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Old Mattress Disposal – A Complete Guide for San Diego Residents



Updated 6/24/22

Do you need mattress disposal right away? Click Here


According to the website Statistic Brain, the average household in the U.S. only keeps their mattresses for seven years before deciding to replace it.


Why do they choose to get a new mattress? There are a few things that happen to most people that cause them to transition to a new mattress, often a larger one. 


Two of the most common reasons are couples moving in together or getting married. Previously someone may have been using a Twin-size mattress or a Queen-size mattress and may need to consolidate or upgrade to a bigger mattress when taking the next step in their relationship with their significant other.



Need to get rid of your mattress ASAP? Book Your Appointment Now!


Interestingly, however, while one might think that a move up to a more luxurious sleeping space like a King or even a California King would be the norm, the number one mattress used in the U.S. is a Queen-size mattress.


Of the over half-dozen mattress sizes offered on the market, a Queen-size mattress is used in almost 50 percent of American homes with the next most popular size being the standard King mattress at just 19 percent of sleepers. Sorry, Californians, but the California King is nowhere near as popular! 


And another good reason for a new mattress is the family “addition.”


Eventually, the time comes to move a child from a crib or child’s bed to a twin or even a full-size mattress. And the more kids that come along, the more mattresses you need.


On an interesting side note, although most people in America are sleeping on Queen-size mattresses, the most popular size sold in the United States is the Twin-size mattress. Of all the sizes available, Twin mattresses represent over 30 percent of the market share.


Unfortunately, getting older is another common reason people choose to get new mattresses. Aging causes many people to look for a new and different mattress to better accommodate their changing sleep needs as they get older.


mattress lifespans

[Image courtesy of  Novosbed.com]


But the most common reason for buying a new mattress is because the old one has finally worn out. Mattresses do get old and, when they do, they start showing signs of breaking down, which can be uncomfortable and lead to poor sleep and aching bodies.


mattress recycling

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After You Bring Home That New Mattress


mattress disposal san diego

The most important thing you have to consider when buying a new mattress is not just how it feels but also the return policy. This is an investment in a piece of furniture that you will be spending up to one-third of the next eight years on. The difference between you getting a good night’s sleep and being restless could be in that mattress.


That’s why it is essential it needs to be a perfect fit. It won’t feel great the first couple of nights. In fact, it may take up to 2 to 3 weeks for that mattress to conform to your body. That’s a long time you should allow for the adjustment period.


If after that time it still feels “off,” then you should think about swapping it out. That’s why a 30-day return policy is so vital. A 45-day return policy would be even better! The other thing you need to consider is how to handle your old mattress disposal. That’s easily taken care of with one call to Junk King San Diego.

Check out our mattress removal checklist.



What to Do About Mattress Disposal in San Diego


Mattresses are one of the most popular things that Junk King San Diego takes from homes and apartments. In extreme cases, some of those mattress removals involve a bedbug infestation. It will be helpful to let Junk King know that’s what you’re dealing with because they have to take special precautions. But it won’t be a problem and it will only be a small extra charge.


We understand that it might seem to you that you’re going a bit overboard hiring a pair of movers and a truck just to get rid of an old mattress. But instead, think of it as a chance to get rid of all the rest of your unwanted clutter.


And no worries there! We can put our two-man crew to work loading up their truck with the clothes you’re no longer wearing and don’t want, all the old toys no longer being played with, the dozens of books you’ve already read at least twice – oh! –  and the exercise equipment that you used to use when it was new but haven’t really worked out with since.


And you probably have plenty of old electronics, or e-waste, that you could get rid of as well.


What about the backyard? At Junk King San Diego, we’re not limited to just taking away clutter and junk from inside your house. We can help you clear out your garage, your backyard storage shed, and even your backyard!


In other words, when you decide you need to get rid of your old mattress, take a good look at the rest of your unwanted junk. And, when you’re ready, you need to bring in Junk King San Diego.


Junk King San Diego offers professional mattress and box spring removal services. Disposing of used mattresses, box springs, and bedframes by yourself can be difficult because they often cannot be dumped into our local landfills. One reason for this is that mattresses can contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment.


The good news for you is that Junk King San Diego provides a full-service mattress disposal service that is an efficient and environmentally friendly way to recycle your mattress and box springs that help keep our environment protected and remove your old mattress for you.

