Don't Just Throw Out Your Old Mattresses, Donate Them!
Think Your Old Mattress Is Not Donation Worthy? Think Again!
Despite current sanitary bedding laws, there are still many donation agencies/options across the country that you can donate a mattress to. So, instead of adding your mattress to a local landfill, you really could do something good for the environment and society.
As they say, "One man's trash is another man's treasure," and, this is a prime example of that. Typically, if your mattress is still in reasonable shape with no noticeable stains or structural problems, then many organizations will take the mattress donation.
Most donation agencies refer to them as "gently used" mattresses. Many of them will even arrange to pick up the mattress donation from you! Some agencies will not take one without the mattress foundation, so you'll have to clear that up with them beforehand. If you buy a new mattress and they offer free mattress pick up (where they typically discard the old mattress), try the donation route first. Just think, doing something kind like donating a mattress might just help you sleep better at night!
Agencies to Consider:
- National Furniture Bank Association
- Furniture Banks Across America (partnered with the National Furniture Bank Association)
- Catholic Charities
- Vietnam Veteran's of America (depending on the location, some VVA's will not accept mattress donations, but others will. It depends on that chapter's policy and the condition and cleanliness of the mattress.)
- Local homeless or battered women's shelters
- The Hope Clinic in Fairfax, VA serves local uninsured families with medical, spiritual, and emotional needs. Many of the families come to them with very little finances and most have inadequate living necessities. So, if you're in the Washington, DC area, please consider this great organization for a mattress or other donation.
Larger organizations, like the Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity, typically will not accept mattress donations due to sanitary bedding law and hygienic concerns. I have had experience with a few Salvation Army locations that you can donate a mattress to; however, it's only if the mattress doesn't have any spots or stains, so you'll have to call and see what their criteria are for each location.
Other ideas to consider are: posting to your local Craigslist or Freecycle.org website. Let them know you're not selling it and are willing to give it away if they pick it up, but be clear with your description of the mattress— i.e., mention any stains, structural problems, etc., and provide a picture of the mattress if you have it.
You can also post flyers at local schools/universities or post on your Facebook page. Afterall, you may have a local friend who you could donate a mattress to. Donating a mattress to a family or shelter in a natural disaster area (like a tornado, hurricane or fire) who lost their homes, is also a great way to help out those in immediate need. I experienced this in Louisana after surviving Hurricane Katrina. We donated a couple of inflatable air mattresses to a shelter there. And don't forget, most of these organizations provide a donation slip to you, where you can provide a value for your donation and report the donation with your taxes.
Another option is mattress recycling. Certain areas of the country have mattress recycling centers that work with local charities to provide bedding to the less fortunate. These recycling centers typically use the undamaged structural elements of the donated mattress and replace the bedding material with newer, clean, and safe bedding material.
Options for Your Current Mattress Problem
Mattress OK, but Too Firm
Check Foundation for Bowing
Topper Pads Soften Up Mattresses
A New Foundation Can Help
Plywood/Pressboard Over Base
Want to Save Your Existing Mattress? Try A New Memory Foam or Latex Topper Pad
Now, before you go throwing your existing mattress away or trying to donate your mattress because it isn't comfortable anymore, there are ways to improve the comfort quality of your mattress.
CONSIDER THIS: Memory foam topper pads, both in memory foam and latex form, are a great way to improve the comfort and therapeutic value of an aging mattress. If your mattress is still in good condition (i.e., still relatively firm and even, with no dips or a hammock feel), then a topper pad can really extend the life of your mattress out for years by giving you a supportive, body-conforming material that really does help improve sleep, comfort and therapeutic levels.. They typically come in 2 to 3-inch thicknesses (though sometimes 1 and 4-inches are sold) depending on your size—typically someone who is over 190 lbs would require a 3-inch topper pad; anyone below that weight should go with a 2-inch topper pad.
What About a Sagging Mattress?
Sometimes, if you have a sagging mattress, the problem can be the mattress foundation. By placing a board (1/4" to 1/2" thick pressboard or plywood) over your existing mattress foundation, this can make your mattress perform better and reduce the sagging issue.
You can pick these up at Lowes or Home Depot and have them cut the wood/board to size for you. I would recommend cutting the wood at least an inch shorter both width and length-wise so that you don't have any wood protrusions. If this doesn't work, purchasing a new mattress foundation could extend the life of your mattress and improve its comfort quality. If it's a foam mattress (memory foam or latex), you'll need a solid, uniform bottom foundation.