Why is it illegal to sell Used Mattresses?

Buying a used mattress may sometimes be the most cringy for most of the people as they consider it unhealthy and dirty. In addition to saving money, you can also help the environment by purchasing a used mattress or one filled with recycled materials. State-by-state laws on the sale of used mattresses differ.

There are certain states that prohibit the sale of used mattresses outright, while others allow it if the mattress is disinfected. Mattress vendors are required by federal law to indicate that the mattress has been used. This assures that you are purchasing a healthy and safe used mattress.

The Laws for Selling Used Mattresses

State and federal regulations govern the selling of used mattresses. In places where used mattress resale is required, check for a yellow or red tag affixed to the mattress to indicate a used or rebuilt mattress. Federal law mandates that every mattress that uses recycled or reused filling must carry a white tag that denotes fresh materials used in production.

State Laws

 Take a closer look at the used mattress’s label. Check to see whether it says “recycled filling” or if it’s a whole new mattress. Is it illegal to sell used mattresses in the USA? The resale of used mattresses is regulated differently in each state. In some of the states, the reuse of the springs are totally prohibited. Mattresses that have been cleansed or disinfected and covered in fresh cotton or linen ticking may be sold in several states. Health, consumer affairs, licensing or agricultural departments in your state should be contacted in order to learn about your state’s legislation.

Red and Yellow Labels

Used mattresses with noticeable stains or soiling cannot be sold in California, for example. Clean and sanitized used mattresses may be identified by yellow labeling. Rebuilt mattresses come with a red label that explains the components of the mattress and the kinds and quantities of utilised materials. Individuals selling mattresses are exempt from resale rules in states that regulate the resale of old mattresses.

Federal Flammability Standard

New and used mattresses must also fulfill flammability criteria mandated by federal regulations, in addition to the labeling requirements. To reduce the number and severity of mattress fires, new flammability requirements were implemented on July 1, 2007. First 30 minutes of safety testing shall not be above 200 kW peak heat for mattress materials.

Label Information

In order to help customers make informed decisions, the label information serves as a guide. All new materials should be identified by the white labels in the color-coded scheme. In the event that you discover that your new mattress is made of recycled materials, the government suggests that you have the store put “New” on the sales receipt so that you have a basis for a claim against the retailer.

Mattresses that have been cleaned or rebuilt are clearly marked with yellow and red markings. If a product is made of fabric, the government’s labeling standards should include information such as the generic name, proportion of fibers by weight, registered ID number, and place of manufacturing. A 2 x 3-inch label on all upholstered items, including mattresses, must state explicitly whether they include used filling or similar terminology.

Federal Laws on the Selling Used Mattresses

States have different rules for purchasing and selling used mattresses. The following are the legal considerations to keep in mind when purchasing a used mattress:

Cleaning: As long as they are cleaned or disinfected in some manner, several jurisdictions allow the selling of old mattresses.

Labeling: Some states mandate that used mattresses be labeled (Red or Yellow)

Filling: In certain jurisdictions, just the springs of a mattress may be reused or resold.

Tagging: A color-coded sticker is required by federal law in certain areas to indicate the condition of a used mattress.

Is it illegal to sell a Used Mattress?

For the most part, sellers are the only ones who have to adhere to the standards governing the selling of used mattresses. Individual to individual purchases may be made but, for a clean sleep environment, it is recommended to purchase a used mattress from another person who has had it sanitized.

There are a number of states that prohibit the selling of used mattresses for retailers not individual, and they are:

  • Washington
  • Maryland
  • Louisiana
  • Kansas
  • California (if the mattress has visible strains)
  • Indiana

 Can you trade in a Used Mattress in California?

The selling of a used mattress that is clearly stained is illegal in the state of California. Prior to purchasing a used mattress from a person, it is recommended that the mattress be cleansed. You may save money by purchasing a used mattress while still getting a good night’s sleep. If you’d like a better deal, you may often find new mattresses on sale with online retailers.

Why do people purchase Used Mattresses?

Low Initial Cost

To save dollars on a mattress, you can consider purchasing a used one. The price tag on a used mattress makes it seem like you’re saving money by purchasing one. However, this is not the case.

On the other hand, there are several excellent quality budget mattresses that are less expensive than buying a used mattress. Both memory foam mattresses and innerspring are available at a variety of pricing points. Memory foam and innerspring beds may be around as low as $200 or $300, depending on quality. Only a few hundred dollars are more expensive than a second-hand mattress.


The idea that purchasing a used mattress is better for the environment since it keeps older mattresses out of the garbage for a few years or utilizes less energy and fewer resources may not be popular with everyone.

In the end, there are greater solutions available to you than this. Older mattresses, for example, are less probable to have been manufactured in an environmentally responsible manner. New mattresses, on the other hand, are typically manufactured in a way that reduces their environmental impact and waste.

The Possible Disadvantages and Risks of an Old Mattress

One-third of your life is spent in bed, according to recent studies. Your mattress is an essential aspect of your life, and since you spend so much time on it, it may have a big impact on your health. Mattresses typically last around eight years. After this time, the mattress begins to deteriorate along with your health. Many of the following health hazards are associated with a mattress that is more than a decade old.

