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Struggling to figure out what to do with your old mattress? Discover the eco-friendly and legal ways to dispose of it without adding to landfill woes.

What’s the one thing standing between you and dreamland? Your old mattress. Mattress disposal is tricky. Mattresses are big, bulky, heavy, and very difficult to compress and throw out on your own. 

Moreover, mattresses are a big contributor to landfills — they take up as much as 800 million cubic feet. It’s no surprise considering the US throws around 20 million mattresses a year, with 50,000 ending up in landfills daily. 

So, how to dispose of a mattress easily and safely? Here are all the ways to responsibly get rid of a mattress.

Can You Throw Away Your Old Mattress In The Trash?

No, you generally cannot throw away your old mattress in the trash. Most areas have regulations against this practice due to environmental concerns and landfill space. Check local waste management policies for proper disposal options like recycling or special pickup services.

Whether you can throw away your old mattress in the trash depends on your state laws. Each US state has its own policies that determine how to get rid of a mattress. For example, in some states, you can’t throw away the mattress with the rest of the trash, but you must take it to a designated disposal facility.

Some states have special mattress disposal days on which you can take large items to waste management centers.

California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island don’t allow throwing mattresses with regular trash. These states have mattress recycling programs, and it’s illegal to throw away a mattress in a landfill. Residents need to call a recycling service to get and recycle mattresses. This usually costs a small fee, or it’s free.

Also, some mattress brands can pick up your mattress. For example, in California, the mattress retailer has to take your old mattress when you buy a new one.

Overall, it’s legal in most states to throw away your old mattress. But you need to follow certain steps and always check the specific laws for your state.

Finally, even if you can throw the mattress with regular trash in your state, it’s extremely harmful to the environment. The US is running out of space in landfills, and 20 million mattresses a year take up huge amounts of space. Moreover, mattresses are sent to open landfills, where they contribute to 91% of methane emissions.

Proper Ways To Dispose Of A Mattress

The dangers of mattress disposal in landfills are huge. Luckily, you can dispose of your old mattress in many ways without harming the environment. In fact, you can even help others.

1. Donate Your Old Mattress 

Donating your old mattress is one of the best and more responsible ways to get rid of it. You can help people in need and make space for your new mattress at the same time. 

However, not all mattresses can be donated. Plus, we’re constantly seeing more and more high-quality, affordable beds, and there’s a rise in sanitation issues at charities and shelters, which means strict rules on what kind of mattresses can be donated.

Is Your Mattress Worthy Of Donations?

Here’s exactly which mattresses can’t be donated:

  • Infested mattresses — Mattresses with bed bugs and mold can’t be donated even if you clean them. These issues are usually rooted deep in the mattress, and it’s difficult to remove them.
  • Structural issues — Broken, bending, or jutting coils make a mattress unfit for use. Excessive sagging, bunching, and permanent indentations also make a mattress unsuitable. Keep in mind some structural problems aren’t noticeable visually, but if you feel them when you sleep, you can’t pass on the mattress to someone else.
  • Physical damages — Mattresses with large rips, holes, and tears can’t be donated. Gashes, undone seams, and even holes from cigarettes or dog bites make the mattress unfit for donation.
  • Dirty and stained — Stains from any kind of substance, discoloration, and any kind of dirt or odor on the mattress mean you can’t donate it. You can try to vacuum and spot clean to remove them. If these are surface-level and minor, you can successfully clean the mattress and donate it.

Overall, your mattress needs to be structurally solid, clean, and free of infestation to be donated. A good rule is to think about whether you would accept a mattress in that condition for donation. If not, think about other disposal options.

Where Can You Donate Your Old Mattress?

There are many organizations to which you can donate your old mattress:

