What to Do with Old Mattress: Decoding Disposal

What to Do with Old Mattress

Finding the perfect mattress can be a frustrating endeavor, but eventually, every mattress owner reaches a point where it’s clear that an upgrade is in order. Some opt for a change because they’re intrigued by new models or mattress types, while others seek a replacement due to evolving comfort requirements influenced by factors like age, weight fluctuations, or injuries. Regardless of one’s interest in mattresses, the inevitable need for a new one arises.

Disposing of a used mattress involves various options, ranging from recycling and donation to simply discarding it. The choice depends on factors such as the mattress’s condition, your location, and the available disposal and donation facilities in proximity.

Let’s delve into the different methods of mattress disposal, guide you in choosing the right one based on your circumstances, and provide insights on efficiently getting the job done.

What to Do With Old Mattresses

Celebrating the retirement of your mattress doesn’t have to involve a solemn farewell; instead, consider throwing it a party and exploring creative ways to extend its usefulness through upcycling!

Rather than bidding a tearful goodbye, you can repurpose the materials of your old mattress to create unique and imaginative conceptual art, among other possibilities.

Donate It:

Extend the life of your mattress by donating it to a thrift store or charity. Embracing the philosophy that one person’s trash is another’s treasure, you can give your mattress a new lease on life.

Recycle It:

Give your old mattress a new lease on life by recycling it, diverting it from the fate of a landfill. Various recycling options are available in each state, and websites like byebyemattress.com can assist you in locating a local recycling center. For more details on mattress recycling, check out our comprehensive Mattress Disposal Guide.

Thinking of investing in a new bed? Consider opting for a more eco-friendly alternative, such as a natural latex mattress. Nolah presents a premium Talalay latex hybrid mattress featuring recycled steel coils the Nolah Natural.

Sell It:

Turn your old mattress into extra cash by following a handy guide to clean and disinfect it. Showcase your mattress on local platforms like Facebook Marketplace or classifieds, and watch the bids roll in.

Repair It:

Before saying goodbye, explore the option of repairing your mattress. It’s a cost-effective alternative to buying a new one and simpler than you might think. Learn how to fix a sagging memory foam mattress, whether it’s stitching up holes with a needle and thread, addressing sagging with plywood, or giving it a good clean to breathe new life into it.

So How Do You Know If Your Mattress is in Good Enough Shape to be Donated?

Every charity, organization, or shelter has specific criteria regarding the acceptability of donated mattresses.


Avoid donating mattresses with any type of infestation, especially bed bugs and mold. Even if you’ve attempted surface-level cleaning, these infestations often persist deep within the mattress, making it unsuitable for donation.

Major Structural Problems:

Mattresses with broken, jutting, or bending coils, as well as issues like excessive sagging, irregular bunching, and large permanent indentations, should not be passed on. Structural problems resulting from wear and tear make a mattress unusable.

Rips, Tears, and Holes:

Refrain from donating mattresses with large, obvious rips, tears, or holes, including seams that have come undone or small punctures from pet damage or burns. Ensure that the mattress cover is securely attached before donation.


Mattresses with stains, regardless of size or substance, should not be donated. Permanent discoloration from use over time is also a disqualifying factor. If your mattress has small issues, consider these cleaning tricks to enhance its donation potential:

Vacuuming: Remove pet hair, dander, dust, and debris by vacuuming the top and sides of the mattress.

Spot Cleaning: Address small stains using a non-toxic enzyme cleaner, a DIY mixture of hydrogen peroxide, liquid dish soap, and baking soda, or a blend of lemon juice and salt. Blot dry with a clean rag.


Mattresses with strong odors should not be donated. If you detect an odor, try sprinkling baking soda on the surface, letting it sit for a few hours, and then vacuuming it off. If possible, let the mattress air outside. If the odor persists, reconsider donating the mattress. Conduct a third-party sniff test if in doubt.

By adhering to these guidelines, you can ensure that your donated mattress meets the standards of charitable organizations and shelters.