[Related Content: Mattress Recycling Infographic]



Mattress Recycling Infographic



How Do I Know If My Mattress Is Old?


Most of us spend far too many nights sleeping on old mattresses. But most of us have a difficult time knowing when to get a mattress to replace our old one. In fact, how do you know when your mattress is old?


It turns out that there’s a short answer and a long one.


The short answer is, “It depends.” And the long answer is simply what that depends on. For example, the construction of a mattress goes a long way in determining how long it can provide proper support and comfort. In addition, the quality of the mattress really does make a difference, as well.


Strictly speaking, a low-end, traditional inner-spring mattress may need replacing after only five years, especially if there has been little or no maintenance, and the sleeper is over 200 pounds. 

That’s because, in addition to construction and quality, sleeping position, body weight, and the type of care a mattress receives all play a role in the expected lifespan of any mattress.


According to SleepFoundation.org, the average lifespan of most common mattresses are as follows:


Mattress Type Average Lifespan

Innerspring 5.5 – 6.5 years

Foam 6 – 7 years

Hybrid 6.5 – 7.5 years

Latex 7.5 – 8.5 years


In addition to these average timeframes, there are a few key things you can pay attention to that can tell you when your mattress is old:


  • Does your mattress feel saggy or unsupportive?
  • Do you wake up with aches and pains?
  • Do you or your partner toss and turn through the night trying to get comfortable?
  • Have you noticed an increase in allergies or asthma symptoms?
  • Has it been 7 or more years since you purchased your bed?


If your answers are “yes” to one or more of these questions, it may be that now is when to get a mattress.


10 Signs You Need a New Mattress



There are, of course, those situations where a new mattress is necessary because of a new addition to a home  – or when you’ve decided that a King mattress is going to be far more comfortable for the two of you than your perfectly good, but somewhat too cozy Queen. 


However, even if you like your current mattress, there are classic signs that you should watch for that are a clear signal that it’s time for a new mattress.


1) Your Mattress Is Sagging and has Indentations

The supporting structure of your mattress, especially memory foam or traditional innerspring mattresses, can begin to break down after time. One result can be low spots, dips, or indentations in the top surface of the mattress.


2) Your Mattress Makes Noises when You Move

A mattress that begins to lose some of its structural integrity can also get a bit noisy when you’re on it. If your mattress makes (increasingly more) noise during the night as you are sleeping, this is probably why.


3) Your Mattress Has an Unpleasant Odor

It’s unfortunate and even a bit awkward to admit, but older mattresses can begin to take on sour or bitter odors. This isn’t necessarily because the occupants have poor hygiene habits. Rather, this can be the result of mildew, mold, and fungi building up in the mattress over time, especially in a humid climate.


4) Your Mattress Triggers Allergies

A similar condition can also lead to allergies or aggravate existing ones. Along with mildew and mold, dust mites are known to infest mattresses, which can wreak havoc for those with allergies. If you frequently wake up with a headache, watery eyes, and even a runny nose, allergens in your mattress might be the cause.


5) You Wake Up in Pain

Sleeping posture is key to both a restful sleep and one that doesn’t leave you sore in the mornings. However, an older mattress can make it so that your back, hips, arms, or neck are stiff and painful.


6) You Can’t Get Comfortable or Can’t Get to Sleep

On the other hand, it may just be that you don’t enough sleep to notice if you’re waking up in pain. Mattresses that no longer support your body in the way they were designed to do can interfere with sleep.


7) Your Mattress Has Developed Humps or High Spots

When the padding inside your mattress slips and bunches up over time, it can result in raised areas in your mattress. This uneven density and surface area can mean a lack of proper support and uncomfortable pressure points.


8) You Sleep Better on A Different Mattress

Of course, sleeping in an expensive hotel with high quality beds may cause you to be envious, but if you sleep better on most any other mattress, then it may be time to replace yours.


9) Your Sleeping Situation Has Changed

As we noted earlier, sometimes the reason you need a new mattress is simply because you’re going to no longer be sleeping alone, which is hopefully a good thing, and you’ll need a larger mattress.


10) Your Mattress is More than 10 Years Old

Even if your mattress still seems fine and you sleep well, if it’s more than seven years old, you should consider replacing it anyway. Mattresses break down very gradually and it’s possible that you’ve just become slowly accustomed to it.