  • Goodwill — Is a nonprofit organization that sells donated items in thrift stores with locations all across the US. The sales from donated items fund different programs, such as education, training, and job placement. These especially help people with disabilities and limited work histories. Each Goodwill location has its policies on what they accept. Some even offer home pick-up. Contact the Goodwill store in your area to check if they accept mattresses.
  • Salvation Army — Functions similarly to Goodwill. They offer free mattress pick-up in some locations, or you can drop it off at a location near you. Plus, your mattress donation is tax-deductible.
  • Furniture Bank Association of America — Is a network of furniture banks that give furniture at low cost for free to underserved communities. The association has over 80 furniture banks across the US. They accept mattresses in good condition (without the issues described above). They’ll come and collect your mattress if you live 20 miles from one of their locations.
  • Catholic Charities — Has charitable organizations across the US. They help children, refugees, homeless people, and people with disabilities and low incomes. They also help people of all religions. They have several housing programs and shelters and often need beads in good condition. 
  • Habitat for Humanity — Helps people get affordable housing. They usually construct new housing or rehabilitate previous ones. The organization has a chain of thrift stores called ReStore. All the profit goes to funding their housing projects. Same as Goodwill, locations vary on what they accept, and some offer home pick-up.
  • Local charities — You can always turn to your local charity instead of national-level ones. Large organizations have strict rules for accepting mattresses, so you can check with your local nonprofit if they accept and need mattresses.

2. Recycle Your Old Mattress

If your mattress isn’t in suitable condition for donation, recycling is the next best option. Up to 80% of mattress components can be recycled:

  • Foam padding — Can be shredded and turned into carpet underlayment, animal bed, or carpet padding.
  • Fabric — Can be used for industrial oil filters, or you can DIY it into a textile, for example, a rug.
  • Box springs — Recycled as metal scraps. You can DIY it into a decoration or use it as a building material.
  • Wooden frames — Shredded and used as lawn mulch or alternative fuel source.

Keep in mind recycling laws vary by state, country, and city. Also, old mattress disposal and recycling aren’t free. You may need to pay the recycling company for the labor and time.

Recycle Your Old Mattress

Here are your best recycling options.

Local Recycling Centers 

Some local recycling centers accept mattresses as-is. Many areas have a recycling facility that accepts a whole mattress. Moreover, some recycling facilities offer pick-up, or they contract companies to pick up mattresses and recycle them for a small charge (usually around $40).

Connecticut, Rhode Island, and California have laws that ensure pick-up is free or low-cost through the Extended Producer Responsibility Programs (EPRs).

Note: You can also contact local businesses and establishments, such as hotels and universities. These have a high need for mattress disposal and can point you in the direction of a recycling center that does mattress disposal.

Municipal Offices

Most cities and towns have a municipal office that deals with trash and recycling on a local level. The department that deals with trash and recycling can vary from municipality to municipality. You can search “where to dispose of mattress” and your zip code to find which department deals with recycling.

Keep in mind some towns, especially smaller ones, don’t have a recycling program, although this is a rarity. You can always call your local municipal office to get information on where to recycle a mattress.


Some retailers accept mattresses for recycling. This is especially true for retailers in California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, which are required by law to provide no-charge take-back of an old mattress when they deliver a new mattress or a box spring. 

The Mattress Recycling Council (MRC) announced they’ve recycled 10 million mattresses in these three states. This is over 380 million pounds of steel, wood, foam, and fiber that have been recycled.

Even if you don’t live in one of these three states, there may be retailers that recycle mattresses in your area. 

Bye Bye Mattress 

Bye Bye Matress database is run by the Matress Recycling Council, which is specific to Connecticut, California, and Rhode Island. 

You can check their website for resources on how to find a free recycling program or one that has a minimal fee.

3. Sell Your Mattress for Money

Another old mattress removal solution is to sell your old mattress. This way, you can offset the cost of a new mattress. However, selling a mattress isn’t straightforward. Here’s how to do it step-by-step.

Sell Your old Mattress

Check for Laws and Regulations

Not many people are aware, but mattress sale is under strict regulation. In most parts of the US, you can resell old mattresses, but they have to meet labeling and processing requirements.

Mattress sale laws are determined on a state level, so you have to check the law in your state and local area. Some laws ask that mattresses be professionally cleaned, and most laws require mattresses to be labeled as used. Some states prohibit the sale of used mattresses but allow the sale of mattress components.

Note: Most states don’t allow retailers to sell used mattresses. But, if you have some in your area, you can contact them and ask if they’d be willing to buy your old mattress. You won’t earn as much as when selling directly to a buyer, but it’s an easier route.

Clean-up and Prepare

Even if your mattress doesn’t look dirty to the clean eye, the fact you’ve been sleeping on it for years is reason enough to sanitize it.

