been removed of bed bugs, but you do not simply want the item no longer then it can be thrown away from your home with the encasement still around it. Make sure to mark it with clear warnings and arrange for proper disposal.

Key Takeaways

How Long Does it Take to Remove Bed Bugs From Furniture?

  • Bed bugs can mature in as little as one month and survive for up to 1 year without food. The amount of time it takes for bed bugs to infest furniture depends on several factors. Bed bugs are more experienced during the summer months, but can occur at any point of the year, especially during the fall when people are traveling more or possibly purchasing used furniture as gifts. They can hide in the small cracks, crevices, and voids during the day, but also emerging in these time frames if the host sleeps more in the day than at night.

Can Used Couches Have Bed Bugs

  • Secondhand furniture can support bed bugs since they provide tight cracks, crevices, seams, tufts, and voids needed for them to hide until they are ready to come out and feast.

How to Prevent Bed Bugs in Used Furniture

  • Its best to thoroughly inspect secondhand items before buying them or bringing them into your home or vehicle. Never bring furniture from the side of the road, dumpster, or without the knowledge of the items history.
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    D-Fense Dust Insecticide
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    Flex 10-10 Insecticide
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    Clean Rest Pro Mattress Encasement
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