Preventing bed bugs through product choices

Protect-a-Bed
(Protect-a-Bed)

This is part two in a series on bedding design. Click here for part one: The metamorphosis of the hotel bed.

As the bed bug epidemic continues, companies that specialize in preventing infestations are developing new products and new options for hotel beds. Best of all, Protect-a-Bed’s VP of hospitality and healthcare Sandra DiVito said, products that block bugs can also block allergens—and even extend the overall life of a hotel bed.

DiVito recommends looking for a cloth encasement that is waterproof, breathable and pest-proof, with resistance to water being the most important factor. “Otherwise, it’s not keeping the bed clean,” she said. Hoteliers and designers should choose a breathable fabric that “lets air penetrate but does not allow moisture in,” she continued. 

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DeVito listed four reasons to use an encasement: “Pest control is the fourth,” she emphasized. “The first is because people contaminate mattresses through everyday use. The second is because hotel guests deserve to sleep in a clean bed. And the third is because a hotel owner deserves to have his assets be protected.” If an encasement is put on when a bed is new, she said, and if the hotel maintains the encasement, the mattress stands a better chance of having a longer life in the room. 

Protect-a-Bed is also launching a cloth waterproof mattress pad in the spring. “Right now, I would say 90 percent or more of hoteliers use mattress pads that are not waterproof,” she said. “They’re not protecting against anything.” 

Allergy Technologies also has options that go beyond encasements. One of the company’s more popular options is ActiveGuard, which company president Joseph Latino said adds an extra layer of protection against bed bugs. “Encasements are limited because once they’re ripped or damaged, they’re not a barrier,” he said. ActiveGuard is a fitted sheet that covers a
mattress and/or box spring and kills bed bugs within 72 hours of initial contact. 

Latino offered other design tips for reducing bed bug infestations in and around beds. “Designers typically create intricate filigree in headboards,” he said. “Those provide great harbor spaces for bedbugs.” Instead of fabric in the headboard, Latino suggested using a metal design (metal is harder for bugs to crawl on) with few textured areas. Similarly, he advises making sure that the back of the headboard is securely attached to the wall to reduce hiding places.

Bedskirts also create an “entrance way” for bugs to get to the box spring, he said, so a snug fabric cover makes it harder for them to reach the bed. And instead of traditional railed box spring frames that provide hiding spaces, Latino suggests using metal spring platforms that are “far less conductive” to bugs.

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