How to dispose of a mattress
Knowing when to get rid of a mattress can be as difficult as knowing how. Our guide to disposing mattresses explains all you need to know.
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Buying a new mattress will set you back anywhere between a few hundred and a few thousand pounds, so parting with even more cash to dispose of your old mattress is probably the last thing you want.
But finding a way to dispose of a mattress for free is no mean feat, especially if you want to get rid of it in a responsible way. According to a report by the National Bed Federation (NBF), 6.8 million replacement mattresses were sold in 2015, while only 879,000 were recycled. That’s a recycling rate of just 13%, which is down from 16% in 2014.
Far too many mattresses end up in landfill sites. Not only is this bad for the environment, but, given the bulky nature of mattresses, it’s also unsustainable. Many of the mattresses in landfill could have been recycled or reused. Keep reading for expert advice on how long a mattress should last and how to get rid of it once it’s passed its best.
In the market for a new bed? Take a look at ourBest Buy mattresses.
In this article:
How often should you change your mattress?
If you can’t remember how many years you’ve had your mattress, the chances are it’s time for a new one. It’s all too easy to lose track of how long you’ve been sleeping on it and, even if it still feels comfortable, it’s likely to be less supportive and less hygienic than when it was new.
The Sleep Council recommends replacing your mattress as often as every seven years, because after that time the mattress will have been subjected to more than 20,000 hours of use. That’s the equivalent of 2,555 nights – which is a lot when you consider that adults lose an average of half a pint of fluid each night and shed a pound of dead skin cells each year.
But our own durability tests reveal that the best mattresses can last up to a decade without softening, sagging or becoming less supportive. So, provided you buy a good mattress and clean it regularly, you may only have to change it every 10 years.
Find out how long different type of mattress should last below, or go to our guide on how to clean a mattress.
How long should a mattress last?
Nearly half of Which? members expect a new mattress to last more than a decade, according to a November 2017 survey of 902 members. We reckon that’s pretty optimistic, not least because there are some common misconceptions about the lifespan of a mattress.
Only one in five Which? members think a mattress will last longer if it’s bought as part of a set with a new bed base. Although buying a new bed frame is no guarantee your new mattress will last, using an old or incorrect bed frame with your new mattress certainly isn’t going to lengthen its lifespan and it may well also invalidate your warranty. Take a look at our top 10 bed shopping tips.
Some 46% of members also thought that the more you spend on a mattress the longer it is likely to last. While investing in an expensive mattress will likely mean you get better-quality fabrics and fillings, it is no guarantee of a longer lifespan. We’ve tested £200 Best Buy mattresses that perform better in our durability tests than mattresses costing more than 10 times as much.
Finally, fewer than two in 10 members agreed that foam mattresses are more durable and longer lasting than spring mattresses.
How long does a pocket sprung mattress last?
A good pocket sprung mattress should comfortably last between 8 and 10 years. Of the 49 spring mattress we’ve tested, 59% of them earn more than four stars in our tough durability tests.
After measuring the height, firmness and supportiveness of every mattress we test, we then simulate up to a decade of use by rolling a heavy barrel over the mattress 30,000 times. To do well in our durability tests, a mattress must maintain its supportiveness, firmness and height.
Our pick of the top pocket-sprung mattresses will help you pick out a long-lasting option, but you have to do your bit, too. To maximise the life of your pocket-sprung mattress, it’s essential that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to rotating or turning the mattress.
How long does a memory foam mattress last?
Memory foam mattresses tend to perform well in our durability tests. Of the 26 memory foam, foam and latex mattresses we’ve reviewed, 93% of them score more than four stars in our lifespan test.
However, we’ve also uncovered a memory foam mattress that failed our durability test completely, making it the only Don’t Buy mattress we’ve reviewed.
And just because you buy a memory foam mattress doesn’t mean that you don’t still need to rotate it regularly, so there’s no less maintenance than a pocket-sprung option.
All in all, we wouldn’t recommend buying a memory foam mattress solely for the durability, unless it provides the supportiveness and comfort you’re looking for as well.
How to get rid of a mattress
You may be surprised by how many different ways you can dispose of your mattress. There are at least 10 different options, but some of them are expensive, environmentally damaging and even illegal, so picking the best way to get rid of your mattress can be difficult.
Will the council collect my mattress?
Most, if not all, local councils offer a bulky waste collection and disposal service, which includes beds and mattresses. But it can be surprisingly expensive and there’s often no guarantee your mattress won’t end up in landfill – many local authorities simply say that they will recycle some or all of the waste where possible.
