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Winter Coats Hanging in the Closet and Duvet

(11 posts)
  1. Traumabugged

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat May 30 2009 16:30:39
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    I really appreciate the kindness received here and is trying to process my
    belongings. Most of my stuff might probably be packtited to 120f but still I
    have a few questions about. My closet is not far from my infested bed and I
    hanged my winter coats in it (a leather coat, a down winter coat, some few
    overcoats) as well as some suits. The PCO said the infestation is small but he
    seems to be dealing with this only for the second time. I used two blankets but
    still feel cold at night so I am planning to use the duvet. However I still fear
    it might be infested even after I washed and dried it on high for like 2 hours.

    So what do you do with these items such as winter coats in the closet? I also
    remember seeing someone advising throwing the duvet too but is it neccessary?

    Thanks.

  2. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat May 30 2009 18:31:01
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    I'm not sure what country you're in, so I'm not sure if this will help.

    Heavy duvets and items like the winter coats you've mentioned present particular problems. They can't always be dried on high, and even when they are, they provide (by design) a lot of insulation.

    With any use of heat to kill bed bugs, the trick is to get every nook and cranny in the item up to past the thermal death point and hold it there long enough to kill the bugs. If the item in question has enough insulation, that can be hard.

    I ultimately decided to ditch my down comforter. It had been on the bed at ground zero, so I knew I would never feel safe using it, even after my whole apartment went through thermal treatment.

    Also, since it was down instead of synthetic, I couldn't dry it. And I didn't trust dry cleaning.

    So, I got a new synthetic down alternative comforter. It wasn't cheap. And I was lucky that I discovered my infestation in June. In June (and July, and August, and September, and usually much of October) in sunny Southern California, I had no need of a comforter. I got a new one as a birthday present in September from my mom.

    If you're in the southern hemisphere, that's not really going to help. If you live in the northern hemisphere and somewhere colder than here,that's not really going to help.

    The one thing you could try (esp. if you don't have pets with claws) if you can't afford a new comforter right now would be putting the comforter in a mattress encasement. It's not a perfect solution, but I understand that bed bugs wipe people out financially, and sometimes just the thought of having to buy a new coat and a new comforter on top of everything else is enough to push people right over the edge.

    Many people here have been happy with the Packtite. You would definitely be able to use that for the jackets, and you might feel confident enough in it with the comforter. Comforters are by definition a lot of insulation, though, and I'd feel better with a dryer I trusted than the Packtite myself. And here's where the country issue comes in. I believe the Packtite is wired for North American currents, so I don't think it's available in Europe or, say, in Australia/New Zealand where I know they have not only different outlet sizes but a whole different voltage.

    Sorry if that's a little rambly. I'm functioning on about 5 hours of sleep. hopefully something in there will help a bit. Hang in there. And I'll check back tomorrow after I'd slept some more.

  3. cachevalier

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat May 30 2009 20:57:13
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    i kept everything and had thermal done. i wanted to throw away things but my pc told me not to. its been 3 months of bliss.

  4. Traumabugged

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sun May 31 2009 0:13:54
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    Thanks, Buggy. I'm actually in NW Arkansas now so the outlet might not be the problem. I've just received my packtite and is not sure if down winter coat and leather dust coat could be heated since I read in this forum that some well insulated items might be very hard to get to the required temperature (which you mentioned too).

  5. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sun May 31 2009 15:08:47
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    I did not use Packtite. I had my whole apartment thermally remediated. It worked in one treatment.

    I'm actually factually sure that my down comforter was 100% bed bugs free after that. I just emotionally knew that I couldn't ever bring myself to sleep under it again. (I already have stress induced insomnia, so adding the fear of bed bugs lurking in the comforter that I couldn't wash wasn't going to work for me, even if that anxiety had no basis in fact whatsoever.)

    I suspect that, unfortunately, the answer is that no one can be sure until you've tried it. There are too many variables: exactly how insulated is the comforter? Are there eggs and nymphs in it to start out with?

    What I can tell you is this: my gut tells me that the leather duster if treated by itself should be fine in the Packtite. I don't think leather insulates as well as heavy fill down. It cuts the wind quite effectively, but let's put it this way. When I go back to New England in the winter, I take wool or synthetic coats, not leather. Leather is a good wind break, but not as heavily insulated as a Michelin tire person down coat.

    As for the comforter and the coat, it depends on how fluffy they are, and the only way you're going to know 100% for certain is to try. The Packtite isn't that old, and so we don't have a lot of examples of people treating those items in them yet.

    I know that doesn't make you feel any better, and I'm sorry that we can't be more help. I say over and over that the worst part of bed bugs is the not knowing. If we just knew for sure that if we did X, Y, and Z, we'd be bed bug free, they wouldn't seem quite so awful.

  6. Traumabugged

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sun May 31 2009 17:01:06
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    Dear Buggy:
    Actually any advice, even a short support would be of great help. Thank you and everyone on this forum, it makes one feel less alone with the issue which could last for years.

    And I completely agree with you that the "unknown" of the bb is the most frightening since I'm also agonizing when and how should I move. Even after putting all my clothes in the packtite, all my suitcases into Pest-strip-sticked constructor bags and all my electronic appliance into moth-balled ziplocks, I still fear I may bring bugs, especially the transparent nymphs and eggs into the new apartment when I just go there to take a look. And the "my neighbor's bug" story creeps me out too since it's hard to find an apartment not attached to the others here and it's university area, where people move frequently.

    So I might probably end up with expensive short term lease and live without any furniture except an air mattress, accompanied by a mountain of ziplocks ...

  7. tryingtostaysane

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sat Aug 6 2011 14:01:22
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    I just came across this thread and wondered if anyone has updated advice on the topic... I remember a thread somewhere where someone had a post-Packtited comforter that was still infested... Any success stories about dealing with down and other heavy coats & insulated items? Worried about the Packtite heat being able to fully penetrate these ... maybe the dryer is a better option, since it would really circulate that hot air?

  8. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sat Aug 6 2011 14:50:45
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    Hi TTSS,

    What we really need is for entomologists to test this -- kill times for bed bugs in a comforter and Packtite.

    As far as I know, that data is not out there. We do have such data for kill times in a sock in a dryer.

    Either a dryer or a Packtite would certainly get hot enough to kill bed bugs. The question is how long would it take for the temperature to be reached inside the insulated item.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  9. tryingtostaysane

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sat Aug 6 2011 15:05:04
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    Yes, there's the rub. I guess I'm just wondering if anyone has done either, and what their level of success was. I'm throwing out my old comforter, but would like to find a way to treat & keep my coats (& feel confident nothing was burrowed deep down in there).
    Thanks NB!

  10. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sat Aug 6 2011 18:54:29
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    The thing is, without a controlled test, I don't see how anyone can give you an answer that means anything. Someone who put their own comforter in a Packtite or dryer can't tell you for sure that it contained bed bugs before and they were dead after.

  11. tryingtostaysane

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sat Aug 6 2011 19:19:19
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    That is a very valid point.
    Soooo David are you up for a new test?


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