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FYI - encasements

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  1. (deleted)

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Sat Nov 17 2007 20:53:46
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    I keep seeing variations of this question repeated over and over again: when should I put the mattress encasements on? Should I take them off? Etc.

    Makes me think people are confused about what encasements are for.

    A lot of us believe that bedbug-proof mattress encasements should be put on both the mattress and the box spring after the first treatment. The purpose of encasements is to trap any bedbugs that are harboring on or inside the mattress or box spring, where they will eventually starve and die. Treating the bed components before encasing them can only accelerate their death. Any survivors won't be able to slip through the encasements and they won't be able to bite through the encasements.

    If the bed is not properly isolated (isolating means to clean and protect the bed with redundant barriers plus encasements so that no bugs are in the frame at the time of isolation and so that no bugs can get on the bed again), then the bedbugs hiding in other places in your home, including the bed frame (and you should always suspect the bed frame, even if it's a metal bed frame), will return to bite you in bed. However, they won't be able to set up shop on the surface of the encasements like they can on the seams and tufts of a mattress or in the myriad nooks and crannies of the box spring. So, even if you opt for a non-isolated bed (or, what is more common, despite every effort, you fail to isolate the bed successfully), encasements are still useful tools. In fact, I think a lot of us believe that encasements are essential no matter what you intend with regard to isolation.

    If you intend to use encasements (and we strongly advise you to do so), then you should keep the encasements on for the duration of the infestation and well, well beyond the end of an infestation. Since bedbugs are known to survive for such crazy long periods, it would be unwise to remove the encasements! We often say, keep them on forever; never take them off. I suppose years later you can revisit your options. Hopefully you won't need us then.

    Also, a concern I saw recently: encasing your mattress and box spring does not in any way mean that you are no longer luring bedbugs to cross pesticides and die. You may have already heard that the way pesticide treatments work is that you act as bait, by continuing to sleep in your bed, to lure bedbugs to leave their harborage and come to their repast. A fatal mistake on their part! With encasements, with isolation even, you're still doing your luring duties; you're just being smart about it. (Isolating the bed may have some unintended consequences, but those are addressed in the faqs.)

    Some PCOs have little faith in encasements and the concept of isolating beds. Other PCOs still want you to use encasements but insist on treating the mattress at every treatment. If that is your PCO, then what can I say, it can still work, but it's not a situation I personally consider ideal, this business of removing encasements for every treatment! All kinds of protocols work. If this is the situation you are in, then I would buy several encasements (according to my budget, they'd have to be the cheaper vinyl kind) and use a new one at every treatment. Or, if you have the higher-end encasements, I suppose (but I've never been in this situation to say for sure) you could launder them and replace them. I mean, you'd have to be very careful. If anything is guaranteed to be infested, that would be it. (Shudder.) I guess if it were me, I would ask some pointed questions of my PCO about why they're making me take off encasements every time. Perhaps one of those PCOs who shares this philosophy will enlighten us to this practice. (Maybe it's something like this: they want to kill all your bedbugs and not just trap them and risk having them, somehow, emerge later. But is this interest balanced by the extra costs of multiple encasements and the risks of releasing bugs every time encasements are removed? Don't know what the reasoning is, but I'd like to.)

    Finally, there's the scenario where you may be facing a delay of a few days before the first treatment and you're asking yourself whether you should wait to encase or not. If you encased right away with cheaper encasements, if you can afford to do so, you might give yourself some relief. And then you can use a better, permanent encasement after the first treatment. (If you have already decided on full bed isolation, then you've already done that and are not wondering when to begin!)

    Again, the bed faqs are here: http://bedbugger.com/faqs/thebed/

    The FAQs explain how to isolate your bed and what can go wrong. Some of us have managed to beat an infestation without isolating our beds. There are pros and cons to each approach. All reasonable. But I've never been persuaded by any arguments against encasements.

  2. Kit

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Sat Nov 17 2007 21:09:17
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    Hopeless - that is so exactly what I was after! I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to post it. I think many will benefit from this post (ha, not least because it will keep them from having to read my relentless questions on it ;). Thanks so, so much again!