Neck or Back Pain

Even the greatest mattresses ultimately lose their ability to provide a good night’s sleep. Your body and pressure points can’t be completely supported by a mattress that has sagged and dipped over time. Regularly sleeping on a mattress that doesn’t support your neck and back might put you at risk of developing neck and back pain. It may also keep you awake at night. Your health will benefit greatly from a new mattress, much more than using your current one by rotating it.

Bed Bugs

There is no getting around the fact that bed bugs are a genuine menace. In the scientific community, they are known as Cimex lectularius, which is a less enticing moniker. Dust mites and bed bugs thrive on a mattress that has been used for a long period of time. It’s almost tough to get rid of these critters without having to take away your mattress, even if they just leave irritating bites. Signs of bed bugs include crimson patches on your bedsheets, red bites on the skin, and the actual bugs themselves, which like to congregate along the mattress seams.

Mould and Bacteria

Insects and germs may thrive in an old mattress since it provides the ideal conditions for both. An old mattress is a breeding ground for a wide variety of dangerous germs and fungus. Examples include MRSA, which may cause skin and urinary tract infections as well as more dangerous viruses like norovirus and enterococcus.

You should be aware of the dangers of mould when purchasing a mattress that is more than a few years old. Mold spores are generally innocuous, although they may cause allergic responses in certain people. Among these symptoms include coughing, sneezing, and eczema.

Mould growth on a mattress is a sign that it’s time to get a new one. The mattress may be dried and aired, and a dehumidifier can also be purchased as short-term remedy.

Higher Long-Term Costs

Mattresses, like almost every other product on the market, have an expiration date. Mattresses should be replaced every five to twenty years, depending on the materials they are made of. However, new materials have a longer life expectancy.

How long a mattress can survive is substantially lowered if it has already been used for a few years. As a result, you’ll have to buy a new mattress much more often. This might end up costing you more in the long term.

For example, a 300 dollars used mattress that lasts for five years costs $300. For another five years, you’ll be forced to buy a new mattress for $300 from a used shop. You may also spend $500 or less and get a mattress that lasts for 10 years. It surely costs more, but in the long term, it saves you a lot more.

Additionally, you don’t know how the mattress was previously cared for by its former owners. Even though it seems to be in fine condition at the mattress shop, a bed’s internal components may be damaged or worn out. When you bring your mattress home, you may not be aware of this. In the event that this occurs, you may have to buy a new one practically immediately after purchase.

A sagging mattress might make it difficult to obtain a good night’s sleep. If your present mattress is saggy, don’t buy a new mattress that will be sagging in a few months.

No Warranty

It certainly goes without saying that a guarantee on a used mattress is quite improbable. Despite the fact that you may not believe it’s a huge problem, you should consider it again. From defective mattresses to premature aging, warranties cover it all.

When your new mattress is still covered by its manufacturer’s guarantee, you may be eligible for free repairs or possibly a free replacement.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Should a person take a hand-me-down mattress?

Buying a used mattress may be a bit different if you get one from a friend or family member. With such mattresses, you know where the mattress originated from and how it was cared for before you buy it. However, there are still some risks to be aware of.

Bed Bugs might be lurking in a mattress given to you by the previous owner. Signs of mattress aging might sometimes be easily missed, although there are several that are obvious. That implies that even a relative or friend might provide you with a subpar mattress. If you’re considering accepting a hand-me-down mattress, keep this in mind.

Are there any potential health risks associated with a used mattress?

Yes. Used mattresses are plagued by pests. Anxiety and are only one of the problems that may be brought on by bed bugs. These things have the potential to have an adverse effect on your mental well-being. Anemia may be transmitted through bed bugs that feed on you night after night if there are enough of them on your mattress. It’s also possible that scratching bed bug bites can lead to skin infection and perhaps allergy symptoms if you do so.

Additionally, a mattress that is too soft or sagging might create discomfort. When you sleep, your mattress is responsible for supporting and distributing your weight evenly. Back and joint pain are both possible consequences of sleeping on a mattress that has seen better days. Back and joint discomfort, as well as other sleep-disrupting issues, might result.

Is there any safe way to buy a used mattress?

If you’re looking for a risk-free used mattress, you’re out of luck. Inspect the mattress for bed bugs if you intend to do so. If the cover is detachable, look for buttons, wrinkles, and folds behind the cover. In addition to looking for live bugs, look for any other symptoms of infestation. Among them are:

  • The mattress has a few faint dark stains
  • Eggs shaped like sesame seeds
  • Droppings that look similar to tiny coffee grains
  • Shed exoskeletons

In addition, you’ll need to properly clean the old mattress. Any bugs that may be lurking in there can be killed with steam cleaning. Baking soda may be used to remove smells and remove stains. Vacuuming may help get rid of bedbugs and mites.

Difference between a refurbished and used mattress?

In the vast majority of cases, there is little difference. Occasionally, a mattress that has been refurbished may have been cleaned or repaired. While both phrases are sometimes used interchangeably, most mattress vendors prefer to use the term “refurbished” because they believe it sounds more upscale.

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