What Attracts Bed Bugs to Old Mattresses?


Mattress removal

Unfortunately, even the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t spared us from the annoying infestations of bed bugs. 


According to an article from Bloomberg,


“Bed bugs typically spread through human movement and can be found anywhere humans linger, including homes, hotels, hospitals and cars. Their bites are painless but they are difficult to eliminate. They were nearly eradicated in the U.S. in the 1940s because of potent pesticides, but the bed bug population spiked again in the early 2000s with an increase in international travel.”


Bed bugs are small, flat wingless insects that are reddish-brown in color and approximately one-quarter inch long, before feeding and are about the size and shape of a small apple seed.

During the day they hide on beds, primarily in mattress seams and box springs, and on bed frames and headboards. They can also be found in cracks and crevices of walls, floors, and furniture.


They come out at night and, while they don’t fly or jump, they can crawl quite rapidly.


As a post at Bobvila.com points out,


“Unfortunately, bed bugs are attracted to humans. These flat, reddish-brown bugs resembling apple seeds are drawn to carbon dioxide and warmth. Bed bugs need blood to survive—and people are a pretty excellent source.”


Although they most often end up in mattresses, they can come from other infested areas in a home. Bed bugs can be found in used furniture. They can also travel in luggage, purses, backpacks, or other items that have been placed on soft or upholstered surfaces.


The good news is that, with proper treatment, they can be eradicated. 


The Best Practices for Cleaning & Disposing of An Old Mattress


If you are looking to sell or donate an old mattress that is still in decent shape and has the promise of many more years of use, it should still be cleaned and prepped first. To sell or donate your used mattress, first make sure that it is structurally sound, clean, and free of any odors or infestations.


So, how about a few old mattress disposal tips?


If your mattress has slight stains, cleaning it yourself can be a viable option. Here are some steps for cleaning old mattresses:



Vacuuming the top and sides of a mattress can remove pet hair and dander, human skin, and dust.


Spot Clean

  • Use a non-toxic enzyme cleaner to chemically break down the stain.
  • You can use a combination of hydrogen peroxide, liquid dish soap, and baking soda. Mix the combo into a spray bottle and apply to the stains, and then blot dry with a wet then dry clean rag.
  • Combine lemon juice and salt until the mixture is thick and apply to the stain. Let it sit for around 45 minutes to an hour and then wipe off with a clean rag.



If you find that the mattress has a slight odor, try sprinkling a layer of baking soda on the surface and letting it sit for a few hours. Vacuum off the baking soda and, if possible, let the mattress air outside.


If your old mattress is still usable, clean, and free of infestations and damage, then it is a suitable candidate for selling, gifting to friends or family, or donating to a non-profit that accepts mattresses. In the latter case, you want to review the organization’s specific requirements before hauling your mattress to their facility!


How to Pack Your Old Mattress for Disposal



When it comes to how to dispose of mattresses, your options are somewhat limited. 


In most locales, you cannot place your old mattress on the curb, next to your residential trash and recycling bins. However, that’s not always the case everywhere. 


As SleepFoundation.org notes on their website,


“If you live in an area where you can, in fact, throw out a mattress with your regular trash, make sure to carefully read any additional rules to avoid fines and/or pickup refusal. In most places, you will be required to wrap your mattress in plastic, and in some places, you will be required to wrap the mattress in a specially made plastic mattress bag. To be safe, cover your mattress in plastic (or a plastic mattress bag) and seal it shut with packing tape.


Some municipalities have additional rules and regulations when it comes to throwing out a mattress. In some places, there is a monthly bi-weekly “heavy trash day” specifically designated for the disposal of large items like mattresses.”


The disposal process for mattresses is a bit simpler if you choose to have your old mattress recycled.


And this is a good thing, too, since it is also true that not all mattress retailers will take your old mattress for you after you’ve purchased a new one from them. And, with the multitude of online mattress shops doing business today, getting rid of your old mattress is a job that often falls on you.


How to Repurpose an Old Mattress


Disposing of a used and unwanted mattress does not automatically mean a trip to the dump or waste transfer station. Not that you can easily do that in San Diego anyway. Used mattresses that are less than 10 years old, preferably less than seven, can be “repurposed” instead. 


