The mattresses are sold as “reconditioned” or “refurbished,” fancy words for “used.” Wrapped in factory plastic, they look new on the outside. The covers are immaculate and the price is certainly right — $40 for a twin, a fraction of the cost of buying even an inexpensive new mattress. The problem is under that beautiful, pristine cover often lurk filthy debris, fecal matter, bacteria — and bed bugs.
That was the appalling discovery made during a recent NBC Dateline expose (see our April 23 & 25 posts) of the reconditioned mattress industry. Federal law requires that manufacturers and sellers disclose that mattresses are made of used materials. Twenty-six states also have laws requiring both disclosure and that mattresses be sterilized. As Dateline discovered, the problem is that most states don’t specify the process to be used in reconditioning mattresses, nor do they specify the steps to be taken in sterilizing or fumigating mattresses. This leaves reconditioning factories free to set their own obviously inadequate rules.
Until New York and other states correct the problem, the only way to protect yourself and your family from bed bugs in your bed is to cover mattresses and box springs with bed bug-proof encasements. Encasements trap bed bugs and their eggs inside where they eventually die. Encasements also protect your bedding investment and keep bed bugs from infecting mattresses and box springs.