How to Dispose of a Mattress


Written by Katie Kottemann

Reviewed by David Rubin

Expert Tested

Table of Contents

While it’s exciting to buy a new bed, figuring out how to dispose of your old mattress can add some stress to the process. While some companies offer a haul-away service that disposes of the mattress for you, many don’t. It’s often up to you to figure out the best method for properly getting rid of your old bed.

Luckily, there are many ways to dispose of your mattress so it doesn’t end up in a landfill. If it’s still in good condition, consider selling it or giving it away to a family member or friend. You can also donate it to a local or national organization that will deliver it to someone in need. Some communities even have recycling centers that accept mattresses. It’s important to figure out which of these methods are feasible for you.

We’ll provide details about each option. We’ll also help you figure out the right time for a new bed and how to prolong your new mattress’ lifespan.

Donate or
Sell It

If your mattress still has life left in it or is gently used, give it away to friends, family, or those in need. Find local free donation services or sell it online.

Your Mattress

Over 18.2 million mattresses end up in landfills every year. But did you know that up to 90% of mattress parts are recyclable? Find free and low-cost local mattress recycling programs or upcycle your mattress at home with a little DIY.

Haul-Away & Disposal Services

Throwing your mattress out is easier said than done. New mattress purchases may include an option to haul away your old mattress. If not, explore your city’s bulk trash pickup and junk removal options for your mattress.

What’s the Best Way to Get Rid of a Mattress?

As you start the process of deciding how to dispose of your used mattress, investigate the laws in your area, as some cities and states dictate how mattress disposal is handled. Consider the condition of your mattress, as many organizations will only accept mattresses as donations if they are gently used. Keep in mind that some disposal methods will have an associated cost and some may require you to move or transport the mattress yourself. 

Disposal MethodProsCons
Donate or Give Away
  • Gently used mattresses can be given to charities, family and friends, or others in need.It’s usually free.
  • Your mattress needs to be in good condition.
  • Finding someone to take your mattress may be challenging.
Sell Locally
  • You’ll make some money that you can use toward a new mattress.
  • Your mattress will go to a community member in need.
  • You have to advertise your mattress and respond to inquiries.
  • Selling it to someone who has the means to pick it up may be difficult or time-consuming.
Recycle Center
  • Parts of your mattress will be reused.
  • It’s the green alternative to bringing your mattress to a landfill.
  • Not all recycling centers take mattresses.
  • Some recycling centers may only take the mattress’ materials but not the whole mattress.
DIY Recycling
  • You gain free supplies for craft, art, and household projects.
  • The majority of your mattress does not end up in a landfill.
  • You have to break down the mattress yourself.
  • Some parts of the mattress may not be reusable.
Haul-Away / Old Mattress Removal
  • You don’t need to move the mattress yourself.
  • Many mattress companies include old mattress removal in the price of a new mattress.
  • Sometimes, you must pay a fee for this service.
  • You have no control over where your mattress ends up.
Junk Removal Services
  • The company removes the mattress from your home.
  • Your mattress does not need to be in good shape.
  • Scheduling a pickup may be complicated.
  • Prices for this service vary and can be expensive.
Local Trash Pickup
  • Your mattress goes out with your regular trash.
  • You don’t have to transport the mattress.
  • Your local trash service may not take large items.
  • You may have to pay an additional fee for this service.

What to Consider When Disposing of a Mattress

There are many factors to consider when disposing of a mattress, including local regulations. Fees associated with disposal, your ability to move or transport a mattress, and your mattress’ condition can also impact the best method for you.

State and Local Programs and Ordinances

Before disposing of your mattress, check your area for programs, laws, or other policies that dictate mattress disposal best practices. Some garbage collection companies allow you to throw away a mattress with your regular trash, while others provide designated bulk trash pickup days. 

It’s important to know that you’re properly disposing of your mattress to avoid the consequences of illegal dumping. With large items like mattresses, you might pay a fee as low as $25 for an illegal dumping ticket, but some jurisdictions charge thousands of dollars and may even recommend prosecution. 