Some councils, such as Oxford City Council, Liverpool City Council and the London Borough of Merton, offer free mattress collection, but they’re very much in the minority. Most councils charge a fee to collect bulky waste and it can be expensive – the likes of Argyll and Bute Council and Wealden District Council charge more than £50 for the service, for example.
If you live in England or Wales, you can find out how much your council will charge for bulky waste disposal by typing your postcode into the gov.uk website. If you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland, go to your council’s website and search for bulky waste disposal.
Having the council collect your mattress from your home can be convenient, but make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully. Many councils charge for the number of bulky items they’ll be collecting, but bear in mind that a bed frame and a mattress will likely count as at least two items. And items will often only be collected if they’re left in a designated spot outside the house.
Will the local tip take a mattress?
The local tip will take your old mattress, but to get it there you’ll need a vehicle big enough to fit it in. If the boot of your car isn’t big enough to fit the mattress when flat, you may find that it fits if you roll the mattress up as best as possible and fasten it using some rope.
But that’s a lot of effort to go to when the mattress may well just end up in landfill anyway. You may decide you’d rather go to the extra effort of taking it to a dedicated recycling facility, or decide you’d rather pay for the convenience of the council or a specialist disposal company coming to collect it from your house.
Can you recycle a mattress?
At the very least, some parts of your mattress will be recyclable, and it’s possible that all of it will be. And yet, according to The Furniture Recycling Group, Wembley Stadium could be filled five times with the 7.5 million mattresses that are discarded in the UK every year.
While mattress recycling is relatively labour-intensive, more and more facilities capable of doing this work are springing up around the UK. These facilities will break down your mattress into its recyclable components – springs can then be melted down and remade into new metal products, while synthetic layers such as foam can either be used to make carpet underlay or else can be sent to a plant where the waste can at least be converted into energy.
Aside from taking your old mattress to your nearest recycling centre yourself, the best way to ensure your mattress is recycled is to pay for it to be collected. But whether you use the local council, the company delivering your new mattress or a specialist mattress removal company, make sure it is clearly stated that the mattress will be recycled. Otherwise, it’s probably best to assume that it won’t be.
Can you pay a company to pick up a mattress?
Four in ten Which? members disposed of their last mattress by having the company delivering their replacement mattress collect it, according to our November 2017 survey of 902 respondents.
That’s perhaps not surprising given the number of major high-street retailers now offering this service. Argos and Ikea, for example, both offer to collect and recycle your old mattress for a fee of £20 when you buy a new mattress from them. John Lewis offers a similar service, charging new mattress customers a fee of £29.95 to responsibly dispose of their old mattress.
Bed-in-a-box mattress brands such as Casper and Emma also offer an old mattress collection service for customers.
But getting the retailer to collect your old mattress when they deliver the new one is only convenient if you’re sure that the new mattress is the one for you. Otherwise you’ll be left without a bed at all if you later decide to return it. If you’re in any doubt, specialist mattress companies such as Collect Your Old Bed can pick up and dispose of your old mattress at a time of your choosing. But it’s always worth making sure the company actually recycles the mattress. We’d also recommend checking how much your local council charge before paying for one of these services, or else you risk paying over the odds.
See our list of thebest mattress retailersfor more information.
Can you donate a mattress?
If your mattress is still in good condition, you should consider donating it to charity or giving it away for free. That way you can help someone in need as well as ensuring that it doesn’t end up in landfill.
Organisations such as British Heart Foundation and British Red Cross will resell your mattress and put the proceeds towards a good cause. Other organisations, such as Furniture Donation Network, directly give your mattress to someone in need. Several other charities also accept mattress donations, so if there is a cause you particularly want to support, it’s worth contacting the charity directly.
As a general rule, these organisations will collect your mattress free of charge, but they may request you send images first to prove that it is of acceptable quality. Any organisation accepting a mattress donation will expect it to be fit for use, clean and have a fire label intact.
Another way to ensure your mattress stays out of landfill sites is to use a non-profit initiative such as Freecycle, which will put you in touch with someone in the local area looking for a free second-hand mattress.
Are there any other ways to dispose of a mattress?
There are several other ways to get rid of a mattress, but we wouldn’t recommend most of them.
Although 1% of Which? members told us they disposed of their last mattress by burning it, we don’t advise it. Not only is a mattress fire hard to control, but the fumes released by the fire could also be damaging to both you and the environment.
If you happen to be renting a skip and don’t mind your mattress contributing to a worsening landfill problem, then you can get rid of your old mattress using a skip.
But you should never dispose of your mattress by putting it in someone else’s skip or, worse yet, simply abandoning it on the side of the road. As well as both being anti-social and environmentally harmful, fly tipping is illegal and can result in a large fine.
