Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Word on Air Mattresses

An anonymous poster recently asked a question about air mattresses and how exactly they help people who are living with bed bugs.

Okay, so just trying to confirm, as I am also living in New York with bedbugs - getting an air mattress will stop it? Like, really?

Trying to figure out what to do...
Air mattresses don’t exactly get rid of bed bugs, but they do make life a bit easier for those trying to get rid of them. In my case, as I had explained in an earlier entry, the bugs had made a comfortable little colony for themselves in my wooden bed base, pillow, mattress and headboard. While I remained in denial for a few months (because I did not want to get rid of the bed) ultimately I had to get rid of the whole damn thing in order to destroy about 90 percent of the bed bugs in my apartment.

Air mattresses are a great solution for people living with bed bugs because the bugs are famous for cutting into conventional mattresses and burrowing themselves into the fabric of the mattress, waiting for you to go to sleep or even lie down. Remember, bed bugs love fabric, paper and wood simply because they make great hiding and nesting places to quietly hide and even launch a small colony. Air mattresses have none of these. Even when you put a fitted sheet over the air mattress, the rubber mattress cannot accommodate bed bugs. The best they can do is crawl onto the blanket, sheet or fitted sheet, but even this environment is not as bed bug-friendly, as the sheet is obviously not as thick or deep as a mattress.

I’ve had a lot of satisfaction with my air mattress. My queen-sized sheets fit perfectly over the bed. They do require some routine maintenance, though. Depending on the temperature of the room, air mattresses will require to be re-inflated twice a week to once every other week. Remember science class? Well, in hot weather air expands, keeping the air mattress firm for much longer than in colder weather, where the air will become thinner, requiring the mattress to be inflated more often.

A word of warning: make sure the air mattress you’re buying comes with an air pump. I made that mistake and discovered there was no way to inflate my new mattress. I had to go back to Target the next day and buy the pump. Make sure the pump you’re buying (usually ranges around $10 to $15) has a power cord and is not the battery-operated kind.

Also I guess you’re probably wondering how to clean an air mattress, like if you spill something on it or if it’s just dirty from constant contact with the floor. Any damp cloth with water or diluted pine will do; it's much easier than cleaning up a spill from a conventional mattress, since the whole thing is made of rubber.

Where to buy air mattresses: I bought my queen-sized mattress for $25 at Target. I trust the Coleman brand simply because they have quality camping products. But other brands are also well made and long-lasting. In February M’s mother threw out her bed bug-ridden mattress and was basically sleeping on a table. I gave her a $10 twin-sized air mattress from Walgreens and it is still in fine condition.

Let’s move to a subject that I’m sure is on the minds of everyone who is considering replacing their bed bug-ridden mattress with an air mattress. Obviously sleeping is not the only thing we do in bed, and I’m sure some of you are afraid your sexual activities just might pop the mattress like a party balloon. I too was concerned about this. My advice would be to check the maximum weight capacity on the air mattress, which should be printed somewhere on the packaging. Simply combine your own weight with the weight of your partner, if you’re single, the average weight of whoever you bring home and add 50 pounds more for all the bouncing up and down that will take place on the mattress. Take that magic number and compare it to the maximum weight capacity listed on the box.

The best time to buy an air mattress is right now as the stores are stocking up their outdoor merchandise. Air beds are widely regarded as camping equipment (so don’t look for them in a furniture store like my dumb ass did!), and since summer is coming many stores will be stocking up on these beds and probably have them on sale. Some are affordable, others are expensive. Some are self-inflating with the air pumps built into the bed; some have three-foot high frames to give the illusion of a traditional bed. In short, there are many different kinds of air beds to choose from, so use the Internet to shop around for one that suits your tastes.

Well, I can’t think of any more tips to offer on buying a mattress, but if you can come up with some questions, I’d be happy to answer them.


Simone said...

I randomly found your blog when searching for info on Kleen Free for my friend. I LOVE IT!!! I had bedbugs 2 years ago and lived through it all, so I understand where you're coming from. I actually slept on a Aerobed for 9 months and I HIGHLY recommend them. you dont' have to reinflate as much and they REALLY hold up.

Anonymous said...

Because of bedbuggery I slept on a "Premier Raised Aerobed" for four months. It helped a lot, but they still got into the covers. If you have an air mattress, DON'T BUY A CHEAP ONE THAT IS JUST LIKE A SINGLE MATTRESS ON THE FLOOR! You might as well give the bugs little ladders. Get the RAISED one so you can keep the covers off the floor where the bugs will use them to get to you.

Eventually the Aero bed (a joy to use -- just plug it in and push a button to inflate -- the only way to go!) started to spread and stretch and the sheets wouldn't fit on it any more, so you can't stay on them forever. And cats will kill it (mine did). But for a stopgap, it'll help a lot.

Good luck,


Anonymous said...

what do you do for box spring surely you cant put two mattress on each other surely they will slide so what do you use these seems a good idea I was also told do not make your bed cause they like the warmth and the darkness which seems to be true thru the readings i have done

LL said...

Just want to make a note here: the bit about bed bugs not being able to live in a fitted sheet on an air mattress is NOT true. This is from the girl who just found eggs, feces, and an adult bed bug in the corners of her fitted sheet on an air mattress.

Anonymous said...

I got a small infestation after an AC unit was opened for repair in my kids bedroom. We moved in during fall, and the unit was painted shut. I promptly got rid of my kids wooden bunk beds and standard mattresses. Washed and dried everything that would fit in the machines and tossed everything else. Emptied the room completely, shampooed the carpets and sprayed the whole room and carpet with rubbing alcohol from a two gallon pump sprayer. I did not let the room be reoccupied until I treated the room 15 times in a thirty day period. Then my kids were on air mattresses on metal bunk beds. Once a week I would deflate the mattresses and put them in the washer on hot with some bleach, washing all their bed linens the same way. I do this to this day. Overkill, maybe. Once you see bedbug bites on your kids, nothing is too much, in my opinion. I never saw evidence of bedbugs elsewhere in the house.

Anonymous said...

My house has bed bugs my 7 year old son has seriously 100 welts on him, a specialist came and sprayed our beds couches and around base boards, came home last night and suprise woke up my son seriusly had 100 bites on him :( ive garbaged so much threw out the matresses we are sleeping on air matresses i dont know what to do! Washed everything in hot water

Mike Larry said...

I have heard about air mattresses that these are very good. My friend is using it and very happy with these also. I am using a foam mattress from past 2 years and quite satisfies with it. But I am also thinking for buying an air mattress for the new bedroom. These are also very good for health. One should always chose a mattress with care as a good amount of sleep depends on perfect pair of mattresses. To know more about mattresses, visit mattresses store Houston.

linny0987 said...

I'm having so much trouble. and I find it so embarrassing to tell people. I got rid of my bed on Friday and bought bobs from Wal-Mart and am now sleeping on an air mattress. my friend slept over Friday night and she had one bite(last time she slept over she had 55) now I slept and I'm just itchey I can't tell bites form paranoia or from the fan blowing a hair or even just an itch Or and itch from an old bite. im so frustrated. I'm 17 can't afford an exterminator. my mom who bright then home from work says their just in my room. today I'm gonna rewash my bedding get rid of my pillows (should have done that Friday instead of 2cycles in the dryer) buy more bombs and vacuum my air mattress.