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Of all the measures one can take to fight a bed bug infestation, our opinion is the fight begins before you ever have a bed bed problem, and that’s with the mattress encasements you may choose to put on your mattress & box spring.
Without any question, please chose a high quality, linen-feel encasement for your mattress & box spring. Three brands we’re familiar with, and would immediately recommend, are: Safe Rest, Mattress Safe, and Protect-A-Bed. These encasements are comfortable to sleep on (you won’t feel their presence), and they’re extremely sturdy. It’s very hard to have one rip open, or get a hole in it. These covers can be laundered safely, and will last many years with the right care.
If you decide to buy mattress covers, please encase your box spring as well. Our experience over a very long period of time has been that, if bed bugs are present in the home, and wind up in your bedroom, they most often wind up on the sides, or underneath your box spring. That extra foot of separation from a human target seems to be something a bed bug is very inclined to opt for – if a box spring is present, of course.
Conversely, many of our worse-case bed bug scenarios are found when we find plastic or vinyl encasements on a mattress & box spring, and especially on the box spring. The primary problem with a plastic encasement is bed bugs generally don’t like to use it as a resting place, and this will very often cause them to hide further and further away from the bed. Plastic encasements are often the reason our inspection team will find bed bugs on window curtains, underneath end tables, in closets, etc.. Bed bugs will often keep moving until they find a hiding place that’s comfortable to them, and (hopefully for them) out of view. The further bed bugs move away from the mattress & box spring, the more difficult getting rid of them can become.
Two other downsides to plastic and vinyl encasements are that they tear more easily, and, they’re often not very comfortable for people to sleep on. Tears in the plastic encasements are something we frequently see. As for the comfort level is a personal preference of course – some people have no issues sleeping on that, while others find them hot and rigid.
With the bed bug epidemic becoming as out of hand as its gotten, our opinion is: please don’t use plastic or vinyl encasements if you can avoid it.