  3. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Sat Nov 17 2007 21:15:33
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    Thank you hopelessnomo.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  4. itchyincharmcity

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Mon Nov 19 2007 14:12:34
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    My PCO suggested I encase prior to treatment, remove it for spraying, then put it back on. I protested and got the answer you suggest - he wanted me to encase rigth away so i could get some relief.

    But I'm either not being bitten or not reacting, so I didn't do it.

  5. ridbb

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Tue Feb 26 2008 22:58:01
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    what brand of encasement has worked for you?

  6. fightorflight

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Feb 27 2008 4:33:58
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    Great post, that answered a lot of questions.

  7. completelybuggedout

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Feb 27 2008 9:06:24
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    First I bought a vinyl zipper encasement from Walmart....not good, ripped within a day. Then I bought them from Target one each for our new bed and box spring which we put on before we even brought them into the house, and another for our sons bed. The ones from Target are a much higher quality, and were relativly cheap ( like 15 bucks a piece for queen) We also bought the pillow encasements from target. Don't forget the Gorilla tape to put around your zippers either...its the only tape we have found that will stick long term.

  8. MixedFeelings

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Feb 27 2008 9:08:43
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    Great post!!

    My PCO wants me to remove the mattress encasement during each treatment (we have no boxspring). It's a high-quality encasement, so I just dry it on hot to sanitize it, and put it back on after the mattress has dried from the spray. Our bed is not isolated, so we are still getting bit there.

    So far, the treatments are not successful.

    MF

  9. scaredandstressed

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Feb 27 2008 9:59:01
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    Thanks so much for this post.I have purchased and am waiting on my encasements for mattress, box springs and pillows from national allergy.I had to wait for income tax to get them but hey.Now I wonder if I should wait until all treatment is finished before I put them on?Because once they are on I don't want to take them off.

    Even though my pco told me we don't need them because they will continue to bit you anyway until they are gone.I told him at least it will be there last bite..hopefully?

  10. IveBeenBugged

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Feb 27 2008 15:31:10
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    The encasement also make it much easier to spot any bb's on the mattress or boxspring. You still need to occasionally check both the mattress and boxspring. This needs to be done carefully so as not to rip or tear the encasements. It takes 2 people to do this safely. The ones I use (protect a bed) recommend checking every 4 to 6 weeks to make sure they have not set up shop (so to say) on the encasements itself. Your to treat the encasements as if they are the new exterior of the bed & boxspring and their recommendations is to never take them off.

    Having the encasements on does not stop bb's from crawling/climbing on the bed or boxspring but it does stop them from being able to get into the bed or boxspring and makes it easier to see them when they are on them. It also traps any that are left from the initial treatment of the bed/boxspring inside of them.

  11. IveBeenBugged

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Feb 27 2008 21:33:51
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    I forgot to mention that the included instructions which are quite detailed also mentioned if the encasements are comprised (ripped/teared) in any way that you could duck tape them - but they recommend that you get another encasement if possible and put it on over the damaged one and to not take the damaged one off.

  12. IveBeenBugged

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Feb 27 2008 21:35:17
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    I meant compromised (ripped/torn) I really do have to learn how to check my spelling better before I post.

    Sorry

  13. (deleted)

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Thu Feb 28 2008 17:16:42
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    ridbb,

    Unfortunately, I cannot recommend any particular brand. I used the cheaper vinyl encasements of the kind available at Bed Bath and Beyond, less than $20 if I recall. Most people find they tear and are uncomfortable, but I actually preferred them to fabric encasements. (I had a fabric encasement originally but I was afraid bedbugs could harbor on it and on the seams more easily than on a vinyl encasement.) My opinion on this is definitely the minority, in fact I may be the only one, and obviously I can't recommend vinyl encasements because of the risk of tearing. But I would be lying if I told you anything else about what I actually did.

    Obviously, bedbugs can lay eggs and harbor on almost any surface but they should be easier to spot and to remove.

    MF,

    I'm sorry about that. How are you handling the bed frame? The bed frame is always a worry. I wrote a post on your thread here.

    Scared,

    I think you should put the encasements on. The bugs that are in the box spring and may still be on the mattress will be trapped and eventually dead. Anything that gets on the surface will be easier to spot and remove with repeated treatments. We do always say you should follow the advice of your PCO but if you still have that PCO who only treated you with Gentrol, then I can't suggest you follow his advice.

