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Tips for Avoiding Bedbugs when Using Secondhand Items for Your Craft Projects

Most crafters know that some of the best bargains for materials to be used in their projects can be found at yard sales or thrift stores.

Some also take advantage of free materials offered by friends and neighbors or found on FreeCycle. It’s satisfying to recycle old things into something beautiful and these inexpensive items raise the profit margin for the end product; however, they also put the crafter’s home at risk for a bedbug invasion.

While pesticides once kept these pests, which live on dead skin cells, under control, they have recently made a great comeback in the most unexpected places.

The following tips will help crafters to avoid bringing bedbugs into their homes from secondhand items:

Bag Items Immediately

Avoiding bedbugs on second hand craft items

Bedbugs on Craft Items

It is a good practice to carry zippered plastic storage bags when shopping for used crafting items. Any purchased items made from fabric or fur should be zipped up before being placed into the vehicle for transport. Most crafters would also benefit from keeping a large plastic storage bin with a lid that snaps shut in their trunk. Larger items should go directly into the bin until they are ready to be processed for use.

Decontaminate Purchases Once Home

Several methods may be used to treat second-hand purchases as a precaution against bedbugs. High heat works great for most items. Anything that is washable should be washed in hot water if possible and placed in the dryer on high heat. Some crafting items cannot be washed, but they may be run through the dryer on high heat for thirty minutes. When using heat is not advisable, freezing the craft supplies in zippered bags will usually kill bedbugs and their eggs. Upholstered items that will not fit into the dryer may be treated either with a steam cleaner or a hair dryer. The heat should be applied slowly to every inch of the item being treated. If purchases have been brought into the home in reusable shopping bags, the bags should be washed and dried in high heat as well.

Quarantine When Time Allows

Craft items that are not going to be used for a while should be left outside of the home, in a garage or storage building for several weeks; then, they should be examined for the reddish-brown stains that bedbugs leave behind. If no evidence of bedbugs is apparent after a month, these articles can be considered safe.

Crafters should be just as cautious with any previously used supplies purchased from online sources. Boxes should always be opened in a tiled area or an area outside the residence. Boxes and materials should be carefully inspected and then processed in the same way as those bought at a thrift store. Bedbugs do not mind travelling through the postal service and are always excited about the food supply in a new home. When homeowners do not detect them quickly, they soon make their presence known in some unpleasant ways. Once they have found a way in, it may take expensive pest control treatments to get them to leave.

Karen Barnes writes for a site that has more tips on preventing bedbugs. You can learn more by following this link.

One Response to Tips for Avoiding Bedbugs when Using Secondhand Items for Your Craft Projects

  • This article is incorrect about a few things. Just to clarify – bedbugs actually live off of human blood (like mosquitos) and typically make their home closest to a sleeping or stationary human (think couches and beds), but can also be found elsewhere (chairs or stools in libraries & restaurants, hospital beds, waiting rooms, friends’ purses, childrens’ backpacks – and they have even been found living in the tables in Science classrooms in middle schools, as well as gym lockers). They are everywhere. Many people have a severe infestation before they notice – which is why awareness is key.

    Treatment by quarantine can be possible – but the items must be in sealed bags – and the time frame is much longer than one month. Bedbugs can live up to a year or two without human blood.

    A really great resource for bedbug information (avoidance and treatment plans that work) is bedbugger.com. Multiple experts from around the world provide free advice to folks dealing with or worried about infestations. We thought we were exposed on a vacation a few year ago – they were extremely helpful!

    Blessings!

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