In the video below from 5/19/2008, Fox News NY visits a mattress recycling operation in Woodside to report on bed bugs in “refurbished” mattresses.
It is perfectly legal to spritz, recover, and resell used mattresses in New York. They have to be sanitized and labeled properly.
There is currently no way we know of to spray “sanitize” used mattresses to reliably remove all bed bugs and eggs. There is no spray treatment that will definitely de-bug a mattess, unless the bed bugs are hit directly with a contact kill spray or they cross a residual — and there’s no way to guarantee this.
(It would probably be possible to safely sanitize used mattresses using thermal heat, but we do not know of any mattress resellers who are doing this at this time.)
Perhaps the only possibility for reliably removing bed bugs would be using heat (over 120 F for 3+ hours) or Vikane gas (which — if done correctly, and it is not always done correctly — should be 100% effective, but would probably raise the cost of refurbished mattresses to the point where no one would buy them).
The recycling of mattresses is shameful and the New York government must put an end to this practice which spreads bed bugs to so many.
And don’t think you’re safe if you never buy a used mattress. If your hotel, school, granddaughter’s day care, child’s friend’s parents, neighbor, building employee, or the person who sat in the movie theater before you bought a used mattress, that’s enough to give you bed bugs.