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How to Get Rid of a Mattress: Disposal Options and Tips

Properly disposing of old mattresses is more important than many people realize. When a mattress is discarded improperly, it can have significant environmental and health impacts. Mattresses that end up in landfills take up a considerable amount of space and contribute to the growing problem of waste management. They are bulky, difficult to compact, and can take years to decompose, releasing harmful chemicals into the soil and groundwater over time.

Beyond environmental concerns, old mattresses can pose health risks if not disposed of correctly. They often harbor allergens, dust mites, and even bed bugs, which can spread if the mattress is left out in the open or improperly discarded. These pests and allergens can affect not only those handling the mattress but also the surrounding community.

Recycling and donating old mattresses offer much better alternatives. Many components of a mattress, such as metal springs, foam, and fabric, can be recycled and repurposed, reducing the strain on landfills and conserving natural resources. Donation is another great option if the mattress is still in good condition, as it can help someone in need and extend the useful life of the product.

Taking the time to dispose of your mattress responsibly not only benefits the environment but also helps protect community health. Whether through recycling, donation, or using professional removal services, there are multiple ways to ensure your old mattress is handled properly.

How to Dispose of Different Types of Mattresses?

Different types of mattresses require slightly different approaches when it comes to disposal. Understanding these differences can help you choose the most appropriate and environmentally friendly method.

How to get rid of a mattress

Memory Foam Mattresses

Memory foam mattresses are popular for their comfort and support, but they can be challenging to dispose of due to their dense material. Recycling is an excellent option for memory foam mattresses.

  • Recycling Centers: Many recycling centers accept memory foam mattresses and can break down the foam for reuse in products like carpet padding or insulation.
  • Professional Services: Some mattress removal services specialize in recycling foam mattresses, ensuring they are processed correctly and sustainably.

Innerspring Mattresses

Innerspring mattresses are easier to disassemble, making them a good candidate for both recycling and donation if they are in good condition.

  • Metal Springs: The metal springs inside these mattresses can be extracted and recycled separately. This is beneficial as metal is a highly recyclable material.
  • Donations: If the mattress is clean and structurally sound, consider donating it. Many organizations will accept these types of mattresses if they meet specific criteria.

Latex Mattresses

Latex mattresses, made from natural or synthetic latex, are durable and recyclable.

  • Natural Latex: These are biodegradable and can often be composted if they are 100% natural. However, most people opt to recycle them to ensure all components are processed appropriately.
  • Recycling Programs: Look for recycling programs that accept latex mattresses. These facilities can process the latex and other materials, reducing waste and promoting sustainability.

Hybrid Mattresses

Hybrid mattresses, which combine memory foam, latex, and innerspring components, require special consideration.

  • Multi-Material Recycling: These mattresses need to be taken apart so that each material can be recycled separately. Professional recycling services are often the best choice for hybrid mattresses.
  • Donation: If in good condition, hybrids can also be donated, but ensure they meet the donation criteria of the receiving organization.

Understanding the specific needs of different types of mattresses can help you dispose of them responsibly and effectively. Whether through recycling, donation, or professional services, each method contributes to a cleaner environment and a more sustainable approach to waste management.

What Are My Options for Getting Rid of an Old Mattress?

When it comes to disposing of an old mattress, there are several options available that are both responsible and convenient. Each method has its benefits, so you can choose the one that best suits your situation.


If your mattress is still in good condition, consider donating it. Many charitable organizations and shelters accept gently used mattresses. This not only helps someone in need but also keeps the mattress out of the landfill.

  • Where to Donate: Check with local shelters, thrift stores, or charitable organizations like the Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity.
  • Requirements: Ensure the mattress is clean and free from significant damage or stains, as many places have specific guidelines on what they can accept.


Recycling is one of the most eco-friendly ways to dispose of a mattress. Many components, such as springs, foam, and fabric, can be repurposed.

  • Recycling Centers: Look for local recycling centers that accept mattresses. Some areas have specialized mattress recycling facilities.
  • Benefits: Recycling reduces waste, conserves resources, and minimizes the environmental impact of mattress disposal.

By exploring these options, you can find the best way to get rid of your old mattress responsibly. Whether you choose to donate or recycle, each method helps ensure your mattress is disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner.

What Should I Do with a Mattress That Has Bed Bugs?

