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How to Sell a Used Mattress: Main Steps and Tips

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Written by: Alex Savy
Read 10 minLast updated on May 30, 2022

When it’s time to get a new mattress, the old one might still be helpful.

The thing is, people often prefer to sell used mattresses in order to get a few extra bucks and, in many cases, use them to save on the new mattress.

So, today’s guide will teach the readers how to sell a used mattress for a good price and will share what peculiarities this process may involve.

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Step 1: Checking the Legal Aspect

Before figuring out how to sell a used mattress for good money, it’s crucial to check local laws

In some parts of the US, individuals are not allowed to sell used mattresses. In most states, however, reselling old mattresses is possible, but only if they meet certain requirements

They usually include:

  • Cleaning and sanitizing. In some states, every old mattress has to be cleaned and/or sanitized before it can be sold. The approved cleaning methods may include steam cleaning, commercial laundering, and chemical treatment.
  • Tagging. In some parts of the US, old mattresses have to carry color-coded tags. Those tags are used to show that a mattress was properly cleaned or, for example, contains recycled materials. While the tagging requirements do not typically refer to individuals selling their old mattresses to other individuals, it still wouldn’t hurt double-checking this requirement before posting an ad.
  • Re-covering. This one can be a bit tricky. The thing is, some states would only approve the sale if the mattress cover was replaced with a new one. In other parts of the US, it is prohibited to change the mattress cover (to prevent sellers from hiding the stains of any other signs of damage).
  • Flammability. This aspect is extremely important and is regulated at the federal level. Only mattresses that meet certain flammability standards can be sold. This applies to the used mattresses as well. The easiest option here is to reach out to the manufacturer and make an inquiry concerning the peak rate of heat release of the mattress to make sure it’s suited to be resold.

The laws and regulations concerning used mattresses differ depending on each state. Therefore, it’s important to check the regulations in the local area to make sure the mattress meets all the requirements.

Additionally, sometimes selling might not be a good option if the mattress is too old. It’s crucial to be honest with both yourself and the shoppers. A very old (or damaged) mattress should be disposed of properly instead of being sold (even for a cheap price).

Step 2: Setting the Price

Trying to sell a used mattress often poses a dilemma: 

What price would be the “right” price?

And there are a couple of aspects that may affect the answer.

First of all, as a rule of thumb, the price of a used mattress should comprise around 20-30% of its original price. So, a $1,000 mattress would cost around $200-300 after a few years of use. 

But these are just approximate numbers, as there are additional factors that may either increase or reduce the price. They include:

  • Current condition of the mattress. The more damage the mattress has received over the years, the cheaper it should be. Some signs of damage or wear may include: sags and indentations, lingering odors, stains, protruding coils, cuts or burns, broken cover zippers, loose threads and ripped seams, dust mites, etc.
  • Years of use. Again, the longer the mattress has been used for, the cheaper it should be sold for. For those looking to sell for a better price, there are more chances to achieve that with a mattress that has been used for three years and less.
  • Type of use. If the mattress was used nighty, it would command a lower price. However, selling a mattress that was used only in the guest room, for example, can allow for a higher price point.
  • Use of a mattress protector or topper. In most cases, old mattresses that were used with a topper or a mattress protector remain in better shape longer. Therefore, they can be sold for a better price. The thing is, a topper or a mattress protector can prevent stains or odors. Plus, these bed accessories usually protect mattresses from premature signs of wear.
  • Brand reputation. A mattress made by a reputable brand would typically allow for a bit higher price point. This has often to do with durability, as reliable brands often use quality materials in their mattresses that promise long-lasting performance.
  • Extra perks the seller might be offering. To sell the used mattress at a higher price, the owner may offer additional perks like delivering the mattress themselves or adding complimentary items (mattress pads, toppers, pillows, etc.).

Step 3: Preparing the Mattress (Cleaning)

Depending on the local requirements, the seller might have to sanitize the mattress or get it cleaned professionally before selling it.

In some cases, it might be enough to steam clean the mattress or even disinfect it at home without turning to professionals (1). Whatever the case is, it’s always better to deal with this task beforehand. This way, the mattress would be ready to be sold as soon as possible.

If there are stains on one’s old mattress, readers might want to get rid of them to make the mattress look more presentable. 

Now, there are several ways to remove stains. First of all, readers can use a few drops of dishwashing liquid (per cup of water) to treat stains that aren’t extremely old. They need to rub the solution in using a soft sponge or a cloth. The spot shouldn’t end up wet, just slightly damp. Then, readers need to leave the mattress to air dry.

Another option is the combination of white vinegar and water (the optimal ratio is 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water). This cleaning solution would work for old or stubborn stains. Readers should spray this solution over the stain, making it slightly damp. They can get rid of excessive moisture using paper towels and leave the spot to dry. 

Alternatively, readers can use hydrogen peroxide mixed with water (1:4). Again, they can simply spray the solution over the stain. This cleaning method typically works with old and stubborn stains.

After treating such spots, readers may also deodorize the mattress. All they have to do is sprinkle baking soda all over the mattress and let it sit for at least one hour. Then, they need to vacuum the mattress and leave it in a well-ventilated room to air it out.

Step 4: Choosing the Selling Platform

Community-based forums and websites are often the best places to sell a used mattress. Such platforms can help mattress owners find buyers nearby, which often makes delivery much easier.

However, there are big marketplaces that may help sellers extend their reach and find more potential buyers. They include Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, eBay, LetGo (app), OfferUp (app), and Kijiji (for Canada).

Step 5: Writing the Ad

When writing the advertisement, it’s crucial to be honest and describe the real condition of the mattress. Additionally, the ad has to include the following info:

  • mattress type (whether it’s foam, latex, innerspring, or a hybrid mattress) and construction (what comprises the support and the comfort layers, plus the material of the cover);
  • size (whether it’s a Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King, or a specialty size like an RV mattress);
  • mattress height;
  • compatibility with different bed frames. Mentioning whether the mattress would work with different foundations can increase the chances of selling a used mattress. Often, people search for the best mattresses for an adjustable bed or a minimalist platform bed, so mentioning the compatibility may increase one’s chances of selling their mattress;
  • the age of the mattress;
  • the brand name;
  • whether it was used with a mattress protector or a topper;
  • whether the mattress was used on a nightly basis or, let’s say, in the guest room only;
  • pictures of the mattress taken from different angles (and tags if those are still intact);
  • price (and whether it’s negotiable or not).

FAQ

When is the best time to sell a mattress?

Most experts agree that the most popular time to sell a mattress is during August and January. However, most furniture stores and online retailers release new products during this time as well. So, to precede that, mattress owners may start selling their used mattresses during June, July, and December.

Can you resell a used mattress?

Yes, in most states. However, there are certain requirements one must follow that may differ depending on the location.

Summary

A used mattress might still serve someone else loyally if it’s in a decent condition.

However, reselling one involves certain steps, so it’s always better to prepare beforehand, check the local regulations, clean the mattress, and write a nice ad. This can increase one’s chances to get more for their old mattress.

How long have you been using your current mattress? And what made you want to resell it? Share your thoughts in the comments!

References:

  1. Beth Brindle (n.d.). Can you disinfect your mattress? Retrieved from https://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/household-hints-tips/cleaning-organizing/can-you-disinfect-your-mattress.htm

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