How To Break Down A Mattress And Box Spring

Disposing of an old mattress and box spring can be cumbersome due to their size and materials. However, breaking them down can simplify the process and contribute to environmental conservation by allowing parts to be recycled. This guide will walk you through the steps to dismantle these items safely and efficiently.


Tools and Preparation

Before you start, gather the following tools:

  • Utility knife
  • Pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Safety gloves

Prepare your workspace by ensuring you have ample space to move around the mattress and box spring. It’s advisable to work in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling dust or allergens released during the process.

Breaking Down the Mattress

  1. Remove the Fabric Covering:
    • Carefully cut along the edge of the mattress with your utility knife to remove the fabric covering.
    • Peel back the fabric layers to expose the inner materials like foam and springs.
  2. Separate the Layers:
    • Identify the foam, cotton, or other materials inside the mattress.
    • Roll up these materials and secure them with tape or string for easier handling and transport.
  3. Extract the Springs (if applicable):
    • Locate the metal springs within the mattress.
    • Use pliers to cut the metal ties and remove the springs, which can often be recycled.

Dismantling the Box Spring

  1. Remove the Bottom Cover:
    • Flip the box spring over and slice through the bottom fabric covering.
    • Remove this covering to expose the wooden frame and possibly springs.
  2. Disassemble the Frame:
    • Use your screwdriver to dismantle the wooden frame.
    • Sort the wood, keeping it separate from metal or other materials.
  3. Handle the Springs:
    • If your box spring has springs, remove them using the same method as with the mattress.

Disposal and Recycling

Once broken down, you should dispose of each material type appropriately:

  • Metal springs and other metal parts can often be recycled at local scrap metal facilities.
  • Foam, fabric, and wood can sometimes be taken to recycling centers or disposed of in regular waste, depending on local regulations.

Contact your local waste management or recycling center for specific guidance on disposing of or recycling each component.


Breaking down a mattress and box spring for disposal is a practical approach to managing bulky waste and supporting recycling efforts. While it requires some effort and time, the environmental benefits and the ease of disposal make it a worthwhile task. By following these steps, you can efficiently dismantle these items and contribute to a more sustainable waste management process.