Mattresses are a necessity in our lives. We use them for sleeping, sitting, and even as furniture.
But what about when it’s time to get rid of that old mattress? You can’t just throw it out with the trash or set it out by the curb like you would with other household items. In fact, mattresses have many restrictions on how they should be disposed of because of safety concerns and environmental impact.
Sometimes, mattresses can’t even be picked up at a recycling center. This article will help you understand how to dispose of your mattress so it doesn’t end up polluting our environment and harming wildlife or human health.
If you find yourself with an old mattress that needs removal, don’t just dump it on the side of the road or leave it out for trash pickup like any other garbage! There are several ways to get rid of a mattress legally and responsibly:
Take my friend Jake’s frustrating journey to get rid of his old mattress. The story starts when he faces the dilemma of throwing it in the dumpster or leaving it on the side of the street for trash pickup.
Neither option seems like they would work, so he decides to take it to a recycling center where he is then told that mattresses can’t even be picked up at recycling centers! Finally, after hours searching online, Jake discovers mattresses are actually recyclable and should be taken to a mattress recycling facility.
In this article, we’re going to explore a few of the best mattress disposal methods. You might even get some money back from your old mattress. And if you don’t, you could still help someone in need.
Tossing your mattress in the dump should be the last resort. Explore other options before.
Here’s a quick video you can use as a guide:
Should You Actually Dispose of Your Mattress?
When it is time to replace your mattress, it is usually because the fabric and padding inside of the bedding is worn out. Signs that a mattress needs to be replaced include sagging in the middle of the bed (usually when one person sleeps on their side) or spring coil problems.
A mattress can also become lumpy or worn out from constant use, and may have visible signs of corrosion from metal or other materials.
Maybe you found a new mattress you fell in love with. Maybe you felt like it was time to replace your old mattress. If you have an old mattress lying around and you don’t expect to need it for the foreseeable future, it’s time to get rid of it.
Preparing Your Mattress for Disposal
Before disposing of your mattress, prepare it to make the process safe and painless. It might take days between the preparation and the disposal, so it’s best to follow a couple of rules.
Make Sure the Mattress Is not a Fire Hazard
Mattresses don’t just catch fire spontaneously, but they are one of the main reasons house fires become deadly so quickly. This is especially true for older mattresses. If you’ve had yours for over 15 years, then it’s likely it’s not up to the flammability standards.
This means that when you dump it or store it away waiting to get rid of it, it could catch fire. This usually happens when you leave it next to a heating source while it’s stored away. The older the mattress, the more likely it is to catch fire.
Not so fun fact: Did you know that roughly 95 people died each year between 2002 and 2005 because their mattresses caught fire? Don’t smoke in bed.
Clean the Mattress
Mattresses are one of the most difficult things to clean, especially a traditional mattress with springs. If possible, take a vacuum cleaner and go over the entire surface, including underneath edges and folds.
Make sure that you also do not forget to vacuum in between the springs and around other hard-to-reach areas such as along the sides and back of the mattress.
Be careful when using any chemicals on your mattress, especially if it has an odor problem. You might get rid of the natural odors with baking soda or vinegar, but this will depend on whether they are caused by bacteria or mold.
Bed bugs can live in mattresses for up to 18 months without food or water! They are very tough pests, so it’s important not only to remove the mattress but also vacuum all crevices of your bedroom.
This will help make sure that no other location becomes infested with the pesky critters.
Mattresses, like everything else, attract dust mites. The allergens they produce can cause allergic reactions or asthma symptoms for people who are sensitive to them.
Note: If you’re lazy like me, you can use a chemical compound like permethin to get rid of annoying pests. Let it dry fully before dumping the mattress though. This chemical stuff catches fire surprisingly easily.
Seal the Mattress
Add upholstery staples or tax: If you have an old, unwanted mattress and it’s not in good condition, this is one quick way to get rid of it. Take some time to sew up any holes so small animals don’t end up getting stuck in them. Add upholstery staples or tacks to the seams of your mattress and make sure they release all air before continuing – you want to cut off any chance for a critter’s head to get trapped inside!
It’s a good idea to seal the mattress in heavy plastic, or in case it is some other protective material. This will protect your family from any allergens that might be present on the bedding and keep them safe during disposal.