  14. (deleted)

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Thu Feb 28 2008 17:49:52
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    And, fyi, David explained why he doesn't use or recommend encasements here: http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/anyone-have-reactions-like-this?replies=33#post-13483

    But David inspects! The protocols here are very different.

    Still, it's important to realize that many different approaches can work.

  15. IveBeenBugged

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Feb 29 2008 8:15:36
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    I read David's post and if he or his company was my PCO I would most likely not use the encasements. Unfortunately he is not. I still think the encasements are a good idea. It definetly cut done on the number of bites I was getting at the beginning of this when the LL would not do anything (for 3 months).

    I know this is not advisable but I also self treated my mattress - as stated above the LL would not do anything for months I was left to fend on my own.

  16. fightorflight

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Feb 29 2008 8:25:13
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    IBB - maybe you've answered this, but how did you self-treat your mattress? Insecticide, what product? Other?

    (Again - professional treatment is recommended. But if one has furniture it's interesting to hear from others on this forum their thoughts about different products or methods, especially if waiting around to find a good PCO.)

  17. IveBeenBugged

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Feb 29 2008 8:46:02
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    I used a dusting powder that contained not only DE but a perithium (I may have spelled that wrong) in the powder (Results Insect Killer).

    In hindsight I think now I would have used a spray on it though. From what I have read online Phantom seems to be the one that I like. I actually shouldn't say I treated the mattress I treated the boxspring. The powder said it was safe to use on the mattress but I am skeptical of this as it did contain an insecticide in it.

    I had only seem them in the boxspring no signs of them on the matress but I also put an encasement on the mattress.

  18. belle72

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Jun 18 2008 10:00:39
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    More encasement questions:

    1) When you encase, you can never again use the handles on the sides to help slide your mattress, is that correct? I know the handles are not made to lift and support a mattress to transport it, but they do help with repositioning and getting a good grip. Our king mattress is very heavy (Stearns & Foster) and not having the handles available would be a problem.

    2) Any advice on how to encase a Sleep Number bed? I called Customer Service at Protect a Bed, and they stated there was no way to fully enclose it due to the tubes. We were hoping to get a Sleep Num. for our next bed.

    We want to hold onto the current mattress for the 18 mon. required to make sure the devils are dead and gone. We knew zip about bb until 1 wk ago. Saw one live bug a month back and flushed it, not knowing what it was. Now we can only find a few dead ones, PCO says they are casings. They did a 1 time only treatment, steamed the mattress/boxsprings, but I don't know if they did enough or used appropriate chemicals. Since they (2 inspections) have found no live bugs, they think once is enough at this stage.

    Advice/comments appreciated, thanks.

  19. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Jun 18 2008 11:40:21
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    belle72,
    You have to be cautious about tearing even good encasements. (People with cats with claws, beware.)

    In my opinion, you can probably be pretty confident bed bugs are gone before 18 months are up IF you react to bed bug bites (since without this, it's harder to know they're gone) and IF you are certain you are not in contact with a source of reinfestation (that's a big IF) AND IF you are not in an attached home (apartment, row house, etc.)

    I personally do not want to have an unencased mattress due to the possibility of reinfestation, but if encasements are not a workable option for you in the long run, then waiting until you are bed bug -free and replacing it might be an option.

  20. belle72

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Jun 18 2008 18:20:17
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    Nobugsonme, thank you for the advice. We have a single family home (not attached), our cat is declawed...as for not in contact with reinfestation, we can only hope. We do have a short trip planned for later this summer which will involve a hotel stay, but given what we now know, we feel a bit better prepared to look for signs.

    In all likelihood, this infestation (our first ever) probably comes from the happiest place on earth, Disneyland. We stayed at a very nice Comfort Suites there. I am sad but hope we are up to the challenge of fighting this.

    Thank you again, we will get an encasement asap. The protect-a-bed ones are not available here but B,B & B has one that they claim is bedbug-proof.

  21. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Jun 18 2008 18:35:08
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    There's a study you should probably read which is linked from the encasements page, comparing 5 brands. Those claiming to be bed bug proof are not all equal.

