How Are Used Mattresses Sanitized

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Shopping for Used Mattresses

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Buying a mattress? Factors to consider may include soft or firm, innerspring or foam, new or used. Used? Yes, in most parts of the country, used mattresses can be resold as long as they meet certain labeling and processing requirements.

Bedding can be expensive. It’s important to know what you’re buying. The easiest way to tell if you’re buying new or used is to look at the label attached to the mattress. In most cases, new mattresses will include a white tag or label that indicates that the mattress contains "all new materials, consisting of. " Depending on the state, used mattresses may contain a tag, sometimes red or yellow in color, that warns that the mattress contains used materials. Federal law requires that any mattress that contains used stuffing bear a tag or label with that information. If you don’t see any tag, consider doing business with another retailer. Otherwise, you simply don’t know what you’re buying.

Not all states have labeling requirements for the sale of used mattresses, and for those that do, the requirements can vary. For example, in many places, old mattresses that have been recovered with new ticking (strong, tightly woven cotton or linen fabric) can be sold as long as they are sanitized or disinfected in some way before sale. In other states, only certain parts of mattresses, such as the springs, can be reused. These rules apply to traditional retailers as well as to thrift, secondhand and consignment shops.

Mattress Shopping Tips:

  • Shop around. Mattress prices and quality vary greatly.
  • Ask if the retailer sells used bedding. If so, and you want a new mattress, make sure your mattress has a "new" mattress tag.
  • Make sure you look at the tag on the actual mattress you’re buying, either before you leave the store or before the delivery person leaves your house. Don’t let the heavy plastic wrapping stop you from looking for — and at — the tag.
  • Ask the retailer to write "new" on your sales receipt if you’ve been told you’re buying a new mattress. If it turns out that the mattress is used, you’ll have stronger recourse.
  • Avoid retailers with mattresses that don’t carry tags. You simply don’t know what you’re getting, regardless of what the salesperson claims. It’s what’s in writing that counts.
  • Ask about the retailer’s return and refund policies, and get copies in writing.

For More Information

The agency that regulates mattress labeling varies by state. To find out what the bedding laws are in your state, you may have to contact the State Departments of Health, Consumer Affairs, Agriculture or Licensing.

This article was previously available asMore Than Once Upon a Mattress: Used Bedding Labeling Rules.

Stains, bugs and body fluids found on ‘sanitized’ refurbished mattresses sold in Tampa Bay stores

TAMPA, Fla. — The ABC Action News I-Team is investigating the refurbished mattress industry, which experts believe may account for as much as 10 percent of all mattress sales.

These mattresses are made from parts of used mattresses, which are recovered, then sold in discount stores.

But are they really a big bargain?

We took our mattresses to Wholesale Mattress Warehouse in Tampa, which sells only new mattresses made by a fourth-generation Florida-based manufacturer.

"This is not a factory covering. I can tell because there are already holes in it," said store manager Lisa Morrison.

She says the plastic covering is much thinner than the ones that come on the mattresses she sell.

Morrison also noticed there were no labels on the refurbished mattresses.

"There should automatically be a label at the front of the back of your mattress," she said.

The tag should be white and declare it passes flammability tests and is made of all new materials.

Morrison said in recent months her store has heard from customers who were upset that they unknowingly bought refurbished mattresses from other stores.

In Florida, it’s legal to sell refurbished mattresses, which have new covers and are supposed to be sanitized. The people who make them claim they are "sanitized," but ABC Action News has discovered that might not always be happening.

The I-Team has uncovered that manufacturers and retailers aren’t always letting consumers know what really may be inside. And since nobody regularly polices existing regulations, mattress refurbishing operations can fly under the radar.

The problem? New mattresses can sell for hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Not everyone can afford to pay that much for a mattress, so customers flock to stores where they can get a better deal.

Payless Furniture, a family owned and operated discount furniture store in Tampa, sells refurbished mattress sets for $109. Customers, many of whom spent months sleeping on air mattresses, buy them at a rate of dozens of sets a day.

“They said this is a good bed,” said Ozzie James, who bought a new bed from the store.

But he said it broke within weeks. He says a rusty spring poked through the mattress cover.

“I slept on that thing for at least two years, unfortunately, while it was broken,” he said.

“Everything gives you the sign that it was brand new,” said a customer we followed from the store, who didn’t want to be identified because she was embarrassed that the mattress she bought was all she could afford.

Payless picks up loads daily and gets deliveries from Quisqueya Mattress Company, located on Nebraska Avenue. The mattresses come out with new covers and in plastic bags.

But we wanted to see what was really inside, so we bought mattresses we saw made at the factory, then delivered to Payless. The mattresses are cobbled together piece-by-piece from parts of other used mattresses. New foam and some new batting is used in the process, but springs and other materials used in the manufacturing process come from old mattresses.

“We pick them up, the used mattresses, to refurbish,” said Tony Parades, who operates Quisqueya Mattress Company with his brother Francisco Paredes.

They say they have refurbished mattresses for more than 20 years and are among the best in the business. They buy most of the mattresses they refurbish from Sears, which hauls them away from customers who buy new mattresses, the company says.