Larger Organizations


Goodwill, a network of community-based nonprofits, operates thrift stores that sell donated items to fund educational, training, and job placement programs. With 162 local Goodwills in the United States and Canada, their policies on mattress donations vary by location. Some accept mattresses in good condition, while others may not. Contact your local Goodwill to inquire about their specific policies on mattress donations.

Habitat for Humanity:

Habitat for Humanity is a global organization focused on providing affordable and sustainable housing. They operate ReStore, a chain of thrift stores where sales support Habitat’s housing projects. Similar to Goodwill, ReStore locations have varying policies on mattress donations and home pick-up services. Contact your nearest ReStore for detailed donation guidelines.

Furniture Bank Association of America (FBA):

The FBA is a network of furniture banks that offer low-cost or free furniture to underserved communities and those in poverty. With over 80 furniture banks across the U.S., FBA generally accepts mattresses in good condition (free of structural problems, bed bugs, tears, or stains). They often provide pick-up services within 20 miles of their locations. Contact your local furniture bank or check Furniture Banks Across America, their sister organization, for similar services.

Catholic Charities:

Catholic Charities operates charitable service organizations throughout the U.S., assisting children, refugees, individuals without homes, those with disabilities, and lower-income individuals. Their programs are inclusive of people from all religious affiliations. Catholic Charities, especially in locations with residential housing programs and shelters, may be in need of beds, particularly twin and full beds. Check their website to identify programs in need of mattresses near you, and they often provide pick-up services.

Local Donations

When aiming to donate your mattress, bypassing larger organizations and connecting directly with local collectives, non-profits, and smaller organizations can often yield better results. Larger entities may have stricter policies due to regulatory and storage-space constraints.

For those unfamiliar with the local aid landscape, Donationtown.org is a valuable resource. This online platform offers a free, searchable database of charities in your area that may accept mattress donations, providing details on whether they offer pick-up services. To find a suitable charity for your mattress donation, explore Donation Town’s database.

Direct donations to local shelters are another effective option. Conduct a quick Google search for contacts of local shelters, including those catering to the general homeless population and shelters specifically for youth, women, and children. The United Way also provides an extensive database of shelters. Visit the shelters’ websites or call them directly to determine whether they are in need of mattress donations. This proactive approach ensures your mattress contributes directly to the needs of your local community.

Throwing Out Your Mattress

When you find yourself unable to donate, recycle, or upcycle your mattress, and throwing it out becomes the only option, it’s crucial to navigate the specific rules and ordinances of your state, city, or town. Many places have regulations governing mattress disposal, and improper disposal may lead to fines or refusal of pickup on garbage day.

Check Local Regulations:

Conduct a quick Google search to understand the rules regarding garbage disposal in your state and city. Note any specific ordinances related to mattress disposal.

Wrap the Mattress:

If your area permits mattress disposal with regular trash, carefully follow any additional rules. In many places, you may need to wrap the mattress in plastic or use a specially-made plastic mattress bag. Seal it shut with packing tape to ensure compliance.

Special Collection Days:

Some municipalities designate monthly or bi-weekly “heavy trash days” for the disposal of large items, including mattresses. Be aware of these designated days and adhere to any rules set by your waste management department.

Waste Disposal Service:

If local regulations are stringent or you prefer a hassle-free option, consider hiring a waste disposal service. Numerous private companies specialize in disposing of items not suitable for regular trash. Prices vary, so shop around for quotes and read reviews.

New Mattress Company Services:

When purchasing a new mattress, inquire if the company offers mattress hauling as part of their delivery services. Some companies may include mattress hauling for free as a buying incentive, while others may charge a reasonable fee, typically not exceeding $50.00.

Navigating mattress disposal regulations may require some effort, but understanding and following the rules ensure a responsible and legal way to part with your mattress.

Some Mattress Brands Will Pick Up

Absolutely! In states like California, retailers are obligated to provide a service where they take back the old mattress when delivering a new one, provided it’s in acceptable condition. This regulation is in place to facilitate responsible mattress disposal and reduce the environmental impact of discarded mattresses. It’s crucial for consumers to read the fine print and understand the terms and conditions associated with the purchase, especially regarding delivery and old mattress removal arrangements. This ensures that you are aware of the services you’re entitled to and can make the most informed decision when buying a new mattress.