Should You Throw Your Mattress Away If You Have Bed Bugs?

When you’ve got bed bugs, you will do anything to get rid of them. No doubt you’ve wondered what would happen if you threw your mattress and furniture away. But it’s actually a bad idea.

There’s no need to get rid of your old mattress. It’s better to have an exterminator treat it with heat or pesticide. Then fit an encasement to stop bed bugs getting in and out. Disposal of infested mattresses without treatment will spread bed bugs around your house.

Even if you discard your bed, your new one will become infested anyway. You should consider using a bed bug treatment for mattresses instead. We’ll explain why throwing your mattress away is a bad idea, and how to kill bed bugs in mattresses.

Do I Have to Throw Away My Mattress Due to Bed Bugs?

Throwing away your mattress may be a bad idea. Here’s why:

  • Mattresses are expensive. Throwing one away and getting a new one isn’t always an option.
  • To throw away the mattress, you would have to pick it up and drag it outside. Doing so could spread bed bugs around your home, or give them to your neighbors.
  • Bed bugs don’t only live in your mattress. They can live in furniture, wall cracks, and floorboard cracks. You would still have bed bugs after you’re done.
  • Because there are still bed bugs in your room, buying a replacement mattress because of bed bugs would be a bad idea. The new mattress would become infested.

It’s understandable if you don’t want to sleep on an infested mattress. Bed bugs cause sleeping problems because they bite you, and because they play on your mind.

Disposal of Bed Bug Infested Mattresses

When you get rid of a mattress with bed bugs in it, you should do so safely and quickly. There is a real risk of spreading the bed bugs either throughout your home or to neighbors. You should take care to ensure the bugs can’t spread.

Don’t Allow Bed Bugs to Spread

When you decide to throw away your mattress, do it quickly. Most people will move it out of the bedroom and store it in the garage until you can throw it away. This is a big job, after all.

However, if you do this, the bed bugs will spread back through the house. They will be attracted to the scent of people and the heat of your home. They will spread from the garage into your downstairs rooms, and eventually get back to your bedroom anyway.

Instead, get it out of the room and take it straight to the dump. Doing so will ensure that the bed bugs don’t have time to infest anything else.

Seal the Mattress Before Disposal

If you drag the mattress through the home, bed bugs will jump off it and infest the rest of the house. You can prevent this to an extent by sealing the mattress in an encasement.

When you get to the dump, you can take the mattress out of the encasement. Seal the encasement in an airtight box or bag before laundering it at home.

This should prevent at least some of the bugs from spreading.

Throw the Mattress Away Before Treating the House

Even your best efforts will result in some bed bugs spreading. Bed bugs run away from sunlight. When you expose them by moving the mattress, they don’t waste any time. They immediately start finding another place to hide.

There’s only so much you can do. Your best option is to throw the mattress away before having the entire house treated. This will ensure that the house is pest-free, and your mattress is entirely new and clean.

Of course, if you want to treat your house, you could treat the mattress too. The treatment would almost certainly work if done correctly. The only reason to bother buying a new mattress is if the idea of sleeping on your previously infested mattress disgusts you.

Don’t Sell a Mattress Infested with Bed Bugs

You could try and sell your mattress. However, it would be misleading to do so without telling people that it’s infested with bed bugs.

If you treat the mattress first, then perhaps you could sell it. However, there’s a big drawback. Pesticides take weeks to get rid of every bed bug. It may still be infested when you sell it. This would put people off buying it, even if it were reasonably priced.

Furthermore, you would have to keep the mattress hanging around, perhaps for weeks. If it has even just a few bed bugs in it, they could infest your garage and the rest of your house. It’s far better to throw the mattress away, if you want to get rid of it.

How to Stop Bed Bugs Infesting a New Mattress

Don’t buy a used mattress. There’s a chance that it could have bed bugs in it. You would be trading your own infested mattress for another that’s probably infested, too.