Now that you know how to dispose of your old mattress, find out how to buy the best new mattress to replace it with.
How to Get Rid of My Old Mattress
The Better Sleep Council suggests that most used mattresses are not in good enough condition to pass along to another person. Make sure the bed is clean, sturdy and provides good support before you donate it or sell it.
Sleeping on a sagging, lumpy mattress doesn’t do your back any favors, and a poor night’s sleep can interfere with your waking life. When it’s time to replace your mattress, invest in a comfortable new one, but don’t simply throw the old one away. If you leave it out with the trash, you might find it lingering on the sidewalk at the end of the day — mattresses are too large for many municipal trash collectors to pick up as part of their daily route. Besides, a mattress that no longer serves you might still be useful to others.
Contact your local thrift store or community charity to see if they take old mattresses. If your mattress is in terrible condition, don’t pass it along to others, but if it’s still useable, charities and thrift stores might want it. Some organizations are able to collect large items such as mattresses from you; others need you to bring the mattress to them.
Place a "For Sale" ad in your local newspaper or on a classifieds website such as recycler.com or craigslist.org. Used mattresses generally sell quite cheaply on such sites, so don’t expect to make much money. However, if you specify in the ad that you are unable to deliver, the responsibility of finding an appropriate vehicle to move the mattress falls to the other party.
Look up mattress recyclers in your area in the phone book or on a database website such as Earth911.org. Recycling mattresses is a specialty industry, so there might not be a facility in your area. If there is one, take your old mattress there, particularly if the mattress is no longer in good enough condition for someone else to use.
Ask the retailer who sells you your new mattress whether he can collect your old mattress. Many retailers can remove used mattresses when they deliver the new ones, often for free.
Call your local municipal trash collector and schedule a time for a large-item pickup if all else fails. Meet the trash collector on your curb at the determined time and give him the old mattress for disposal.
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You can expect a new mattress to last between 7 and 10 years. Once it starts to sag or feel uncomfortable, it’s time to get rid of your old mattress and there are several good ways to do so in the UK. The four most popular methods of mattress disposal are: having it collected from your home; recycling it; selling it or donating your old mattress to charity.
1. Have your mattress collected from home
This is by far the most convenient method, but there are some important points to consider.
Some councils offer a mattress collection service; you can find out whether your local council does so, and how much they charge, via https://www.gov.uk/recycling-collections. Not all councils offer this service, though, and many mattresses collected by the council for disposal end up in landfill sites, as not all councils are able to recycle old mattresses.
Alternatively, we offer a UK-wide mattress collection and recycling service: every part of your old mattress (including springs and stuffing) can be recycled to be reused in all sorts of products, from home insulation to car seats.
We can provide this service whether or not you are buying a new mattress from us:
– if you’re buying a new mattress from us, let us take your old one away for recycling;
– if you have an old mattress that you’re not replacing with a new one, we can take it away from anywhere in the UK and ensure that it doesn’t end up in landfill.
2. Recycle your mattress
Recycling your old mattress is a responsible means of mattress disposal. You can do this via our collection service: we will ensure that your mattress is broken down properly and used in all sorts of new ways.
You can also recycle your mattress yourself via a recycling centre.
Some council recycling centres are able to accept mattresses, but check on their website beforehand to avoid a wasted journey. Unfortunately, many council tips will only accept them as general waste to be added to landfill.
Once you’ve found a recycling centre that will accept it, you’ll need to ensure that you have a way of safely transporting your mattress to the centre (or your council might be able to collect it from your home – see above): this may mean you’ll need to hire a van or tie it safely and securely to the roof of your car.
3. Sell your mattress
If your mattress is in good condition (i.e. it still holds its shape and there are no stains) you may be able to dispose of it by selling it via the usual online selling platforms (eBay, Shpock, Preloved and Gumtree, for example). Be honest about its condition and stipulate how it will reach the buyer – will you deliver locally, will the buyer need to collect, or can you arrange a courier?
Check other sellers’ prices for similar mattresses (pocket sprung mattresses may sell for less than memory foam ones, for example) and price accordingly. As a rule of thumb, mattresses tend to sell for around 20-30% of their original price.
4. Donate your mattress to charity
Good quality mattresses are often needed by charities, making this a really good means of disposal. If you have a local charity that you are keen to support, phone or email them to ask whether they accept donations of mattresses and, if so, whether they are able to collect yours from home. Alternatively, search online for local or national charities that will accept donations of good quality mattresses; the Salvation Army, British Heart Foundation and Red Cross will usually accept them, as will local housing charities. Some charity shops will accept them to resell in order to raise funds, though you may need to arrange delivery to the shop yourself.
