How to get rid of your old mattress — our guide to removal, recycling and donation

Man in brown shirt and grey shorts carries a white mattress down a flight of stairs
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Even the best mattresses with lifetime warranties don’t last forever, so at some point or another you’ll be faced with the dilemma of how to get rid of your mattress. Disposing of your old mattress needn’t be a chore, as there are plenty of sustainable, eco-friendly options available.

Depending on what your mattress is made of, we generally recommend replacing your mattress every 7 to ten years, although it’s worth keeping an eye out for any signs your mattress needs to be replaced sooner. If your mattress needs upgrading and you're planning on replacing it in the near future (the Presidents’ Day mattress sales are just around the corner), you’ll need to know how to get rid of your old one first. 

From donating to recycling, there are several eco conscious options at your disposal. Some charities will take an unwanted mattress if it’s still in good condition, while other options include having it upcycled into various household or garden objects. Don’t forget, some leading mattress brands, such as Saatva and Nectar, offer a free service called White Glove Delivery with every new mattress purchase which includes the removal of your old mattress. 

Whether you’re based in the US or UK, we’ll now outline exactly how you can get rid of a mattress that’s seen better days. Let’s get started. 

How to get rid of a mattress in the US

If you live in the US and want to get rid of your old mattress responsibly, there are many different options available to you. A mattress that is n good condition can be donated to a charity or homeless shelter, while damaged or unusable mattresses can be recycled nationwide. 

If recycling or donating aren't an option, hiring a junk removal service is another potentially solution. Don't forget, if you're buying from mattress brands that offer white glove delivery (such as Saatva or Leesa), your old mattress will be removed while your new one is being delivered and set up. 

There are many different options available to you, so let's break them down.

How to donate a mattress in the US 

First of all, if you’re planning to donate your old mattress to a charity or non-profit organization like a homeless shelter, there’s one question you should ask yourself  — would I be happy to sleep on this mattress myself? If you wouldn't, then it’s not fit for donation. 

A mattress must be in useable condition to be donated, meaning it must fit the following criteria:

  • The cover is not ripped or damaged
  • There are no springs or foam protruding
  • It’s free from odors, dampness, stains or mold
  • It’s free from bed bugs or mites
  • No significant sagging in the middle
  • Still has a fire safety label with up-to-date safety information

While some organizations such as The Salvation Army and Goodwill take larger items, not all of them take used mattresses. Check with your local branches to see if they can help (and some will pick up, too). It’s also worth offering your mattress for free on Craigslist, Facebook or to see if anybody is in need of it. The following are also good options:

How to recycle a mattress in the US 

If your mattress can't be donated, then you might want to try recycling or upcycling it instead. While you can repurpose the mattress components for use in craft projects or upholstery solutions, the Mattress Recycling Council claims that more than 75% of mattresses can be recycled, so this should be your first consideration before heading to the dump. However, some states (such as California, Oregon, Connecticut and Rhode Island) come with legislation citing that mattresses must be recycled responsibly. This comes with a fee.

The recycling process may involve taking the mattress apart and retrieving the separate components such as fabric, foam and metal, so that each part can be reused for other purposes. 

A young coouple lift their old mattress into the back of a van

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you are able to break down the mattress yourself, then it might be easier and cheaper to take each part to a recycling center (or even sell the parts for scrap). If this is not possible, look online to see if there’s a recycling center near you and find ask how much it will cost for them to take your mattress and separate it for you. Some companies will also pick up your mattress as part of the disposal process. 

If you are going to break your mattress down yourself at home, it's important to establish if it contains fiberglass or not first. Some mattresses contain fiberglass as a fire-retardant. Damaging your mattresses' cover can cause the fiberglass to leak out, leading to fiberglass exposure. This can be time consuming and costly (a professional cleaning company is usually required, as well as potentially being harmful to your health. If you are unsure if your mattress contains fiberglass or not, read our guide on how to know if your mattress has fiberglass.

