Whether you’re downsizing, remodeling, moving or just looking for a better night’s sleep, there are many reasons you may want to get rid of your current mattress. But how? It’s illegal to just leave a mattress on the street, in an alley or even in a dumpster.
What about your local landfill or garbage collection center? They might take it, but mattresses and boxsprings are bulky and difficult to haul around. Plus, disposing of mattresses at landfills can be challenging for municipalities because mattresses take up lots of space and can’t be easily crushed or compressed.
So, what’s the best way to get rid of an old mattress? It depends on the options in your area. Wherever you live, this guide can help you dispose of your mattress.
What to Do Before Getting Rid of Your Mattress
Before trying to ditch an old mattress, check the details of your warranty. Is your mattress still covered by it? Mattress warranties typically cover defects in material and workmanship during the coverage period, which varies by manufacturer. At Serta, for example, warranties last from one to 20 years and start on the mattress purchase date. If you bought your mattress new from an authorized dealer and believe your mattress is sagging prematurely, for instance, the mattress may be covered by a limited warranty and could be eligible for a product replacement.
Also, as you’re shopping for a new mattress, find out whether retailers will take your old mattress when they deliver your new one. Raymour & Flanigan, for example, offers old mattress removal with any mattress set purchase of $500 or more.
6 Ways to Dispose of Your Mattress
While getting rid of a mattress isn’t always a simple task, you have plenty of options. Consider these choices:
1. Recycle It
With recycling, your old mattress is mined for its component parts, such as metal, cotton batting, wood, paper, fiberfill, urethane foam and other textiles that can be used to create new products. In fact, recyclers can recover 80% to 90% of the materials in discarded mattresses for reuse or recycling, according to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
To find mattress recycling resources in your area, visit ByeByeMattress.com. The mattress recycling program, which operates in California, Connecticut and Rhode Island, is dedicated to converting old mattresses from waste into recycling. Residents of these states can drop off old mattresses and boxsprings at no cost at participating collection sites or events. In these states, retailers are required by law to collect a small fee on the sale of each mattress to fund the mattress recycling program. Even if they don’t have a physical location in your state, ByeByeMattress can help you find a recycling facility or program near you.
2. Donate It
“If your mattress is still in relatively good condition, donate it to a charity or local institution like [[a] shelter [or] church that could make excellent use of it,” says Stephen Light, co-owner of mattress company Nolah.
The Salvation Army, one of the largest charities in the U.S., accepts mattresses if they’re included as a boxspring set. You may be able to schedule a free pickup through their website or by calling 1-800-SA-TRUCK (1-800-728-7825). You can also drop it off at a local Salvation Army donation center. To take advantage of this option, your mattress must be free of rips and stains.
Other donation options for mattresses may include Habitat for Humanity ReStore donation centers and charities that are members of the Furniture Bank Association. You can also contact your favorite charity to see if they accept mattress donations. Note: Goodwill does not accept mattresses.
3. Resell It
Try selling your mattress locally by listing it on Facebook Marketplace, Offerup, Mercari, Craigslist, eBay or another online e-commerce platform that connects local buyers and sellers. Be sure to include a photo and an accurate description of the mattress.
4. Give It Away
Ask around among family and friends. Somebody you know might be glad to take your old mattress off your hands if it’s in good condition. You can also try giving it away on Facebook Marketplace or through freebie sites like FreeCycle.
5. Repurpose It
Crafters and DIYers can dismantle old mattresses and use some of the fiberfill for quilts or other fun projects. If you have energetic toddlers or preschoolers, an old mattress could also make for fun padding for a backyard jungle gym. Or if you have pets, you can use some of the mattress materials to make pet beds.
6. Throw It Away
If your mattress has stains, rips, tears or bug damage, your best bet may be the local landfill or garbage collection center.
Before entertaining the thought of hauling your mattress to its demise, check with your local garbage collector. “In many cities, you can make an online appointment for your mattress or boxspring to be picked up by your local trash service,” says Victoria Wildhorn, who works with MattressClarity.com. Depending on where you live, curbside pickup service may be free, or you may be required to pay a fee to transport your mattress for disposal.
You can also contact your local officials for advice on how to dispose of your mattress as solid waste.
Some cities offer free bulk trash pickup on certain days of the week or year. Check your city’s website to see if this service is available in your area. In New York City, for example, you can leave your old mattress on the curb with your regular trash for pickup if your mattress is smaller than 4 feet by 3 feet. For larger mattresses, including futons, you need to request a pickup appointment. Still, all you have to do is leave the mattress and boxspring—sealed in a plastic bag—at the curb at the appointed day and time.
You can also make an old mattress disappear through a paid service like 1-800-GOT-JUNK. “Trashing a mattress via a bulk pickup service can cost anywhere from $50 to $300, depending on your city and state,” says Derek Hales, founder of sleep health platform NapLab.com. 1-800-GOT-JUNK offers no-contact mattress removal. Simply call for an estimate.