From the bean of Green Bean.
I've long been a fan of second hand. Indeed, we've furnished much of our house and most of ourselves with other people's cast offs. A quilt from a garage sale. A wine rack free on the side of the road. A fall wardrobe from the thrift store. An Etsy purse made from repurposed sweaters. Here in the Green Bean household, we really sink our teeth into the idea of "reuse."
But a recent development has turned second hand into spooky: Bed Bugs!
Oh, I'm sure much of the bed bug invasion is media hype. Many of the infestations occur in hotels, first use retail stores and such. However, nearly every article I've read about the bloodsuckers mentions being careful when you buy used. That's gotta take a bite out of second hand shopping sprees.
A little grossed out but not easily deterred,
I grabbed some garlic I did some research on how to avoid getting bit by my second hand scores.
Sealing your item in a plastic bag and then taking it to a professional cleaner topped the list of preventative measures. Wrapping anything in plastic, though, takes some of the green out of second hand and professionally cleaning sucks the bargain out of bargain hunt. Next try.
Steam cleaning is said to kill bed bugs so perhaps a used rug is cool if you are going to steam clean it. But how do you get it home or to the cleaners? In your car? Where those creeps can hitch a free ride? Maybe pass on the used rugs.
Upholstered furniture that is "baked" (in a cauldron?) should be fine but this would come from a furniture re-seller and not Joe Blow selling stuff on Craigslist. Okay, maybe skip on the upholstered furniture and stick with wooden or metal.
Putting an item in the dryer (for at least 30 minutes) or in hot water wash in the washer and then the dryer again apparently kills bed bugs. Alternatively, placing the item in the freezer for one month and then washing it supposedly annihilates the beasts. Both of these tactics seem to put clothes, some shoes, costumes that could stand up to the washing or dry cleaning, and bedding in the clear. They also seem a little more eco friendly and affordable.
Maybe I'm just being paranoid, I tell myself, as I stroll the dimly lit aisles of my favorite second hand haunt. I pass the rugs with hardly a glance, stop to dig through the stacks of pots and pans, flip through some books, wander by the stationary section, and then head to the aisle for women's clothing.
There's a cute cardigan. My size. My color. Excellent condition. $3.99.
Should I bite?