A mattress is one of those essential items that everybody has, and no matter the size of your home or how you like to sleep at night, you have one that fits you perfectly.
Although they’re one of the most important pieces of furniture we’ll ever own, they have expiration dates as well, so knowing how to dispose of a mattress the right way is something we all have to know.
Every mattress has its own lifespan and depending on the quality of it and the materials used in its construction, this can range between a few years and 20.
When your mattress has come to the end of its life, you might be wondering how to get rid of something so large, as it’s not as simple as throwing it in the trash with the rest of your household waste.
So, what is the right way to dispose of a mattress?
When you purchase a new mattress, you have a few options for your old one, depending on its condition. A mattress that’s still usable can be donated or sold, and if it’s ready for the trash then you can have it recycled or broken down. These sizable pieces of furniture take up a lot of room in landfill so they require the correct disposal when it’s time to upgrade.
If you’re ready to upgrade to a new mattress but need to know where to put your old one, this article is for you.
We’ll explore the options of mattress disposal including recycling and how to get it taken away for free, so you can make way for your brand new bed without feeling bad about the old one.
- 1 Why Does a Mattress Need Proper Disposal?
- 2 How Long Does a Mattress Last?
- 3 Mattress Warranties and What They Cover
- 4 Signs Your Mattress Is Nearing the End of Its Life
- 5 What to Do With Your Mattress When You Buy a New One
- 5.1 Sell the Mattress
- 5.2 Mattress Donations
- 5.3 Recycling Mattresses
- 5.4 Repurposing a Mattress
- 5.5 Breaking a Mattress Down at Home
- 5.6 Throwing Away a Mattress
- 6 How to Get Rid of Your Mattress for Free
- 7 Related Questions
Why Does a Mattress Need Proper Disposal?
Mattresses are one of the biggest household items we own and if you’ve ever tried to lift one, you’d know they’re the heaviest as well.
When it comes time to get rid of your old mattress and invest in a new one, the mere thought of having to figure out where to throw it out can put people off from doing so in the first place.
A mattress can’t simply be thrown out with your weekly trash garbage collection, and the more we learn about the importance of waste management and recycling, the less likely we are to want to go this route anyway.
However, they shouldn’t be abandoned somewhere either, as this can put a major strain on the environment.
When you consider that s standard queen size mattress weighs around 150lbs, it’s a lot of waste for just one item.
Calculate then that the average household has around four mattresses being used at any time, and you see how much waste they can create over the years.
Mattresses make up a huge percentage of landfills in the US and around the world when all of those disposed of mattresses come together, however, in recent years the focus on recycling them has been greater.
An estimated 20 million mattresses and box springs are thrown away each year in this country alone, which means they lay in landfills or are incinerated, leading to a lot of harmful emissions and pollution.
How Long Does a Mattress Last?
Some people proudly have a mattress that once belonged to their grandmother and still sleep soundly and comfortably on it, and others invest in cheaper mattresses that are only supportive for a few good years.
Because mattresses are made at such varying degrees of quality, it’s hard to give a definitive answer on how long they’re expected to last.
At the lowest end of the spectrum, a standard foam mattress should provide enough support and comfort for a few years.
Premium mattresses with layers of foam, coils, and other materials can last upwards of 20 years, and sometimes more, but it depends entirely on their construction and how well they’re taken care of.
Mattress Warranties and What They Cover
These days, mattresses come with impressive warranties, but it can be hard to determine what exactly they cover in these guarantees.
The most common definition of a mattress warranty is one that covers physical defects, but it doesn’t include issues with comfort or the firmness of the bed, as this comes down to personal preference and standard use of a mattress.
The sagging of a mattress is measured by how far it sags when nobody is on it, and the standard depth is 1.5 inches of sag or around .75 inches for premium brands.
The coils, foam, seams, and boxspring are also usually covered by a warranty that protects them from breaking or having any other defects, so if any of these are faulty you should be entitled to a refund or a brand new mattress.
Signs Your Mattress Is Nearing the End of Its Life
If you’ve been thinking about upgrading your mattress but want to be sure you’ve gotten all of the life out of your existing one that you can, we’re here to help.
Here are some ways to tell that your mattress is all but done for and ready to be disposed of with care.
Your mattress is almost 10 years old
Even a quality mattress with a long warranty will need to be replaced eventually.
