How To Cut Up A Mattress? Everything You Need To Know Update 04/2024

There are far too many mattresses being thrown away in landfills that aren’t properly disposed of or recycled. Cutting up a mattress is necessary if you want to get rid of your old mattress.

California and Rhode Island require citizens to recycle their beds as a matter of law, and other states have similar requirements. Make sure you’re adhering to the laws of your state and that you’re not breaking any of them.

Breaking down your own can be intimidating at first, but it’s not as difficult as some people imagine.

Tools Needed for Breaking Down a Mattress and Box Spring:

The majority of these items may be found at your local hardware or home improvement retailer.

  • Cooking knife or utility knife.
  • A seamstress.
  • Pliers with a lot of heft.
  • Cutters for wire or bolts.
  • Carving knife or hand saw.
  • Trash cans
  • Plastic containers.
  • Cut-resistant gloves for the job.
  • Wearing a pair of safety glasses is recommended.
  • A box cutter.
  • Scissors.
  • No need for a tape measure.

How to Break Down a Mattress and Box Spring | Budget Dumpster

5 Steps to Breaking Down Your Mattress

Step 1: Remove the Cord from the Edges

To remove the piping thread, just cut it with a tool knife. Once you’ve reached the end of the thread, you’ll need to tug on it until it comes free of the bedding. Once you’ve finished with one side, move on to the next. You have the option of donating the thread or recycling it for another purpose. If you can see another use for it, then it’s worth saving.

Step 2: Cut off the Side Panels

Removing the side panels could prove to be a challenging task. To avoid injury, you may want to take extra precautions if you’re a novice. When you’ve cut or shredded the cloth enough to remove the binding cords, use your hands to remove the sides of the garment.

Step 3: Remove the Top and Bottom Layers

This step is basic yet essential, and it should not take you too much time to complete. Keep an eye out for staples as you remove the upper and lower layers. To keep the outer layer of the garment in place, they are employed to secure the cloth in place. Remove the fabric until you can see the foam or cotton cushioning beneath it. As soon as you’ve done this, gently remove the top layer.

Step 4: Sort the Internal Layers and Fabric

Some caution is required for the next step. Get your gloves on, because things could get a little sloppy. All of the interior stuffing and cloth should be collected for recycling or reuse. It is best to keep the filling and other ingredients in a bag or container until you know what to do with them. Analyze what can be recycled and how it might be put to good use once it is recycled.

Step 5: Carefully Cut the Metal Springs

For this following step, safety should be a top consideration. There is a risk of damage due to the sharpness of the metal springs. Wearing gloves and having wire cutters on hand may be a good idea. You should be left with just the springs after the fabric is removed. The springs will next need to be sliced up into smaller pieces. There are numerous uses for these that don’t involve throwing them away.

How to Take Apart a Box Spring in 4 Steps

It’s time to start chopping the box spring now that you’ve finished with the mattress! Prepare a saw and a hammer before you begin the demolition process.

Step 1: Remove Reinforced Corners and the Dust Cover

Plastic bits stapled to the corners of most box springs provide further protection. Remove these parts with a screwdriver and place them in a container for recycling. Make sure to remove the dust cover from your mattress if you have one.

Step 2: Pull Staples Binding Fabric

Remove the staples fastening the wood frame to the cloth at the bottom of the piece with pliers. – With a utility knife, remove the fabric from the wood frame.

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 sections. 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.

How to Break Down a Mattress and Box Spring | Budget Dumpster

How to Cut Mattress Foam

Mattress foam is a popular choice for bedding since it is soft, breathable, and adaptable. It’s quick and easy to cut mattress foam whether you need to reduce the size of your bed, create a tailored mattress for a campervan, or split one large piece of foam into several smaller mattresses. You only need a sharp knife and a few simple equipment to get the job done.

Measuring and Marking the Mattress Foam

To remove any lining from the foam, remove the zip cover. It is common for mattress foam to have an outer layer that shields the foam from the elements. A simple unzipping will take care of removal. Using a pair of scissors, cut and remove any excess lining underneath the zip cover. Make sure you don’t cut into the mattress foam with the scissors as you’re cutting.

