Did you know the common phrase ‘hit the hay’ comes from the Middle Ages when before going to sleep, you would have to “hit the hay” to try to dislodge bugs from your mattress? More on the history of beds.
Unfortunately, bedbugs can still cause havoc today! But it doesn’t have to be that way. To prevent getting bedbugs, ensure you regularly wash your bedsheets, ideally on a high heat and at least once every two weeks. You may need to wash them more often if you have allergies, sweat a lot, or share your bed with your pet. Be vigilant if you share laundry facilities too.
To prevent bedbugs, it is also crucial that you keep your mattress and bed clean and tidy. Clean the bed base regularly with a soft brush to remove fluff and dust or with a vacuum cleaner very carefully, and open the window to ensure ventilation. Whilst the bed is moved away from any walls, vacuum thoroughly under and around the bed.
Similarly, avoid accumulating clutter around the bed, which will only expand their breeding grounds!
Our beds withstand all kinds of spillages and seepages over their lifetime, so make sure you use a mattress protector to help avoid the mattress itself staining and to create another layer between you and the bed. If your mattress is stained, read our guide on cleaning the common offenders.
Check any luggage you bring into your home (never put it on your own bed or the hotel bed!) and check signs for bedbugs on any second-hand furniture you might buy.
Spotting signs of bedbugs
Bedbugs can be dark yellow, red, purple or brown in colour, and adults are around 5mm long – roughly the size of an apple pip.
As well as living on mattress seams and bedding, bedbugs can live around sockets and cracks in walls, on curtains or along skirting boards and carpet edges.
Look for dark brown stains on bedding, especially around mattresses and bed frames, which are the bedbugs’ droppings.
Any bites will be swollen, red and itchy on your skin and may appear in clusters.
Getting rid of bedbugs
If you discover bedbugs, contact your local council or pest control as soon as possible. Professionals can ensure total elimination of the bedbugs, compared to DIY methods.
Avoiding bedbugs when buying a bed
If you buy a bed from the back of a van, at worst, it could have an old spring unit and dirty fillings inside a new cover. That could mean you are sleeping with all sorts of creatures – bed bugs, dust mites, bacteria – never mind other people’s dead skin, animal hair, mould and the residues of urine, sweat and other bodily fluids! Read more about how to buy from a reputable trader.