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How Should I Treat Antique Upholstered Furniture?

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  1. Sad Newbie

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Wed Jun 22 2011 17:32:18
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    Hello All,

    I asked this question in my other post, but I think I'm supposed to start a new thread for a new question, so here goes:

    How should I treat my antique upholstered furniture?

    I've looked up a lot of things, and it seem that I should/ vacuum, but that might not be enough. Also, that the bottoms could be sprayed with pesticides and the wooden frames wiped down with pure Murphy's Oil. Am I missing anything there or have misinformation?

    Would appreciate any help on this.

  2. lagirl31

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Wed Jun 22 2011 17:45:07
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    From your other thread, it sounds like you have a PCO coming out. I would ask them to tell you how they plan to handle it. My PCO steamed all my furniture and sprayed pesticides.

    Make sure you check with your PCO before steaming anything, especially if you've already had pesticides sprayed. You don't want to accidentally steam off the pesticides, which could be harmful to you, or just defeating your treatment process.

    All PCOs have slightly different prep requirements. I was only asked to heat treat and bag my clothing and linens and to move all my furniture away from the wall. My books, large items, etc. were left out. The idea was that any bugs that might be harboring in them will come out to feed, cross the poison laid down by my PCO, and die. Your PCO might have a different action plan, but you'll need to talk to them.

    I called my PCO three times a day while I was going through the prep because I kept thinking of questions about specific items. I think they're used to it!

  3. Sad Newbie

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Wed Jun 22 2011 20:49:27
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    Thank you, lagirl!

    All of that really makes sense, and I appreciate your response. Will give them a call first thing in the morning.

  4. bbgirl

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Wed Jun 22 2011 22:28:30
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    I posted about treating an antique table and didn't really get any suggestions.....steaming can damage wood and antique fabric I would think. Finally I decided to treat (I took the chance and steamed it) and encase it where it will stay for a year and a half safely wrapped up. If you have the space to do that it should work. Your PCO may be able to treat it with sprays.....antiques have a lot of nooks and crannies though

  5. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Wed Jun 22 2011 22:47:05
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    If we're talking about antiques, I'd be hesitant to steam them or apply pesticides to them. Neither of those approaches seems like a good idea in the long view of things.

    However, the advice to talk to your PCO is important. Keep in mind that many residential treatments don't touch furniture other than the bed. The idea is to kill as many bugs as possible and lure the rest out to cross residual pesticides and die as a result of that contact. If that's your PCO's primary mode of attack, then your upholstered furniture will get taken care of that way.

    If it's not, or you have a PCO who doesn't understand the specifics of antiques, you may need to look at other options.

    Unfortunately, what options you have available to you really depends on how much money you have and where you live.

    Depending on how fragile and valuable the furniture is, and whether your attachment to it is primarily financial or sentimental, consider the following:

    Museums treat art objects with techniques like anoxic chambers and/or Vikane. If money is no object, I'd probably go with whatever museums use for rare books and artwork myself, if it's valuable antique furniture.

    (I just saw the Chihuly exhibit at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and the little headset thing mentioned that the installation Reeds uses local wood as part of the set up. One of the museum officials said on the voice over that having to find birch logs big enough and getting them cut to size and fumigated was a surprisingly difficult proposition, so the whole anoxic chamber thing is on my mind. I don't know if they used that or Vikane, but it is confirmation of what I learned here: museums do have a way of dealing with this.)

    Right behind anoxic for me would be Vikane. Widely available in areas with drywood termite problems, chamber fumigation is becoming more common in bed bug hot spots.

    If it's an antique that has sentimental value and condition is no object, then certainly pesticide and steam are viable options, but if you're afraid of damage, I'd be hesitant to use those on antiques without first running the specifics by an antique expert or restorer.

    Weirdly, I put this in the same category as pets. You can expect your PCO to be an expert on pest control; you cannot expect your PCO to be an expert on every subject, no matter how broadly knowledgable a lot of them are. For that reason, if the antiques are valuable, I'd run it by an antiques expert. (And if it's really old enough, you can feel smug about the possibility of it having had bed bugs eliminated more than once in its life.)

  6. Sad Newbie

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sat Jun 25 2011 18:10:39
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    That's all really helpful; thanks.

    They said that they were not going to do anything to the furniture, but that I could have them professionally cleaned. Not sure what I'm going to do with them just yet.

  7. antiquescn

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Oct 1 2011 19:28:33
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    We restore and furnish antique furniture and export world wide. We have a knowledge page on how to restore and furnish. You can go to:
    http://www.orientantique.com/knowledge/knowledge.asp

    http://www.antiquescn.com
    http://www.folkartcn.com


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