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What To Do with an Old Mattress? Sell, Donate, Recycle, Reuse!

If you’re not sleeping well, then you may need to get a new mattress. When the time comes, you have plenty of options to choose from to make your sleep better each and every night. But you’re probably also wondering, “How do I get rid of my old mattress?”


What to do with an old mattress is a question many people have. This comes up especially when replacing an old mattress with a new one. To make the matter trickier, there are different laws, rules, and regulations across the country.


Plus, certain factors exist that may make one mattress eligible for donation or sale, while another is left out in the proverbial cold.


But today, you’re in luck! There are a ton of ways to get rid of your old mattress swiftly, responsibly, and easily.


Let’s take a look at all the ways to dispose of a mattress (plus some tips on how to know which new mattress is best for you).

When To Get a New Mattress?

There’s a super important and crucial step to make before the big decision of how to get rid of your old mattress:


You need to know for sure that it’s time to get a new one!


Thankfully, there’s some simple questions you can answer to get to the heart of the matter without any stress.  

 When to get a new mattress

 

Mattress Life Cycle

First of all, it’s important to know how long a mattress is supposed to last. If you’ve been sleeping on yours for longer than the expected usage, then it’s probably time to get a new mattress.


So…


How long should a mattress last? On average, you can expect your mattress to last about 8-10 years. In other words, this means you will need to replace your mattress once every 8-10 years as well.

On average, you can expect your mattress to last about 8-10 years.

If you’re sleeping on a mattress that’s around eight-to-ten years old at this point, then you should consider replacing it with a brand new one. Not only is hitting the hay each night on an older mattress bad for your sleep quality, but this can also have a negative impact on your overall health.


Another important angle to observe when answering this question is that most adults, especially as we enter “middle-age” and beyond, will need to purchase a new mattress in less time; about 6-8 years.


This is because the body can change significantly in this period of time, making your current mattress feel less comfortable, even if it is in reasonably good condition. So, even if your mattress could “last forever”, if you’re not comfortable, not experiencing excellent sleep, or not waking up feeling great, then you should replace your mattress sooner.


Getting high-quality sleep is paramount to having great bodily health. So, if you’re not feeling well, it might be a result of not sleeping well, which may in turn simply be a case of getting a new mattress. 

Important Signs Your Mattress Needs to Be Replaced

If you’re not quite at the 8-year mark, you may still want to take an assessment of your current sleeping surface.

What to Do with Old Mattress

For instance, if you purchased a “budget mattress,” then you should know that these are often made with lower quality materials. As a result, they tend not to last quite as long as a more durable, high-quality mattress.

If you aren't sleeping very well, there's a good chance that it's due to your mattress.

The first set of issues has to do with your own quality of sleep. In other words, if you aren’t sleeping very well, there’s a good chance that it’s due to your mattress.


Here are some indicators to look out for, as far as sleep quality is concerned:

  • Waking up still tired
  • Body is achy upon waking up
  • Achy body throughout the day
  • Feeling your sleeping partner’s movements at night
  • Having difficulty falling asleep each night
  • Waking up periodically, or tossing and turning

If you notice any one (or more) of these tell-tale signs, then you should consider taking a look at the mattress as the source of your sleep issues.


That said, there are also sight and sound indicators that you can physically inspect. These may provide a little tangible proof that your mattress has passed its prime and, as a result, may need replacing soon:


  • Noises and/or squeaking sounds when moving
  • Portions of your mattress are lumpy or saggy
  • Noticeably feeling the coils through your mattress layers

    Have you noticed any of these indicators?


    Again, any one of them could be a clear signal that your mattress needs to be swapped out in the near future.


    Finally, if you have recently experienced a major life change, that could necessitate getting a new sleep surface. As your situation changes, so may your mattress needs along with it. Here are a few major life changes that often benefit from a change in mattress and overall sleep system:


    • Having a child (or another child!)
    • Getting a new pet (that sleeps in the bed with you)
    • Sharing the bed consistently with a partner
    • Change in body weight
    • Physical injury or surgery
    • Sleeping in a new position

      Any of these can occur at any time, of course, regardless of when you last purchased a new mattress.

      No matter what the reason may be, if you're in need of a new mattress, then you need to know what to do with the old one.

