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Can I prevent bed bugs when purchasing used furniture?

Imagine going to a garage sale and spotting a used recliner that would look great in your living room. You bring it home, and a few days later you start waking up with itchy red bumps on your skin. It happens more often than you think: infested secondhand furniture is one of the main ways bed bugs get introduced to a new environment.

The good news is that there are a few things you can do to prevent bed bugs from entering your home via used furniture:

  • Avoid buying upholstered used furniture at all. Bed bugs are too good at hiding in upholstery and it can be impossible to know for certain if the piece is infested
  • Inspect all items you buy. Check cracks in the wood and the seams – bed bugs can hide in the tiniest spaces
  • Never bring in free furniture from the curb. If it was left there and you don’t have any information about it, the risk is simply too high
three vintage chairs that are hopefully bed bug-free

How to inspect used furniture for bed bugs

Before you pull the trigger on buying that piece of furniture from the vintage store, you really should thoroughly inspect it. Here are the signs of bed bugs to look for:

  • Look for small spots or blood stains. This is a top indicator that a piece of furniture has a bed bug history, whether they’re active or not
  • Always check the undersides, cracks, and crevices of tables, shelves, bed frames, and other furnishings. Look in furniture joints, seams, creases, voids, and more. They’ve even been known to hide in spaces as small as a screw hole
  • If you see anything suspicious at all, don’t take the risk!

Does all used furniture have bed bugs?

Every day all across the country, people buy secondhand furniture that’s completely safe and bed bug-free. In fact, most of the time it is.

Unfortunately, many people aren’t even aware that a piece they’re selling or giving away has bed bugs. Or maybe they thought that they got rid of them but didn’t. It’s up to you as the buyer to thoroughly inspect all items before bringing them inside your car or home. As the old saying goes, “Caveat emptor!” – or, “Buyer beware!”

How to get rid of bed bugs in used furniture

If you discover bed bugs in a piece of used furniture you bought, let the seller or store owner know. They may give you the option for a refund.

Otherwise, the best thing you can do is contact a professional bed bug control company, who will be able to plot the extent of the infestation and possible solutions. The good news is that an experienced exterminator can completely solve your problem. No more bed bugs and your furniture will be in great shape for you to resume using.

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