Selling a used mattress in the United States might seem like a no-brainer, but it turns out that there are some specific laws surrounding this activity. Whether you want to dispose of an idle mattress from your house or sell it and buy a new one, it’s essential to understand the legalities involved. So, you may wonder if selling a used mattress is illegal.
Selling a used mattress is not illegal in most parts of the United States. However, selling a used mattress in some states is unlawful and may attract a fine. In other states, you can only resell a mattress if it meets specific requirements like tagging and labeling.
In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss the federal and state laws on selling used mattresses. I’ll also cover how you can successfully sell your used mattress. Keep reading to find out!
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What States Is It Illegal to Sell Used Mattresses?
The only state where no one is allowed to sell used mattresses is Kansas. However, the following states ban retail of these pre-owned items; Louisiana, Indiana, Maryland, and Washington. However, you should always check with your local health department if unsure.
The table below shows the states where it’s illegal to sell used mattresses:
|Kansas||KS||Not allowed at all|
|Louisiana||LA||It’s illegal for retailers|
|Indiana||IN||It’s illegal for retailers|
|Maryland||MD||It’s illegal for retailers|
|Washington||WA||It’s illegal for retailers|
In some states, you should contact your local health department for clarification. These states are the following:
- Wyoming (WY)
- Alaska (AK)
- Idaho (ID)
- Maine (ME)
- Nebraska (NE)
- North Dakota (ND)
- Oklahoma (OK)
- Rhode Island (RI)
- South Dakota (SD)
The federal government devised laws to regulate the resale of mattresses in the United States. This regulation is because used mattresses increase the spread of bed bugs, dust mites, and scabies. Mattresses are conducive hiding places for bed bugs since they offer tight spaces for the pests to reside.
The following are some federal government laws regarding the resale of mattresses:
Cleaning Requirements for Used Mattrasses
Some states pay special attention to the mattress’s condition before being sold. For example, in states like California, you can’t resell a mattress with visible soiling or stain marks. Such a mattress is considered “unsanitary” and illegal to sell. You can only resell such a mattress if you first clean and disinfect it.
In other states, you must sanitize the mattress and encase it in plastic before selling it. This policy is to protect the buyer from any germs or bacteria that might be on the mattress.
The federal government also requires all people selling mattresses to place a label indicating they are “used.” This label should also include the following information:
- The name and address of the seller.
- The date that they sold the mattress.
- A statement that the mattress is “used.”
The seller must place this label in a conspicuous location on the mattress.
The labeling requirements protect buyers by helping them know what they are getting. The following are the color-coded systems used to label mattresses and their meanings:
- White: It indicates a new mattress made with new stuffings. Apart from the white color, the government stipulates that retailers selling new mattresses must add the tag “New.” In this case, you can claim against the retailer if you find reused parts on the mattress.
- Yellow and Red: They indicate sanitized or rebuilt mattresses. In other words, these are used mattresses that have been cleaned and repaired.
Another law concerning the sale of used mattresses and other second-hand objects is that they should be free of bed bugs and other pests. The best way to meet this requirement is to have the mattress treated with pesticides by a licensed exterminator.
You should also take measures to prevent bed bugs from infesting your mattress in the first place. This prevention includes regularly vacuuming your bedroom and using encasements on your mattress and box spring.
Your Mattress filling usually comprises materials like cotton, latex, memory foam, wool, or feathers in the mattress. When selling a used mattress, you must ensure that the filling is still in good condition — because some fillings can break down over time and become lumpy.
You can only reuse or sell mattress parts like springs in some states because springs are the most durable part of a mattress.
Bed fires were on the rise in the US. from 2000 to 2005, leading to the death of at least 95 people yearly. As such, the federal government moved in to combat the menace by enacting the mattress flammability standard.
The federal government passed a flammability standard in July 2007 to fight bed fires, which, in most cases, resulted from flammable mattresses. The flammability standard prescribes the mattress testing code for ignition resistance when exposed to substances like a lighted cigarette.
During the initial 30 minutes of the test, the government requires that the mattress not exceed a 200 kW peak heat release rate. The total heat release should not exceed 10 MJ over the first ten minutes of the test.
All mattresses made after July 2007 must comply with this federal law. Thus, you must ensure the mattress complies with this law before reselling it.
While federal laws provide a general overview of what you can and cannot do when reselling a used mattress — state laws offer more specific regulations. The difference is that each state has its own set of rules concerning the sale of used mattresses.
For instance, in Texas, you must clean the mattress and attach a tag indicating it is a used item. On the other hand, your mattress must not have visible stains before selling it if you live in California. As such, it’s necessary to contact your state’s consumer protection office to get more information about the specific laws in your area.
If you’re a buyer, you should be aware of the warranty and return policy of the store from which you’re buying the used mattress. Some stores may not accept returns or issue refunds for used mattresses.
What States Is It Legal to Sell Used Mattresses?
There are over 30 states where it is legal to sell used mattresses, including California, Florida, Hawaii, New York, New Mexico, and Texas. However, each has specific regulations regarding the sale requirements — so you should research your regional health legislation.
