A mattress is arguably one of your larger (and most important) investments for your bedroom, but like many pieces of furniture, it won’t last forever.
The good news is that depending on the quality of your mattress and how long it’s been used for, you can get a good seven to 10 years out of it before your mattress should be replaced.
Still, replacing—and even more so, disposing of—your old mattress can often be a challenging feat. If you’re ready to buy a new mattress, here are your options for disposing of your old one and tips for purchasing a new one.
How Long Should A Mattress Last?
According to Consumer Reports, there’s no one-size-fits-all timeline for when you need to replace a mattress, but a good mattress can last around 10 years. A mattress that you have used consistently for seven years or more warrants an evaluation. (If you are over 40, Consumer Reports recommends evaluating your mattress every five to seven years.)
Your personal timeline for getting a new mattress will depend on a number of factors including how sensitive you are to changes in your mattress, whether you suffer from any health issues such as back pain, whether your sleeping situation changes (for instance, if you begin sleeping with a partner), and whether you prefer a soft, firm, or bouncy-feeling mattress.
Signs Your Mattress Needs to Be Replaced
You may be keeping track of how old your mattress is, but if you’re not, chances are your mattress will give you different signs that it’s outstayed its welcome. Look for these signs that your mattress needs to be replaced.
Wear and Tear
General wear and tear will likely be the biggest indicator that your mattress has run its course. Perhaps you’ve noticed rips developing along the edges, or springs are beginning to stick out (or even worse, poke you in your sleep).
You might also notice these other tell-tale signs that it’s time for an upgrade:
An old mattress may start to sag. This can happen when the coils in a mattress begin to weaken, or the memory foam starts to lose its shape.
The easiest way to check for mattress sagging is to look for a body imprint or indentation where a person has been sleeping. If you get out of bed, but you can still visibly see where you and/or a bed partner slept, or a mattress doesn’t return to its usual shape quickly, it’s likely time for a new mattress.
Dreaded mattress lumps can develop over time from everyday use, especially if you don’t turn your mattress on occasion. Over the years, the fibers inside your mattress can break apart—especially where you tend to sleep—which can cause lumps to develop. Foam mattresses are also prone to lumps.
A lumpy mattress is not only uncomfortable, but may even make your back hurt. Therefore, if your mattress has noticeable lumps, it should be replaced.
Those with a spring mattress are likely familiar with the noise that springs can make, especially on an older mattress nearing or at the 10-year mark.
If your mattress squeaks and screeches every time you turn to another side, it’s probably due to aging coils within the mattress that are no longer working properly, and therefore, aren’t adequately supporting your sleep and comfort.
You Can’t Get Comfortable
We’ve all been there. You’re tossing and turning and just can’t get comfortable, no matter which way you attempt to sleep. Yet if this happens regularly, it could be due to an aging mattress. A mattress that has lost its support and comfort may cause you to wake up frequently, or have trouble falling asleep.
Will A Warranty Cover Any Of These Issues?
In some situations, an issue with a mattress may be covered by the warranty. A warranty means that a company must agree to repair or replace its products in the case of defects or structural flaws.
Warranties vary between companies and even between different products made by the same brand. When you are considering a purchase, make sure to look at an item’s warranty to find out if any issues you have are covered in the mattress warranty.
What Options Are Available For Mattress Disposal?
A mattress isn’t exactly the lightest or easiest to take on and off a bed, but luckily, you have several options for disposal depending on where you live. Some options might be free, while others will require you to pay a fee.
Depending on where you buy a new mattress from, certain retailers might also offer a service to dispose of your old mattress (similar to buying an appliance and having it delivered and installed with your old appliance hauled away).
Before figuring out how to dispose of your mattress, you’ll want to research local options for large trash pickup, recycling, donation or creative reuse.
Here’s how each service works and what to expect if you take that route.
Large Trash Pickup
Large trash pickup may be an option depending on your geographical location and which services your area offers. Many cities and towns will allow you to make an appointment online for a mattress or box spring to be picked up.
This service is often free, but you might also be able to take advantage of bulk waste collection or large trash pickup from a private trash collection service (which will probably come with a fee) if free pickup isn’t offered near you.
While some people just take their old mattresses out to the curb on trash day, it’s a good idea to check that your local garbage collection service will actually dispose of your mattress for you. Otherwise, you’ll need to take it back inside.
Your mattress will be collected and disposed of directly from your home, which means you don’t need to transport your mattress to a second location.
If your city or town doesn’t offer free trash pickup for large items like old mattresses, you may need to hire a private trash collection service for a fee.
Taking The Mattress To The Landfill
If you have the means of taking your old mattress directly to the landfill (likely with a large vehicle or truck), you may do so instead of waiting for trash day.
Again, depending on where you live, some local landfills may charge a fee to accept the mattress.
You can take a mattress to the landfill on your own time insteads of waiting for a scheduled pickup appointment or bulk trash day.
You’ll need a large vehicle or a truck to transport the mattress yourself. Some local landfills may also charge a fee for collecting the mattress.
It may come as a surprise, but mattresses can actually be recycled. According to Consumer Affairs, about 90% of the material in a mattress is recyclable, including the wood frame, steel springs, polyurethane foam and outer foam.
You can research local mattress recycling facilities near you using Google or sites like Earth911. Some cities may even have their own mattress recycling program.
Recycling your mattress is a responsible way to get rid of it that gives back to the environment at the same time by cutting down on landfill waste. You may even be able to find a free service that removes and recycles your mattress.
It’s no secret that landfills can have a negative environmental impact. By doing your part to cut down on landfill waste, you can help reduce the amount of potentially harmful effects that make their way into the environment.