Cost and Hassle

Typically, you will have to pay for the convenience of easy mattress disposal. Using a junk-hauling service, for example, may cost you a few hundred dollars, but you won’t have to transport or move the mattress yourself. Conversely, breaking down the mattress yourself won’t cost anything but requires a lot of effort on your part. How much work you want to put into mattress disposal, including moving and transporting the mattress, will influence which disposal method is best for you.

Condition of Your Mattress

Your mattress’ condition also can limit your mattress disposal options. If you plan to sell or donate the mattress, it should be gently used and free from stains, holes, or sagging. Some organizations may have stricter standards in place about the condition of mattresses it will accept. It should go without saying that a mattress with bed bugs or other contaminants, for example, will be impossible to donate or sell due to public health concerns. 

Box Spring and Bed Frame Disposal

If you’re also getting rid of a box spring or bed frame, your disposal options will be pretty similar to those for disposing of a mattress. Bed frames or box springs in good condition can be donated or sold. Much of their materials are also either repurposable or recyclable, so you can check with a local recycling center or dismantle them for your own household projects. If your frame or box spring is broken or otherwise in an unusable condition, you can use a junk removal service or look into bulk trash pickup policies in your area. 

Avoid Adding to the Landfill

Researching and making a disposal plan can help you avoid adding to the landfill. In the U.S., more than 50,000 mattresses are thrown out on a daily basis. This amounts to nearly 18.3 million beds per year. While up to 90% of a typical mattress can be recycled, a mattress can take up to 120 years to break down in a landfill. Consider a more eco-friendly route, and see if you can donate, give away, or sell your mattress instead.

How to Donate, Give Away, or Sell Your Mattress

Three important ways to consider disposing of your mattress include donating it, giving it away, or selling it. You can make some extra cash by selling your mattress, and mattress donations may be tax deductible, depending on the organization. Instead of selling or donating, you may prefer to give away your mattress to a loved one who can’t afford their own. Your mattress should still be in good condition before you donate or sell it.

Is Your Mattress in Good Shape?

Before you donate, sell, or give away a mattress, it’s essential to determine if it’s in good shape. While this may seem subjective, most organizations have their own policies about what they will and won’t accept in a mattress donation. Potential buyers will also have acceptable standards for mattresses they purchase. 

Your mattress should be gently used and free from stains, damage, and odors. Consider whether or not you would want to receive your mattress when determining if it’s suitable for donation or sale.

Mattress IssueWhy It Shouldn’t be Donated
Bed Bugs and InfestationsAny mattress with bed bugs, mold, or other pests should not be donated. These infestations are dangerous and could spread to other items, pets, or people.
Stains and OdorsIf your mattress has large stains or a noticeable odor, you shouldn’t donate it for hygienic reasons.
Structural DamageNo one wants to sleep on a broken bed. Don’t donate or sell mattresses with broken coils, cracking foam, or excessive sagging.
Excessive Wear and TearOver time, mattresses may develop indentations, holes, or other signs of use. Don’t donate a mattress with noticeable deterioration.

Where to Donate a Mattress

Various local and national organizations accept mattress donations, as long as your bed meets their standards. Check the websites of charities and nonprofits in your area, or give them a call to find out whether they’re currently accepting mattresses. You can also find out their donation qualifications and whether donation is free or if the organization charges a pickup fee.

  • Donation Town: Use Donation Town’s database to search for organizations in your area that accept mattress donations. The site also provides additional info, including the charity’s donation standards and pickup availability.
  • Furniture Bank Network: The Furniture Bank Network includes over 80 donation centers across the U.S. and Canada. They typically accept gently used mattresses, but visit their website to find out the policies of the center nearest you.
  • Salvation Army: This well-known, nationwide charity shares donations with underserved populations. Many locations accept mattresses in good condition and provide free pickup services.
  • Local and Regional Organizations: Use a simple Google search to find other local and regional organizations near you. We suggest using search terms like “mattress donation” plus your city, zip code, or “near me.”
  • Local Shelters: Shelters in your area may need mattress donations. Look up a list of local shelters and give them a call to find out how to donate your mattress.