Don’t throw out your old mattress
Simply taking your mattress to the tip, leaving it on waste ground (which is fly-tipping, and illegal) or burning it are not sustainable or responsible means of mattress disposal. Instead, choosing any of the options above will ensure that your mattress doesn’t end up in landfill or cause harm to the environment.
If you would like us to collect your old mattress and recycle it, call us, chat with us online or email us wherever you are in the UK. If you’re interested in buying a new mattress from us, let us know if you’d like us to dispose of your old mattress when we bring your new one.
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How to Get Rid of An Old Mattress: 10 Eco-Friendly Ways
Posted onAug 03, 2017
We all know the golden rule of mattress shopping: don’t get rid of your old mattress before your new one arrives. So, what happens when your new Memory Foam Warehouse mattress has been delivered and unrolled?
Although heading to the dump can be tempting when you’re short on time, there are plenty of cheap, easy and environmentally friendly ways to get rid of your old mattress. We’ve got 10 simple ideas for you onhow to get rid of an old mattressthe eco way.
So, before the urge to chuck your pre-loved mattress into landfill takes hold, consider this.
Before you throw out your old mattress, take a look at these mattress facts;
- The second most common way of disposing of an old mattress is taking it to the tip (Which)
- In 2016, old mattresses accounted for an estimated 215,000 tonnes of UK landfill waste (Centre for Remanufacturing & Reuse)
- 1 in 10 people who are in serious debt don’t have a bed (BBC News, 2017)
- 10 million household items are sent to UK landfill every year, 3 million of which are fit for re-use (Furniture Donation Network)
So, what’s the alternative? The 10 charities and organisations listed below provide the chance for your old mattress to live a second life, providing comfort and support to those who need it most – and they all offer free collection!
But first, let’s check if you’re ready for a new mattress.
How Often Should You Change Your Mattress?
The average lifespan of a mattress depends on the type of mattress, its quality and how you look after it. Here’s how long you should expect a good quality mattress to last;
A good quality memory foam mattress should last up to 15 years! The higher the quality of memory foam, the longer it will last. Rotating your mattress from head to foot regularly and using a mattress protector will help prolong the life of your mattress.
Pocket sprung mattresses should last around 8-10 years. Keeping the same mattress for longer than this period can start to cause health issues. As the coils sag over time, the mattress becomes less supportive.
How to Tell if Your Mattress Needs Changing
Here’s a few warning signs that it’s time for an update!
- Your mattress is over 10 years old
- You wake up feeling tired
- You wake up feeling achy or in pain
- If your spring mattress starts to squeak or creak
- If you notice dips or sagging
- If you experience a dust allergy outbreak
- If you gain or lose a significant amount of weight you may need a mattress of a different density
Can Mattresses Be Recycled?
The short answer- yes! Most mattresses are made of recyclable materials. Everything from the springs to foams and fillings can be disassembled and reused as carpet underlay or pet cushions. This recycling process takes place at different recycling centers dedicated to different materials.
Who takes old mattresses?
You don’t have to disassemble and dispose of your mattress yourself. There are plenty of collection services that can do the hard work for you;
Most local councils will come and take your old mattress away for a fee if you leave it outside your house.
The Memory Foam Warehouse Collection Service
Want to make the swap as efficient as possible? Select the ‘Two Man Delivery and Recycling’ option when purchasing your new mattress online and we’ll take the old one away and recycle it responsibly.
Do Charity Shops Take Bedding and Mattresses?
It depends on the charity organisation as to whether they will accept your old mattress and bedding. Plenty of charity shops will take old mattresses, read on to find out which ones!
How to get rid of an old bed and mattress for free
We’ve got 10 eco-friendly ways to say goodbye to your old mattress for free. These organisations accept mattress donations to help make someone’s life a little comfier;
1. British Heart Foundation
If your old mattress fulfils the requirements, the British Heart Foundation will dispatch a van to come and take it off your hands. Your mattress will be sold in a second-hand store to support the fight against Coronary Heart Disease, the UK’s single biggest killer. Collection is free and can be organised online or over the phone.
Requirements: Mattress must be clean, fit for use, and have a fire label intact.
2. Furniture Donation Network
With your donations, The Furniture Donation Network helps previously homeless people furnish their new accommodation. Just fill in the online form, send clear images of your donations and, when approved, arrange a time slot for your free collection. These guys even collect from inside your home, which means you don’t have to tackle the stairs.