Here’s how to clean your mattress:

  • Vacuum — Remove the blankets and sheets and vacuum to remove dead skin and hair.
  • Stem clean — You can rent one if you don’t have a steam cleaner. This is a great way to reach all the edges and crevices. You can place the mattress in direct sunlight to dry it.
  • Remove stains — You can make a solution of hydrogen peroxide yourself and remove stains, for example, from urine, blood, or sweat. Use a tablespoon of salt, warm water, liquid dish soap, and a quarter cup of hydrogen peroxide. Pour in a spray bottle and spray.
  • Remove odors — Sweat, blood, and urine leave an unpleasant odor behind. Sprinkle baking soda on the affected area and let it sit for a day or two before vacuuming. 

Make an Assessment and Set A Price

Once your mattress is clean, it’s time to determine a price. The usual price for a used mattress is around 20% to 30% of the original value. If it’s a high-quality organic mattress, you can expect to sell at a higher price. 

Here’s what to keep in mind when considering the price:

  • Age — A relatively new mattress, for example, under three years old, can have double the price of a seven-year-old mattress.
  • Use — How often was the mattress used? For example, did you sleep on it every night, or was it a guest bedroom mattress?
  • Condition — What’s the mattress's physical condition? For example, does it sag, are there stains, jutting out springs, and more?
  • Mattress brand — If it comes from a well-known brand and has good reviews, you can ask for a higher price.

Choose a Marketplace

Once you know how much you want to charge for your mattress, it’s time to select where you’ll sell it. Usually, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are the best options. Or, use your social media and post you have a mattress up for grabs. 

Here’s where you can list a mattress for sale:

  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Craigslist
  • OfferUp
  • NextDoor
  • LetGo
  • eBay

Pro Tip: Stick to local marketplaces, as nobody will come and haul your mattress from across the country.

Next, you need to write an advertisement and make your mattress as appealing as possible. However, don’t lie. Be truthful, and talk about the current condition.

Here’s what information to include:

  • Mattress brand and model
  • Size
  • Type (hybrid, all-foam, or innerspring)
  • Materials it’s made of (latex, memory foam, polyfoam, and others)
  • Cover fabrics
  • Age and use
  • If you had a mattress protector
  • Note any issues
  • Picture and/or video
  • Your location
  • Fixed or best-offer price

You can also mention if you can deliver the mattress or if you need the buyer to haul it and if you’re fine with people coming to see it in person.


Finally, it’s time to sell the mattress. List it on your chosen marketplace (or several). If several weeks pass and you don’t have any prospective buyers, see if you can bump or re-post. You can also lower the price, try taking better pics, and offer to deliver the mattress. 

Finally, if you live in a smaller area, expect it’ll take some time to sell the mattress, as used mattresses aren’t in very high demand.

When Should You Get a New Mattress?

backpain caused by old mattress

You should get a new mattress every seven to eight years. However, some mattresses are made to last longer. For example, a hybrid innerspring foam mattress needs to be replaced around six years, but plain innerspring can last for ten years or longer if double-sided. Memory foam and latex mattresses last for 15 years.

Overall, if you’ve been using your mattress for years and it’s showing signs of wear and tear, it’s time to replace it.

These are the signs it’s time to replace a mattress:


How you would feel


You wake up with pains and aches

Broken coils

You have issues staying asleep

Feels like a hammock

You feel your partner’s every movement


You can’t get comfortable and fall asleep

Noisy and squeaky

You wake up easily

Also, if you wake up with allergies, it might be because of the mattress. Mattresses are ideal homes for dust mites, which are one of the most common allergens and can even cause asthma. In this case, you may need a hypoallergenic mattress.

Finally, changes in life necessitate a different mattress. For example, if you move in with a partner, get a large pet, or have a small child sleeping with your for a while, you need a new mattress. There’s a new distribution of weight in these situations, which can’t give you the same level of support as before.

How To Dispose Of A Mattress With Bed Bugs?

Getting rid of bed bugs is a lengthy procedure, and you’re better off disposing of the infested mattress. You should also have your home inspected and treated by a professional. Many times, clothes, bedding, and furniture need to be treated because bed bugs spread easily.