Not All Donation Centers Accept Mattresses

Because donation centers have varying policies about accepting mattresses, it’s important to check an organization’s website to verify their policies. Some organizations don’t accept large objects or may not accept mattresses over a certain size because of space constraints. For example, Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity don’t accept mattress donations, but they may serve as drop-off sites for mattress recycling programs in certain states. 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, some organizations have amended their policies about accepting mattresses and other items. This makes it even more important to ensure you get the most up-to-date information about your potential donation location. If you can’t find a suitable donation site, consider other options, such as giving away or selling your mattress. 

Give It Away for Free or Sell It

Organizations can have a lot of requirements when it comes to donating a mattress. But an individual can take your mattress off your hands without as much hassle. If you decide to give away or sell your mattress, consider family members, friends, colleagues, neighbors, or others who might be in need of a bed. Provide them with information about the mattress’ construction, condition, and size to help them decide if they want it. 

If you don’t know someone who could use your old bed, you can use social media and other websites to advertise your mattress. You’re more likely to get rid of a bed quickly if you give it away, but you can also consider selling it at a reasonable price. Check out the prices of other used mattresses of similar quality to determine the right amount.

  • Social media: Post pictures and a description of your bed on social media sites to advertise your bed to friends, family, and acquaintances. They may be more likely to want the bed than someone who doesn’t know you. 
  • Facebook Marketplace: Facebook Marketplace allows you to easily sell or give away any item you own. Post an ad with specifics about your mattress and correspond with potential buyers.
  • Freecycle: This site is a great option if you want to get rid of your mattress for free and you are invested in keeping it out of a landfill. Freecycle has a massive network of users who post their belongings so others can reuse and upcycle them for free.
  • Nextdoor: Nextdoor is a location-based app that helps you communicate with people in your community. Use the app to sell or give away your mattress to someone in your neighborhood.
  • Craigslist: These free online classifieds are filled with local ads. Create your own to give away or sell your mattress.
  • Local classified ads: If you want to keep it analog, you can take out an ad in your local newspaper’s classified section. Make sure to provide your mattress’ age, size and any other relevant information.

How to Recycle a Mattress

Over 18 million mattresses end up in landfills yearly, but up to 90% of a mattress’ materials are recyclable. To cut down on waste, consider recycling your mattress. This can be done at a local recycling center or collection program, or you can upcycle the mattress yourself by dismantling it and reusing its materials around the house for home repair or art projects. 

Industrial mattress recyclers are able to repurpose textiles and foam into carpet padding and insulation material. They can sell the metal from the springs and also give new life to the wood components of box springs, which can be used as a fuel source or to construct shipping pallets. 

Local recycling centers may take a whole mattress for a small collection fee, or you might need to take the mattress apart and recycle its parts. Some states, like California, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Oregon have recycling programs specifically for mattresses. In these states, you pay an extra fee when purchasing a new mattress that goes toward the disposal of your old mattress.

Graphic explaining up to 90% of a mattress’ materials are recyclable, including mattress textiles, foam, wood, and steel springs.

Finding Recycling Centers and Collection Programs

If you’re considering hauling your old bed to a recycling center near you, make sure to verify that they accept whole mattresses first. Some may ask you to dismantle the mattress first, while others will pick up your mattress for a small fee (usually between $30-$40). 

Finding a recycling center near you will require some research. Thankfully, online databases and search engines can help you locate centers and provide further info about fees, laws, and other logistics. 