Meanwhile, here are some great resources for finding out where you can recycle your mattress locally. 

US mattress brands that will collect your old bed 

If you're unable to donate or recycle your mattress, then your next option is to dispose of it properly and responsibly. If you opt for a junk removal service, check the guidelines with the company first as they may not take your old mattress if it smells, is damp, is moldy, or is infested with bed bugs. If this is the case, dry out or seal the mattress with heavy duty plastic sheeting before it is taken away. 

Two delivery men collect an old mattress as part of a White Glove Delivery service

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you buy a mattress from certain companies such as Saatva, Nectar or Leesa, they will also remove your old mattress as part of their white-glove delivery service. Some offer this service for free, while others charge an additional fee. However, mattress removal is not available for damaged or pest-infested mattresses. 

Here are some of the brands that offer to remove your old mattress while delivering your new one:

How to get rid a mattress in the UK

While your options for getting rid of an old mattress in the UK are pretty much the same in the US (recycling, donation, and removal), there are some key differences for each method. Recycling your mattress, for instance, can vary from country to country and council to council. 

Here's a break down of how to get rid of your old mattress in the UK correctly, responsibly, and sustainably. 

How to donate a mattress in the UK 

There are many charities and non-profit organizations that accept mattress donations, and some will collect too. The key thing to remember is that a mattress cannot be reused for sleeping if it is in any way unfit to sleep on. Your old mattress cannot be donated if it has the following:

  • a ripped cover
  • protruding springs or foam 
  • odours, dampness, stains or mould
  • bed bugs or mites
  • sagging in the middle

Mattresses need to be safe too, so if you are trying to dispose of a mattress that hasn’t been used for a very long time, check that the safety information on the label is still current.

There are several easy ways to donate your fit-for-purpose mattress in the UK, including on Gumtree, Facebook, and Freecycle. If you want to be sure your unwanted mattress is going to a charitable cause, the following are also excellent choices:

How to recycle a mattress in the UK 

If your mattress is in no condition to be donated, then you might want to try recycling or upcycling it. While you can repurpose the mattress components for use in craft projects or upholstery solutions, there are many services and guides that can help you recycle your mattress safely and responsibly:

  • Check with your local council to see what recycling options are available in your area
  • For England and Wales visit GOV.UK to find a recycling centre near you, as well as any pickup options
  • In Scotland, Zero Waste Scotland has plenty of advice on what is available in your local area
  • For residents of Northern Ireland, check out Housily's mattress removal service which provide the recycling service across Northern Ireland
  • There are other services across the UK, such as The Mattress Recycling People and Collect Your Old Bed, a company that will pick up and recycle your mattress for a fee

UK mattress brands that will collect your old bed 

If you can't donate or recycle your mattress, then your next option is a removal service. You can try websites such as as LoveJunk , which offers an easy way to get rid of your old mattress. Simply create a free listing with a price you’re willing to pay for removal, and then you will be presented with a list of local collectors and their costs (which you can ignore, accept or make an offer they can’t refuse). Think of it as eBay in reverse.

Another avenue is your local council. Some local councils will pick up your mattress for a fee via their special collection of large waste items service. Put in your postcode at GOV.UK to see what your local council has to offer in England and Wales or go straight to your council website in Scotland. For Northern Ireland, visit NI Direct Government Services.

Many online mattress companies will (for a fee) remove your existing mattress when they deliver your new one. Companies that offer this service include IKEA and Dreams.

Frances Daniels
Sleep Staff Writer

Frances Daniels is a Sleep Staff Writer at Tom's Guide and her role includes covering all mattress and sleep news, in addition to mattress reviews and buyer's guides, plus sleep accessories such as pillows and mattress toppers. Frances is a PPA-accredited journalist and is hugely interested in the relationship between good sleep and overall health. When not writing about mattresses and sleep for Tom's Guide, Frances enjoys writing about women's issues, health and wellbeing, the environment, and her native Wales.