Avoid Bringing Pests Home on Secondhand Furniture


Used furniture can be a great way to furnish your new home or apartment. It’s often more affordable and gives you options for pieces that you might not find in stores. But secondhand furniture can also be a hiding place for hitchhiking pests like bed bugs, cockroaches, fleas, termites, and more.

Before you bring that new piece of furniture home from the thrift store or Facebook marketplace, be sure that you are not accidentally introducing pests to your home with a few of our pest control tips.

Tips for Buying Used Furniture

It is completely possible to buy secondhand furniture without any pest problems, but know that there are some risks. Likewise, it is probably best to avoid free furniture on the side of the road altogether since you really have no promises of where that furniture has been.

But if you prepare to safely buy furniture from online marketplaces, thrift stores, or consignment stores, use these tips to keep your home pest free:

  • Hard Surfaces are Safest – Tables, dining chairs, bookshelves, and other furniture that has hard surfaces as opposed to cloth are more likely to be free of pests. There are fewer places for pests to hide and it will be easier for you to spot bugs before you bring the furniture inside.
  • Avoid Large Pieces – A couch, sectional, or mattress is a great hiding space for bugs and almost impossible to clean. There is simply too much space for you to completely inspect, too many crevices for bugs to hide in, and no way to ensure bugs are removed.
  • Know the Signs of Insect Activity – Before you purchase any secondhand furniture, look over it carefully for small black specks. These may be droppings from bed bugs, fleas, and other pests. Other signs can include discarded skins from bed bugs or roaches, and egg cases that look like a small dark brown tube measuring about 10 mm long. If you notice any of these signs, do not purchase that piece of furniture.
  • Clean Used Furniture – For hard surfaces, wipe them down with vinegar or a bleach mixture diluted in water, making sure to get into the crevices. For cloth items, you can wrap them in a plastic bag for a couple of days to suffocate any bugs. Steam cleaning is an option, but is often ineffective with insects like bed bugs since they need to be exposed to temperatures higher than 110 degrees for more than three hours to kill them.
  • Isolate Furniture Before It Comes Inside – Store your furniture in a safe location for a few days before bringing it into your home so that you have at least a few days to watch for pests. A small item can go in your bathtub which keeps any pests from escaping. A larger item can go in a garage or shed. Make sure you feel confident there are no bugs before you finally set the furniture up.

Secondhand furniture that seems like a good deal can quickly become a costly mistake if you bring bugs home. Your new sofa, table, or bed could end up costing you if you have to pay for extermination. Use your best judgment when purchasing secondhand and practice caution before bringing the item home.

If you do accidentally bring in a pest on your furniture in Virginia, ExtermPRO is here to help. We have a range of state of the art treatments that can quickly and affordably remove all hitchhiking bugs to leave your property free of pests.