  22. aballen

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Jun 18 2008 19:00:08
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    I have three Sleep Number beds. We purchased the Homedics encasements at Linen and Things, for a King I think there were about $70 each. I also used on on the plastic platform for the Sleep Number. I was afraid the plastic ones would rip. We simply set our sleep number and removed the tubing, capping off the tubes according to the directions per manufacturer. We have not been able to adjust our beds, but that is secondary at this point. The Homedics encasements are large enough for the deepest mattress, we have alot of room and we just tuck the extra fabric under the mattress. They are almost always sold out, but I am near Cincinnati, no wonder, evertime I am in the store in West Chester, women have the arms full of encasements, pillows, etc. Good tip on the Gorilla tape, I use duct tape and we all know it is not the best. I will get the Gorilla tomorrow! Thanks. zsementyone in the store always is buying encam

  23. belle72

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Jun 18 2008 19:43:19
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    Yes Nobugs, I did read that, comparing the experiments as to security of fabric as well as the zipper...we just have to decide whether to wait several days to get the Protect-a-bed, or get a lesser quality tomorrow at BB & B.

    I want to think we have a light infestation since we cannot find live bugs but know it is entirely possible to have bb, even if you never see one living/dead. Thank you again.

  24. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Jun 18 2008 22:08:07
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    I'm not aware of a Homedics encasement that has been proven to keep bed bugs in or out.

  25. belle72

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Thu Jun 19 2008 10:24:31
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    Nobugs, I just watched all 3 of the YouTube videos from Richard Cooper, very impressive. Maybe I missed it, but I wondered what are his qualifications for conducting the study. He thanked the university that provided the starved instars, is he on faculty there? Just wanted to be certain he is independent. Thank you.

  26. terrifiedtosleep

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Thu Jun 19 2008 11:13:53
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    Since the mattress FAQ is down, aside from having the bed treated and covering my mattress/boxspring in covers what else do I have to do to "isolate" the bed?

  27. belle72

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Thu Jun 19 2008 20:07:27
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    BTW, is Protect-a-bed box springs cover a good product for the box springs on a King bed? I thought I had to buy 2 Twin XL for the boxes but this is more economical IF it is BB-PROOF. It says Protect-a-Bed w/ BugLock on the label but does not say AllerZip. Any info is appreciated, thanks!

  28. heartattackhelpme

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Jun 20 2008 1:35:51
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    I was told that latex beds are a good way to go at sleep country. Anyhow I bought one and encased it then the bugs went to my couch. I have had a thermal treatment and dusted it the couch but no one wants to sit on it. Not me either. Too bad there aren't encasements for a couch. I am beginning to think the best thing to do is wrap it in plastic and get rid of it.

  29. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Jun 20 2008 3:05:38
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    terrifiedtosleep, the mattress FAQ is UP again:
    http://bedbugger.com/2006/11/02/faq-how-do-i-protect-my-bed-from-bed-bugs-part-i/

    belle72,
    Richard Cooper is an entomologist. To my knowledge he is not on faculty at a university.

  30. IveBeenBugged

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Jun 20 2008 7:16:22
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    belle72 it seems no one has answered your question. There now seems to be two different pictures on the covers for the protect a bed encasements. One says allerzip on it with a piture of a woman and child sleeping and some light green wave line on it (like the one the link on the forum will take you to). The second (and original cover) says protect a bed but does not say allerzip on it. It is like the one from the link you describe. This is the picture that was on the one I had bought way back in January. It says Bed Bug Proof Encasement in bold print on the top and has a bed bug with a red circle with a line through it on it.

    I had posted a ? on this in the forums but after searching around on the net they appear to be made by the same company. Perhaps a union of two companies was formed and they have yet to change all the covers over to the new one.

    The origianl package cover:

    domyownpestcontrol.com/protectabed-box-spring-cover-king-p-805.html

    The new package cover:

    domyownpestcontrol.com/protectabed-bed-bug-mattress-cover-queen-p-795.html

    Both are on the same website. Hope that helps some.

