Updated at: 14-05-2022 - By: Jane

There are far too many mattresses being thrown away in landfills that aren’t properly disposed of or recycled. If you want to get rid of your old mattress, you’ll need to know how to cut one up.

States like California and Rhode Island, for example, have laws mandating homeowners to recycle their mattresses as part of their recycling efforts. Check your state’s legislation to be sure you’re following the rules there.

Even while it may seem difficult at first, breaking yours down can be a lot easier than you think.

Tools Needed for Breaking Down a Mattress and Box Spring:

Most of these may be found at your neighborhood hardware shop.

  • Knife for the kitchen or utility
  • Ripper of seams
  • Pliers with a substantial weight to them
  • Bolt-cutting tool or wire-cutting tool
  • Carving implements such as a saw or a knife
  • Sacks for disposing of garbage
  • Boxes made of cardboard
  • Work gloves that won’t cut you open
  • a pair of goggles
  • Cutter for boxes
  • Scissors
  • Tape measure optional

How To Cut Up a Mattress - 6 Easy Steps | Sleep Advisor

5 Steps to Breaking Down Your Mattress

Step 1: Remove the Cord from the Edges

Tape measure is optional.

Step 2: Cut off the Side Panels

The use of a tape measure is optional.

Step 3: Remove the Top and Bottom Layers

The following step is easy but essential, and it shouldn’t take you long. Keep an eye out for staples while removing the top and bottom layers. The outer layer’s fabric is tied and secured with these.

Remove the fabric until you see a cotton or foam cushioning underneath it. Remove the top layer by gently slipping it off until it is entirely removed.

Step 4: Sort the Internal Layers and Fabric

The next stage necessitates a certain amount of care. To avoid getting your hands dirty: Get your gloves on. As soon as possible, you should gather up all of the inner fillings and fabrics and prepare them for either recycling or reuse.

Until you decide what to do with the filling and other ingredients, keep them somewhere dry (ideally in a bag). Determine what can be recycled and how the material can be reused.

Step 5: Carefully Cut the Metal Springs

This next phase should put the safety of everyone involved as a top priority. The metal springs can be fairly sharp, therefore there’s a possibility of damage. It’s a good idea to have gloves and wire cutters on hand.

You should be left with just the springs after the fabric is removed. You’ll then need to cut the springs into smaller pieces, as well. If you don’t want to just throw these out, you can utilize them for a variety of other things.

How to Take Apart a Box Spring in 4 Steps

It’s time to get to work on the box spring now that you’ve completed the mattress task. It’s time to dismantle this thing.

Step 1: Remove Reinforced Corners and the Dust Cover

Most box springs have plastic pieces stapled onto the corners for added protection. Use a screwdriver to remove these pieces and set aside for recycling. Also, if your mattress has a dust cover, cut and tear it away to reveal the wood frame underneath.

Step 2: Pull Staples Binding Fabric

Plastic bits stapled to the corners of most box springs provide further protection. These parts can be removed with a screwdriver and placed in a separate container for recycling. You can also cut and rip the dust cover off your mattress to see the timber structure underneath.

Step 3: Remove the Fluffy Lining and Fabric

Gather the cotton and foam liner and place it in a recycling or composting bin. Remove the cloth from the box spring’s edges so that the wood frame can be seen.

Step 4: Disassemble the Wood Frame

A hand saw or handheld buzz saw can be used to cut the wood frame into smaller pieces. If you haven’t already, wear gloves and goggles during this procedure. These small pieces of wood can be used in the garden or composted if you have one.

Can You Cut Up a Mattress? - Ready To DIY

How to Cut Mattress Foam

A common bedding choice is mattress foam since it is comfortable, breathable, and adaptable. There are a variety of reasons why you might want to cut mattress foam—whether you’re downsizing your bed or creating an entirely new mattress for your campervan. The technique is fast and simple. The tools you’ll need are a good knife and a few more of the bare minimum variety.

Measuring and Marking the Mattress Foam

Be sure to remove the mattress foam lining as well as the zip cover. When it comes to most mattresses, the foam within is protected by an outer layer. Zip up the cover and pull it off to get rid of it. If there is additional lining beneath the zipper cover, cut and remove it using a pair of scissors. If you use scissors, be careful not to cut into mattress foam.

  • You can either throw away the zip cover and any lining when you remove it, or you can try to change and stitch it so that it can be reused.
  • Because of this, if you discard the previous zip cover, you may need to purchase a new one depending on how you plan to use the mattress foam.

When cutting the foam, use a measuring tape. Measure the mattress foam from one side to the other and divide that number in half to determine where you’ll want to make the cut. Using a measuring tape, measure the length or width of the piece of foam you’re cutting and mark the mattress at that place so you can refer back to it later.

  • While taking measurements, avoid putting your weight down on the foam to avoid distorting its size and shape.
  • Measure twice or three times to ensure that your results are accurate.

