Mattress Disposal Guide
Apart from just being an eyesore, an old, unwanted mattress eats up more space in your home than probably any other piece of furniture. The quicker and more conveniently you can get an old mattress out of your home and into good hands, the better.
While it’s tempting to just drive your mattress to the closest garbage dump and call it a day, there are actually far more useful (and convenient) ways to get rid of your mattress.
Before actually disposing of your mattress, however, there are a number of boxes to check first to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible, starting with verifying that your mattress does, indeed, need to be replaced in the first place.
Assess the Condition of Your Mattress
Before you dispose of your mattress, for your wallet’s sake, it’s important to make sure it’s actually time to get rid of it. In general, you should replace your mattress when you start experiencing specific warning signs, which include:
- Your mattress feels uneven or lumpy
- You’re consistently waking up sore – soreness you didn’t feel before falling asleep
- You feel more refreshed sleeping on other mattresses
Other than these physical sensations, if you notice obvious degradation of the mattress itself – such as holes, tears, smells or mold – it’s probably time to buy a new mattress.
Outside of these specific warning signs, different types of mattresses have different lifespans, after which they should be replaced. These lifespans include:
- Innerspring: 5.5 years
- Memory Foam: 7 years
- Air Bed: 7.5 years
- Latex: 8.5 years
- Latex Hybrid: 6 years
Check Your Warranty
Before paying to dispose of your mattress, check to see what’s covered in your warranty. You may even qualify to have your mattress replaced or disposed of for free.
Generally speaking, a mattress warranty only covers the following defective problems:
- Sagging below a specified depth, often 1.5 inches
- Coils that break, bend or come out of the side
- Seams that come undone
- Irregular bunching
However, it’s important to note that even if a problem occurs that’s covered under your warranty, there are certain things done on your part that can void your warranty, including:
- Removing the law tag
- Improper support (box spring or bed frame)
- Failure to rotate mattress
- Mattress is given to someone else
Any issues that are caused by normal wear-and-tear or user error are typically not covered, including:
- Sagging that doesn’t reach the specified depth
- Lumpiness from long-term use
- Discoloration from washing
3 Ways to Dispose of Your Mattress
The three most common ways to dispose of your mattress are:
- Recycle Your Mattress
- Donate Your Mattress
- Have a Junk Removal Service Remove Your Mattress
Recycle Your Mattress
The majority of your mattress — upwards of 90% — can be recycled or repurposed to create new products. You can find the nearest recycling center to drop off your mattress with a quick Google search or by using sites like ByeByeMattress.com and Earth911, both of which allow you to search for recycling centers accepting specific household goods (such as mattresses) in your area.
It’s important to note that these recycling centers won’t accept mattresses that are stained, wet or infested with bugs. Outside of these three conditions, recycling centers will accept mattresses with all sorts of worn down conditions — even those that are broken or torn.
Again, it’s important to check your warranty and even communicate with your mattress provider as providers some states, such as California, Connecticut and Rhode Island, include additional fees with the purchase of a new mattress that are intended to cover things like the transport of mattresses to collection sites and the facilitation of recycling and collection events
Donate Your Mattress
Even if you’re no longer happy with your mattress, chances are someone less fortunate will be. This is why donating your mattress can be a more useful way to dispose of it than throwing it out.
Fortunately, there are all sorts of national organizations and charities that accept old or used mattresses, including:
- Habitat for Humanity International: HFHI accepts a wide range of gently used household goods and furnishings, including mattresses. To donate a mattress to HFHI, contact the nearest ReStore facility (HFHI sells their mattresses to ReStore facilities) and let them know you have a mattress to donate. While you can drop off your mattress yourself, many ReStore locations will pick it up for free.
- Furniture Bank Association of America: You can drop off your mattress at one of the nearly 80 FBA donation centers in North America, or, if you’re within a 15-20 mile radius of a center, the FBA offers a pick-up service. Although, if you have a large commercial or institutional donation (i.e., many mattresses), the FBA may travel up to 450 miles for your pickup.
- The Salvation Army: The Salvation Army doesn’t take mattress donations, but they do take some bed frames.
- Goodwill: While Goodwill doesn’t accept used mattresses or box springs, they do accept mattress pads, bed frames, bedding and linens.
Outside of these larger charities, you can also look to see what local charities may be accepting used mattresses in your area. These can include:
- Homeless shelters
- Women’s and family shelters
- Locally owned thrift stores
Have a Junk Removal Service Remove Your Mattress
As a last (or most convenient) resort, you can use a junk removal service to dispose of your mattress. If you’re worried about the environmental impact of having your mattress thrown into a landfill, you’ll be happy to know that many junk removal services will often attempt to recycle or donate used mattresses before sending them to the dump (you can find out which ones do this by researching online or calling different services individually).
As with any of the methods above, first, check with your warranty to see if the seller or manufacturer of your mattress offers complimentary buy-back and/or disposal services. They may even cover the cost of using a removal service.
Some junk removal companies charge by volume, while others will assess a flat per-item fee. Some companies also charge an additional fee for home-based pickups, on top of the per-item removal costs.
To make your life easier, here are some trusted removal services to check out:
- Load Up: This company will remove any/all household goods and operates nationwide. They will even remove mattresses with bed bugs if you give advance notice. Prices vary by location but expect to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $96 for a single mattress removal. You can also get a quote online for free.
- 1-800-GOT-JUNK: This company offers upfront, all-inclusive pricing based on the overall volume of all removed items. The company will also accept mattresses with bed bugs if the customer gives advanced notice. Expect to pay a minimum of $99 for a load with a maximum price of approximately $700 (if you fill up the moving tuck entirely).