Dealing with a mattress infested with bed bugs requires special care to prevent spreading the infestation and to ensure safe disposal. Here’s a step-by-step guide to handling a bed bug-infested mattress responsibly.

Mattress Removal - How to get rid of a mattress

Before you move the mattress, it’s crucial to contain the bed bugs to prevent them from spreading to other areas of your home.

  • Encasement: Use a high-quality bed bug-proof mattress encasement to seal the mattress completely. This will trap the bed bugs inside and prevent them from escaping.
  • Tape and Plastic: If an encasement is not available, wrap the mattress securely in heavy-duty plastic and seal all openings with strong tape. This is a temporary solution but effective in containing the bugs during transport.

Notify Local Waste Management

Disposing of a bed bug-infested mattress is not as simple as leaving it out with the regular trash. You need to follow specific protocols to ensure it’s handled safely.

  • Call Your Waste Management Service: Contact your local waste management service to inform them about the infestation. They will provide you with specific instructions on how to prepare the mattress for disposal and any special pickup services available.
  • Mark the Mattress: Clearly label the mattress as “Infested with Bed Bugs” to alert waste management workers. This ensures that they handle it with the necessary precautions.

Professional Junk Removal Services

For those who prefer not to handle the infested mattress themselves, professional removal services are a convenient option.

  • Specialized Services: Many junk removal companies offer services specifically for bed bug-infested items. They have the experience and equipment to handle and dispose of the mattress safely.
  • Cost Considerations: While there is typically a fee for these services, the convenience and assurance that the infestation will be contained and managed properly can be worth the expense.

Preventing Future Infestations

After disposing of the infested mattress, take steps to prevent future bed bug problems.

  • Thorough Cleaning: Clean and vacuum the entire room, including carpets, baseboards, and other furniture, to remove any remaining bed bugs or eggs.
  • Inspection and Treatment: Consider having a pest control professional inspect and treat your home to ensure all bed bugs are eradicated.

Handling a bed bug-infested mattress responsibly is essential for preventing the spread of these pests and ensuring safe disposal. By following these steps, you can manage the situation effectively and protect your home and community from further infestation.

DIY Mattress Disposal

If you’re considering disposing of your mattress on your own, it’s important to understand local regulations, available options, and safety precautions to ensure the process is both efficient and responsible.

Local Regulations

Before you proceed with DIY disposal, familiarize yourself with your local waste management regulations. Many municipalities have specific guidelines for disposing of large items like mattresses.

  • Check with Local Authorities: Contact your city or county waste management department to inquire about their policies. Some areas offer special bulk waste pickup services on designated days, while others might require you to take the mattress to a specific drop-off location.
  • Permits and Fees: Be aware that some regions might require a permit or charge a fee for disposing of mattresses. Knowing these details in advance can save you from unexpected costs and ensure you comply with local laws.

Self-Disposal Options

If local pickup services aren’t an option, you can take the mattress to a landfill or recycling center yourself.

  • Landfills: Not all landfills accept mattresses, so it’s crucial to call ahead and confirm. Additionally, landfills often have specific hours of operation and may charge a disposal fee.
  • Recycling Centers: Many recycling centers now accept mattresses and break them down into recyclable components. This is a more environmentally friendly option compared to landfilling. Use resources like Earth911 to find a recycling center near you.

Handling and Transporting a Mattress Safely

Transporting a mattress can be challenging due to its size and weight. Ensuring you handle and transport it safely is crucial to avoid accidents or injuries.

  • Proper Equipment: Use a dolly or hand truck to move the mattress if possible. This will help you manage its weight and bulk more easily.
  • Secure Transport: When transporting the mattress in a vehicle, make sure it’s securely fastened to prevent it from shifting or falling out. Use strong ropes or bungee cords to tie it down, and cover it with a tarp to protect it from the elements.
  • Teamwork: If the mattress is particularly large or heavy, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Having an extra pair of hands can make the process safer and more manageable.

By understanding local regulations, choosing the right disposal option, and following safety guidelines, you can effectively and responsibly dispose of your old mattress. DIY disposal can be a straightforward and cost-effective way to manage your unwanted mattress, provided you take the necessary precautions.