Cut along the line you’ve drawn using a permanent marker. A long ruler or straight edge can be used to align with the spot you marked on the mattress for your measurement. Then, using a marker, carefully trace a straight line along the ruler’s edge. You may need to draw many lines depending on the shape and size of the component you wish to cut.

  • Measure the distance from the tool’s two ends to the mattress’s edge to ensure the straight edge or ruler is not skewed before drawing your line. The straight edge or ruler is slanted if the distance from either end is different.
  • Draw a straight line from one short end of the foam to the other if you are cutting the mattress foam to fit a smaller bed frame.
  • A simple method for carving curves in mattress foam is to design a rough outline on paper, cut it out, and then trace the contours onto the foam with a marker. Mattress foam can either be freehand drawn or traced from an object that will be curved when it is used.

Elevate the mattress foam such that nothing can be seen beneath the specified line. In order to avoid chipping and damaging the surface, avoid drawing the line on a firm surface before cutting through the foam. Placing the foam on an elevated, stable surface will allow you to see straight down to the line you’ve drawn.

  • Rest the mattress foam on a table such that the indicated line is hanging off of it, for instance
  • Use two box springs with some room between them to cut a mattress foam in half. As a result, the foam’s center line will rest directly on top of the open space.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if there is a fiberglass fire barrier

If you don’t take caution when chopping up your mattress, you run the risk of spreading fiberglass fibers throughout your home. After removing the material, be sure to dispose of or recycle it properly. If you’re unsure of how to proceed, you may always seek advice from a local recycling facility.

Ready to remove your old mattress?

Your memory foam mattress was a hit with you because of how comfortable it was to sleep on. It fit your body like a glove, even down to the curves of your back. While your foam mattress has served you well for many years, it is time for a new one.

The first step in properly disposing of a mattress is knowing where to turn for assistance in the removal of the complete mattress or just the foam. For the best results, it is best to hire a trained professional.

Can you cut up a memory foam mattress?

You can, in a nutshell, cut memory foam to your desired size. You’ll also need a marking pen, a tape measure, and the appropriate cutting tool. You also need to know if the mattress contains other components, such as gel and fiberglass, in order to learn how to cut a foam mattress to size. Adding either substance to the cutting process can make it considerably more difficult to complete the task.

Why cut up my foam mattress?

To cut memory foam to your desired dimensions, you may have a variety of reasons. To begin, a smaller bed might be a better fit for the mattress. A truck or a boat could be able to accommodate the mattress. Third, a large mattress can be split into two singles. Once the mattress has been chopped into pieces, it is possible to use the materials to make pillows, padding, or even a seat cushion out of them.

Replacing an old mattress? Need help?

Suppose your mattress is proving to be a challenge to dismantle. When you’re changing an old mattress, you’ll need help removing the old one. Don’t worry! Regardless of your needs, Mattress Disposal Plus is here to help! We’ll break up your old mattress and dispose of the memory foam for you, so you don’t have to.

What knife should I use for cutting a foam mattress?

To cut through a foam mattress, you don’t need a heavy-duty power saw because foam is malleable and soft. Knives are an option, but not just any knife will do.

What other tools do I need to cut a mattress for recycling?

If so, you may want to rethink your mattress’s use. You’ll need a variety of different instruments in order to cut the mattress with the utmost accuracy!

In order to accurately measure the mattress, a measuring tape is necessary. Use a sharpie to draw cutting lines for better precision. Inexperienced mattress-cutting techniques can result in disastrous results if you don’t have the proper tools.

In addition, you may also need to remove the mattress cover, a sewing kit, and a thick piece of plywood to keep the mattress in place while you cut. Using a paring knife to remove the extra material from your cuts might help smooth out any jagged edges.

Can You Cut Up a Mattress? - Ready To DIY

Can I throw away my cut-up foam mattress?

Nearly 20 million mattresses are thrown away each year in the United States. Because of the high demand for new bedding, the number of discarded mattresses has risen steadily over the last few years.

The present mattress stockpile in the United States could cover 132,000 square miles of land. How do you dispose of a cut-up foam mattress when so many end up in landfills?

To be honest, the solution is a bit convoluted. It all depends on where you live in terms of environmental regulations. There are strict laws in place by both state and municipal governments about the materials that can be disposed of and the amount that can be taken to the nearest bulk item drop-off location.

Is there a way I can responsibly dispose of my foam mattress?

If you’re going to chop up a mattress, it’s a good idea to do it in an environmentally responsible manner.

Because of severe rubbish disposal legislation, recycling mattresses has become a no-brainer in a rising number of jurisdictions. A mattress can also be donated to a local charity like Goodwill or the Salvation Army. The smaller bits of a foam mattress can be recycled by cutting it up and taking it to a local recycling center.


Getting rid of old bedding you no longer want while also giving it new life through bed recycling is a win-win situation for everyone involved. Getting started can be a bit frightening, but with a few pointers, you should be OK.

With any luck, you’ll have a better idea of what to do now that you’ve read this article. With the necessary equipment and safeguards, you should be OK. Keep an eye out for any potential dangers, and everything should go according to plan.

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