Itchy Bed. How do I clean it?
August 25, 2010 4:40 AM   Subscribe

Itchy Bed. How do I clean it?

I just got a slightly used bed, and I think it made me itchy as I was carrying it. How can I clean it so people more sensitive than me won't be affected?

I immediately showered after carrying it, but parts of my neck still seem a little itchy. No signs of rash. It could just be the sheet that was on it, the dust in the place it came from, or it might be nothing at all.
posted by jander03 to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
Just heard a radio show about bedbugs - don't want to alarm you, but unless you know the people and know why they were getting rid of it, I'd be very careful bringing it into your home.
posted by nnk at 5:00 AM on August 25, 2010

Used bed creeps me out!! My head screamed ben bugs when I read this.
posted by saradarlin at 6:20 AM on August 25, 2010 [3 favorites]

I came back from a trip abroad and my bed had grown into something that made me itch.

It wasn't bed bugs. Not everything is bed bugs. I was thinking it was something along the lines of dustmites, but I really don't know what caused it.

I used a hand held steamer/cleaner on it's entire surface area, flipping it and getting the sides as well.

It's been fine ever since.
posted by newpotato at 6:39 AM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

If vacuuming and steaming doesn't help, they make allergy mattress covers which might help.
posted by cabingirl at 7:03 AM on August 25, 2010

I had a very similar experience to newpotato. I woke up once with little red itchy bumps all over my body. I am allergic to dust mites and after I vaccuumed the mattress (ALL over and thoroughly) I got rid of "them" for good.

Having said that, it was my own mattress that I owned for several years. I would be scared of a used mattress unless you trust the source.
posted by cranberrymonger at 7:33 AM on August 25, 2010

How do you clean a used bed so it's no longer itchy? It depends on what's making the bed itchy. Only if you can figure out the cause of the itch can you be sure to solve the problem.

Did the former owner accidentally drop fiberglass insulation into it? Is there washing soda, detergent powder, or another high-pH household chemical on it? Is it full of insects or fungus? Was it treated with an irritating pesticide to get rid of a previous infestation of insects? Was there a meth lab in the house where the bed used to be?

It would be nice for you to know why the previous owners decided to get rid of the bed. It might have been for a good reason.

(Personally, I would rather sleep on a clean floor than on a dirty, itchy bed.)
posted by Ery at 8:33 AM on August 25, 2010

Your bed very well may have bed bugs, but just touching a bed that's infested shouldn't make you suddenly itchy, especially if you don't see any bites. You're probably itchy because of dust mites, which you can keep under control with vacuuming. But still, your bed very well may have bed bugs.
posted by oinopaponton at 9:58 AM on August 25, 2010

Itchy might be too strong a word; irritated might be better.

For those of you who suggest steam cleaning - do you buy or rent?

Insulation or strange detergent, or other irritant resonates with me with the what I felt (positive thinking?).
posted by jander03 at 12:04 PM on August 25, 2010

So I took a second look at this mattress, and decided to throw it out. $300 for a new mattress isn't going to kill me.
posted by jander03 at 4:09 PM on August 26, 2010

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