    Tony

  31. IveBeenBugged

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Jun 20 2008 7:26:16
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    Just a quick update. I just went to bedbugcentral (cooper pest controls online store) they also now show both packages (with different pics) on their website. This has changed since last week when they only showed the original one lick this:

    bedbugcentral.com/store/pc/viewPrd.asp?idcategory=24&idproduct=20

    I just wanted to put this up as the link in the last post was for a boxspring encasement this one (with the original packaging) is for a queen encasement. I assume they will change over to the new one once stock is sold out of the old package.

  32. belle72

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Jun 20 2008 10:52:00
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    Thank you all. I just spoke to a cust. service rep at Protect-a-Bed and she told me that YES, the box spring covers are to be used on my boxes and are as effective (BugLock) as the mattress covers, the same product except no terry cover. They do not sell them on their website to the public, so you have to order from a retailer.

    This is a sizeable savings...considering 2 twin XL AllerZip @ $100 a pop vs. one set of King box spring covers @ $70. The downside is they're out of stock, but will get more soon. Thanks everyone.

  33. belle72

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Jun 20 2008 11:29:54
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    Just got a call back (just in case, I left my cell # in the 'notes' section when I ordered the AllerZip) and the Box Spring covers are IN so those are on the way too. Great customer service BTW.

  34. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Jun 20 2008 12:03:56
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    belle72,

    I have just contacted someone at Protect-a-bed about whether they can add the box springs covers to the site.

    [You can buy the box spring covers and pillow cases the Bedbugger Amazon store. Mattress and crib encasements as well, for those who prefer to shop at the same site.]

  35. belle72

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Jun 20 2008 12:24:48
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    Thanks Nobugs! I don't want to cut corners but the savings is substantial. And thanks also to this site - w/o the info here I am sure I would have bought a lesser quality encasement not knowing the facts.

  36. spideyjg

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Sun Jul 13 2008 0:51:01
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    I just removed the encasement of the Cal King bed box springs. The PCO put them both in a single PAB mattress cover rather than the individual box spring covers.

    Anyhow with lifting the bed for subsequent sprayings it had gotten torn. I blamed it on the nubs of the frame but saw another bad thing while putting felt pads down and prepping to change the cover.

    One of the box springs had 2 nail heads protruding out about 1/4 inch. I don't think they caused the first tears but figured they would cause one later. Whacking them back in probably wasn't the best thing but the PCO never reported any findings on this bed but had treated it proactively.

    I read how you should just install over the damaged one, which sounds best but I'm glad I removed it and found those nail heads.

    Jim

  37. mangycur

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Thu Jul 17 2008 19:19:16
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    I just discovered that my new box springs tore their expensive national allergy cover becuase there are hard edges. My PCO said I should have duct taped the hard edges before putting on the encasement. Now I'm going to duct tape the hard edges on the existing encasement and put another encasement over that one. Whoo hoo!

  38. kjdrga

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Jul 18 2008 7:56:28
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    My box spring (BB proof) encasement also torn from moving the box spring on and off the metal frame for the treatments and cleanings. Those little buggers were coming out to eat me so I've tossed the whole thing out and will try to buy some lumber and make a makeshift frame for the mattress, and carefully doing so not to tear the mattress encasement.

  39. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Jul 23 2008 21:52:53
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    taping the box spring edges, and ALSO the frame, may be a good idea.

  40. bbgirl

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Mar 7 2011 13:10:22
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    A PCO gave me a good tip after screws on the bedframe tore my encasements. Take two white fitted sheets. Put the first one on over the box spring and encasement (after making sure that any small tears are well patched with Gorilla tape) Take the tape and tape all the way around the loose edges making sure it is as secure as possible. Then put the other one on the other way around and tape all the way around it (pay special care to the corners to make sure nothing can crawl out.) This will protect the encasement against tearing and you can just leave them on for a long time. I did this with my mattress also and don't worry about laundering them as a mattress cover and other bedding goes right on top of it. Even the expensive encasements are fragile and easily torn especially with a metal bedframe. I guess since the encasement is under it all you could remove them and inspect every few months but I haven't and it seems to be secure. As mentioned elsewhere tape all sharp edges and corners of the bedframe before replacing the box spring & mattress just in case.


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