The company also sells them mattresses that were damaged during shipment.

During multiple days of surveillance at a Tampa refurbishing plant, we observed the company buy dozens of used mattresses from just about anybody who pulled up to their loading dock.

When asked whether it bothered them that the sellers may have picked up the old mattresses from trash piles, Tony Paredes said, “We don’t know. They’re just bringing them to us.”

We followed one of the sellers as he trolled apartment complexes looking for more mattresses.

Our camera was there as he pulled a box spring set out of a junk pile and threw it into his truck to sell.

The factory owners say only they refurbish the cleanest mattresses and box springs, then re-sell the rest to other used mattress sellers.

“The company I sell it to, they sell it too, making more money,” said Franciso Paredes. “It’s a big chain.”

During the manufacturing process, workers stuff mattresses with used materials and squirt them with a blue liquid they say sanitize them.

“That takes care of the whatever. Bacteria and stuff like that,” Tony Paredes said.

But does it?

We bought a refurbished mattress from a discount furniture store and asked forensic scientist Anna Cox to take it apart to see what was inside.

She used exam gloves, a microscope, a black light and a surgical scalpel in the process.

“Ok. You can see it here already. You can see it visually,” Cox said, pulling away the new outer cover.

As it was removed, she discovered “not so new” parts of old mattresses.

“You can see visually, from just removing this, how dirty this mattress is,” Cox said.

Cox has been a crime scene investigator for 20 years and now trains others in evidence collection.

“These appear to be different mattresses that are just patched together and you really don’t know the history,” she said.

The surfaces of old mattress covers, which are used as part of the batting for the refurbished mattresses, are filled with yellow stains.

“Could be sweat. Could be the excessive amount of skin cells,” Cox said.

She takes a photo of something shiny that looks like a bug.

“That looks like a hair,” she said, pointing out another piece of debris embedded in the old mattress cover.

Then she pulled out the black light, which she uses as a crime scene investigator to identify body fluids like urine, semen and sweat.

“Holy cow. That is super bright!” Cox exclaims as stains on the surface glow brightly.

“It’s very, very bright right here. Very bright,” Cox said.

“This would not live up to my expectation of something being sanitized,” Cox said.

We show the factory owners the pictures.

“We aren’t the only ones that sell to Payless,” said Tony Paredes. “He has different kinds of companies.”

Payless declined an on-camera interview, but one of the owners told us the Paredes’ factory currently supplies all of their re-manufactured mattresses. They say remanufactured mattresses sell well because it gives customers an alternative to sleeping on air mattresses or in sleeping bags. The Paredes’ also point out that recycling old mattresses keeps debris out of the landfill.

But it appears they aren’t currently following Florida’s law.

The Bedding Label Act says: “All bedding manufactured and sold in the state that contains any previously used materials must bear a conspicuous label notifying the consumer of that fact.”

“Right now, I don’t have a tag on those,” Tony Paredes said, pointing to his mattresses.

He says his company ran out of tags and hasn’t yet received new ones from the vendor.

“The good thing is that we don’t sell as new, we sell as refurbished,” Tony Paredes said, although it’s unclear how consumers are supposed to know what’s inside if they don’t have the required label.

Each offense is a misdemeanor, punishable by a $500 fine and 60 days in jail, but nobody’s investigating.

The Florida Attorney General’s Office is the state mattress police.

Their Press Secretary says no action has been taken against the manufacturer or retailer because they haven’t received any complaints.

They say if you believe a used or renovated mattress is being sold “as new” or without the proper label, you can file a complaint with the Florida Attorney General at [] or by calling 1-866-966-7226.

“It’s really wrong and it’s also disgusting,” Ozzie James says of the refurbished mattress industry.

Is It Safe To Use A Hand Me Down Mattress?

Are you worried about the safety of a hand me down mattress?

When thinking about second hand mattresses you really may want to think again before accepting one. Look back to the day parents and grandparents often would hand down their old mattress to their children or grandchildren and ask yourself is this really a good idea?

Today there are even more resources to locate used mattresses through community type websites like Craigs List, Backpage and Freecycle. Landfills don’t want them, buyers of new mattresses don’t want them, and most people in general don’t want them yet people knowingly or unknowingly are taking the risk.

One reason may be our checking account which can benefit the most from sleeping on a used mattress not to mention landfills won’t complain considering today’s environmental concerns of composting issues, and lack of space. One big advantage for persons buying a used mattress is that they should have weathered the storm from potentially harmful VOC’s often found in new mattresses because they have had years to off gas. This seems to make a pretty solid case for why a person might want to buy a used mattress but as we look deeper into this subject we find another side to this story.

Used mattresses dangers and concerns

Concerns of dust mites for mattresses are a potential danger just like the well publicized old stuffed animals for kids. Mattresses are different from a child’s stuffed animal which can be tossed in a dryer or place in a freezer for a couple days to kill dust mites. In addition to dustmites old mattresses can and usually are full of mold or mildew an obvious health hazard. After looking at a mattress under the microscope we think you would gracefully say no thank you to the free or cheap mattresses which can be so easily obtained.

