Are Rebuilt Mattresses Safe?

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Outwardly, a new mattress and a rebuilt mattress may look the same.

Rebuilt mattresses are mattresses that are either repaired or outfitted with new components. The work is done by a number of companies nationwide that specialize in recycling post-consumer mattresses. One benefit of rebuilt mattresses is their lower cost. They are primarily sold at thrift stores, swap meets or used furniture stores, often in lower-income neighborhoods. Whether or not a rebuilt mattress is safe for new owners depends on how strict of a rebuilding process it underwent.

What's a Rebuilt Mattress?

During the rebuilding process, workers strip away the fabric of a used mattress to reveal the metal frame and springs underneath. They inspect these components for stability and either repair or replace them, depending on their condition. Rebuilders install new filling, such as foam, and install a new cover over the frame and springs. They then sterilize the mattress, using either heat or chemicals.

Rebuilt Mattress Safety

As long as the proper steps in rebuilding a used mattress are strictly followed, the rebuilt mattress is safe and poses no danger to new sleepers who use it. However, it's advisable to inspect the rebuilt mattress for visible stains before purchasing it. Also examine it for labels that verify it meets federal flammability standards. Federal law requires that a mattress containing used stuffing must have an attached label that tells the consumer this information. The Federal Trade Commission recommends taking your business elsewhere if a retailer's mattresses does not carry this label.

Additional Rebuilt Mattress Benefits

Rebuilding mattresses is essentially a form of recycling that keeps the components out of landfills. Just like the new mattresses that they are generally cheaper than, correctly rebuilt and properly sanitized mattresses are also are clean and free of bedbugs. The same isn't necessarily true of used mattresses that are not rebuilt but, for instance, simply placed on a curb or donated.


Different states have different guidelines governing mattress rebuilding and labeling. California stands out as the state with the tightest guidelines and regulations for rebuilt mattresses, and some businesses in other states get their rebuilt mattresses from California. No matter where you live, you can take steps to protect yourself. Wrap a rebuilt mattress in a protective plastic liner if you have any doubts about its cleanliness to keep possible germs or tiny parasites away from your skin when you are on it. If you want to file a complaint against a retailer that sold you a rebuilt mattress without informing you beforehand that it was rebuilt, or that sold you a mattress that violated regulations, call your state's department of consumer affairs or similar agency.


Christopher John

Christopher John has been a freelance journalist since 2003. He has written for regional newspapers such as "The Metro Forum" and the "West Tennessee Examiner." John has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Memphis State University.