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When Bedbugs Attack – Should Bedding be Replaced?


Bedbugs are one of the most difficult pest problems to eradicate quickly. Bedbugs are notorious hikers and can hide in people’s belongings where they will be introduced into a home, hotel or office. They hide in dark, undisturbed areas like furniture and baseboards near beds. They are attracted by carbon dioxide and the warmth that humans emit. Bedbugs are nocturnal which is why they are more active at night when a person is sleeping. Although they are commonly known to invade mattresses, bedbugs can spread to furniture and other rooms of the house. A female can lay 10-50 eggs at a time, creating a full-blown infestation of bedbugs.

bed bug

What is a bedbug?

            A bedbug is a small parasite that feed on mammals and birds. Adult bedbugs are reddish brown in color, flat, oval-shaped, and approximately 4-5 millimeters in length. There has been a recent resurgence in bedbug infestations worldwide, particularly in developed countries, including the United States. Bedbugs do not fly but they can move quickly over floors, walls and ceilings. Although they are a nuisance, they do not transmit diseases.


If bedbugs are discovered in your bed, take action immediately before they spread. By far, the best solution for bedbugs is to hire a pest control company with experience successfully controlling bedbugs. Unfortunately, this can be expensive and beyond the means of many people. There are steps you can take on your own to eliminate the problem. Strip all bedding and vacuum the mattress and box spring. Make sure to discard of the vacuum bag immediately. A highly effective method for destroying bedbugs is twenty minutes of exposure to steam with temperatures in excess of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This kills bedbugs on contact and their eggs. Follow up with an indoor use pesticide for insect control.

Do I need new bedding?

Although it’s not required, it is highly recommended that bedding be replaced once all bedbugs are eliminated. Infested bedding must be washed and dried in the hottest temperature setting your appliances manage, however, this method is not guaranteed to kill all the bugs and their eggs. Protect your mattress with a bed bug proof cover and start fresh with new sheets. You can rest easy knowing those little creatures are no more. Sleep tight, bedbugs won’t be biting tonight.

Organic Bedding – Does an “organic” designation matter?

The word organic means: of, relating to, or derived from living matter; food that is grown without the use of pesticides and fertilizers or products that are developed without the use of chemicals. When we hear organic, we usually think of meat, dairy or produce. What about other products in the home or those we may use on a daily basis? The bedding that we sleep on every night could potentially house dangerous chemicals.

Almost any non-organic bedding in the present day bears a host of petrochemicals and flame retardants. While adding fire retardants to mattress fiber is commendable, there are growing reports of illnesses linked to mattress purchases. Chemicals mixed in with the flame resistant fiber can create symptoms such as headaches and joint aches. The last thing mattress owners would believe is that their own bed may be causing the problems. No need to worry about your mattress being unprotected from fire, organic mattresses can be made with Alpaca fiber which is a natural fire retardant material.

organic cotton

Did you know that cotton is the most heavily sprayed crop? According to the Pesticide Action Network, nearly $2.6 billion worth of pesticides are sprayed on cotton fields each year — accounting for more than 10% of total pesticide use and nearly 25% of insecticides use worldwide. Bedding that is labeled as “Certified Organic” means the contents have been grown and processed without chemicals. Chemical exposure can be drastically minimized by purchasing GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) Certified Organic cotton sheets. This goes the same for other bedding such as pillows and blankets.

Barry Cik is the founder of Naturepedic Organic Mattresses and states that “memory foam is made with toluene di-isocyanates which are reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens according to the National Institute of Health.” He also mentions that conventional mattresses can contain pesticides, formaldehyde, phthalates, perfluorinated chemicals, etc. Barry Cik is a Board Certified Environmental Engineer and Hazardous Materials Manager as well as certified by the Institute of Professional Environmental Practice.

So does the organic designation of bedding truly matter? Certified organic materials are free of chemicals, toxins, pesticides and other harmful additives that could potentially create chronic illness. Studies show that owners of conventional mattresses and bedding immediately started sleeping better and feeling more rested after they switched to all organic.

When is it Time to Replace a Mattress

It’s obvious when it’s time to replace your old tennis shoes or that worn out chair but how do you know when to replace your mattress? Even after your mattress has lost its ability to provide proper support during sleep, it can still feel somewhat comfortable. Restful sleep is critical to our ability to function, so it’s important to determine when your mattress may be past its expiration date.

mattress pile

In the last few years, advertising spots have filled consumer’s ears with “if it’s over eight, it’s time to replace.” Companies claim that the mattress doubles in weight every eight years due to dust mites, sweat and moisture. Yes, most mattresses contain dust mites. They are naturally occurring microscopic organisms that feed on dust and particles where people and pets live. Dust mites alone are not a reason to buy a new mattress every eight years. According to Consumer Reports, when to replace a mattress is up to the owner. The Better Sleep Council states, “How long a mattress will last depends on several factors, such as amount of use and the original quality, but in general, a mattress set that has been in use for seven years is no longer providing you with the best comfort and support and should be replaced.” So when should you actually buy a new mattress? There are several ways to determine when it’s time to throw out your old bed:

  • You tend to sleep better in hotel beds or away from home.
  • You wake up achy or tired almost every morning.
  • You awake with stiffness or numbness.
  • Your mattress shows visible signs of overuse (it sags, has rips or tears, holes or damage).
  • Your mattress looks or feels saggy and lumpy.

To further examine the physical signs of the mattress, remove all bedding and any cover or pad. Does it sag in the middle or where you sleep? Does it show signs of wear and tear? The ragged materials will definitely impact how you sleep. Once a mattress hits five years old, it’s recommended to start observing its condition regularly. It’s best to review your sleeping habits and the physical state of the mattress every 6-12 months. To get the most life out of your mattress, follow these suggestions:

  • Use a mattress cover or pad. This will help keep sweat and moisture from permeating the mattress.
  • Rotate your mattress every two months.
  • Use a bed frame that has a center support.

