How to Dispose of a Mattress

Written by: Andjela Kastratovic
Updated: 05/11/2022

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As much as we would like to do so, making a mattress last forever is impossible. That’s why you have to replace it when the time comes. 

However, replacing a mattress isn’t just a matter of buying a new one as soon as possible. You also have to get rid of the old mattress, which can be more complex than it seems.

We’re here to teach you how to dispose of a mattress and give you some additional tips when it comes to mattress disposal and replacement. 

When Is the Right Time to Replace Your Mattress?

Most advice about when to get a new mattress will tell you that the life span of an average mattress is around 8 to 10 years, but that’s not always the case. 

There’s no actual right time for mattress disposal, as its quality over time will depend on plenty of factors, like its material and usage. It also depends on your personal needs, health issues, and age. 

That being said, even if an old mattress still feels comfortable enough, it can be filled with dust and less pleasant than a new one. The most important thing you should think about when determining whether you should get rid of your old mattress or not is the quality of your sleep.

Signs You Need a New Mattress

There are two types of signs you should watch out for when figuring out whether you need a new mattress or not. One of them is the physical signs you can notice on the mattress, while the other group is linked to your sleep.

Here are some of the most noticeable signs that you need a new place to sleep on. 

Wear and Tear

First off, there are some signs of wear and tear that you can notice on the mattress itself. These are usually some things that come with constant use, but once they get too severe, you’ll have to get a new bed to ensure better sleep. 

  • Sagging, lumpiness, and hammocking – all of these can be a sign that the parts of the mattress are broken or relocated, which can affect your quality of sleep significantly. 
  • Stains and rips – if your mattress has too many stains and rips acquired over time, it may be best just to get a new one. 
  • Noisiness – noisy coils in a mattress are a sure sign that it’s too old. 
  • It’s too thin – if it seems like the mattress is so flimsy that you can feel the springs or even the bed frame itself, it’s done its time.  

Quality of Sleep

What matters is your quality of sleep. Sleep is essential for us to function the right way, and if you notice any changes or problems with your rest, you just may need a fresh mattress or other sleep products. 

Here are some of the signs you should pay attention to regarding mattresses and your sleep.

  • Waking up tired and in pain – if you always wake up exhausted and with various aches all over your body, it can be a sign that your mattress is no longer giving you the proper support. 
  • Not enough sleep – a lousy mattress could also affect the length of your sleep so that you won’t be as rested. 
  • It’s hard for you to get comfortable enough to fall asleep – having trouble falling asleep and none of the usual poses working for you could be signs that you should dispose of your old mattress. 
  • Coughing or sneezing – mattresses can get filled with dust and bed bugs over time, so if you notice any respiratory problems or allergies that you didn’t use to have, you probably need to get rid of your old mattress. 
  • Comparison – the best way to determine whether your mattress affects your sleep is to sleep in a different bed and compare the two. If it feels like the night in the new bed is the best sleep you’ve had in a while, you should probably get rid of your old mattress. 

Half of the world is getting less sleep than they need!

Can You Use a Warranty to Replace Your Mattress?

If you realize that your old mattress is beyond saving and think you should just throw it out, wait a sec. You can still check your warranty to see if the company can replace the mattress. 

Warranties are guarantees made by the company that their product is functional. If it isn’t, you can return it, replace it or repair it.

Before throwing out your mattress, check if you can replace it using the warranty. That being said, warranties commonly don’t cover issues like wear and tear from usage, age, bed bugs, and inadequate mattress care

All of these things depend on the company you purchased from.  

Different Ways to Dispose of Your Mattress

If old mattresses have to go, there are a couple of options for mattress removal.

Before any further steps, check your warranty to see if the company you bought the mattress from offers disposal services. If they don’t, go with one of the other options.

Because laws differ, not every place in the world will let you throw the mattress out with regular trash, or they’ll ask you to put it in a special plastic mattress bag, so you should first check with your local rules and options.

This is why we made a list of other possible steps you can take. Some of these are free while some are not, but all in all, at least one of them should fit your capabilities.

All of these possible solutions have advantages and disadvantages, so let’s look into them. 

Large Trash Pickup

Large trash pickup, also known as a waste disposal service, can differ depending on where you live. While many cities allow you to contact the local trash services to gather old mattresses with a free pickup, certain locations only have privately-owned local businesses that do this. 

A quick Google search of your zip code will help you find waste disposal services for your local area, so you can choose a company to go with for mattress removal. Next, measure your old mattress’ size, as they’ll likely charge your bill based on it. Now you just need to wait for them to come to your door and get the mattress. 

This is a good option because they’ll come to your door, so you don’t have to bother taking the mattress anywhere. The only bad thing is that there isn’t always an option for free mattress pickup. 

