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Mattress Donation Guide

Malena Piper


Donating your old mattress is a great way to help someone in need. Mattress donation also helps to lessen the burden on landfills by giving your mattress a second life. Do not place your old mattress in the trash. There is always a better, more environmentally-friendly option.

In this post, we will help you determine if your mattress is donation-worthy. Then, we will explain how to prepare your mattress for donation. If your mattress is not in good condition, we’ll help you with repurposing and recycling options.

How to Prepare Your Mattress to be Donated

The first step in preparing your mattress for donation is to assess whether it is donation-worthy. Used mattresses with a lot of wear and tear should not be donated. When deciding whether your mattress can be donated, keep in mind that it should be able to provide someone else with a comfortable night’s sleep. Below are the criteria to use when evaluating your mattress for donation.

Check Your Mattress’s Condition

Proper mattress donation will require you to take a variety of different factors into account. Below is a list of criteria to use when deciding whether your mattress is in good enough shape to be donated.

  • Wear and tear: Mattresses that have large visible holes, rips, stains, lumps, or sagging should not be donated. Overly-worn mattresses won’t be able to provide a good night’s sleep.
  • Mold and bacteria: Mattresses with mold or bacteria damage cannot be donated. Check for large visible stains or areas of discoloration on your mattress before donating it. Donating mattresses that are in this state can aggravate allergies.
  • Bed bugs: Do not donate if your mattress has been exposed to bed bugs, which can cause red, irritated, and itchy skin.
  • Comfort: Before donating your mattress, take a few moments to reflect on its comfort and your sleep quality. Are you still able to get good quality sleep on your mattress? Or is your bed starting to feel worn down or lumpy? If you can no longer get a good night’s sleep on your mattress, chances are someone else won’t sleep well on it, either.
  • Age and quality: Determine if your mattress is in good enough shape to serve someone else for several years. A mattress that is 7 to 8 years old and is in excellent condition will be able to serve someone else well. Some mattress warranties last for up to 12 to 15 years.

Clean and Deodorize Your Mattress

Before donation, it is important to clean your mattress. Preparing your mattress for donation is a fairly simple process. First, remove all sheets and mattress coverings. Then, vacuum it so it is free of any dust mites, dead skin, or other germs. Deodorizing your mattress will take time.

To begin the deodorizing process, make sure your mattress is in a room exposed to direct sunlight and fresh air. Then, sprinkle one of the substances listed below onto your mattress. Let the mixture or substance sit on your mattress for 30 minutes to 24 hours. Then, vacuum the surface of your mattress.

Here are some substances you can use to rid your mattress of odors:

  • Baking soda
  • Cornstarch
  • Essential oils
  • Water and vinegar mixture

Next, you will need to figure out how you are going to transport your mattress to a donation center.

Determine the Best Way to Transport Your Bed

Mattress transportation will depend on the size and weight of your mattress. You may need a few extra hands to help lift and move your mattress. Oversized mattresses will need to be transported in the bed of a truck or strapped securely to the top of a vehicle. Some mattresses will have to be rolled up or compressed for safe transport.

Donation Options

There are many mattress donation options to choose from. Online marketplaces are a viable option to connect directly to a family in need or local group that takes donations. Contacting the National Furniture Bank Association is ideal if you have other pieces of furniture you would like to donate. You can also get in touch with local charities or homeless shelters to find a second home for your mattress.

To further explore donation options in your area, we recommend doing a quick online search for mattress donation centers near your zip code. Here is a breakdown of your mattress donation options:

  • Freecycle: Freecycle is a website that finds a new local home for your used mattress. You can use this site to let others know that you have a gently used mattress available for donation. Freecycle also allows you to view and contact those who are in search of a used mattress. Use this donation option to set up a public pickup easily and safely.
  • Facebook Marketplace: This is another free, easy-to-use tool for mattress donation in your area. Once you find someone who wants your mattress, arrange to meet in a public place for drop-off.
  • National Furniture Bank Association: The National Furniture Bank Association is an online organization for donating used furniture items. When you donate to this association your used mattress will go straight to a charity or family in need. You can arrange for free pick-up or schedule a mattress drop-off with your local donation center.
  • Homeless shelters: Donating your mattress to a local homeless shelter is a great way to help those in poverty. Homeless shelters are always looking for home furnishings and supplies.
  • Local charities: There is always a local charity or nonprofit that can find a second home for your gently used mattress. Be sure to take note of any charity-specific criteria they may have for mattress donation.

Mattress Disposal and Recycling

Throwing your mattress in the landfill is not a viable option, as there are many components of your mattress that you can reuse or repurpose. Instead, contact your city’s recycling facility to see if they accept used mattresses. There may be a small fee associated with mattress recycling pickup.

Mattress Removal Services

There are a few options when it comes to mattress removal services. Your options and the fees associated with pickup will depend on your local recycling center. Go online to enter your zip code and find a recycling center that serves your area.

DIY or Repurposing

Worn-out mattresses can be used in a variety of DIY projects or repurposed. To repurpose your old bed, you will need to break it down. The memory foam, cushions, padding, and wooden components can all be used in DIY or home improvement projects. Any metal parts, like steel springs, can be turned in for scrap metal.


How do I dispose of a box spring?

You can dispose of a box spring by donating it or recycling it. Like mattresses, box springs can be reused or rehomed if they are in good shape. Box springs can last for anywhere from 10 to 20 years. If your box spring is worn out, then recycling or repurposing are good options. Box springs do not belong in the dumpster or landfill.

When should you throw out a mattress?

You should never throw out a mattress. Always try to donate a mattress when possible. If the donation is not a viable option, contact a local mattress removal or recycling company for pickup. Repurposing your mattress for a DIY or home improvement project is another way to give it new life.

How do you break down a mattress for recycling?

To break down a mattress, you will need to cut into it and remove the cords on either side. Then, you can pull the exterior of your mattress off. Next, you can remove the inner layers of fabric, insulation, and padding.

Now, you’ll be left with the metal and wood components of your mattress. You should cut the steel springs down into smaller chunks before taking them to a scrap center. Wooden components of your mattress can be used in DIY or home improvement projects.

Will the garbage man pick up mattresses?

Yes, some garbage or recycling programs will pick up your mattress for a small fee. However, you should never throw your mattress out or drop it off at the landfill. Instead, you should opt to donate it when possible or contact a junk removal service if it’s too worn out for donation.

Do thrift stores take used mattresses?

Due to current sanitation laws, most thrift stores do not accept mattresses or bed frames. However, there are plenty of organizations and charities that will accept gently used mattresses. These mattresses will be rehomed to families in need.


When bringing home a new mattress, be sure to have a plan for your old one so it doesn’t end up in a landfill. Mattress donation and recycling give new life to used mattresses. By donating it, you are helping the environment and minimizing the impact on landfills across the globe. Before donating your mattress, look through the donation criteria to ensure it will provide the next person with a good night’s sleep.

You will need to clean and deodorize your mattress before donating it. There is a wide range of online marketplaces, charities, and organizations that accept used mattresses. Repurposing or recycling are also good options for used mattresses.

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