Hire a Professional Mattress Removal Company

When disposing of a mattress becomes too challenging to handle on your own, professional mattress removal services offer a convenient and hassle-free solution. These services are designed to take care of every aspect of mattress disposal, from pickup to proper recycling or disposal.

how to get rid of an old mattress

Types of Mattress Removal Services

Professional mattress removal companies typically offer a range of services to suit different needs.

  • Standard Pickup: This service involves a team coming to your home, picking up the mattress, and transporting it to a recycling center or landfill.
  • Eco-Friendly Disposal: Some companies specialize in environmentally responsible disposal methods, ensuring that the mattress is recycled or repurposed instead of ending up in a landfill.
  • Full-Service Junk Removal: In addition to mattresses, these companies can remove other large items or even handle whole-house cleanouts, making them a versatile option if you have multiple items to dispose of.

Tips for Finding Local Mattress Removal Companies

Finding a reputable mattress removal service in your area is straightforward with a few simple steps.

  • Online Search: Start by searching online for local mattress removal companies. Websites like Yelp, Google Reviews, and Angie’s List can provide valuable insights into customer experiences and service quality.
  • Ask for Recommendations: Reach out to friends, family, or neighbors who have recently disposed of a mattress for recommendations. Personal referrals can often lead you to reliable and trustworthy services.
  • Check for Certification: Look for companies that are certified by waste management or recycling organizations. Certifications can indicate a commitment to responsible and eco-friendly disposal practices.

Typical Costs Involved in Mattress Removal

The cost of professional mattress removal services can vary based on several factors.

  • Service Type: Standard pickup services might be less expensive than full-service junk removal or eco-friendly disposal options. Prices typically range from $100 to $250, depending on your location and the company.
  • Additional Fees: Be aware of potential additional fees for services like carrying the mattress down multiple flights of stairs, dismantling it, or disposing of bed bug-infested mattresses.
  • Quotes and Comparisons: Always request quotes from multiple companies to compare prices and services offered. Some companies might offer discounts for multiple items or seasonal promotions.

Opting for professional mattress removal services ensures that your old mattress is disposed of responsibly and with minimal effort on your part. By choosing a reputable service, you can rest easy knowing that the disposal process is handled efficiently, environmentally, and in compliance with local regulations.

What is the Environmental Impact of Disposing of a Mattress?

Disposing of a mattress improperly can have significant environmental repercussions. Mattresses are bulky items that do not decompose easily, taking up valuable space in landfills and contributing to waste management challenges. When mattresses are dumped in landfills, they not only occupy a lot of space but also disrupt landfill operations because they don’t compact well and can damage landfill equipment.

Chemical Leaching and Pollution – Mattresses are composed of various materials, including foam, metal springs, and fabrics, many of which can be harmful to the environment. Over time, these materials can break down and release toxic chemicals into the soil and groundwater. For instance, the foam in mattresses often contains polyurethane and other chemicals that can leach out and contaminate local water supplies, posing risks to both wildlife and human health.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions – The decomposition of organic components in mattresses, such as natural fibers and certain types of foam, produces methane—a potent greenhouse gas. Methane has a significantly higher global warming potential than carbon dioxide, making it a major contributor to climate change when released into the atmosphere. Proper disposal methods, like recycling, help mitigate these emissions by repurposing materials instead of allowing them to rot in landfills.

Resource Conservation – Recycling mattresses can help conserve natural resources. Many parts of a mattress, such as metal springs, wood frames, and certain foams, can be reused or recycled into new products. This not only reduces the need for virgin materials but also lowers the environmental footprint associated with manufacturing new products. By recycling, we can cut down on energy consumption, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and minimize the extraction of raw materials.

Understanding the environmental impact of mattress disposal underscores the importance of choosing responsible disposal methods. By opting to recycle, donate, or use eco-friendly removal services, you can play a part in reducing landfill waste, conserving resources, and protecting our planet for future generations. Every small action contributes to a larger effort in maintaining environmental sustainability and health.

Whether you choose to donate, recycle, or use professional removal services, each method offers a way to dispose of your mattress without contributing to landfill waste. Understanding the specific needs of different types of mattresses and following local regulations ensures that your disposal efforts are effective and compliant.

By taking the time to explore your options and choose the most eco-friendly method, you are helping to conserve resources and reduce pollution. Proper disposal not only prevents harmful chemicals from leaching into the environment but also cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions. Each small effort towards responsible mattress disposal adds up to a significant positive impact on our planet.

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