Mattress covers that are labeled for use as being dust-mite proof and waterproof also keep bedbugs out...or in. Encasing the mattress and box spring in one of these covers traps bedbugs that are already living inside the mattress and box spring and also keeps additional bugs from making their home there.
Dust-mite Proof Covers
These are usually marketed specifically to people with dust allergies. Dust mites are the microscopic creatures that live off dead skin cells of humans and animals. Since they are so tiny, the woven material of these covers must be so tight that no dust particles are allowed through. Since bedbugs are visible to the naked eye at roughly the size and shape of an apple seed, the covers are impenetrable to them as long as they seal completely.
Most often made of a plastic or vinyl material, waterproof mattress covers are designed to shield the mattress from any wet substance. To be effective, they appear solid with no visible weave that would allow moisture through. A waterproof cover may also double as protection against both dust mites and bedbugs; however, a dust-mite proof cover is not necessarily also waterproof unless the packaging states so.
Preparing Your Mattress
Before covering with either type of cover, thoroughly clean the mattress and remove any bedbugs that may be lingering along the seams. You can use a vacuum cleaner to get them up; dispose of the bag promptly and outside the house as vacuuming does not kill the bugs. Use a stiff brush to clean away the bedbug excrement, which looks like dark or rust spots on the mattress, usually near seams or buttons.
Encasing your mattress in a cover traps the bedbugs already present inside the cover provided the cover has a secure closure. Covers that fit on like a fitted sheet and do not fully enclose the mattress will not stop bedbugs from biting you. Bedbugs living outside the mattress, such as in the cracks in the headboard, in between baseboards and walls, in other bedroom furniture or under the carpet, will not be stopped from biting you without further extermination methods. The mattress must remain encased for at least one year to kill the bugs inside.
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