  • Bye Bye Mattress: This website is run by the Mattress Recycling Council, a nonprofit group that helps California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island manage their mattress collection programs. If you live in one of these states, use the site to find low-cost or free mattress recycling in your area. For people not in those states, the site lists recycling centers elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Earth911: This site includes an extensive database that provides information about how and where to recycle many household items, including mattresses. You can use their search feature to find a recycling center in your area or info about city or county bulk item pickup.
  • Local municipal offices: Contact your local municipal offices that handle trash collection and recycling. You can find out more information about how and where to recycle your mattress in your city or county, including local specialty recycling programs if they exist.
  • Google search with ZIP code: You can also find more information about recycling centers and collection programs by using Google to search for your zip code plus “mattress recycling.” 

DIY Mattress Recycling and Upcycling

If you’re a handy person, consider breaking down the mattress yourself and selling, recycling, or reusing its parts. This is a great option for DIYers or those who’ve yet to find a recycling center that will take a whole mattress. You can also avoid pickup fees since it’s much easier to transport a disassembled mattress. This is not a solution for people who aren’t comfortable working with their hands, as mattresses can be complicated to dismantle.

A graphic suggesting ways to repurpose your old mattress, including recycling the materials or using the materials in craft projects and your outdoor space.

Sell or Recycle the Mattress Parts

Breaking down the mattress makes selling its components and transporting it for recycling much easier, which can help you avoid the fees sometimes associated with recycling, disposal, or donation. For example, the steel coils in a mattress may be worth selling to a scrap yard. Before you break down the mattress, check with local recycling centers to see if they take the components.

While a continuous coil innerspring mattress may contain as few as 400 coils on average, the average hybrid bed contains up to 1,200 individual coils. Once you separate out the metal from the rest of the bed’s materials, you can sell the steel for between $0.10 to $0.20 per pound, depending on your location. The value of various scrap metals tends to fluctuate due to changes in the market. 

Reuse or Repurpose Your Mattress Parts

If you’re creative or crafty, you can repurpose your mattress’ materials instead of bringing them to a recycling center. The wood, foam, cotton, and metal used to construct a mattress, box spring, or bed frame could be used for various arts and crafts projects and home improvements. 

  • Foam and Cushioning: Foam and other fibers inside a mattress could be used to stuff pillows, pet beds, or cushions. You can also use it to reupholster furniture or protect your items during storage or a move.
  • Metal Springs and Coils: Springs and coils can be melted down and used for other metalwork projects. They can also be used as-is to create a plant holder, wine rack, or garden trellis. 
  • Wood Frame: Wood from a bed frame or box spring could be used in many carpentry projects, including creating a raised plant bed, firewood storage shed, or compost bin. If the wood is untreated, it can also be composted, used in campfires, or chipped and turned into mulch.

How to Break Down a Mattress Yourself

Once you’ve decided to disassemble your mattress, you may wonder how to proceed. You’ll need to place the mattress in an open space, preferably outside, to give yourself room to sort all of the component materials. The exact steps for breaking down a mattress will vary by mattress type. 

You may need several tools on hand, including a utility knife, seam ripper, box cutter, scissors, pliers, and bolt cutters. For your safety, it’s a good idea to wear utility gloves and safety goggles. To sort the mattress’ materials, bring along some containers, like storage bins or trash bags. 

  1. Detach the mattress’ sides from the top. If your mattress has decorative fabric piping around the perimeter, cut through it and remove itt. This will make it easier to detach the top of the mattress from the sides using a seam ripper. 
  2. Remove and sort the padding and comfort layer materials. Once the top is removed, you can scoop out any padding or foam layers and set them aside. Go through the mattress layer by layer, removing any components. This could include foam, latex, cotton, wool, or other materials.
  3. Detach the coils or springs. If you’re disassembling an innerspring mattress, you may need to remove the springs using bolt cutters. If you’ve got a hybrid mattress that uses pocketed coils, you may only need scissors and pliers to complete the task. 
  4. Detach the bottom from the sides. If the mattress does not have a one-piece cover, you may need to flip the mattress over to detach the bottom panel of fabric after you’ve removed the other layers. This may require cutting the bottom fabric away from the side panels.

