February 22, 2020

What to Do with Old Mattress

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You finally bought a new mattress and can't wait to use it. But there's the problem of your existing mattress still lying around. What do you do with it?

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How to deal with an old mattress depends on its condition. If it's too old to hold its shape, disposing of it may be best. On the other hand, if it's still got some life left in it, your options include donating or selling it.

Can You Dispose an Old Mattress?

You can dispose of a mattress, but you may want to use this as a last resort. According to the Mattress Recycling Council, more than 50,000 mattresses hit landfills daily. Rather than throwing your mattress out, consider one of the other options below.

Can you put a mattress in the dumpster?
If you must dump your old mattress, you need approval to put it in a dumpster. That means if you rent a dumpster for a full house cleanout, you can use it to trash your mattress. But if you use a dumpster you didn't pay for, you need permission before tossing a mattress into it.

Rather than dumping your old mattress, consider donating it. Before you do, though, make sure it's in good enough condition to pass down. Here are some rules of thumb to look for.

  • The surface should be in good condition.
    Most donation centers won't accept a mattress with obvious rips or tears. Keep in mind that they will likely try to sell the mattress to earn money for their charity. They won't spend money fixing the mattress, so it must be in decent condition when you donate it.

  • There should not be any stains.
    Stains signify the mattress is in less than optimal condition. Stains could signify mold growth, bed bugs, or a compromised mattress structure. Take the time to ensure your mattress is stain-free before donating it.

  • The mattress should be stable.
    If your mattress sags in the middle or looks worn out in any part of it, donation centers won't take it. They want mattresses in good condition that will give buyers or even non-buyers at least a few years out of it.

Where to Donate an Old Mattress

If you have a mattress in good condition, try one or more of the following charities, as they typically accept mattress donations:

  • Salvation Army
  • Furniture Bank Association of America
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • DonationTown
  • Individual local charities

Always call your local branch and see if they are currently accepting mattresses. Each location will differ based on the space they have and the available manpower to move mattresses.

Can You Recycle Your Mattress?

If you can't donate your mattress, the next best thing is to recycle it. If you have a new mattress delivered, ask the mattress company if they will remove your old mattress. Many mattress companies will recycle old mattresses in bulk, taking the burden off you.

If not, you can locate a recycling program in your area. Many will pick up the mattress from you (for a fee) and recycle it. A few of the most common services include:

  • 1-800-JUNK
  • Junk King
  • LoadUp

Can You Sell Your Old Mattress?

In many states and municipalities, you can sell your old mattress, but always check the laws in your area first. Before you put your mattress up for sale, consider the following:

  • Is it in good condition?
    This is a relative term, but look at it honestly. Does it have at least a few years of life left? Is it in decent condition without rips, tears, or stains?

  • Are there any areas that sag more than one inch?
    Look closely at the center as well as the edges of the mattress. Indentations more than one inch deep make the mattress less than optimal for future use.

  • Are there stains, accumulation of dust mites, or did you have bed bugs?
    Common sense says not to sell a mattress that has any issues, such as these. People buying a second-hand mattress want to know that the mattress is in good condition and won't harm their health.

Check with your state laws to see what steps you may have to take before advertising your mattress for sale. For example, in some states, you must have proof of proper sanitation or mattress re-covering. This ensures the mattress is safe for the buyer and isn't going to fall apart the minute they get it home.

You may also need to prove that the mattress is flame retardant. This is a federal law. If you are unsure if your mattress meets the guidelines, contact the mattress manufacturer before placing it for sale.

If you are sure you can sell the mattress, consider sites such as:

  • Craigslist
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Your local social media garage sale site

Before you put the mattress up for sale, make sure you know its construction type, size, height, original value, and age, and be able to describe the amount of use it received.

How to Decide What to Do With an Old Mattress

How do you know what the right choice is for your old mattress? Chances are that you'll know if your mattress is any good or if it just needs to be pitched. If not, consider the following:

  • Do you wake up feeling tired and sore?
  • Do you wake up sneezing or with other allergenic symptoms?
  • Do you feel like you can't get comfortable on the bed?
  • Have you forgotten how old the mattress is?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, recycling your mattress is your best bet. Charities won't want it and selling it second hand isn't an honest transaction.

Talk with the company you buy your new mattress from or your local recycling company to decide how to get rid of your old mattress.

Bottom Line

Getting rid of an old mattress requires some planning. You'll need to make arrangements to have it hauled away or for someone to buy it from you. Either way, it takes time and planning, so make sure to plan accordingly before your new mattress arrives.

More from CreditDonkey:

How to Get Rid of a Mattress

How Long Does a Mattress Last

How Often Should You Replace Your Mattress


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