      Naturally, new sleeping partners of any kind (children, pets, or another adult) could alter the sleeping experience. This may show up in the available size or the comfort-level of your sleeping surface immediately. In turn, this might result in the need for a new mattress.


      No matter what the reason may be, if you’re in the position of needing to replace your mattress, then you need to know what to do with the old one.


      Let’s walk through all of the options, along with the pros and cons of each.


      How to Donate a Mattress

      The first option that we’ll discuss is donation. Many people are surprised to know that they can, in fact, donate their old mattress! As they want to help others in need, this can be a great option for many new mattress owners.


      Here’s how to know whether this is the right option for you, as well as how to donate your mattress as efficiently (and painlessly) as possible.


      As far as mattress donations are concerned, the first thing you have to consider is the current quality of your mattress. As the Sleep Foundation writes, “Because of the influx of higher quality, more affordable beds, and because of regulatory and sanitation issues, standards have increased at charities and shelters when it comes to the suitability of mattresses for donation.”


      In other words, there’s a pretty high bar that your mattress needs to pass in order to be acceptable for donation. Because, as the Sleep Foundation goes on to say, “Bringing in a sub-par mattress, beyond being rude, will generally be a waste of time for you and for the hardworking staff and volunteers at these organizations.”


      Here’s another way to think about it: Donating is first and foremost a way to help others in need. So, if your mattress is not in a condition to do that, then donation probably isn’t the best option for you.

      It's great that you want to help others in need by donating your mattress. But if it's not in good condition, donation is probably not the best option.

       

      If you think your mattress is in decent shape, but want to be 100% sure, here are some things you can look for before making the trip to a donation center:


      • Significant structural damage
      • Stains or burns
      • Large amounts of stitching coming undone
      • Torn fabric
      • Strong smells and odors
      • Bug infestations
      • Other mattress construction/structural issues

        The presence of such issues could be an indication that your mattress should not be donated (or sold, for that matter — see below). 


        That said, there are some things you can do to fix it up and get it into a donatable shape:


        • Clean and vacuum the mattress thoroughly
        • Remove small stains and minor odors
        • Have slight tears or rips repaired by a professional

        These remedial options could give your mattress new life and get it into the right condition to be donated to a person in need or an organization that helps others.


        Where and How to Sell an Old Mattress

        Here’s a big question that comes up all the time in this area: “Can I sell my old mattress?”


        As we mentioned above regarding donations, you may be surprised to learn that the answer is often yes!


        In other words…


        Can I sell my old mattress? “Yes, you can often sell your old mattress!”


        Of course, it’s important to be sure that your mattress is in decent condition before trying to sell it. If it isn’t in good shape, you probably won’t find any buyers at any price.


        No matter how much you paid for your mattress or how old it is or how good of condition it is in, the used mattress market is “cheap”. Don’t expect to get what you paid for it or even close.


        Another question that comes up a lot is this one…


        Is it legal to sell your mattress? As a general rule, yes, it is legal to sell your old mattress.


        This doesn’t apply to every mattress in every area of the United States of America.  But in many cases, it can be done legally and safely  — and for a little extra cash!

        In many cases, selling your mattress can be done legally and safely — and for a little extra cash!

        Again, we must stress that this doesn’t apply to all mattresses all the time. Additionally, most states will only allow individuals to resell their old mattresses, not mattress stores/retailers.


        With those caveats in mind, if your mattress is in good enough shape to donate, then it’s probably in good enough shape to sell, too.


        However, before taking the photos and posting them online for the world to see, it’s important to make sure that you check state and local regulations about the selling of used mattresses first. In some jurisdictions, it may be against the local law to sell your mattress.


        Used Mattress Selling Laws: A State by State Guide

        Below is a state-by-state mattress-selling guide. When the regulation is unknown, a note has been made instead to contact your local health department. The information on this list comes primarily from this source.


        IMPORTANT NOTE: Since these laws and regulations may change without any notice, we urge you to check with your local laws and ordinances, and to contact regulators to find out with absolute certainty which rules apply in your area. Unless otherwise noted, the regulations below apply to consumers only; with few exceptions, retailers* are not typically allowed to resale a used mattress.