How to Throw Away an Old Mattress

If your mattress can’t be donated, sold, or recycled, you should then look into methods for throwing it away. Haul-away and junk removal services can dispose of your mattress, often for a fee. You can also investigate your local area’s bulk trash pickup policy or consider bringing the mattress to the landfill yourself. 

Ways to get rid of an old mattress include haul-away and junk removal services or your local area’s bulk trash pickup.

Who Will Pick Up an Old Mattress?

You have several options for throwing out your old mattress, including companies that will pick up and dispose of it. This way, you don’t have the responsibility of doing it yourself, but you also don’t have control over where your mattress ends up. It could be recycled or end up in a landfill. 

Look into each of these services to determine which works best for you, carefully considering fees, scheduling, and availability in your area.

Haul-Away Service with New Mattress Purchase

When you purchase a new mattress, check to see if the company offers haul-away service. Some online mattress companies now include old mattress removal in the price of a new mattress, while others offer it as an optional feature for an additional fee. In some states, new mattress sales must include haul-away service, which often includes disposal of a mattress and box spring. 

Junk and Mattress Removal Services

Junk removal services take away bulky garbage that you no longer want, including mattresses and other furniture. These services are quite popular, so you may have multiple options in your area. Each company will have its own mattress pickup preparation instructions. Some require you to remove it from your home and place it on the curb, while others will enter your home to retrieve it. 

Generally, you’re charged based on how much junk you’re disposing of and how much space it takes up, often as a measure of what percentage of the truck it fills. For a mattress and box spring, you should expect to pay at least $100, but most companies will provide a quote before scheduling a pickup so you know what to expect. One downside of this service is that you may not know exactly how much you’re paying until the service people arrive and see the size of your mattress and anything else you’re having hauled away. 

  • 1-800-GOT-JUNK: This trash-hauling service has over 100 locations in the U.S. and Canada. They accept mattresses in any condition and work with local organizations to recycle or donate the majority of collected junk.
  • LoadUp: LoadUp has locations in all 50 U.S. states and is best known as a more budget-friendly junk-hauling option.
  • Local and Regional Services: In addition to nationwide services, check your area for local or regional services. You can do this through a Google search for “junk hauling” or consulting sites like Yelp or Angi for reviews of each company.
  • Local Professionals and Contractors: Consider hiring other professionals and freelancers to help with mattress removal. Sites like Thumbtack and TaskRabbit can connect you with people in your area who provide these services as individual contractors.

Bulk Trash Pickup

In some areas, you can dispose of your mattress with your regular garbage. However, most areas provide trash pickup specifically for bulk items like mattresses. You might have to schedule a pickup, or your city may have specific days of the month that allow for bulkier items. You should check your city or county website for more info, including whether bulk trash pickup requires a service fee. 

Can You Just Take It to the Landfill Yourself?

If you’ve exhausted all of your other options, you can take your mattress to a landfill as a last resort for mattress disposal. It’s important to try other options before hauling your mattress to the dump. 

If you’ve reached the decision to do so, keep in mind that dropping your mattress at a landfill will likely involve paying a fee. You’ll need to research the landfill closest to you, determine when it is open, and make sure you have access to a vehicle large enough to transport the mattress.

In the U.S., nearly 18.3 million mattresses end up in landfills each year. That’s over 50,000 mattresses added each day. In a landfill, mattresses can take up to 120 years to break down even though they contain up to 90% recyclable material.

Is It Time to Throw Out Your Old Mattress?

You might be ready to replace your old mattress for several reasons. Your bed could be past its prime, and you’re ready to upgrade. Your sleeping arrangements may have changed, and you now need more or less space. Perhaps, you’ve already found a new mattress that’s better than your old one. 

If your mattress isn’t performing like it used to, it may have reached the end of its lifespan. Mattress lifespans vary based on materials, construction, the sleeper’s body weight, mattress use, and how it was cared for. On average, you should replace your mattress every eight years. But different types of mattresses may last longer than others. For example, while latex mattresses can last decades, traditional innerspring mattresses might need replacement after six years.