There is potential to save thousands of dollars by following these simple steps. Top rated mattresses at Mattress Firm range from $1000 to $8000 dollars. Serta’s memory foam beds average around $3000 dollars. If you replace your mattress every seven years with a high quality model, you will spend about $15,000 in 40 years. A cheaper solution would be to replace your mattress cover or pad every five years and keep your bedding clean.

The most important function of a mattress is to promote a healthy, rejuvenating sleep that properly supports healthy alignment of your spine. By simply evaluating how you feel when you wake and the physical condition of the mattress, the decision is yours on when to replace.

Kids Bedding and Safety

kids bedding

The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates there were about 700 deaths involving infants 12 months and younger between 1992 and 2010 related to pillows or cushions placed in a baby’s sleep environment. Almost half of infant crib deaths reported to CPSC every year are suffocations caused by quilts, pillows and/or overcrowding of the baby’s sleep area. There are roughly 32 infant deaths per year on pillows used to prop babies’ heads. The fact is that pillows and blankets can cause a baby to suffocate in their sleep and should not be in or around an infant’s sleeping space.

Since the use of flame retardant chemicals in mattresses and crib beds after 1948, the American SIDS death rate increased from being very uncommon to about 10,000 per year. Although many baby products have been exempted from fire safety regulations that prompted companies to add chemical retardants, some manufacturers still use them. It’s important to find out the ingredients of the material in mattresses before you buy.

kids bedding

Choking Hazards

                 An infant’s crib should be prepared with the bare minimum. No pillows, blankets, quilts, or toys. Babies can and do get their faces stuck in thick blankets and pillows and will suffocate. Children can safely start using pillows when they are 1 ½ years old; about the same age when parents move children out of the crib and into a toddler bed.

  • Use a tight-fitting, firm mattress in a crib that exceeds current mandatory safety standards.
  • Make sure all plastic wrapping is removed from the mattress.
  • Consider putting baby in full fleece sleeper to keep warm during winter instead of using blankets.
  • Children under age one should not sleep on plush materials like a waterbed or beanbag.

The American Academy of Pediatrics states that bumper pads should not be used in cribs. There is no evidence that they support against injury, but they do carry a risk of strangulation, suffocation and entrapment. Additionally, stuffed animals and other toys should not be kept in a crib with an infant as this could lead to choking.

Flame Retardants 

Flame retardants are regulated in the United States primarily by the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, which does not require studies of toxicity or long-term health effects for most industrial compounds before they are marketed. According to the Environmental Working group, scientists have found that exposure to toxic fire retardant chemicals at critical points in development can damage the reproductive system and cause deficits in motor skills, learning, memory and behavior.

When purchasing a crib mattress, polyurethane foam should be avoided as it is usually treated with toxic flame retardants. Instead, look for:

  • Wool, cotton, or natural latex mattresses.
  • Certified Organic material which requires it to be processed without chemicals, pesticides, or harmful toxins.
  • Mattress pads made from wool, cotton or polyester. Wool pads are also naturally water –resistant.

The importance of child safety bedding is serious. Pillows, blankets and toys can cause a baby to choke or suffocate. A crib mattress that is not tight-fitted could allow an infant to become caught in the space between the mattress and the crib. Chemicals used in flame retardant mattress material are a less known cause of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Improper and unsafe bedding can greatly affect a child’s safety and well-being.

King, Queen, Twin – The Origin of Bed Sizes

royal bedroom

If you were to ask someone on the street today where the size of a bed originated from, they would most likely say that Kings slept on large beds and Queens slept on smaller beds…or something along those lines. Although the Romans loved their luxurious mattresses, members of the higher court did not name the size of their beds. It’s actually a pretty simple explanation, but we will get to that shortly. First, let’s take a walk down memory lane.

royal bedroom

The Egyptian pharaohs of 3500 B.C. were the first known people to sleep on pieces of elevated furniture. Before that time, beds were simply organic constructions of leaves, straw and animal skins spread on the ground. The first luxury bed originated during the Roman Empire. They were often decorated with gold or silver and featured mattresses stuffed with hay, wool or feathers. In the 15th century, some beds in Renaissance palaces could be up to 8 feet by 7 feet. It’s highly doubtful however, the Kings slept in beds that were any larger than a standard double-sized bed. This size mattress was very practical, not only because it simply held two adults, but because a single fire place usually warmed most bed chambers. The smaller the bed, the easier it is to preserve body heat.



In the 17th century, termed “the century of magnificent beds”, Louis XIV was particularly fond of staying in bed. He would often hold court in the royal bedroom and reportedly owned 413 beds. Some of them had embroideries enriched with pearls, and figures on a silver or golden ground. The great bed at Versailles had crimson velvet curtains on which “The Triumph of Venus” was embroidered. So much gold was used that the velvet scarcely showed.



In 1900, James Marshall patented the wrapped coil spring. Because each one was made manually, the labor and time involved drove the cost so high they were considered luxurious. Those aboard the Titanic ship were some of the first to enjoy a coil spring mattress. In the 1930s, innerspring mattresses and upholstered foundations became serious competitors. Foam rubber mattresses and pillows appeared on the market in the 1950s.


Simmons became the first mattress company to introduce the king and queen size mattress in 1958; years later they were featured in Life magazine and other national publications. A twin size bed is usually marketed as a pair: twin beds. They are the perfect fit for two children sharing a room. While Kings and Queens didn’t invent the names for bed sizes, they did persuade the creation of luxurious and decorative beds.