In its simplest form this would just mean using the mattress on another bed, somewhere else. 

That could be a guest room in your own home, or that of a friend, family member, or even a neighbor. It’s amazing how many people can make use of a good, gently used mattress in a child’s bedroom, a spare room, or even in a garage that’s been converted into an “extra” bedroom. 


Repurposing can also take on the form of donating. While you can find non-profit and other charitable organizations who might take them, not every group takes mattresses unfortunately. And if you are considering selling it instead, keep in mind that California prohibits the sale of mattress with visible stains.


And, if it is really beyond its useful life as a comfortable mattress for sleeping, there are dozens of creative and clever ways to put it or its components to good use in a new life.


As one article suggests, you can use it for everything from decorative planters to compost to new bedding for pets. Repurposing, or “upcycling” can be an inspiring and eco-friendly alternative to simply tossing out an unwanted, old mattress.


Yes, You Can Recycle Mattresses. Really.


And this is a good thing, too, since it is also true that not all mattress retailers will take your old mattress for you after you’ve purchased a new one from them. And, with the multitude of online mattress shops doing business today, getting rid of your old mattress is a job that often falls on you.



We strongly urge you not to sneak off in the middle of the night with your old mattress strapped to the top of your car and try to simply dump it somewhere outside of town near the Border. Not only is that a bad move for the environment, but it is also against the law in San Diego and illegal no matter where you live in California. Not to mention that there are far better options for handling old mattress disposal.


“Okay,” you may be thinking, “But I don’t want it taking up space in my garage!” 


Or maybe it’s your spare bedroom or even a rented storage unit. We get it. Maybe you’re thinking you might be able to use it as a “spare bed” for overnight guests. More than likely, however, you’ve got the guest room thing covered already. 


So, the old mattress still needs to be removed somehow. The good news is that it’s easy to get rid of your old mattress legally, efficiently, and in an environmentally safe manner.


That’s because almost 90 percent of a standard mattress is recyclable, and the old materials can then be reused to manufacture new products. In fact, even the springs, foam, upholstery, wood pieces, and pretty much the entire box springs, too, if you need to get rid of one of those, too. 


If you have a suitable vehicle, really like hauling big, awkward, and heavy objects like your old mattress, you could possibly recycle it yourself. 


Once you manage to haul it out, load it up, and secure it properly, you’ll need to know if there is a recycling center near you that accepts used mattresses. There are a few good online resources such as Earth911.org or ByeByeMattress.com with tools to search for these types of recycling centers.


But wait! You really don’t have to do ANY of the mattress removal work!


The fastest and easiest way is to call Junk King San Diego. We are a professional mattress removal service and we will do all the hard work for you –  and be assured that your old mattress will be disposed of in the best manner possible.


full service junk removal

The Mattress Recycling Process


We’re all quite familiar with the basics of recycling glass bottles, cardboard boxes, and even aluminum cans. They are somehow crushed, shredded, and melted and then magically turned into raw material to make new stuff out of glass, cardboard, and aluminum. 


More or less. But when it comes to envisioning the process of actually recycling a mattress, that can be a bit beyond most of us. 


However, it can be done, and the process is quite similar regardless of where the mattress ends up for recycling. Here is a high-level overview of the mattress recycling process in less than 100 words:


  • First, the innersprings are separated from the foam and fabric of the mattress.
  • Then the foam and fabric covering is shredded.
  • The foam is baled and loaded for transport to carpet manufacturers.
  • Foam bales are then cleaned, processed and turned into carpet padding.
  • This steel springs are taken to scrap metal yard and smelted down to be used as recycled steel.
  • The wood from the box springs is recycled or used in reclamation projects.


The problem is that, in the US, we still don’t recycle nearly the number of mattresses each year that we could. As one article from The Balance Small Business notes,


“Almost 4.5 million mattresses and 4.5 million box springs are sent to the landfill or incinerator every year in the United States, according to Nationwide Mattress Recycling, amounting to 250 million pounds of mattress material. With an average mattress consuming 23 cubic feet of space in a landfill, and the threat of fire retardants leaching from them, there is increasing pressure from landfills to divert old beds.


At the same time, environmental initiatives by the mattress industry, retailers, institutions and the hospitality industry also are creating an increased demand for mattress recycling services. The good news is that mattresses are widely recyclable – over 95 percent on average according to one mattress recycler.” 


