The mattress, which looks so inviting as you flop into it, may be masking a sinister secret – bed bugs.
A common problem most homeowners experience at some point, bed bugs can quickly take over your mattress and spread throughout your home if left unchecked.
As a desperate move, many people turn to mattress covers in hopes of containing the problem. But do mattress covers really prevent bed bugs?
The answer is not a simple yes or no. While mattress covers can help to limit the spread of bed bugs, they are not foolproof and cannot guarantee complete protection against future infestations.
Mattress covers work by forming an impenetrable barrier between you and the bed bugs on the mattress – preventing them from being able to reach your body while you sleep.
While effective in some cases, this protection method is unreliable since bed bugs can still find ways to make their way into your mattress through small openings or seams in the cover.
Simply said, a mattress protector won’t “technically” prevent a bed bug infestation. If you’re currently dealing with bed bugs, the simplest and best course of action is to contact a pest control professional that has extensive experience and has demonstrated a good history of success in solving bed bug problems.
How Can Mattress Protectors Help?
Although a mattress protector cannot guarantee the complete prevention of bed bugs, it can still be quite helpful in other ways. Here are some ways:
Reduces the Severity of an Infestation
A mattress cover or protector is much more than a simple sheet of fabric. Beyond its cozy texture and inviting hues, this offers more than just protection.
It helps us keep our bedding clean, protects our mattress from dust mites and other bugs, and can even help reduce the severity of an existing bed bug infestation.
Mattress covers provide a physical barrier between you and the bed bugs, making it more difficult for them to get to your skin while you sleep.
Mostly, mattress protectors are made up of tightly-woven fabric that helps keep bed bugs, dust mites, and other allergens contained. This also limits the spread of any existing infestation and decreases their ability to reproduce or feed on humans.
Because a mattress cover prevents the bed bugs from feeding on you, it can reduce the severity of an infestation. This allows for easier and quicker extermination and less damage to your furniture and bedding.
Provides Allergy Protection
Dust mites thrive in mattresses, particularly if they are not regularly vacuumed or cleaned. These mites can cause skin irritation, allergies, and asthma symptoms in some people.
Because of the nature of the materials used in mattress protectors, they can help contain dust mites, bed bugs, along with other allergens to reduce the risk of allergic reactions in people who may be sensitive.
Easier to Clean
One of the main benefits of having a mattress protector is that it makes cleaning your mattress much easier. It acts as a barrier between you and the mattress, allowing you to remove the cover quickly and easily when necessary.
Cleaning the mattress protector in a washing machine is usually far simpler than dealing with a full infestation. This reduces your workload when it comes to maintaining your mattress, allowing you more time for other activities.
Simply remove the protector off your mattress, pop it into the washing machine, and you’re good to go. It’s easier than having to strip your bedding and mattress down whenever you have an infestation.
Protects Your Mattress
If you’ve recently had a bed bug infestation and had the area and mattress treated, then you know the importance of protecting your mattress.
Mattress protectors are great for this, as they keep your mattress safe from future infestations. It’s essential to place a cover on your mattress after it has been treated in order to prevent bed bugs from getting into the seams and crevices of your mattress, where they can lay their eggs and start a new infestation.
In general, it prevents bed bugs from seeping through the seams in your mattress, making the infestation more difficult to control.
On the other hand, you can always wash the mattress protector frequently, which can help reduce the likelihood of bedbugs and other allergens finding their way into your bedroom.
Provides Peace of Mind
Nobody likes to think about the possibility of a bed bug infestation, but they do happen. And when it does, it’s important to address the issue quickly and efficiently, and a mattress protector can help.
It provides an extra layer of protection between you and the bed bugs, allowing you to sleep peacefully at night without worrying about new bed bug bites in the morning.
Starves Bed Bugs
What do bed bugs feed on? Blood – whether it be human or animal. If you have a mattress protector, and given that you have a good quality one, there will be less access to food for the bed bugs. This results in fewer bites and more control over the infestation.
As mentioned earlier, it’s not a fool proof barrier, but it’s enough to starve bed bugs and reduce their numbers. It also allows you to take action and treat the area much sooner before it becomes a much bigger problem.
How Long Do You Need to Leave a Bed Bug Mattress Cover On?
We’ve previously discussed that mattress covers and protectors can stop an infestation from spreading. However, it’s now that simple – you can’t expect to put a mattress cover on and expect that bed bugs will magically disappear.
The main idea of putting on a mattress cover to stop the spread of bed bugs is to trap them inside. With no way out, bed bugs would potentially starve since they can’t feed on blood.
Technically speaking, this method is doable. It’s possible to starve bed bugs and trap them enclosed in a mattress cover – but it takes time.
By nature, bed bugs are resilient. They can withstand starvation for weeks and even months without dying. It is recommended that you leave the cover on for 12 months at least.
It takes 1 year to make sure that the bed bugs have truly died from starvation. The longer you can leave it on, the better.
If you don’t have any problems leaving this for a year, then yes – a mattress cover can help kill bed bugs. However, this is not the case for most people, and an entire year is a long time to leave the cover on.
Can You Speed Up the Process?
The answer is yes. You can speed up the process. If you’re planning on going with this course, then you must take additional steps to help the process along.
This includes using a vacuum cleaner and specialized mattress-friendly sprays that are designed to kill bed bugs on contact.
Products like these can help reduce the number of bed bugs and prevent the infestation from spreading. This, in turn, will make it easier for you to starve the remaining bed bugs present.
However, keep in mind that these additional steps are not a replacement for putting on a mattress cover – they’re simply an addition that can help speed up the process.
Better Alternatives to Bed Bug Mattress Covers
Although mattress covers can help slow down or stop the spread of bed bugs, they are not always the best choice. As you can see, it takes a long time to starve bed bugs, and there are better alternatives available.
Whether you like it or not, getting help from professional exterminators and pest control companies is probably the best way to deal with an infestation.
Aside from being equipped with knowledge and expertise, these experts also have access to specialized equipment and insecticides that can help get rid of bed bugs quickly.
What to Look for in a Mattress Cover to Help with Bed Bugs?
If you’re set on using a mattress cover to help with bed bugs, then there are several aspects that you need to consider. First, ensure that the protector is of good quality and made from thick material.
This will provide better insulation against bed bugs and prohibit them from getting through. A good mattress cover should also be water and dustproof, as this will prevent any other pests from getting in.
Additionally, you’ll also want to make sure that the mattress cover is breathable. This will allow air to circulate within, reducing the chances of mold and mildew forming in the process.
In the end, mattress covers can help slow down the spread of bed bugs and even potentially starve them to death. They’re also an added protection if you’ve recently moved into a new home or you’re staying in a hotel. However, it is not always the best choice – especially if there are already bed bugs present in your home.
The best course of action is to always ensure that these bed bugs are properly treated with the right insecticides or methods.
Although mattress covers can help, it’s still best to get professional help so that the infestation can be properly taken care of once and for all.