Besides its age, you might be ready to replace a mattress because it’s no longer comfortable or because your sleep quality has diminished. A mattress might show that it’s ready to be replaced in many ways. 

  • You wake up in pain: If you have new aches and pains after sleeping on your mattress, it might be time for an upgrade.
  • You have difficulty sleeping: You used to sleep well, but now you have trouble falling or staying asleep. 
  • Your mattress sags: You’ve noticed the center or edges of your mattress starting to droop. 
  • Your mattress is lumpy: It used to have a smoother surface, but now there are noticeable bumps and bunches. 
  • Your mattress is noisy: You hear squeaks or groans coming from the bed when you move around at night. 
  • You wake up coughing or sneezing: Allergens and other contaminants can accumulate in your mattress over time. 
  • Your bed feels like a hammock: It becomes too responsive, loses support, and you can feel all your partner’s movements. 
  • There’s lots of wear and tear: Rips, stains, burns, and indentations cover the bed. 
  • Other mattresses feel better: You try out another bed while traveling and realize it’s much more comfortable than your own. 

Is Your Warranty Still Valid?

If you’re experiencing issues with your mattress but haven’t owned it for long, check its warranty. Some of the problems may be covered. Mattress warranties typically cover manufacturer defects, including issues with craftsmanship, premature sagging, and excessive indentations. They don’t usually cover issues that arise from normal wear and tear, like staining or a small amount of sag or indentation over the years. 

The length of a mattress warranty varies, but they can last 10 to 20 years. Some companies provide lifetime warranties, which cover the mattress for as long as you own it.

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Getting the Most Out of Your Next Mattress

When you purchase a new mattress, choose a bed made of sustainable, durable materials. And don’t forget to take steps to take care of your bed, including regular cleaning and using accessories like mattress protectors. 

To make disposal of your old mattress easier, consider choosing a mattress company that offers White Glove delivery with old mattress removal included. 

Buy a Mattress Designed to Last Longer

Mattresses made of certain materials typically last longer than others. For example, the lifespan of a latex mattress is longer than an innerspring mattress. A typical latex mattress can last up to 20 years, while a standard spring mattress may need replacement after only five years. 

Also, the firmness of your mattress makes a difference, as firm mattresses typically last longer than softer beds. Choosing a mattress that will last for many years can help reduce waste. 

Increase the Lifespan of Your Mattress

There are also strategies you can use to extend the life of your mattress. Regularly cleaning your mattress can help prevent buildup of allergens and body oils that could prematurely age it. Accessories like mattress protectors or encasements can also act as a barrier to contaminants, protecting your bed and preventing the stains in the first place. 

It’s a best practice to rotate your mattress head-to-foot every six months to evenly distribute wear. If your mattress does begin to sag or show signs of body indentations, you can add a mattress topper to stabilize it as a stop-gap measure. This can also extend its life and make it more comfortable. 

Get a Mattress Made of Sustainable Materials

When choosing a mattress type, focus on beds made of sustainable materials. Often, a company will include information about their sustainability practices and materials sourcing on their website. Pick a mattress made of materials that are easy to recycle or that produce minimal waste. If you plan to repurpose the materials at the end of the mattress’ lifespan, consider avoiding mattresses that use glue to join the components together. 

Choose a Brand That Will Pick Up Your Old Mattress

When buying a new mattress, choose a company that offers old mattress removal. The company will deliver your new mattress and take away your old one for disposal, recycling, or donation. This way, you don’t need to worry about disposing of the mattress yourself, eliminating one of the hassles of a new mattress purchase. 

About The Author

Katie Kottemann

Staff Writer, Sleep Products

Katie is a writer, editor, and researcher based in Englewood, Colorado. With a doctorate in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, she has written and edited for Peterson’s and Innerbody Research as well as been a writing professor. Katie is passionate about helping consumers make more informed choices.

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