Wrap the Mattress in Plastic and Place It in a Box
Now that you’ve cleaned your mattress, it’s time to wrap the thing up and move on to disposal.
Get a sheet of heavy plastic from your local hardware store or supermarket and cut it down to size (a good rule is two feet). Wrap this around the mattress, then seal any seams with upholstery staples or tacks.
Next, find a good cardboard box to wrap the mattress in. It’s important that you make sure there are no holes or tears for bugs and critters to get into the bedding during disposal.
After you’ve done these steps, you can dispose of the mattress.
Safe and Legal Ways to Dispose of Your Mattress
There are many ways to dispose of your mattress in a safe and legal way.
Offer it up on Craigslist or a similar site: For those who need an inexpensive mattress, this is a great option. You might even get some money back from your old mattress and help someone out at the same time. What’s there not to love?
- Take it to recycling centers: This is the best way for those who want to get rid of their mattress and help the environment at the same time. If you’re concerned about the environment, a mattress that’s in good condition can be recycled and used again. Look at your state’s environment / waste disposal website. For example, here is Massachusetts’, which tells you where you can bring your mattress so it gets recycled safely.
- Find a charity: If you’re feeling generous, contact your local shelter or find out if there are any charities in your area that might be able to use it. Many charities would love more mattresses, especially if they’re in good shape. Look into organizations near you to see if they can use your old mattress. All of these organizations will come and pick up the mattresses for free – it’s a win-win! Naturally, only do this if your mattress is still usable.
- Drop it off at scrap metal recycling center: This option is worth considering when your old mattress isn’t in great shape or if you don’t want to spend any money on disposal fees. If it doesn’t have springs or foam inside of it, it can be recycled as scrap metal.
- Hire a disposal service: If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the entire process, hiring an experienced professional is likely your best bet. Mattress Disposal Services will come to pick up and dispose of your mattress so that it ends up at recycling or landfill instead of polluting our environment or harming wildlife.
Editor’s note: Contact your local waste management company if you are unsure about the best disposal method for your mattress. They will help you find out what is allowed and not allowed where you live, as well as give tips on how to dispose of it safely.
What NOT to Do to Dispose of Your Mattress
The dont’s are as important as the do’s in getting rid of your old mattress. There are a lot of regulations on dealing with mattresses, and they change in each state. It’s best to inform yourself before disposing of your mattress.
There are, however, things that you should never attempt. Here’s a list:
- Throw it away on the side of the street
Please don’t. Those who do it are cave dwellers. Literally. You’re so much better than that. Bring it to a place that can actually take care of it.
- Dispose of in a landfill with other household items that cannot be recycled or reused
This is a problem, as old beds are high in chemicals that can contaminate soil and water supplies.
- Burn it
This releases toxins into the air – not good for anyone. Never think of burning your mattress. It’s dangerous for the environment. It doesn’t even fully get rid of the mattress. Terrible idea all around.
- Pile it on your roof and get ready to jump off of it with something heavy
Yes, some people try to do this. Don’t ask. They just do. No, it does not work.
Editor’s note: some landfills might accept mattresses. If one in your area does, then you could make use of it. But it should be your last resort. Every other option is better, because mattresses are treated with chemical stuff that could dip into the soil and damage it.
Replacing a mattress is both exciting and bothersome. Exciting, because a new mattress is a gigantic leap in quality of life, provided you buy the right one for you. Bothersome, because getting rid of your old one can be a real headache.
As you’ve learned from this article, disposing of your old mattress doesn’t have to be hard. You can even do a good deed and gift it to someone who needs it. But if that’s out of the question, there are a couple of precautions you must consider before disposing of it.
The first thing you must always do is call your local waste disposal service. They will tell you the regulations about mattress disposal. Or you can consult your state’s website. But I’d rather hear the rules from a person, because they are more likely to be updated.
Once you know your options, you can pick the one that fits your situation the most. The simplest solution is calling a specialized service. If you’re strapped for time and don’t mind the price, you can get rid of your mattress easily this way.
Gifting your mattress is another great way of getting rid of it. Make sure it’s clean before giving it away.
Got a old mattress lying around? It’s probably time to get rid of it!