  • 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.

Measure the foam using a measuring tape to see where you should cut it. 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 and a marker, mark the mattress where you want the foam piece you’re cutting to be so you have a reference point later on.

  • Take care when measuring foam so as not to deform its dimensions and shape by pressing down on it.
    Do a minimum of two or three measurements to ensure the accuracy of your work.

Use a marker to draw a line where you want to cut. Line up a long ruler or straight edge with the mattress measurement you made. Then, using a marker, carefully trace a straight line along the ruler’s edge. Drawing many lines may be necessary depending on how big or little the piece you want to cut is.

  • If your straight edge or ruler is slanted before creating your line, measure how far the tool extends outward from the mattress’s edge. The straight edge or ruler is slanted if the distance between both ends is not equal.
  • A straight line drawn from one short end of the foam to the other is the best way to cut 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. Alternatively, you might trace the curved object you intend to use the mattress foam for on the paper.

Elevate the mattress foam such that the marked line is completely void of anything. Because you’ll be using a knife to cut through the foam, you don’t want the line to be on a firm surface. Placing the foam on an elevated, stable surface will allow you to see straight down to the line you’ve drawn.

  • The chalked line can dangle off the edge of the mattress foam if it is placed on a table like this.
  • Use two box springs with some room between them if you’re reducing a huge mattress foam in half. As a result, the foam’s center line will rest directly on top of the open space.

Cutting the Foam with a Knife

If you want a crisp edge, use an electric carving knife to cut the foam. Mattress foam can be easily cut with electric carving knives, which are often used to slice through food. When the knife is plugged in, the serrated edges of the blade move back and forth, creating a cleaner, straighter edge.

  • In order to cut your mattress foam, you will need an electric carving knife. You may buy one online or at your local department store if you don’t already have one.

If you don’t want to buy an electric knife, you can use an ordinary kitchen knife. If you don’t have an electric carving knife, you can still get the job done with a kitchen knife. An inexpensive kitchen knife is a good option if you plan to cover the slashed mattress foam with a whole new cover.

  • Serrated-edged kitchen knives are preferable while cutting food.
  • Mattress foam can be more easily sliced with a longer blade.
  • Using a pair of heavy-duty scissors instead of a kitchen knife is an option if the mattress foam you’re cutting is less than 1/8 inch (0.32 cm) thick. The cut may not be as precise as with a knife.

Keeping the knife at a right angle to the foam, slice it in half. This will make it simpler to make deep cuts in the mattress’s foam. Make sure the knife’s cutting edge is parallel to the line you drew on the foam.

Using an up-and-down motion, cut along the highlighted line. Because an electric carving knife moves up and down automatically, you won’t have to manually move the knife. Pull out the knife when you reach the end of the designated line and either cut the foam or move on to the next marked line.

  • Keep your edge as straight as possible by moving gently and following the line.
  • Use scissors to cut along the designated line like you would when cutting paper or fabric.

Do this again if the knife doesn’t completely go through. Your mattress foam could not be sliced all the way through if you use a knife with a short blade. Alternatively, you can flip the foam over and mark a new line on the other side if that is the case. To break the foam into two pieces, cut along that line, just as you did on the other side.

  • You must be very precise while measuring to ensure that the lines on both sides of the foam are parallel.

Finishing up

Using a measuring tape, double-check your measurements. Take a measurement from the newly cut edge of your mattress foam to the opposite side. You’re good to go as long as it fits! There’s no harm in trying again if it doesn’t work out the first time.

  • When a measurement is too short, you won’t be able to add any foam back on. This is unfortunately the case. In this case, if you’re going to be covering your mattress foam with a zippered cover, you may cut a piece of foam to fill in the gap.

A knife can be used to smooth up any ragged edges. If your mattress foam is going to be covered, little jagged edges won’t make much of a difference, but if your foam is going to be exposed, you may wish to correct them. A kitchen knife can be used to smooth off the edges by carefully removing any jagged parts that may be jutting out.

