How to Break Down a Mattress: A Step-By-Step Guide

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If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide on how to break down a mattress, you’ve come to the right place. This article will walk you through the process of properly and safely breaking down a mattress for disposal or recycling. We’ll provide the tips and strategies you need to make sure you get the job done right. Read on to learn how to break down a mattress quickly and easily.

Tools Needed

Tools Needed

  • Protective Gear: Wear protective goggles, gloves and a dust mask to protect yourself from dust and debris.
  • Utility Knife: A sharp utility knife is necessary for cutting through the fabric of the mattress and box spring.
  • Philips-head Screwdriver: If the mattress has a wooden frame, you will need a Philips-head screwdriver to remove the screws.
  • Pliers: To remove clips and fasteners, you will need pliers.
  • Pry Bar: A pry bar is helpful for prying open the mattress and box spring.

To take apart a mattress, you will need the right tools. Make sure you have the following items on hand before you start the process:

Removing the Mattress Cover

Removing The Mattress Cover

To begin the process of breaking down a mattress, start by removing the mattress cover. This will help you easily access the other components of the mattress and make the dismantling process a lot easier.

  • Unzip the cover, if it has a zipper.
  • If the cover is held in place with a drawstring, remove the drawstring and untie the knots.
  • Pull the mattress cover off the mattress.
  • Fold the cover and set it aside.

Once the mattress cover has been removed, it’s time to move on to the next steps to properly break down a mattress or how to get rid of a king size mattress.

Removing the Mattress Padding

Removing The Mattress Padding

  • Removal of mattress padding is the most crucial part of breaking down a mattress as it contains the most valuable pieces of the mattress.
  • The mattress padding is made up of several layers of fabric, foam, and cotton.
  • The first step in removing the mattress padding is to carefully peel it away from the mattress.
  • It is important not to damage the padding, as it could affect the comfort and durability of the mattress.
  • Once the mattress padding is removed, it should be discarded or recycled properly.
  • The next step is to cut up the mattress springs with a pair of scissors or a saw.

Removing the Mattress Springs

Removing The Mattress Springs

Before beginning the process of breaking down a mattress, the springs must first be removed. It is important to note that the springs are typically wired together so they may require special tools to detach them. To minimize the risk of injury, protective gloves and glasses should be worn.

Preparing the Mattress Springs

Once the mattress springs have been removed, they must be inspected for signs of damage or wear. Any broken or rusted springs should be discarded and replaced with new ones. Additionally, any loose wires should be secured to ensure that the mattress springs remain in place.

Cutting the Mattress Springs

The mattress springs can then be cut into smaller pieces with a sharp pair of scissors. It is important to exercise caution when cutting the springs to avoid injury. Once the mattress springs have been cut into smaller pieces, they can be disposed of accordingly.

Removing the Mattress Base

Removing The Mattress Base

  • Unscrew all screws from the base. Most mattresses have several screws around the base that hold the mattress in place.
  • Lift the mattress off the base. Be sure to lift and move the mattress carefully to prevent any damage.
  • Dispose of the base. Depending on the type of mattress you have, the base may be recyclable or need to be thrown away.

Disposal Methods

Once you have dismantled the mattress, the next step is to decide how to dispose of it. Depending on the condition of the mattress, you can either donate it, recycle it, or dispose of it in a landfill.

If the mattress is in good condition, you can consider donating it to a charitable organization, such as a homeless shelter. Donated mattresses can provide much-needed comfort to those in need.

If the mattress is no longer usable, some mattress retailers may offer recycling services. It’s important to check with the retailer before recycling a mattress to make sure it can be recycled responsibly.

If the mattress is not suitable for donation or recycling, it will need to be disposed of in a landfill. Before taking the mattress to the landfill, be sure to remove all of the springs and foam from the mattress to prevent them from being buried in a landfill.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Tools do I Need to Break down a Mattress?

You will need a pair of scissors, a utility knife, and a flathead screwdriver to deconstruct your mattress. Additionally, you will need a large garbage bag to store the components safely and keep your work area clean.

What is the Best Way to Dispose of a Mattress After Breaking It Down?

Once you’ve broken down your mattress, the next step is to properly dispose of it. Here are some of the best ways to do that:

  • Recycle the mattress: Many mattress companies offer recycling programs for old mattresses. Check with your local mattress retailer or manufacturer to find out if they offer a mattress recycling program.
  • Donate the mattress: If your mattress is still in good condition, consider donating it to a charity or homeless shelter. Organizations like Goodwill, the Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity often accept mattress donations.
  • Take it to a landfill: You can take your mattress to a local landfill or waste management facility. However, you should check with the facility first to make sure they accept mattresses.
  • Hire a mattress disposal service: If you don’t want to take the time to dispose of your mattress yourself, you can hire a mattress disposal service. These companies specialize in removing and disposing of old mattresses and will usually charge a fee for the service.

No matter which method you choose, make sure to dispose of your mattress safely and responsibly.

Is it Safe to Break Down a Mattress Without Help?

Breaking down a mattress without help is possible, but it can be difficult and time-consuming. Depending on the size and type of mattress, it may be necessary to enlist the help of a friend. It is also important to take safety precautions to avoid injury when handling a large, heavy mattress.

Can I break down a mattress without damaging the interior components?

Yes, you can break down a mattress without damaging the interior components. To do this, carefully dismantle the mattress by removing the fabric covering, followed by the foam layers and any other internal components. Keep the components intact and protected from any sharp objects during the disassembly. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper disposal.

How Much Time Does It Usually Take To Break Down a Mattress?

On average, it should take about 15-30 minutes to break down a mattress:

  • Removing the mattress cover – 5 minutes
  • Removing the mattress pad and/or topper – 5 minutes
  • Unlacing the mattress – 5 minutes
  • Rolling the mattress and securing it – 5 minutes
  • Transporting the mattress – 5 minutes

The time it takes to break down a mattress depends on its type and size. For example, a queen size mattress will take longer than a twin size mattress. It also depends on how much help you have. If you have two people to help, it may take less time.


Breaking down a mattress is not a difficult task. All you need is a few tools, some help from a friend, and some patience. With the right steps, you can easily break down a mattress and dispose of it responsibly.


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