Landfill

Suppose your local area doesn’t have a public or private junk removal service, or you don’t feel like paying a fee. In that case, you can do the mattress removal by yourself by taking it to a landfill

You can quickly go to your local landfill if you have a big enough vehicle. However, this option is bad from a couple of standpoints. You’ll need a big car, landfills are already overflowing with things other than old mattresses and are bad for the environment, and they may charge a small fee to accept mattresses. Mattress recycling may be the better option for you.

Donating

You can also donate your mattress, which is a truly great option for mattress disposal, but only if it’s in good shape. That being said, not many organizations accept mattress donations, mainly because of the usual hygienic state of a used mattress.

First, check if your used mattress is suitable for donating. Suppose it has an infestation, bed bugs, dust mites, odor, stains, rips, or signs of wear and tears that we listed at the beginning of this article. In that case, the mattress is no longer fit for use and shouldn’t be donated

Next, find an organization that accepts mattress donations. This can be tricky, but there are some larger organizations you can check out, like your local Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, Furniture bank association of America, Donation town, Catholic charities, or even municipal offices. On the other hand, it may be best to contact your local charities and thrift stores first to see if they would accept this donation at their collection sites.

Additionally, you could list the mattress on the Facebook marketplace or other social media platforms as a free item. 

Your used mattress can have a second life with someone who needs it. When you donate your mattress, the only downside is that you would probably have to transport the mattress yourself. 

Recycling

Last but not least, mattress recycling is a great eco-friendly way to go. If you can’t donate it but don’t feel like just throwing it in the trash, a recycling program may be the solution for you. That being said, mattress recycling laws may depend on where you live, and not all recycling centers accept mattresses.

Well, two solutions that we’ll explain further. The first is the transport of the old mattresses to the mattress recycling center, while the other is doing a DIY project

Recycling options also depend on where you live, so make sure to do proper research of your local recycling programs. 

Recycling Center

Did you know that mattress recycling uses up to 90% of a mattress again? However, if you want someone else to do it for you, you’ll have to research recycling centers in your area that accept mattresses, as not all of them do. 

Use websites like Earth911 and ByeByeMattress to locate the mattress recycling council nearest to you. Depending on where you live, some of these could be free, while private businesses require you to pay a fee. They also have the right not to accept your old mattress for recycling if it’s infested with bed bugs or has other similar problems.

Another flaw this option has is that you’ll likely have to transport the mattress independently. Still, some mattress recycling programs will include transportation in the fee. 

In a recycling facility, the mattress gets disassembled into its base components. The soft materials and cotton are cut off, while the metal coils get removed magnetically.

You can also take up the mattress recycling yourself if you can’t find any other nearby options. Additionally, some of your regular recycling centers in the area may accept smaller sections of your mattress as recyclable material. 

DIY Projects

Let’s say you decided to handle the mattress recycling yourself. What should you do with all of the material?

Firstly, you’ll need proper tools and a lot of time for mattress recycling. It’s a bit of a lengthy process, but not impossible. A big plus is that if you use all of the materials as much as possible, you’ll be going for the most eco-friendly option. 

Most mattress material can be used in home projects, like repairs, gardening, and arts and crafts. The padding, usually made of foam, can be used for insulation, carpet padding, as a bed for your pet, and even for compost. The wooden parts that come with box springs can be used in other DIY projects.

Watch out for sharp-end innerspring mattresses, so you don’t cut yourself o metal springs, but these can be cool, especially as decoration. Check out websites like Pinterest to get more ideas for crafts like these, but metal springs can either be used as-is for picture frames and plant holders or be melted and reused. 

All in all, most parts of a mattress can be recycled.

ProsCons
Large trash pickup– Often free
– You don’t have to bother with transportation
– You may have to pay a fee
Landfill– It’s not complicated– You need to transport it yourself
– May have to pay a fee at the landfill
Donating– A good thing to do– The mattress has to be in good condition
– You may have to transport it yourself
Recycling center– Eco-friendly– Not every recycling center accepts mattresses
– You’ll have to transport it by yourself
DIY project– Eco-friendly
– You get all of the recycled material for yourself
– Time-consuming
– You need proper tools
– You need to use as much material as possible to make it work

How to Choose a New Mattress

Now that you know how to dispose of a mattress, it’s time to get a new one. Whether you’re buying a budget mattress or a luxury one, the process stays the same. Although there are some obvious things you should watch out for, like your budget and personal requirements, there are also some other aspects of mattress-buying to keep an eye on. This can get lengthy, so we made a shortened list with explanations to help you out.  

What Are You Looking For?

Undoubtedly, the first thing you need to know is what you’re looking for. Determine your budget and any specific needs and wants before going into mattress shopping to make the whole experience faster and simpler.

The Right Size

How big should your mattress be? Well, this can depend on stuff like the size of your room, your bed frame, sleeping habits, weight and height, personal requirements, and so on.