If your mattress is coming up to 10 years of age, there’s a good chance it’s provided you with enough support possible, so an upgrade might be needed.
You don’t get a good sleep
If you regularly wake up with aches and pains or feel as though you’re not fully rested in the morning, this could be due to your mattress.
A mattress that’s no longer offering support and comfort will be a pain to sleep on.
It feels more comfortable on the couch
When you make the move from your sofa to your bed at night, you should be upgrading the comfort level.
However, if your bed is no longer doing as it should, you’ll feel that the bed is less comfortable than the sofa, and may even stay there the night.
There’s a visible sag
The most obvious physical tell of a mattress that should be thrown out is a sagging spot where you lay.
To test it, you can put a piece of string from one end to another and see how much it sinks underneath that, and any obvious difference will be impacting your sleep.
The mattress squeaks
If you have a box spring or coil mattress, the noise it makes can be a giveaway that it’s time to be thrown out.
Coils that squeak when you lay on them are worn out or damaged and are telling you that it needs to be disposed of.
Your needs change
Your mattress may still be perfectly fine but your physical requirements are the ones that change.
Your allergies are heightened
Mattresses are a favorite hideout for dust mites, one of the most common causes of allergies in the home.
The older your mattress is, the more likely it has dust mites, so if your allergies have been particularly bad after a night of sleep, they could be the culprit.
What to Do With Your Mattress When You Buy a New One
Once you’ve established that your mattress needs to go, you then have to decide what you’ll do with it.
Depending on the condition of the mattress and your goals for it, you have a few options, which can include donating it or having it recycled.
Sell the Mattress
A mattress is a big investment and if yours is still in good condition, there’s the potential to make some money from selling it when you no longer need it.
Have a look at online marketplaces to get an idea of what a similar mattress in good condition has sold for, and this can guide you towards how to price it.
The best place to sell your mattress is on a local marketplace as you don’t want to pay shipping fees to send it.
If the buyer is willing to pick up the mattress from your house, you can reduce the price for them since they’re doing you a favor by arranging the collection themselves.
Make sure to take a few photos so that people can get a good idea of how it looks and what conditions it’s in.
Put the measurements and features in the ad description and be honest about any defects, marks, or issues upfront.
There are loads of worthy places that accept mattress donations and they don’t always have to be in good condition.
These are some options you have for giving away your old mattress and a little more about what the organization looks for in this type of donating.
Goodwill and Salvation Army
Goodwill and Salvation Army no longer accepts donations of mattresses for sale due to health concerns, but they may take them for other uses.
Check with your local center to see if they have any need for your mattress, and they may offer free pickup if they can use it.
You can check around with local homeless shelters and similar organizations to see if they require any donations for mattresses.
They’ll each have their standards as to what condition the mattress should be in, but many will be happy to take a donation of another bed that can help their center.
Habitat for Humanity
This organization takes donations of new or gently used furniture in their Habitat ReStores, with the proceeds from sales going to their work in your community.
Mattresses must be in good condition to be received, but they also accept any other furniture you might have to donate. Habitat for Humanity offers free pickup for large items like mattresses.
Friends and Family
Make a post on social media or ask around to see if anyone wants your old mattress for free, or if they know any good charities worth donating to.
You might be able to help someone in need with your old mattress and perform a good deed that can make a difference.
Considering how many mattresses are thrown into landfills each year, the recycling efforts for these large pieces of furniture have been stepped up.
Having your old mattress recycled is something you can do to help the planet and there are plenty of parts that can be used again and made into something new or disposed of the right way.
The best way to have your mattress recycled is to drop it to your local recycling center. The mattress should be rolled up and covered adequately before you do so.
Otherwise, you can arrange for one of these recycling organizations to collect them for a small fee or hire a disposal service to collect it and drop it off for you.
The fee for recycling or collection should be no more than $100, and if you have more than one to collect, you can save some money on fees.
Repurposing a Mattress
There are plenty of uses for a mattress that’s no longer a comfortable place to sleep anymore, so you might not have to throw it away.
Consider keeping the mattress and using it converting it into a second sofa, somewhere for people to sleep on when they stay over, a fun addition to your kid’s treehouse, or any number of creative repurposing hacks you can try.
