A mattress encasement is the best way to ensure that your bed is protected from bed bugs. It is important to encase your mattresses whether you have had bed bugs in the past (and never want to deal with the horror of finding them on your bed again!) or even if you have never had bed bugs. Encasements essentially trap bed bugs between the encasement and the mattress, so they cannot get out and bite you. Without a food source (you) or a way to get out, the bed bugs will eventually die. Although it is kind of gross to think that you may be sleeping on bed bugs, it is also comforting to know that you are protecting yourself from actually getting bites!
Many mattress encasements are sold claiming to protect against bed bugs, but like most other things in life, mattress encasements are not created equal! Firstly, you should look to make sure that the encasement is certified to protect against bed bugs. Most that are really cheap won't actually be certified, which will essentially void the whole purpose of the encasement in the first place. There are three other things you should look out for when buying encasements:
1) The material should be durable and tear-proof
What good is a mattress encasement if they easily tear when you make the wrong move? You want to be able to buy them once and not have to think about it again. It's better to get an encasement that is more expensive but durable, than a cheaper version that will only last so long. Companies also often settle for cheaper materials that easily rip. Forewarned is forearmed!
2) Be sure to inquire about the material's comfort (or check it out yourself!)
If the mattress encasement is durable but you can't sleep at night because it is so uncomfortable, the whole purpose is defeated. Some materials are known to be uncomfortable, like rubber. Be sure that the one you buy doesn't make you sweat, or otherwise is impossible to effectively sleep on it.
Bed bugs are small and crafty, and can crawl in almost anywhere. So don't get an encasement that has any room between the zipper and the fabric-bed bugs can crawl through this small hole! Instead, make sure that the zipper goes under a cloth hook and 'locks' into place which closes any possible gaps where bed bugs can escape. Also, the zipper should be large and easy to find. Otherwise, you will go through much frustration putting them on the mattresses, since you won't be able to find the zippers!
As an aside, Jeff, the owner of Pest Away Exterminating, advises that only Mattress-Safe and Protect-a-Bed mattress covers are effective encasements against bed bugs. You can purchase the Mattress-Safe encasements on the PestAway website, here or call us at 212-721-2521.
If you follow this advice, the old ditty 'Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite" will be a true story for you!