Here’s how to dispose of a mattress with bed bugs:

  • Put on safety gear first. The last thing you want is bed bugs to jump into your clothes or skin. You need protective clothing as a barrier between.
  • In many states, it’s the law to encase infested mattress in a sealed plastic bag before discarding it.
  • You need to contain the bed bugs as much as you can, so you should wrap the mattress in film, plastic sheeting, or plastic bags. Make sure to seal it with duct or box tape so there aren’t any openings. Do this in the room with the mattress so bed bugs don’t spread throughout the home.
  • Label the mattress by putting a sign on the mattress that says Bed Bug Infested to discourage people from taking it. You can also damage the mattress by slashing or marking it to deter people further.
  • Don’t leave infested mattresses with regular building trash. Apartment buildings should have a designated area for temporary storage.
  • Notify the building management of an infested mattress.

Some local recycling centers accept bed bug-infested mattresses for recycling. It’s best to contact the center in your area and ask. Make sure to ask if they provide pick-up services, as driving a bed bug-infested mattress in your vehicle risks spreading the infestation. 

Finally, you can make an appointment with the local council collection. Some municipal offices provide a collection of infested mattresses for a fee, and you can schedule a pick-up. This is one of the easiest options and requires little effort from you.

*Help* I Can’t Find a Mattress Recycler Near Me!

Don’t worry if you can’t find a mattress recycler close to you. We’ve got you covered. You can use our Green Directory to look for recycling centers near you.

Type mattress into the search bar, type the address in the zip code and browse through your local recycling facilities to see who accepts a used mattress.

We’ll give you a list of all recyclers that accept mattresses near you. Moreover, you can limit how far the recycler is from you by selecting within 5, 10, 25, 50, or 100 miles. This is especially handy if you can’t haul the mattress a long way.


How can I get rid of my old mattress for free?

You can get rid of your old mattress for free by recycling it or donating it to nonprofits, shelters, or thrift stores. If that’s not possible, ask your local garbage pick-up if they can take it for free. You can also try using Freecycle to connect with someone who might need it locally.

Can you put a mattress out for garbage?

Yes, you can put a mattress out for garbage, but only if your town accepts them. Take note, though, that doing this may be bad for the environment.

How much does it cost to dump a mattress?

It costs anywhere from $48-$80 to dump a mattress at a landfill, depending on where you live. We don’t recommend this option because this is the least environmentally friendly way of disposing of a mattress.

Who will take old mattresses away?

Nonprofits like Goodwill or the Salvation Army might take old mattresses away. You can also hire a service, like 1-800-GOT-JUNK, to pick it up for you for a fee. If you’re buying a new mattress, the retailer may take away the old one when they deliver the new one to you.

Does anyone buy used mattresses?

Yes, people will buy used mattresses if they are in good condition. If you would buy it, chances are someone else would too. Other mattress owners usually list their old ones on sites like Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace.

Does Salvation Army accept mattresses?

Yes, some Salvation Army locations accept mattresses. You need to call their local chapter first to confirm. Also, make sure that your mattress is clean and well-kept before donating it to them.

Will Costco take my old mattress?

Yes, Costco will take your old mattress. If you live in California, Rhode Island, or Connecticut, they are required to do that when they deliver a new mattress to you. If you live elsewhere, you may be able to avail of their removal service as an additional option when you buy a new mattress from them, but there will normally be an additional fee.

Does Goodwill accept used mattresses?

Yes, certain Goodwill chapters accept used mattresses. Call ahead to confirm if your local one does. Before dropping your mattress off to them, be sure to clean it and check for bugs.

Can I cut up a mattress?

Yes, you can cut up a mattress. Some recycling facilities might even require you to do this before they will accept it.

Do mattress stores buy used mattresses?

No, mattress stores won’t buy used mattresses, though they might be able to take your old one away for free (or for a small fee) if you’re buying a new mattress from them.

Should You Recycle Your Mattress?

If we don’t get quality sleep, we are irritable and cranky. Moreover, lack of sleep can lead to chronic health issues. Your mattress is directly responsible for your sleep, so you should invest in a good one and change it from time to time.

Mattresses are bulky, and their recycling may seem like a daunting task, but it’s easier than you think. You have almost endless options for mattress recycling — donate, sell, reuse, or send them to a recycling facility. 

Find your nearest recycling center using our Green Directory, and rest easy knowing that you did your part to keep our environment a little bit greener.

Marina is passionate about sustainability and works to help ensure our planet stays as our home for a long time. She takes part in environmental conservation by recycling and not buying single-use plastic.

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