The table below shows the states where it’s legal to sell used mattresses:
|State||State Code||Selling Conditions|
|Alabama||AL||Never claim that a used mattress is new|
|Michigan||MI||Label the mattress|
|Arizona||AZ||You must sanitize the mattress before selling|
|Arkansas||AR||Don’t claim that the mattress is new|
|California||CA||The mattress must be free of stains|
|Colorado||CO||Sanitize the mattress before they sell|
|Connecticut||CT||Sanitize and label the mattress appropriately|
|Delaware||DE||Sanitize the mattress before selling|
|Florida||FL||Sanitize the mattress before selling|
|Georgia||GA||Label used fillings|
|Hawaii||HI||Label the mattress|
|Massachusetts||MA||Label the mattress|
|Illinois||IL||Label the mattress|
|Lowa||IA||Label the mattress|
|Kentucky||KY||Label the mattress|
|Minnesota||MN||Sanitize the mattress|
|Mississippi||MS||Label the mattress|
|Missouri||MO||Label the mattress|
|Montana||MT||Label the mattress|
|Nevada||NV||Sanitize the mattress|
|New Jersey||NJ||Sanitize the mattress|
|New Mexico||NM||Sanitize the mattress|
|New York||NY||Retailers require a special license|
|North Carolina||NC||Sanitize the mattress|
|Ohio||OH||Label the mattress|
|Oregon||OR||Label the mattress|
|Pennsylvania||PA||Label the mattress|
|South Carolina||SC||Sanitize the mattress|
|Tennessee||TN||Label the mattress|
|Texas||TX||Sanitize and label the mattress|
|Utah||UT||Label the mattress|
|Vermont||VT||Don’t claim that a used mattress is new|
|Virginia||VA||Sanitize the mattress|
|Washington||WA||Only for individuals|
|West Virginia||WV||Label the mattress|
|Wisconsin||WI||Label the mattress|
|Louisiana||LA||Only for individuals|
|Maryland||MD||Only for individuals|
|Indiana||IN||Only for individuals|
How to Sell Your Used Mattress
Selling your used mattress can be challenging due to a myriad of factors to consider. Some of these factors are:
- The applicable laws in your state
- The mattress’s age
- Suitable marketplaces
We’ve created a step-wise guide below to help you get over these factors and sell your mattress quickly:
As discussed, the laws on the sale of second-hand mattresses vary by state. While some states are lenient, others have strict regulations. As such, the first step is to research and find out the applicable laws in your state.
This research will help you avoid legal issues from selling your used mattress.
It’s worth noting that although some states permit reselling of mattresses, you must meet certain conditions. These conditions include:
- The mattress must be clean and free of bed bugs
- You must label the mattress
- You must sanitize the mattress
Pricing is an essential consideration when you decide to resell your mattress. Your price for the mattress determines if you’ll get customers quickly.
Competitive pricing involves choosing strategic price points that make your mattress attractive to buyers based on the prevailing market competition.
To do this, you must first research the prices of similar mattresses in the market — which will give you an idea of how much to charge for your mattress.
You should also consider discounts if the mattress is old or has some wear and tear.
However, don’t sell the mattress at a price that’s too low; it might ruin your chances of making a profit.
After pricing your mattress competitively, the next step is to let people know it’s up for sale. You can put up physical posters in your neighborhood or advertise them on online platforms like Facebook. The focus is to make a compelling advert for potential buyers.
When promoting the mattress, make sure to include clear and attractive pictures. You should also highlight the critical features of the mattress as well as any benefits it has.
The advertisement must capture:
- The mattress size
- Age (how old is the mattress?)
- How the mattress was used (for guests or primary bed).
- Any issues related to the use of the mattress
- Materials (latex, spring, memory foam, or polyfoam)
- The asking price and whether it’s negotiable or fixed
It’s also essential to be honest about the condition of the mattress because buyers are likely to be disappointed if they find out that the mattress is not in your advertised state. Such a situation can damage your reputation and make it challenging to sell the mattress.
Now that you have an advert, it’s time to find where to get potential customers — this is where marketplaces come in.
You can use many online and offline marketplaces to sell your mattress. Some of these platforms are the following:
- Facebook groups
- OfferUp App
- Offline yard sales
- Local classifieds like Craigslist
These platforms provide an excellent way to reach out to potential buyers. They also allow you to sell the mattress at a higher price.
It’s essential to note that some marketplaces may restrict the sale of used mattresses. You must research their terms and conditions before listing your mattress.
Moreover, the most active platforms in your area increase your chances of selling a mattress as quickly as possible. Thus, you should consider listing the mattress on multiple platforms.
After advertising your mattress on your chosen platform, you should now wait for buyers to contact you. It’s time to negotiate once a buyer expresses interest in the mattress.
The negotiation process is an essential step in selling a used mattress because it helps you get the best possible price for the mattress.
You should be reasonable and considerate of the buyer’s budget when negotiating. It would help if you also tried not to be too attached to the mattress, as this might make it challenging to let go of it.
Once you’ve agreed on the price, it’s time to sell the mattress. Be sure to decide on a suitable payment method and delivery option with the buyer.
Here are some tricks to try if it takes long without getting a buyer:
- Lower the price
- Consider giving discounts
- Advertise on more platforms
- Create a more eye-catching listing title. Such a title must have a promise of what buyers should expect
- Offer free delivery services
Selling a used mattress is a great way to make extra money. However, following the proper steps is essential to avoid legal or financial issues. These steps include: knowing the law, pricing the mattress competitively, advertising it, and finding suitable marketplaces.