By repurposing the mattress rather than throwing it away or recycling it, you’re giving it a second life.
This means you won’t need to buy anything new and you’ll save a lot of space in landfills that would have otherwise been taken up by a bulky mattress.
Breaking a Mattress Down at Home
If you plan on getting rid of the mattress yourself, this can be done with a little bit of effort and a few basic tools.
Using a utility knife, take apart the mattress slowly and carefully to separate and remove all of the different parts.
You might have some use for them at home if you want to repurpose them, like making potholders or a wine bottle holder.
Once you’ve taken the mattress apart safely, you then need to dispose of the parts thoughtfully.
The coils and metal springs can be removed and thrown into the recycling. The padding and foam should be thrown into the trash, or used for home projects.
The box spring can be broken down and either burned safely, recycled, or thrown into your compost heap.
Throwing Away a Mattress
If you’re ready to get rid of your mattress and believe it’s not in any condition to sell or donate, there are loads of options for responsible mattress disposal.
These are some of the most popular mattresses that ensure your mattress is throw away in the right space and not just dumped carelessly.
When you have a large mattress and other furniture that needs to be disposed of, you can hire a dumpster to be delivered to your house.
You then fill it with whatever’s ready to be thrown away and they collect it for you and take it to a landfill.
Mattress removal companies
Some companies work specifically with mattresses, picking them up from your house and taking them to the dump or recycling them.
Prices start from around $20 for smaller sizes and can make it easy to get rid of them without having to carry it for yourself.
If you’re able to, you can arrange to drop a mattress off at your local dump or landfill.
Depending on local requirements, you may be required to cover the mattress in plastic or a bag before dropping it off, so check with the landfill center before you take it in.
How to Get Rid of Your Mattress for Free
Nobody wants to pay money to throw something away, but that’s the reality for some people when they have to get rid of their mattress.
Aside from the popular charities and organizations that take donations of mattresses, there are some other options out there.
If you’d rather not spend money on mattress disposal or having it collected, here are some places that might come and do it for free.
Mattress Disposal Plus
Although not entirely free, Mattress Disposal Plus is one of the biggest companies in the country that specializes in removing mattresses, and they do it for incredibly cheap.
Depending on the day and size of the mattress, you can sometimes pay around $20 to have it removed and disposed of the right way.
Bye Bye Mattresses
This is a nationwide recycling program that collects mattresses and has them recycled for you.
However, you may need to pay a recycling fee, depending on the state you’re in, which helps to finance the detailed process.
If you purchased your mattress from a local furniture store or retailer, you can ring them when you want to get rid of it and they may offer a free collection service.
Many large companies have their own recycling program or can use parts to make new mattresses in the future.
Ikea offers a free pick up service in some locations for anyone wanting to get rid of their old mattresses, bed frames, or other furniture from the store.
They then recycle the goods to turn it into new furniture, so you’re getting a two for one deal.
There are lots of people looking for old mattresses online, even if they’re not in ideal condition to be slept on anymore.
Head to Craigslist to see the listings available, with most people offering to pick up items for free provided they can get the item for nothing.
A mattress is a huge investment and it’s just as big of a consideration when it comes time to get rid of it.
Whatever your reason for wanting a new mattress, you’ll likely go through the process many times in your life, so knowing the best ways to dispose of your old one is essential.
If you’re thinking of getting rid of an old bed and want to know more, check out the answers to these FAQs to help you out.
Can I Donate a Box Spring to Goodwill?
Goodwill gladly takes donations of bed frames only, however they no longer accept mattresses and box springs.
This is due to an increase in bed bugs that make the mattresses unsanitary.
However, other organizations take mattresses that are in good condition and use them for people to sleep on, be recycled, or to repurpose them into something else.
Will Someone Pick Up My Mattress For Me?
To dispose of a mattress and have it collected from your home, some services can assist.
If the mattress is still in good condition, some charity organizations will arrange for pickup from your home.
For disposal, you may be able to get rid of it on a heavy waste day provided it’s been wrapped properly and is in the right place for collection.
Otherwise, paid services will gladly collect your mattress from home for a small fee.
How Heavy Is a Mattress?
If you’re wondering about the weight of a mattress and whether you’ll be able to lift it on your own, you’ll likely need some help.
However, you’ll need the right type of vehicle to safely carry a mattress to the dump.