  • If you remove too much of the foam, you may alter the size of the piece.

Make any necessary changes to the zip cover and place it over the mattress foam if you intend to use one. There are bespoke mattress covers available for purchase online that can be made to fit your specific cut mattress foam specifications instead of altering or sewing the existing zip-up cover. Unzip the cover completely, insert the mattress foam, and then re-zip the cover.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if there is a fiberglass fire barrier

When you’re chopping up your mattress, it’s crucial to keep in mind that you could get fiberglass all over the place if you’re not careful. After you’ve removed the material, be sure to properly dispose of or recycle it. It’s possible to ask for help from a recycling facility if you’re not sure how to manage it.

Ready to remove your old mattress?

Your memory foam mattress was a favorite because of the way it felt. It was a wonderful fit for your entire body, including your back. Your foam mattress, however, will need to be replaced after a few years of use.

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?

Yes, you can cut memory foam to fit your needs. Among other things, you’ll need a cutting tool, a marking pen, and a tape measure. It’s important to know whether or not a foam mattress has other components like gel or fiberglass before you attempt to trim it 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?

You may have a variety of reasons for cutting memory foam to your desired dimensions. To begin with, you may wish to use a smaller bed to accommodate the mattress. As a second option, you may be able to squeeze the mattress into a vehicle or boat’s storage space. If you have a huge mattress, you can divide it into two smaller ones. You can utilize the foam from a cut mattress to make pillows, padding, or seat cushions later on.

Replacing an old mattress? Need help?

Breaking down a mattress may be difficult for you. In addition, you’re getting a new mattress and need assistance removing the old one. Don’t worry! Mattress Disposal Plus is here to help you out. In addition to removing your old mattress, our experts may chop up your memory foam for you.

What knife should I use for cutting a foam mattress?

When cutting a foam mattress, you don’t need a powerful power saw because the material is soft and pliable. Some knives are better than others for this task.

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

Are you contemplating a new way to make use of your memory foam mattress? A variety of other instruments will be necessary to ensure that the mattress is cut with the greatest degree of accuracy!

In order to accurately measure the mattress, a measuring tape is necessary. Cutting lines drawn with a sharpie are more accurate. Inexperienced mattress-cutting techniques can result in disastrous results if you don’t have the proper tools.

If you don’t already have these tools, you may want to get a seam ripper, a sewing kit, and plywood to brace the mattress while you cut. Use a paring knife on any cuts that have ragged edges to remove the superfluous material.
How To Cut Up a Mattress - 6 Easy Steps | Sleep Advisor

Can I throw away my cut-up foam mattress?

Every year, almost 20 million mattresses are disposed of in the United States! Demand for new bedding has led to a rise in the number of mattresses being disposed of.

Mattresses currently on the market in the United States cover an area of about 132,000 square miles. Can you dispose of your cut-up foam mattress?

Yes, but it’s a little more difficult than that. It all depends on where you live in terms of environmental regulations. State and municipal governments have enacted rigorous regulations on what materials can be thrown away, as well as how much of the materials can be taken to the nearest bulk item drop-off location.

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

A smart practice is to locate an eco-friendly approach to cut up a mattress, whether for refurbishment or removal.

Recycling mattresses has become second nature in an increasing number of states as a result of the implementation of strict waste disposal regulations. Donating a mattress to an organization like Goodwill or Salvation Army is another option. Disposing of the smaller parts at a local recycling center is an important part of cutting up an old foam mattress for recycling.


When you recycle a bed, you’re not only helping the environment, but you’re also getting rid of outdated bedding that you don’t need any more. Getting started can be a bit frightening, but with a few pointers, you should be OK.

It’s hoped that after reading this tutorial, you’ll have a clear idea of what to do and how to go about it. With the necessary equipment and safeguards, you should be OK. Make sure you don’t injure yourself and that everything goes as planned.

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