        • Alabama: Legal to sell used mattresses. It is illegal to claim a used mattress is new. 
        • Alaska: Contact your local health department.
        • Arizona: Legal to sell used mattresses. Used mattresses must be sanitized before sale. 
        • Arkansas: Legal to sell used mattresses. It is illegal to claim a used mattress is new. 
        • California: It is legal unless the mattress has visible stains.
        • Colorado: Legal to sell used mattresses. Used mattresses must be sanitized before sale.
        • Connecticut: Legal to sell used mattresses. Used mattresses must be sanitized and correctly labeled. 
        • Delaware: Legal to sell used mattresses. Used mattresses must be sanitized before sale.
        • Florida: Legal to sell used mattresses. Used mattresses must be sanitized before sale.
        •  Georgia: Legal to sell used mattresses. Used filling must be labeled.
        •  Hawaii: Legal to sell used mattresses. The condition of materials must be clearly labeled. 
        •  Idaho: Contact your local health department.
        •  Illinois: Legal to sell used mattresses. The condition of a used mattress must be clearly labeled. 
        •  Indiana: A retailer cannot sell used mattresses, but individuals can.
        •  Iowa:Legal to sell used mattresses.  The condition must be clearly labeled. 
        •  Kansas: Illegal to resale. Used mattresses cannot be resold by retailers or individuals.
        •  Kentucky: Legal to sell used mattresses. The condition must be clearly labeled. 
        •  Louisiana: A retailer cannot sell used mattresses, but individuals can.
        •  Maine: Contact your local health department.
        •  Maryland: A retailer cannot sell used mattresses, but individuals can.
        •  Massachusetts: Legal to sell used mattresses, but the condition must be clearly labeled. 
        •  Michigan: Legal to sell used mattresses, but the condition must be clearly labeled.
        •  Minnesota: Legal to sell used mattresses, but used mattresses must be sanitized before sale.
        •  Mississippi: Legal to sell used mattresses, but the condition must be clearly labeled. 
        •  Missouri: Legal to sell used mattresses, but the condition must be clearly labeled.
        •  Montana: Legal to sell used mattresses, but the condition must be clearly labeled.
        •  Nebraska: No law on selling used mattresses at this time.
        •  Nevada: Legal to sell used mattresses, but used mattresses must be sanitized before sale.
        •  New Hampshire: Contact your local health department.
        •  New Jersey: Legal to sell used mattresses, but used mattresses must be sanitized before sale.
        •  New Mexico: Legal to sell used mattresses, but used mattresses must be sanitized before sale. 
        •  New York: Retailers need a special license to sell used mattresses.*
        •  North Carolina: Legal to sell used mattresses. Used mattresses must be sanitized before sale.
        •  North Dakota: Contact your local health department.
        •  Ohio: The condition of used mattresses must be clearly labeled.
        •  Oklahoma: Contact your local health department.
        •  Oregon: The condition of used mattresses must be clearly labeled.
        •  Pennsylvania: Legal to sell used mattresses, but the condition must be clearly labeled.
        •  Rhode Island: Contact your local health department.
        •  South Carolina: Legal to sell used mattresses. Used mattresses must be sanitized before sale. 
        •  South Dakota: Contact your local health department.
        •  Tennessee: The condition of used mattresses must be clearly labeled. 
        •  Texas: Used mattresses must be sanitized and clearly labeled before sale.
        •  Utah: Legal to sell used mattresses. The condition of used mattresses must be clearly labeled.
        •  Vermont: It is illegal to claim a used mattress is new. 
        •  Virginia: Legal to sell used mattresses. Used mattresses must be sanitized before sale. 
        •  Washington: A retailer cannot sell used mattresses, but individuals can.
        •  West Virginia: Legal to sell used mattresses. The condition of used mattresses must be clearly labeled.
        •  Wisconsin: Legal to sell used mattresses. The condition of used mattresses must be clearly labeled.
        •  Wyoming: Contact your local health department.

             

            Clearly, there is considerable overlap in the regulations from one state to the next. But there is also a range of laws, albeit somewhat narrow, regarding the resale of used mattresses across the United States.

            If you’ve determined that you’re in an area where selling your used mattress is legal and you’re good-to-go, then here are some spots online to find a potential buyer:

            • Craigslist (You may experience tough competition here: a quick search in 2022 in the San Francisco/Bay Area shows over 2,700 listings for mattresses.)
            • Facebook Marketplace
            • Offer Up (App)
            • Have a good old fashioned garage/yard sale!

