What To Do With Old Mattress

Are you the proud owner of a new mattress and have no idea what to do with your old one? We hear you. So you have finally decided to level up and reward yourself with a brand new mattress because, well, you honestly deserve it or maybe because your comfort requirements have changed. Whatever the reason, now you are at a loss about what to do with the old mattress.

So the day has finally arrived, your dream mattress that will help you sleep like a baby has arrived and now have been left with the previous one and have no clue what to do with a used mattress. If you can’t bear to stash it somewhere in your garage or do not have enough space, there are a few things you can do.

To your surprise or not, you can solve your predicament using different methods, with the most obvious being to donate it to someone who will cherish it as you once did. However, that also will depend on the actual state of the mattress, among other things. Keep reading and find out what else you can do about what to do with your old mattress.

What To Do With Old Mattress FAQs

What happens when a mattress gets old?

Over the years, mattresses can become heavier because they collect dead skin cells, sweat, and dust. Old sagging mattresses can also cause back problems.

Are old mattresses recyclable?

Even though they are made using about 85-95 percent recyclable material, mattresses usually end up in landfills. Sadly, only recycling centers specifically dealing with mattresses will take them off your hands, with only a few of them offering to pick them up. Even if they make such an offer, they usually charge to do so.

How do I dispose of a mattress?

One way of doing this is by donating it to the Salvation Army. They have a streamlined system to take a mattress off your hands and even pick it up.

What to know before donating your mattress?

  • Many people opt into donating their mattresses instead of disposing of them. This is a great opportunity to do something meaningful for people in need while also making space for your new mattress.
  • Though there are many reasons why people decide to buy a new mattress, some mattresses are discarded because they are very worn and/or no longer usable. These mattresses should not be donated.
  • Also, because of the influx of higher quality, more affordable beds and regulatory and sanitation issues, standards have increased at charities and shelters regarding the suitability of mattresses for donation.

What guidelines determine if your mattress can be donated?

  • Infestations: Though this should go without saying, do not donate any mattresses with infestations of any kind, especially when it comes to bed bugs and mold.
  • Major Structural Problems: Issues like broken, jutting, or bending coils can make a mattress unusable. You will have noticed those issues the last time you slept on your mattress, and they are often visible from the outside.
  • Rips, Tears, and Holes: Do not donate a mattress with large, obvious rips, tears, or holes.
  • Stains: Mattresses with stains should not be donated. This includes both large and small stains from any substance and obvious, permanent discoloration from use over time.
  • Odors: Though people can sometimes be “nose blind” to odors in their own home, a particularly strong odor on a mattress should be noticeable to you. When in doubt, call in a third party, preferably one who you do not live with, to do a sniff test.

What To Do With Old Mattress

Donating Your Mattress

  • Goodwill: Goodwill is a network of community-based nonprofits that sells donated items in thrift stores. These sales fund educational, training, and job placement programs to those with barriers to employment, such as people who have been downsized, people with disabilities, and people with limited work histories.
  • Habitat for Humanity: Habitat for Humanity is an organization that works worldwide to help people obtain affordable and sustainable housing, often by constructing new housing or rehabilitating or preserving existing housing.
  • Furniture Bank Association of America: The Furniture Bank Association of America, or FBA, is a network of furniture banks that provide furniture at low or no cost to underserved communities and people living in poverty. They have over 80 furniture banks across the U.S. and usually accept mattresses in good condition.
  • Catholic Charities: Catholic Charities operates smaller charitable service organizations all over the U.S., specifically helping children, refugees, people without homes, people with disabilities, and lower-income people.

Recycling Your Mattress

  • If you can’t find a suitable place to donate your mattress, or your mattress is no longer fit to sleep on, the next best thing is recycling. Close to 20 million mattresses wind up in landfills every year, with each mattress taking up to 40 cubic feet of space. This contributes significantly to landfill mass, which creates significant ecological and environmental problems and unsafe conditions for workers around the world.
  • Local Recycling Centers: Some recycling centers accept mattresses as-is. Though it may take some searching, many areas have at least one recycling facility in the general vicinity that will accept a whole mattress.
  • Municipal Offices: Many cities and towns have municipal offices that deal on a local level with trash and recycling. The specific department that handles those issues may be named differently in different places.
  • Local Residential Facilities: If you’re still having trouble finding a place to recycle your mattress, consider contacting local businesses, establishments, and facilities that house people overnight on a regular basis.

DIY Recycling

  • In some cases, you may not be able to find a facility close enough to you that accepts whole mattresses, or you may not be able to transport a whole mattress to a facility that does not offer pick-up service. In that case, you’re not totally out of luck yet: there may still be recycling options.
  • Upcycle your mattress: If you’re a particularly crafty DIY-er, another option is to upcycle your mattress or parts of your mattress. This means re-using the mattress (or some of its materials) in various ways.
  • Garden and Outdoors: Many parts of a mattress can be used in gardening. A wooden box spring can be broken down and used as compost or landscaping mulch, or it can be kept whole and used as a raised garden bed for veggies, herbs, or flowers.
  • Home Repair: Mattress foam, fabric, and padding material can be used as padding, insulation, or even protective blankets for furniture during a move.
  • Art projects and decor: There are many types of art pieces and unique home decor that can be made from parts of a broken-down mattress. From a wine rack made from repurposed steel springs to dog beds with old mattress padding to a bed-slat bookshelf, mattresses can definitely live a second life if you’re crafty enough.

Throwing Out Your Mattress

  • Use a Waste Disposal Service: Waste disposal companies are private businesses specializing in disposing of garbage that people may not be able to throw away in the regular trash. Many professional, private waste removal companies provide mattress hauling as one of their services.
  • Request Mattress Hauling From Your New Mattress Company: Some mattress companies offer mattress hauling as part of their delivery services.
  • Do you have a sleeping bag you no longer use but you think you may someday? Please read our article on Sleeping Bag Storage Ideas, and do you also have no idea what to what to do with old fluorescent tubes?

Create Alternative Bedding and Furniture

The fabric and foam in your mattress could be recycled to create:

  • Cushions
  • Bean bag filler
  • Stuffed animal filler
  • Bed pillows

Compost Your Old Mattress

  • To recycle old mattresses in an environmentally friendly way is to use the materials to make a compost container.
  • Both the wood frame and the stuffing of the mattress can be used to create a compost pile in your backyard.
  • The wood slats of the frame can be repurposed to create the actual bin for the compost, while the foam padding or cotton stuffing can be used as a cover to protect the compost from the elements and to keep the pile warm, which accelerates the composting process.
  • You can even use stuffing from your mattress as landscape fabric to keep weeds out of your garden and the springs as trellises for climbing plants.

Re-use for Children’s Playtime

You may be able to re-use your mattress in your backyard. If you have children, your old mattress might be the perfect protective layer for the bottom of a jungle gym. It might also be a creative substitute for that expensive trampoline your kids have been begging for. Your mattress could be anything your child imagines. Just be sure to have it professionally cleaned.


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Stephanie is a mom of two who has been running mommymixing.com since 2020, she provides parents with practical tips, advice and resources to help in their everyday parenting journey.
Photo of author
Stephanie is a mom of two who has been running mommymixing.com since 2020, she provides parents with practical tips, advice and resources to help in their everyday parenting journey.

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