The Do’s and Don’ts of Mattress Recycling in San Diego


While mattress recycling is an established is a well established process and a growing segment of the overall recycling industry, there are still some limitations.


For example, not every type of mattress can be easily recycled, and some mattress-type products are not acceptable for recycling at all, unfortunately. These items include:


  • Severely damaged, frozen, stained, soiled, twisted, or wet mattresses, box springs, and foundations.
  • Items infested with bed bugs
  • Car beds, Sleeping bags, and Pillows
  • Any children’s item such as carriage pads, dressing table pads, strollers, lounge pads, crib bumpers and baskets.
  • Water beds or camping air-mattresses
  • Fold-out sofa beds and Futons


While these are not considered acceptable for standard mattress recycling, many of these items contains materials that are still recyclable such as wood parts and metal components that can be used as scrap metal. 


Also, certain states have specific laws governing the disposal and recycling of mattresses. These are California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. 


As one website notes,


“If you live in the state of California, Rhode Island, or Connecticut, there are some options you have when it comes to recycling your old bed. If you aren’t sure where to drop off your used mattress, check the bye bye mattress website. This will give you all of the recycling centers and drop off’s that participate with the law put into place.”


So, for those of us in beautiful San Diego, mattress recycling is one of our options for old mattress disposal. 


If you buy a new mattress from a brick-and-mortar store – not an online store – you can have it delivered and request that the store take your old mattress for you. That’s the purpose of the additional fee you had to pay when you purchased the new mattress.


If you are simply disposing of an old mattress, or you bought a replacement online, you can still arrange for mattress recycling here in sunny San Diego County. 


And, if all else fails, you can arrange to have your old mattress picked up by a local and reliable junk removal company like Junk King San Diego.


Junk King San Diego: Your Number One Choice for Old Mattress Disposal


At Junk King San Diego we are serious about recycling and being eco-friendly.


Because of this, our standard operating method starts with recycling, reusing, and repurposing as much junk material as possible. In fact, we succeed in recycling up to 60 percent of it. 


For Junk King, being green isn’t just something we put on our website – it’s what we do. We were the first recycling-based junk removal service in the United States when Junk King was founded in 2005.


And we have continued to recycle, repurpose, and reuse as much as possible everything that we pick up at every location, including San Diego!


Your Number “Go-To” Resource for Old Mattress Disposal in San Diego


At Junk King San Diego, we serve the entire San Diego area including Alpine, La Mesa, Bonita, Lemon Grove, Chula Vista, Santee, Dulzura, Ramona, El Cajon, Spring Valley, Jamul, and Lakeside.


For old mattress removal and other junk removal services that are both affordable and green, you can rely on Junk King San Diego.


So, call us today and tell us about the junk items you need cleared out of your property or place of business. We’ll give you a quote in writing guaranteed to beat any other written estimate. Once you agree to our quote, we’ll schedule a time that works with your busy schedule.


Ready to get rid of your junk? It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3.


You can make an appointment by booking online or by calling us at 1.888.888.JUNK (5865).


After you do, our professional and insured junk removal team will call 15 minutes before we arrive on site. Once there, you simply point and we’ll haul your mattress and any other items into our junk removal trucks – all with no hidden fees.


Book a Touchless Appointment Today!





Junk King San Diego
2735 Via Orange Way, Suite 104
Spring Valley, CA 91978
Hours: M-Sa: 8A-4P, Su: 10A-3P

Providing junk removal services to the San Diego area, including:

Chula Vista
El Cajon
La Mesa
Lemon Grove
San Diego
Spring Valley
and these nearby zip codes:
91901, 91902, 91910, 91911, 91913, 91914, 91915, 91917, 91935, 91941, 91942, 91944, 91945, 91977, 91978, 91979, 92019, 92020, 92021, 92040, 92065, 92071, 92101, 92102, 92103, 92104, 92105, 92106, 92107, 92108, 92109, 92110, 92111, 92113, 92114, 92115, 92116, 92117, 92119, 92120, 92123, 92124, 92126, 92131, 92132, 92134, 92135, 92136, 92139, 92140, 92145, 92147, 92149, 92152, 92154, 92155, 92158, 92164, 92169, 92173, 92176, 92179, 92182