Stopping bed bugs infesting a mattress is easy. Before you bring the mattress into your home, fit an encasement around it. Encasements don’t let any bed bugs either in or out. They’re also not attractive to bed bugs as they don’t offer many places to hide.

How to Kill Bed Bugs Inside a Mattress

Bed bugs are susceptible to many things (heat, cold, and pesticides.) The issue is that a mattress offers bed bugs lots of places to hide.

This is especially irritating if you try to kill them with pesticides. To work instantly, a pesticide has to be sprayed directly onto a bed bug. It will linger, but that means it may take weeks, even months to kill them all.

To kill bed bugs inside a mattress can be difficult. The first step is to contact a pest controller. Pest controllers use either pesticides or heat treatments to kill bed bugs. These can be effective on mattresses if applied correctly.

Afterward, you should keep them sealed up inside a mattress encasement. This is a zip-up liner that fits around your mattress, completely sealing it. Bed bugs can’t get in or out.

The mattress encasement means that whether you use pesticides or heat treatment, the infestation will eventually die entirely. And even if there are some left, e.g., some unhatched eggs, the infestation won’t be able to feed on you.

You could apply the encasement without prior treatment. It will have the same effect, in that the bed bugs won’t be able to bite you. The only issue is that the bed bugs will scatter and spread when you try to put it on.

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Lou Carter

Hi, I'm Lou. I’ve long been fascinated by bed bugs, ever since a friend’s life was turned upside down. That’s why I’ve put together this specialist site. You’ll find detailed answers to all of your questions on how to get rid of a bed bug infestation. I hope you find it useful!

3 thoughts on “Should You Throw Your Mattress Away If You Have Bed Bugs?”

  1. Thank you for this information. My mom and dad, 87 and 91 respectively, have a current extreme bedbug infestation. Us four siblings have moved them out of house, (they will return home after treatment is complete) had exterminator first of three sprayings done this past Monday, he will return twice more each two weeks. Problem is the tempurpedic mattress was infested around the zipper ribbing as well as underneath the head and foot riser base that is a square. The base material is tucked under and stapled every 3-4 inches. Nice bed and we are not rich. We all suited and taped up and I used shop vac with disposable liner and nozzle sucked all I could see around the edge of the tuck. Is this going to be sufficient after being treated 3 times. Also two leather recliners that exterminator said one was badly infested. Please just give us an honest opinion. While we were cleaning out house before exterminating using alcohol on drawers, washing and drying clothes, bagging them, linens, pillows, etc. and placing all sanitized items in storage building, thieves broke in storage building and stole a lot of their personal things: hearing aids, jewelry, tools, on and on. Also went through 30 bags of trash, located bank info and have tried to access dad’s checking account. They have lived in house 57 years and are depression babies. Mom on oxygen. This just gets worse and worse. Please be honest about keeping this mattress and their leather recliners for their safety and quality of life. We need all the prayers we can get. Thank you so very much.

  2. Thanks for the info…we have abed bug infestation..And have found out my wife is extremely allergic…l have sprayed our bedroom with Orth Max bed bug killer for two weeks now.I have sprayed the walls and everything.I have even taken the box springs and mattress outside and scrubbed them with bleach,and sprayed with Ortho !!!I have never see anything so hard to kill !Now we are trying mattress encasement and floor traps!!!I We don’t have 1,000,00 to pay for a professional exterminator! I will keep at it and never give up until everyone of these Monsters ar gone.Please send Prayers!!!

    • I found a FEW bedbugs and tried setting off bombs. Only to end up breaking down our bed to find MILLIONS of them. Setting out the bed for trash this coming week. Which cost me $90.00 per item up front. Not to mention the encasement in plastic I had to invest in . In order to put them out for pick-up.
      By the way, we had bed bug encasements on them from day one of buying them NEW! They were only 3 years old!
      Also have to treat the rest of the house now because we slept in other rooms, when we found the first one! I am going BUGGERS over these damn things.


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