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The average lifespan of a mattress is about 7-10 years, which means that you will have to replace your super comfortable mattress sooner or later.
Along with that, you also need to think about the proper disposal of your old mattress, so it won’t be rotting on a landfill.
And we’re here to help!
We’ve made some research and are ready to arm you with several ways of proper mattress removal which won’t cause you any problems. All you need to do is to choose the one that works best for you, right below!
When It’s Time to Dispose of Your Old Mattress?
Even the longest-lasting mattresses will eventually age and wear out. However, the first signs that your mattress needs replacement might not be noticeable.
Here’s how you can spot your mattress wear and tear before its surface becomes uneven and lumpy:
- You spend more time trying to fall asleep. Comfort layers of the mattress are the first to wear out. And while the base of the mattress might still be flat and even, they will fail in adjusting to your body shape and will make you spend more time trying to find a comfortable sleeping position.
- You sleep hot. Most mattresses feature comfort layers made of different types of memory foam. Memory foam is a temperature-sensitive material (1) and needs some amount of your body heat to contour your curves. As time passes, memory foam becomes softer and retains more of your body heat, which can lead to overheating during sleep followed by sleep inertia during the day.
- You develop allergy-like symptoms. A mattress is made of porous materials that accumulate dust and debris over time. Plus, foam pores can make a good environment for mold growth or dust mites, which are the most common home allergens. Thus, you may start developing breathing problems or asthma-like symptoms if you lay on an old mattress for a long time.
- You experience morning back pain. Difficulties with finding a comfortable position may result in muscle strains during sleep. Lumbar muscles are the first to suffer, and if you experience discomfort in this area after you wake up, the problem might be in your mattress.
- You wake up during the night more than usual. Nighttime awakenings can signify that the mattress is no longer comfortable or fails to support your body properly.
- You can hear the coils when you move. If the mattress uses a system of coils for support, noise can be one of the main signs it’s time to replace it.
Also, the more obvious reasons for mattress disposal are visible mold or bed bugs infestation, fabric tears, broken coils, and stains of unknown origin. In these cases, replacing the mattress is mandatory because it will save you from a lot of health problems.
How Can You Get Rid of a Used Mattress in the US?
In the US, you have a few ways to remove the mattress from your home, depending on your location, preferences, and the place where you bought a mattress: online or offline.
Let’s see how each of them works.
Contact the Mattress Store
If you purchased a mattress in the offline store, you can contact them and see if they offer mattress disposal services. Normally, most mattress stores have their own pick-up and disposal services and include them in price when you buy a new bed. Or, you can pay the pick-up fee to remove your mattress without having to buy a new one.
Note that the pick-up fee may differ based on your location and from store to store, so it’s better to call them and figure it out in advance.
Also Read: Mattresses Made in the USA
Ask Your Municipal Waste Collector
Another easy way to get rid of a used mattress is to connect with your municipal waste collector or a local pick-up service and let them do the job.
Each state has mattress removal programs, and you can easily check available spots in your state via the ByeByeMattress network.
Also, you can go to your state municipality website and see which recycling and waste collecting programs are available.
Note that these programs aren’t free, and you’ll have to pay a pick-up fee, so be sure to contact your mattress removal service beforehand.
Donate It to a Charity
If your mattress isn’t that old and doesn’t have any noticeable signs of wear and tear, you can donate it to a shelter or charity. This is a good way to dispose of a cheap mattress without paying a pick-up fee, which can reach half of its price.
Plus, some mattress manufacturers offer you a free replacement during the trial period if you donate your mattress to a charity and present them with a receipt. You can contact your local Goodwill or search for local charities and shelters that might require mattresses. You may also reach out to Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, the Furniture Bank Association of America, or local churches that often run charities and may need mattress donations as well.
However, a donation requires you to make some extra efforts:
First, you need to deliver the mattress to a pick-up spot by yourself.
Second, to use this method for your mattress disposal, you need to thoroughly inspect it and remove any possible issues that may make your mattress unacceptable for a donation, such as:
- Tears, holes, and punctures. Seams that come undone, as well as large or small holes, make the mattress more prone to mold or bed bug infestations, and the charity may not accept the mattress that has tears and holes in its cover.
- Uneven surface and indentations. If you're feeling uncomfortable sleeping on a lumpy mattress, someone else will feel it too. Structural changes such as broken coils, saggy edges, or foam deformations make a mattress unusable, so you should try to dispose of it using other methods.
- Spills and stains. Mattresses with stains, regardless of their size, and the natural discoloration from long-time use should not be donated. However, if you think that spot cleaning can remove the stains, you can try it. Use dish soap or white vinegar solution, or try applying baking soda paste to a stained area to bleach it.
- Odors. Before donating the mattress, try to remove any possible odors by airing it out. Also, you can sprinkle a generous layer of baking soda or baby powder on the surface, let it sit for a couple of hours, and then vacuum your bed. If the odor persists after that, consider disposing of your mattress using other methods because the charity won’t accept it.
- Signs of mold or bed bugs infestation. This goes without saying. Even if you think you’ve thoroughly cleaned your mattress from mold and bed bugs, you might be wrong. These things are usually rooted in deep layers of the mattress. Mold has spores that are very resistant to cleaning agents and can sprout again once the environment becomes good for them. Bed bugs can also hide in the deep layers of the mattress for months. So if you encountered the infestation, the best way to dispose of a mattress in this case is via special organizations.
Try DIY Recycling
If your mattress doesn’t qualify for charity, it will end up on a landfill in most cases, along with 4.5 million mattresses and the same amount of box springs that are sent there each year (2).
Plus, an average mattress takes up to 23 cubic feet of space, and larger beds, such as king mattresses, can take up to 30 square feet.
Don’t worry though:
You can dispose of your old mattress by repurposing it.
¾ of all mattress materials are recyclable, once you disassemble it:
- Foam layers make a good pet bed or a carpet under layering;
- Steel springs can be recycled as metal scraps or repurposed for home accessories, such as vases, candleholders, photo frames, garden trellis, etc.
- Wooden frames can be ground to make a wood mulch or burned as a fuel source.
- Fabrics or mattress covers can be used as wiping rags or shredded further to make non-woven textile materials.
DIY methods are great because you can make sure that mattress parts will actually be recycled or find their new purpose without polluting a landfill for years.
How do I dispose of my old mattress for free?
If you don’t want to pay pick-up and mattress removal fees, you can donate the mattress to a charity or try some DIY upcycling methods.
What is the easiest way to dispose of a mattress?
The easiest way to dispose of a mattress is to contact professional services or local waste collectors and let them do the job for you.
Proper mattress disposal is one of the important steps towards greener living, and now you know how to do it. If your mattress is in a good condition, you can donate or sell it to another person. For older beds, the best way to dispose of them is by using a mattress removal service, municipal waste collector, or a DIY disassembling and recycling.
Which method of mattress disposal seems the most reasonable to you? Have you tried disposing of your mattress before? Share your experience below!
- Fan-Zhe Low, BEng, Matthew Chin-Heng Chua, Ph.D., Pan-Yin Lim, BEng, and Chen-Hua Yeow, Ph.D. (2016, October 11). Effects of Mattress Material on Body Pressure Profiles in Different Sleeping Postures. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5310954/
- Rick Leblanc (2019, March 15). Mattress Recycling Business Opportunities. Retrieved from https://www.thebalancesmb.com/mattress-recycling-business-2877997