Bedbug Outbreak at NY Abercrombie Stores Widens Infestation Concerns

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The Bedbug Buster of Colorado, Phil Dressen of A Personal Touch Carpet Cleaning service, says not to panic, and that quick action can prevent or eliminate bedbugs in a highly effective and discrete manner

When a bedbug infestation forced venerable clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch to shutter two of its high-profile lower Manhattan stores in early July, the news put the spotlight nationwide on the growing problem of bedbugs and their ability to take hold in even the most upscale locales.

“People have a tendency to think of bedbugs as something only found in seedy hotels or run-down apartments, but what’s been happening lately shows that anyone, no matter what their station in life, can be victimized,” says Phil Dressen, owner of A Personal Touch Carpet Cleaning and the self-proclaimed Bedbug Buster of Colorado. “Imagine shopping in a fine boutique and taking home bedbugs with new clothes or on shopping bags. It could happen to anyone.”

Dressen advises not to panic, however, because a tricky bedbug infestation is easily eradicated quickly by a professional who understands the problem and the solutions. A Personal Touch Carpet Cleaning specializes in cleaning carpets, air ducts and upholstery for its residential and commercial customers, and has become a recognized professional in eradicating bedbug infestations.

“Extreme heat, over 120 degrees Fahrenheit, kills bedbugs and their larvae more effectively than any other technique,” says Dressen. “Our commercial-grade steamers exceed that temperature and do a thorough job. Plus, of course, they also clean these fabric surfaces, leaving them both bug free and dirt free.”

Abercrombie & Fitch first discovered a bedbug outbreak in its surf-themed store called Hollister in the posh SoHo district in New York City, and then found a similar problem at its namesake retail location in the city’s South Street seaport area. Both stores were closed, the merchandise taken to an off-site location for treatment, the buildings inspected and cleaned, and the company reopened each location in a matter of days. The flagship store on New York’s famed Fifth Avenue was tested and found not to be affected, the company reported.

Bedbugs, known scientifically as cimex lectularius, were all but eradicated in the United States in the years following World War II, mostly due to the use of the pesticide DDT. However, in 1972 the U.S. Environmental Protection banned DDT as a national health hazard. Most experts ascribe the return of bedbugs in appreciable numbers in the U.S. over the last 15 years to the increase of international travel and the growth in the importation of all manner of goods, including furniture, apparel and electronics, all desirable transportation vehicles for bedbugs which are often referred to as good “hitchhikers.”

A bad infestation that encompasses wood, other hard surfaces, and such popular bedbug breeding grounds as electrical outlets and wiring in a home, can be treated with the use of modern approved pesticides, called IGRs (insect growth regulators), applied along every crevice where wall meets wall or wall meets floor in the infected room or home. The Colorado Department of Health recommends a professional commercial pesticide applicator be used as commercial grade products also have properties that continue to kill bed bugs long after the application.

These pesticides, however, are not recommended for use on fabric surfaces that come in contact with people, and high-temperature steam cleaning is recommended as the most effective bedbug remedy.

That’s where A Personal Touch Carpet Cleaning excels. Dressen and his professional crews steam clean every square inch of upholstered furniture, drapes, carpets and mattresses in the house or affected room with high-heat steam. Items that can be laundered are washed in HOT only and then dried in a dryer for at least 30-40 minutes, says Dressen. He adds that it is wise not to jam the washer or dryer full, but rather spread the laundry from the infected room into several loads to be sure the bedbugs and their larvae don’t survive. In addition, a vacuum cleaner can be an effective means of removing the pests, but Dressen stresses that it is important to throw out the vacuum bag and clean the machine to halt the spread of the bedbugs to other areas of the home.

“We get calls from people all the time in a panic because of a potential bedbug problem,” says Dressen. “While bedbugs do carry a stigma and are pretty creepy, they are not a health hazard and with the proper care they can be completely eliminated in a very short time. We’ve been to some of the finest homes and businesses in Colorado and discretely solved the problem right away with no recurrence.”

A Personal Touch Carpet Cleaning provides a wide range of expert cleaning services, including carpets, tile and grout, air ducts and upholstery. Moreover, in becoming the Bedbug Buster of Colorado, Dressen and his highly trained staff will do inspections for home owners and business people suspecting a bedbug infestation and make the proper recommendations or perform the needed services quickly.

For more information on all of the steam-cleaning services provided by A personal Touch Carp Cleaning.

Visit or call 720-344-2870. A Personal Touch Carpet Cleaning provides service throughout the Metro Denver area.

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Danielle Yuthas
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