              As with selling any item online, be safe and never set up an appointment to meet someone if you don’t feel comfortable.

              Where to Donate a Mattress

              At this point, maybe you’ve determined that your mattress is in good shape and can be donated to a charity or person that needs it. If that’s the case, then here are some wonderful donation options for your old mattress:


                Here’s one more, but make sure to get in touch with your local branch with a phone call first, before loading up the truck with your old mattress:


                  Finally, here are some organization types to check out in your area for potential mattress donations:

                  • Homeless shelters
                  • Women’s shelters
                  • Local Furniture Banks
                  • Local Charities
                  • Churches
                  • Faith-based organizations

                    How to Recycle or Dispose of a Mattress (Mattress Recycling, Reusing, and Disposal Options)

                    If your mattress is beyond repair, don’t worry…


                    While donating or selling your mattress may be out of the question, there are still plenty of simple, ethical, and environmentally friendly ways that you can recycle or dispose of your sleeping surface. 


                    If you need to get rid of your mattress, but you don’t want to simply throw it away, there are actually quite a few mattress reusing and recycling options that are eco-friendly.

                    How to Reuse Your Mattress

                    If you're considering recycling, you may also want to look into reuse options as well. Many people are surprised to learn that there are some fun way to reuse your old mattress.

                    Here are some options to consider:

                    • Mattress coils can be "upcycled" into a makeshift potted plant holder
                    • Another way to reuse the coils is by cutting them into smaller sections and using them as snack or popcorn cone holders
                    • Take out the stuffing and use it to fill (or refill) pillows

                      See more examples here.

                      How to Recycle Your Mattress

                      Not only are you helping Mother Earth when you recycle your old sleep surface, but the materials in your mattress will likely have a second life far into the future.

                      The options vary by geographical area, including cost and other factors. With that in mind, make sure to check with the particular recycling companies in your area before scheduling a mattress pickup.

                      By recycling, not only are you helping Mother Earth, but the materials in your old mattress will likely have a second life far into the future.

                      Here are some of the best options when it comes to recycling your old mattress:



                        Residents of many areas can call their local trash/public collection company for a free pickup of bulky items like mattresses. In both San Francisco and Los Angeles, there is no posted limit for requesting bulky item collection services. Keep in mind, however, that this may be limited to 2-3 times per year for some areas.


                        Public recycle drop-off options at the state, city, and county levels:


                        • State — California has resources here.
                        • City — Santa Cruz, California, offers free mattress recycling. See the details here
                        • County — Maricopa County, Arizona offers resources and fees for mattress recycling here.

                          How to Get Rid of a Mattress (Mattress Disposal)

                          If recycling or bulky item pickup doesn’t work out in your area, then you still have plenty of other options for disposing of your old mattress and box springs.

                          No matter where you live, there's almost certainly a way to get your mattress taken care of easily and responsibly.

                          There are companies all over the country that will pick up your mattress. The fees vary, but the options are available just about anywhere.


                          Here are a few options to consider:



                          As you can see, there are a ton of ways to recycle or dispose of your old mattress in virtually every area of the US.

                           

                           

                          No matter where you live, there’s almost certainly a way to get your mattress taken care of easily and responsibly.


                          Out with the Old, In with the New!

                          We’ve talked quite a lot about what you can do with your old mattress, once it’s time to move on. But that still leaves a very big question…


                          Where do you get a new mattress?!


                          The answer is right in front of you: SLEEP365®. 


                          When you’re looking to replace your old mattress with a brand new one… Our lineup of organic mattresses is exactly what the doctor ordered!


                          There’s truly nothing like sleeping on a non-toxic, eco-friendly, organic mattress with all the bells and whistles.


                          Want a new mattress, but don’t know where to start? Shop online, get in touch with a virtual visit, or stop by one of our beautiful showroom stores in the San Francisco, CA, or Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona, areas.


                          We look forward to helping you with your mattress journey, from mattress to bedding, pillow to bed frame — for every good night.

                           

                          Dominic Reis

                          Dominic Reis has 17 years of experience in the natural and organic bedding industry doing everything from deliveries to sales & service to manufacturing and business operations.