Other more obvious signs are worn and stained surface materials which also can severely affect allergies and breathing. Mattress odor is another more obvious sign that can be a combination of many things. Perspiration, body oils, blood, urine, saliva can be absorbed in to what is essentially a giant sponge making old mattress a haven for germs and bacteria. In addition in mere 10 yrs. it can have absorbed 3000 liters of perspiration which is saturated salts.

Used mattresses have been responsible for allergies, sickness, and even deaths and should not be considered safe. Used mattresses are not allowed to be sold in most states without properly sanitized and the required law tagging. Mattress sagging is a dead giveaway of a mattress lacking proper support while less obvious wear stems from fatigued steel, foams, and padding which are underneath of what otherwise looks to be a very clean, unstained unworn mattress.

A healthy recommendation is a new mattress or one that has been properly sanitized and marked as such with a required law label. Please only accept a hand-me-down mattress from someone you know or trust and even then we are not recommending accepting such a mattress. Don’t ever buy a mattress from online sources mentioned above including yard sales and thrift stores.

Mattresses built before July 1 2007 do not meet the new standards put in place by the Consumer Products Safety Commission possible putting you or your child at risk in the case of fire.

Author: Douglas Belleville

Doug Belleville and his father Dave own and run STLBeds – a specialty sleep store located in Arnold, MO. The staff at STLBeds is highly educated about sleep, comfort and their special sleep products. STLBeds only carries high quality mattresses and bed-related products. You won’t find the brand names here – click here to find out why!

How to Disinfect and Sanitize Your Memory Foam Mattress

Last Updated on March 24th, 2020

Beyond cleaning you can keep your mattress fresh by disinfecting and sanitizing as well. Find out how by reading these tips from

Dust and particles will land on your mattress usually without you even seeing or detecting them. With so many people suffering from asthma and allergies it is imperative to assure that your mattress will not cause more harm to your health. These common allergens of dust mites pet dander, pollen and mold are irritants for sensitive eyes, noses and skin causing the health issues preventing you from having a comfortable sleep. Beyond your normal cleaning and removing of stains it is also important to keep your memory foam mattress investment fresh by disinfecting and sanitizing to ensure the best and most healthy sleep.

Dust Mites are little critters not seen by the naked eye but certainly can be felt in itchy eyes and runny noses. To combat this nasty allergen as well as other mattress enemies you will want to attack with heat. You may need someone to help with lifting and moving the mattress as you clean.

  1. Remove as much topical dust and dander as possible by vacuuming well using the crevice tools to get into every nook and cranny of the mattress top and sides.
  2. Use a garment or hand-held steamer, or rent a commercial steamer, and run the steam cleaner across the mattress surfaces making sure to get every inch or surface evenly using short bursts of steam. You do not want to use constant bursts of steam as this will result in soaking the mattress.
  3. It is a must to allow the mattress to dry completely before making it up and sleeping on it. Ventilate the room and turn on a fan to speed up the drying process

Antibacterial cleaners are exactly what they imply – they are designed to remove and prevent harmful bacteria. When choosing a spray or solution make sure that it is not bleach as this will harm the mattress fibers and covering. If using a liquid cleaner, then follow instructions mixing it with the proper amount of water advised. Place liquid solution into spray bottle.

  1. Be sure to vacuum bed surfaces thoroughly to remove as much topical dust and allergens as possible.
  2. Spray your disinfectant solution or antibacterial spray lightly across all surfaces of your mattress including top, bottom and sides. Dip a clean rag in warm water and ring it out as much as possible to wipe down all surfaces after they have been sprayed totally.
  3. Make sure that mattress has time to dry completely before setting it up to be made for sleep.

Yes, your common vodka is actually a great disinfectant not only for your mattress but for skin as well. You don’t need to spend top bucks on the most expensive since all vodkas will work the same when used for sanitizing.

  1. Make sure that all of the mattress surfaces have been completely vacuumed to clean off lose dirt and particles.
  2. Simply pour the vodka into a spray bottle and then lightly spray to cover all surfaces of the mattress with the vodka without soaking.
  3. Once finished spraying, make sure to allow mattress to dry completely before using it.

If you are suffering from intense allergies and need extra deep sanitizing, then you can go to an expert in cleaning mattresses. These businesses have special commercial grade machines and equipment made to attack specific allergens. In addition to steam cleaning, a mattress cleaning company should have the ability to use ultraviolet radiation that is harmful to microorganisms. The UV light breaks apart the DNA of the germ causing it to stop reproducing and die.

Once you have your fresh newly sanitized mattress be sure to keep it as clean as possible. Always lift the mattress off the floor placed on a platform or frame with foundation to keep germs, mold and dirt from accumulating under the mattress surface. Be sure to remake your bed weekly with sheets and bedding washed in hot water.

After undergoing three neck surgeries, Marc knew what it was like to live and sleep in constant pain. In 2001, after searching fruitlessly for a comfortable pillow and mattress that supported his neck and back. Read More

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