Mattresses are unfortunately one of those items that are often illegally dumped, often because people simply don’t know how to dispose of them. Opting for a mattress recycling service can help reduce illegal dumping.
Recycled Materials Can Be Used For New Products
As we mentioned earlier, up to 90% of materials in a mattress can be recycled, which makes room for new products. You can help cut down on new material use for new products by recycling your old mattress.
Recycling Mattresses Helps Create New Jobs
Mattress recycling services create jobs in the community, and you can help sustain (and increase the need) for those jobs by recycling your mattress.
Depending on where you live, it’s not always easy to find a place or service that will recycle your mattress for you. While you can break down a mattress by hand and individually recycle different parts, this is a major task.
If your old mattress is still in good shape, you may want to consider donating it. Not all donation centers and services will accept donated mattresses due to the concern of bedbugs and other allergens or contaminants, but it’s worth calling different places around you to see what your options are.
DonationTown.org can also help you find a charity in your area that accepts mattress donations. You can also list the mattress for free on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist to see if anyone near you may be in need of it.
You can feel good knowing you donated an important item to a family in need. Many organizations can also give you a donation receipt that will allow you to write off the value of your mattress in taxes.
Some charities won’t accept used mattresses due to concerns of bedbugs and other potential issues. Other charities may require that you transport the mattress to a donation center, meaning you will be responsible for moving it.
With a bit of patience and time, you may be able to creatively reuse your mattress and/or its parts. For example, mattress springs can be used in your garden to support seedlings, or a metal frame can be repurposed for wall art.
You won’t have to spend time locking in a trash pickup service or transporting your old mattress to a landfill or donation center. This can also save you some fees associated with disposal.
Breaking down a mattress is time-intensive, and you’ll still need to get rid of the parts you don’t end up reusing or upcycling.
How to Throw Out Your Mattress
If you plan to throw out your mattress, be sure to first check which trash collection services are offered in your area. You may be able to get lucky and simply take your mattress to the curb on trash day, or you may need to make an appointment with your city’s trash collection service for free pickup.
If free pickup isn’t available, you’ll likely need to hire a private trash collection service, which will come with a fee.
How To Recycle Your Mattress
Those who are interested in recycling their mattress can check local recycling websites or call recycling services in their area to see what options are available for mattress recycling.
Still, keep in mind that not all areas will offer mattress recycling services.
Local Recycling Center
If you live in a bigger city or suburb, you probably have different local recycling centers in your area. Give each a call and see if they accept mattresses.
Where Can You Donate Your Mattress
Gently used mattresses or mattresses that are still in good shape can be donated. Be sure to check with a donation center or service ahead of time to see if they accept used mattresses, as some organizations don’t accept them.
Here are a few organizations that may take mattress donations.
Note that at the time of writing, Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity do not accept mattress donations.
Local charities in your area may accept mattress donations depending on their rules and regulations. However, be sure to call first – some charities don’t accept mattresses because they can run the risk of carrying bedbugs.
Furniture Bank Association of America
Furniture Bank Association of America, which has local chapters nationwide, is one of your best bets for mattress donations. Furniture Banks will generally accept mattresses of any size that are gently-used or can easily be repaired.
You can also take advantage of free pickup inside or outside of your home.
You can make a local donation by listing a mattress on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, which can help connect you with a local family in need.
Tips For Buying A New Mattress
If you’re in the market for a new mattress, you’ve probably noticed there are dozens of mattresses and mattress brands to choose from. Consider these factors as you shop around for a new mattress that suits your needs:
- Make a list of what you’re looking for in a new mattress. Should it have cooling properties, be firm or plush or have motion isolation technology that helps reduce movements felt by a bed partner? Once you’ve decided on your preferences, you can narrow down your choices.
- Identify which mattress size makes the most sense for you. Most likely, this will be dictated by the size of your bed frame or bedroom.
- Consider the warranty. In the event that your mattress breaks down, a warranty can help cover certain repairs and costs of labor. Some mattress retailers also offer a risk-free trial period to test your mattress and return it if it doesn’t end up working for you.
The Bottom Line On Getting Rid Of Your Mattress
You might be getting rid of your mattress because you’re buying a new one that better suits your needs, or perhaps your old mattress has simply run its course and is no longer comfortable or showing signs of wear and tear.
Whatever your reasoning may be, there are numerous ways to dispose of an old mattress. You can trash it, donate it, recycle it and/or reuse it, depending on where you live and what services are offered in your area.
Still, before purchasing a new mattress, be sure to carefully research your options, identify your preferences and look into any warranty coverage.
Once your new mattress is safely installed, you can help take care of it—and potentially increase its lifespan—by using a mattress protector, regularly rotating or flipping your mattress and vacuuming or cleaning the mattress a couple of times each year.
Can a mattress be recycled?
Many mattresses can be recycled. In fact, around 90% of mattress material is recyclable. To find out what recycling options are available in your area, you can research online or call local recycling centers to see if they accept mattresses.
What do I do if there are no recycling or donation centers near me?
Not all geographical locations will have recycling or donation centers, especially if you live in a more rural area. If that’s the case, you may be able to creatively reuse your mattress and its parts, or simply dispose of your mattress.
Who will pick up old mattresses for free?
Many towns and municipalities offer free bulk trash pickup, but you may need to schedule an appointment online. Some national and local charities will also come pick up your mattress for free if you plan to donate it.
When should I dispose of my old mattress?
You’ll likely notice telltale signs that your mattress needs to be replaced. If you notice general wear and tear, sagging, noisy springs or you constantly wake up in pain, it might be time for a new mattress.