How To Donate A Used Mattress: 25 Year Industry Veteran’s Advice
Donating a used mattress has a reputation for being difficult, but you’d be surprised how important your gently used mattress might be to another family.
On this page, I’ll show you how to donate a mattress, from charitable organizations to thrift stores, how to prep them for pickup, the definition of a “used mattress”, and why it’s important to never discard or dump a mattress that can be recycled.
We test and review dozens of new mattresses sent as samples, and then have to find homes for them after we are finished with testing.
Usually, these mattresses are in perfect condition (we don’t cut all of them open) and we donate them to a variety of resources, which you can as well.
Guidelines For Donating Your Gently Used Mattress
Not every mattress can be donated, but I recommend never dumping any mattress. Keep in mind that when you improperly dispose of a mattress (you know, the secret run to the shopping center dumpster at midnight), you create a host of problems, which we’ll get into.
Here are a few general requirements that must be met before you consider donating a mattress if you are not going to recycle it.
- Surface Should Be Clean: The exterior fabric should be clean on the surface and be free of stains and any kind of liquid damage, such as urine or other body fluids, as well as beverage stains. A clean mattress is pretty self-evident. Slight fading is acceptable, however.
- Pest Infestations: A candidate for a gently used mattress will have no evidence of fleas, bed bugs (more below) or other insects. If you have used a mattress protector, this likely will not be an issue.
- No rips, tears, or haphazard repairs: Mattresses in poor condition should be removed and either properly disposed of or recycled. If it’s been sitting outside at all, it’s not re-usable.
- No Dips, Ruts, Depressions: A donated mattress should be supportive and not have signs of excessive wear. General rule of thumb: mattresses older than 8 years should be properly disposed of. If there are visible indentations where people have slept, the mattress is not acceptable for donation.
- Condition At PickUp: Many charitable organizations don’t accept mattresses that aren’t brand new, but if you go the extra mile and bag up your mattress in a decent mattress bag, they’ll often reconsider after visually inspecting.
The most important factor when donating a mattress is to offer a comfortable and reliable sleep surface for a family or individual in need. If your mattress doesn’t fit within the guidelines I’ve suggested, consider other disposal methods like 1-800-Got Junk’s mattress recycling program.
How To Donate A Mattress: Preparation
If you’re in the process of shopping for or buying a new mattress, here’s how to properly prep your mattress so that it can be safely donated to a needy family.
First, note that many mattress companies will remove your old mattress for a small fee when your new mattress is delivered.
Often, this means that your mattress will be disposed of without your knowledge, so I advise asking if the mattress will simply be discarded, or whether it will be offered to a charitable organization.
There are mattress companies that make a whole hearted effort to donate rather than discard, and you can do a few things to make your mattress more acceptable and appealing to a charitable organization.
- Remove all bedding, including sheets, topper pads, and mattress protectors.
- Clean your mattress by throughly vacuuming to remove debris, dust, animal and human hair. This insures that you are offering a sanitary bedding item to someone in need. Don’t apply cleaners, sprays, or any chemical agents.
- Wrap the mattress in a mattress bag. This protects the mattress and makes sliding your mattress to the door a lot easier, as well. Use 5 mil or thicker plastic, since anything thinner is easily torn.
- Including a bit of correspondence on the outside of the bag, describing the date the mattress was removed, how it was cleaned, and the original date of purchase. This gives the organization additional information about the life of the mattress. Much like a previously owned vehicle, everyone like to know a bit of history.
Where To Donate: 7 Organizations That Accept Mattress Donations
Here is a comprehensive list of organizations that are known to accept gently used mattresses. Note that not every location will accept them, as it depends on local pickup and storage considerations at the facility, logistics, and other factors.
You can also increase your chances if you are willing to drop off your packaged donated mattress to these facilities as well.
1. Habitat for Humanity ReStore
I’ve donated hundreds of mattresses to Habitat for Humanity Restore, which accepts donations and builds homes for low income or needy families.
Typically, they resell your donated mattress in the same facility where it’s picked up, so are you offering your donated mattress to your immediate community- a nice touch.
They offer a very reliable pickup service, equipped with 1-2 guys who can easily remove most mattresses. Your mattress must be in very good condition and in a plastic bag.
Call your local branch to get local policies and schedule an appointment. Visit their site, and click on the donate button near the top to get started.
2. The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army generally accepts mattresses that are in “like new” condition, undamaged, and clean. You can visit their FAQ page and do a zip code search to find local branches near you. Mattresses are accepted, along with bedroom furniture, mattress frames, and other goods.
They will often require that you deliver to them, but most larger urban centers have trucks that work the area, provided you make an appointment. Note that you have to have a wide window of time during the day to schedule.
3. Goodwill Industries
Goodwill Industries, in my experience, is not big on accepting used mattresses, but certain local warehouses will accept them. They are a large organization and often unwieldy and handling local pickups. Check here by using the zip code search for local pickup policy.
4. Local Homeless Shelters
Homeless shelters are probably the best organizations for donating a used mattress. They might not have the ability to pick up however, and in many cases, smaller sizes like twin or full, are more ideal for their in-house residents.
A lot of homeless shelters have outreach programs though, that can place any size mattresses. Make sure you offer a good portion of dignity when offering up to a homeless shelter, too, as they need it the most. Tip: the note attached to your donated mattress.
5. Furniture Banks
The furniture bank concept is becoming more and more popular in the USA which exists to provide furniture reuse within the existing framework of charitable organizations.
By eliminating all other kinds of household goods, Furniture Banks provide only durable goods to families in need.
Here’s a good link to The Furniture Bank Network. From there, you can find a local bank to donate your mattress or other furnishings.
Note: furniture banks generally have tighter restrictions and require a mattress to be in very good to excellent condition.
6. Nonprofit Thrift Stores
To distinguish between for profit thrift stores vs. non profits, if that is an issue for you, simply ask the affiliation that a store maintains with its organization. By definition, a non-profit doesn’t allow anyone to make money from the organization.
Thrift stores like Goodwill and the Salvation Army are affiliated with a nonprofit organization, requiring them to spend no less than 65% of total expenses on program services, according to the Better Business Bureau.
Some nonprofit thrift stores will accept mattress donations, but with smaller stores, logistics and storage can be an issue. This is a great option to give back locally, too.
Apart from donating mattresses to charitable organizations, there are other ways you can responsibly dispose of a mattress.
You can also opt for curbside pickup for bulky items such as mattresses and box springs by your local waste management team, and many will offer specialized donation pickup services.
7. Donating On Popular Platforms Like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace
If you need to make a little money back on your old mattress to help purchase your new one, you can also consider selling your mint condition used model on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. I’ve donated a lot of sample mattresses on both platforms and it’s quick, easy, and safe to donate mattresses.