Most mattresses come in Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, or California King sizes. When choosing the one for you, consider whether you’re sleeping alone or if your partner or pets sleep in the same bed as you.

The bigger isn’t always, the better when it comes to mattress height. Of course, a mattress that’s too thin will give you inadequate support. Still, thicker luxury mattresses won’t give you better support than a regular 10-inch mattress unless you have more body weight.  

Picking The Right Size Mattress

The Right Material

Do you already know which type of mattress suits you best? Are you a fan of old-fashioned innerspring coils, or do you prefer to sleep on a soft but firm memory foam mattress? There are plenty of different types of mattresses, and they vary significantly. The most famous ones include innerspring, memory foam, mattress foam, hybrid, latex, airbed, and waterbed. Choosing the suitable material is based on your personal preferences.

Firmness

Firmness can significantly affect restful sleep. Most suggest buying a mattress that’s as firm as possible. 

According to a mattress firmness scale, it’s best to go for the ones listed between a five and a seven, as they’re the best combination of support and comfort. That being said, firmness and how it affects sleep quality are very subjective. A mattress that we consider firm may not be firm enough for you.  

Firmness ScaleFirmness LevelBest For
2Extra SoftSide sleepers under 130lbs
3SoftSide sleepers under 130lbs
4Medium-SoftSide sleepers under 130lbs
Side sleepers under 230lbs
5MediumBack and side sleepers under 130 and 230 punds
6Medium-FirmSleepers between 130 and 230 pounds; side sleepers over 230 pounds
7FirmSide sleepers over 230 pounds; Back and stomach sleeprs over 130 pounds
8-9Extra-FirmBack and stomach sleepers over 230 punds

Your Specific Needs

When choosing the right mattress for you, it’s essential to consider your specific needs. Your particular needs are things like your preferred sleeping position, body type, weight, back pain or any illnesses, etc. 

For example, you may be looking for the best mattress for a side sleeper or a stomach sleeper. Or you can’t have a mattress made out of latex because you’re allergic to it. 

Also, if you’re sleeping with a partner, you’ll need a mattress with sound motion isolation to minimize the effect of your partner’s movements on your sleep, or you should get one with temperature regulation and cooling if you run hot in your sleep. Because of this, you may be looking for the best mattress for couples.

Mattress Support

Owning an adequate bed frame isn’t just done for aesthetic purposes. This can also affect the quality of your sleep and the longevity of your mattress. Whether it’s a box spring or wooden slats, make sure you have the proper support.

Additionally, not using proper mattress support can even affect your warranty. Make sure you have the right bed frame for the mattress you want to get. 

Warranty

Warranties give you plenty of benefits when purchasing any products, and you should make sure that your new mattress has a good enough warranty on it. A good warranty equals excellent customer service.

What Happens if You Don’t Like Your Mattress?

Speaking of warranties, what happens if you purchase a mattress and you don’t like it? Well, most companies offer a risk-free trial period during which you can test out a mattress. Make sure you know all the information beforehand, though. Some companies will help you dispose of a mattress, while some won’t.  

Tips to Make Your Mattress Last Longer

Finally, we have some tips for you that’ll help your mattress last longer, whether it’s a box spring or an airbed. You have to treat your mattress properly if you want to keep its quality as high as possible as the years go by. 

  • Rotating – make sure you turn your mattress regularly and use both sides equally to prevent lumping and sagging. 
  • Use a mattress protector – the best way to make sure the surface of your mattress doesn’t get damaged is to invest in a mattress protector. 
  • Change your bedding regularly – this is a given, but keeping your mattress as clean as possible will make it last longer. Also, watch out for infestations and bugs, don’t eat in bed, and maybe get your pet a bed of their own for restful sleep. 
  • Proper support – improper support can affect your mattress quality, the quality of your sleep and could even void your warranty.

Final Thoughts

Well, there’s everything you should know about mattress disposal and replacement! Each disposal option, whether it’s using a junk removal service or recycling programs, has its pros and cons, so consider your personal needs when choosing the one to go for. 

Also, we hope that this article helped you figure out how to choose a new mattress and take care of it properly! If you’re interested in purchasing a new mattress, we recommend checking out our best budget list

Good luck finding the best mattress for you!

Reviews written by:

Andjela Kastratovic - Co-editor

Anđela is a content writer by the day and an Illustrator by night. She loves anything creative, but sleep takes the cake – that’s why she enjoys writing for Anatomy of Sleep so much!

While in high school, she got accepted for her dream job – a ‘professional sleeper’. Her job was to test new mattresses from a local mattress brand and write reports on the quality of sleep. Ever since then, she’s been in love with reviewing mattresses and putting her compelling research into ultimate buyer’s guides. While not exploring the latest brands, she likes to illustrate and spend time with her dog and friends.