Are There Health Risks with Buying a Used Mattress?

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Buying used is a more feasible and environmentally friendly option for many people, and properly cleaned used mattresses do not pose major health risks. If you don’t have enough money for a new mattress, a used one is the next best thing. 

However, there are some factors to be aware of when purchasing a used mattress. Bed bugs are the number one issue with used mattresses. If you’re new to used mattresses, don’t panic! This article is a great guide for used mattress shopping. We’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of used mattresses. In addition, we’ll give you the tools you need to thoroughly clean your used mattress. 


Buying used isn’t going to be the best option for everyone. Moreover, some mattresses aren’t in good enough shape to be reused. Here are some potential drawbacks to be aware of:

  • Bed Bugs: Used mattresses pose a risk of exposure to bed bugs, fleas, or lice. Some used mattress sellers do not properly clean or inspect mattresses for bed bugs before reselling them.
  • Joint and back pain: Used mattresses are worn out and don’t offer the same level of support as new ones. People with joint or back pain may want to steer clear of used mattresses. Pre-owned mattresses offer less support and cushioning than new ones.
  • Durability: New mattresses can last for several decades. Used mattresses, unfortunately, don’t have that much durability left in them. That is the one trade-off to their lower price. You also won’t be able to return the mattress if you find it is too worn out to sleep comfortably on.
  • Cleaning: Cleaning, sanitizing, and deodorizing your used mattress eliminates most health risks. Clean your used mattress with a vacuum. Sanitize it with warm soapy water. Deodorizing can be done with baking soda, cornstarch, water with vinegar, or essential oils.

How Long Will My Used Mattress Last?

Sadly, there is no one size fits all answer to how long a used mattress holds up. This answer varies depending on its initial condition and type of mattress. How fast your used mattress wears out is also impacted by your body size and how much time you spend in bed. 

Lightweight sleepers who only lie in bed at night to sleep, can get more use out of a used mattress. Heavier sleepers or those who spend a lot of time in bed may need to replace their used mattress sooner. Sleeping alone or co-sleeping with a partner and kids also impacts mattress longevity.

Why Buy Used?

Used mattresses do not belong in the landfill. They also should not be put in a dumpster or along the curb to be picked up. This is where mattress donation and reselling come into play. Here’s why you should buy used:

  • Environmentally friendly: Many people don’t know what to do with their used mattress. As a result, most people throw them in the trash. This leads to overflowing landfills, which cause damage to both the air and soil. 
  • Affordable: Buying a new mattress can be expensive. You may need to buy a box spring, foundation, or frame too. If you’re saving up for a new mattress, consider buying a used one. Used mattresses are cheap. 
  • No more couch sleeping: Sleeping on a couch night after night is bad for your back. If you can’t afford to buy new, used is your best option. You’ll get a better and more comfortable night’s sleep by switching to a bed. 

How Much Should I Pay for a Used Mattress?

The right price for a used mattress ranges by size and condition. You’ll have to pay more for a used king mattress than a used twin mattress. Likewise, pre-owned mattresses in good condition cost more than ones in poor condition. 

On average, a used mattress should cost 20 to 30 percent of its original cost. Most shoppers can get by spending between $100 and $500 on a used mattress. Keep in mind that cheaper isn’t always better. 

How to Buy a Used Mattress

Bed bugs and inadequate support are both concerns of used mattress shopping. Always ask about whether the bed has been infested with bed bugs. You’ll want to visually inspect the quality of the mattress. See exactly what you’re getting and how worn out the bed is. If you feel comfortable, lie on it to see how supportive it is. 

You’ll also want to come armed with a list of questions for the seller. How old is the mattress? Has it even been infested with fleas or lice? Have any repairs been done to the mattress to refurbish it? How firm is the price? The answers to these questions should aid you in deciding whether to buy or pass. 

How to Clean Your Used Mattress

Even mattresses that appear clean need sanitizing and deodorizing. This is just a necessary precaution when dealing with used beds. It’s also key when re-homing or donating an old mattress. 

The first step in cleaning your mattress is using soap and warm water. This combination should rid your mattress of bacteria, stains, and skin cells. Once this is done, you’ll need to vacuum the entire surface area and corners of the mattress. This rids your used mattress of dust mites and germs. 

The final step is to deodorize the mattress. There are a variety of different deodorizing methods you can try. Here are just a few:

  • Water and vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Cornstarch
  • Essential oils

Whichever solution you go with, you’ll need to let it sit for a while. The longer the better to freshen up your used mattress. After 30 minutes to 24 hours, your mattress is ready for one final round of vacuuming. When deodorizing, place your mattress in a room with a window. Open the window to expose your mattress to direct sunlight. 


What are refurbished mattresses?

In many cases, refurbished is a fancier word for used. So, you may be paying more for a mattress that isn’t in any better condition than a traditional used bed. However, it may mean the mattress has been fixed in some way. When in doubt, ask the mattress seller. 

Where can I buy a used mattress?

You can shop for used mattresses online or at thrift stores or nonprofits. You can browse the National Furniture Bank Association website for all used furniture. 

Is it safe to buy a used box spring?

It is safe to buy a used box spring. Like used mattresses, the quality and overall condition of the box spring are key. Do not buy a used box spring if there is a lot of sagging or exposed springs. This negatively impacts comfort and quality of sleep. 

How do you fix a sagging mattress?

There are many ways to fix a sagging mattress. For even wear, you should be rotating your mattress 180-degrees every 3 to 6 months. Adding a mattress topper lessens the impact sagging has on your sleep surface. 

Mattress sagging or sinking is a common indicator of mattress replacement. If you’ve had your mattress for a while, it may be time for a new one. Consult your mattress warranty to see if it’s still applicable. It’s worth noting that most warranties don’t cover every day wear and tear. 

Is it bad to sleep on an old mattress?

Sleeping on an old or overly worn mattress isn’t ideal. It can become a problem if your sleep quality or joint health are negatively impacted. If this is the case for you, it’s time to replace your old mattress. 


There are some potential health risks to buying used mattresses. However, with mattress cleaning and deodorizing, these risks are minimal. Shopping used is better for the environment and your wallet. Plus, sleeping on a used mattress is preferable to sleeping on the floor.

When you embark on your used mattress journey, have questions ready to ask the previous owner. The answers to these questions can assist you in deciding whether to buy the bed. A mattress, new or used, is a big investment. Make sure you’re investing in a mattress that is worth your money. 


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