How to Break Down a Mattress for Recycling or Disposal

Every year, an estimated 20 million mattresses are discarded in landfills, with many people disposing of them because they are difficult to dispose of.

A mattress, on the other hand, is mostly made of steel, wood, and cotton, the majority of which can be recycled. Wood, for example, may be shaved into wood chips or utilized for a number of household projects. This not only helps the environment, but it also helps to save vital resources.

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Mattress recycling is required in California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, while at least 20 additional states have mattress recycling facilities. However, depending on where you take it, you may be charged a price to break it down. You may simply break it down yourself and recycle the right components to save money.

Continue reading to discover how to dismantle your mattress step by step.

PRO TIP: Put on a pair of cut-resistant gloves and protective eyewear before you start breaking apart your mattress to avoid getting loose particles in your eyes. To prevent a mess in your house, move the mattress outdoors if you have the room.

How To Break Down Your Mattress In 6 Easy Steps

Step 1: Cut The Cord From The Mattress’s Edges And Pull It Out.

Break the thread with a seam ripper or utility knife where the pipe terminates. Pull the rope away from the mattress fabric to remove it. On the opposite side of the mattress, repeat the procedure. Set aside the fabric strands for reuse or donation.

Step 2: Remove the Mattress Sides

Pull the edges of the mattress away from the mattress after the binding cords have been removed.

Step3: Remove the mattress’s top layer of fabric.

You’ll see a layer of fluffy cushioning or foam when you draw back the cloth. Keep an eye out for staples securing the exterior cloth as you pull. Snip the staples out of the top layer until it’s fully free of them.

PRO TIP: Remove buttons or tabs on both sides of the quilting using a seam ripper to make taking down the mattress simpler on certain mattresses.

Step 4: Gather the Fabric and Padding for the Interior

It’s at this point when the gloves come in helpful. Sweep the fluffy insides into a garbage bag or cardboard box with your hands. Cotton and foam are often utilized in this filling, which may be recycled, reused, or composted at a facility.

Step 5: Remove the Fiber Layer at the Bottom

Remove the bottom layer of cloth by pulling it away. For further support, your mattress may feature an additional layer of foam padding. This layer may be broken down and recycled or composted after it has been removed.

Step 6: Cut the Metal Springs and Recycle Them

The inside springs will be shown after the fluff and fabric have been removed. With a bolt or wire cutter, you may cut this layer into smaller pieces to go to your local metal recycling center or scrap yard. You may also upcycle the innerspring to construct wine racks, pot holders, and other items if you’re feeling inventive.


  • Mattress pieces are stored in boxes and/or bags.


  • To cut cloth, use a utility knife, seam ripper, and/or shop box cutter.
  • To remove staples, use a strong set of pliers.
  • To cut springs, use a bolt cutter and/or wire cutters.
  • The box spring frame was chopped using a saw.

Materials: Wood Springs Iron Cloth

How To Dismantle A Box Spring In 4 Easy Steps

It’s time to start cutting the box spring now that you’ve finished with the mattress. Grab a saw and prepare to dismantle it.

Related: How to Prevent Mold Under RV Mattress?

Step 1: Remove the Dust Cover and Reinforced Corners.

Plastic bits are stapled to the corners of most box springs for further protection. Remove these parts with a screwdriver and place them in the recycle bin. If your mattress has a dust cover, cut and rip it off to expose the wood structure underneath.

Cut Corners of Box Spring

Step 2: Remove the Binding Fabric Staples

Remove the staples that attach the wood frame to the cloth around the bottom edges using pliers. With your utility knife, pull the cloth away from the wood frame.

Cut Staples From Box Spring

Step 3: Remove The Fabric And Fluffy Lining

Collect the cotton and foam lining and place it in a recyclable or compostable box. Remove the cloth protecting the box spring’s borders until the wood structure is fully exposed.

Box Spring Wooden Frame

Step 4: Take apart the wood frame

Break down the wood frame into smaller pieces using a hand saw or a portable buzz saw. If you haven’t already, make sure you’re wearing work gloves and safety eyewear for this procedure. These wood pieces may be reused for modest garden projects or thrown into a compost pile if you have one.

PRO TIP: In addition to the wood frame, some box springs feature metal components. You’ll need to break this block of metal into tiny pieces before taking it to a recycling facility, much like the bedsprings.

Related: 2024 Bear RV Mattress Review

Cut Wood Frame of Box Spring

Reuse and Recycle Your Expired Materials

And there you have it! You salvaged your old mattress and box spring from the garbage with a little effort!

This procedure may take an hour or two, and depending on your region, you have a variety of disposal alternatives. Learn how to rid of your mattress in various ways with our thorough mattress disposal guide if your mattress has to be discarded or you need more information.

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Written by Bob Matsuoka
Bob Matsuoka is a blogger and founder of RVing Beginner blog. He has been blogging for over five years, writing about his own family’s RV adventures, tips for people who are interested in buying an RV or taking their family on an adventure by RV.