Requirements: Mattress must be in very good or excellent condition with a manufacturer fire-safety label intact referring to fire safety standard BS7177.
3. British Red Cross
The British Red Cross collects old mattresses to resell in its second-hand furniture and electrical stores, which are dotted across the UK. Items sold raise money to help people in crisis, both in the UK and abroad, with recent efforts including the Grenfell Tower disaster. Contact your local Red Cross second-hand furniture and electrical shop to find out if free collection is available in your area.
Requirements: Mattress must have a manufacturer label stating, ‘Carelessness causes fire’ and/or compliance with fire and safety regulation BS7177.
4. Stella’s Voice UK
Stella’s Voice UK is an organisation working to end human trafficking and sex slavery. Free collection of old mattresses in spotless condition can be arranged in Hampshire and Aberdeen, and there are plans in progress to expand this service. Fill in the online form to arrange.
Requirements: Mattress must be in spotless condition with a fire safety label intact.
This community project provides work and accommodation for over 750 people in the UK who, in return, promise to refrain from substance abuse, violence and claiming state benefits. There are 29 Emmaus hubs across the country, each of which has different guidelines for donating mattresses. But generally, free collection is available.
Requirements: Mattress must be clean, saleable and have a manufacturer fire safety label intact.
Spend 5 minutes setting up a Gumtree account and access a free online platform to advertise your pre-loved mattress to people in your local area. What we like about Gumtree are the clear rules regarding the format of advertisements to protect users from spam and misleading descriptions.
Requirements: Mattress adverts must have clear images which truthfully represent your product, and we strongly recommend that fire safety labels are intact.
7. Furniture Re-use Network
For a poverty-stricken family, your donated mattress could be the difference between sleeping on the floor. Furniture Re-use Network provides free collection and works with 200 charities across the country to make sure your pre-loved mattress provides comfort for someone in need.
Requirements: Mattress must be in pristine condition with fire label intact.
8. Mustard Tree, Manchester
Looking to support a local cause? Major cities with independent charities are always looking for donations. The Mustard Tree sells pre-loved mattresses, duvets and pillows in pristine condition to combat poverty and homelessness in Manchester. Call to arrange your free collection.
Requirements: Mattress must be in pristine condition with fire label intact.
9. The Shelter Trust, Jersey
For outlying islands, local shelters should be your first port of call. In Jersey, The Shelter Trust passes second-hand furniture to members of the local community who are in need. Unfortunately, lack of storage means the Trust can only accept your old mattress if there’s demand, but if there is, they’ll collect it free of charge and pass it on.
Requirements: Mattresses must be clean, hygienic and with a fire safety label intact.
10. The Freecycle Network
This free, online marketplace allows you to find, donate and exchange second-hand goods with people in your local area. Simply search by location, list your old mattress ad, and when someone snaps up your offer, arrange a time for them to come and take it off your hands.
Requirements: There aren’t any requirements listed on the website, so it’s a case of being honest about the condition and uploading images alongside your post but we recommend that your mattress has fire safety labels intact.
Switching Your Mattress
Next time you’re planning on buying a new mattress, consider an environmentally friendly course of action! For future reference, Memory Foam Warehouse offer a paid mattress removal service. Simply select the relevant delivery option when you’re checking out online and we’ll collect it hassle free!
In the meantime, browse our range of memory foam mattresses to find your perfect mattress update.
How to Get Rid of an Old Mattress
by T&N Team | June 28, 2017 | Filed under: Guides
At least once in your lifetime, you’ll experience the question of what to do with an old mattress. Whether it’s a hand-me-down mattress full of gunk, or the thousand-dollar mattress that doesn’t have the sleep-inducing magic your salesperson promised—learning what to do with an old mattress you no longer want or need can be a headache-saver. Understanding your mattress disposal options when it comes to donating, repurposing, and recycling a mattress can simplify this process so you’ll have more time (and space) for the things you love.
There are some challenges to keep in mind:
- Mattress removal services differ from company to company. Some mattress stores offer removal with purchase, but the cost of this “free” service may be hidden in the high price tag.
- There are laws—strict regulations prohibiting or limiting what people can do with their old mattresses. Your state’s Department of Health Services can be a great resource for all mattress-related questions or concerns.
- Transporting a large, heavy mattress isn’t practical for a lot of people. There are areas where bulk trash pickup is offered at certain times of the year, but it’s not always available when you need it.
It can feel overwhelming finding a way to get rid of an old mattress, but don’t worry. Take a deep breath and let’s consider your mattress removal options.
Getting StartedBefore deciding where to get rid of old mattress or other bedtime-associated items beyond their prime is determining the condition of the mattress. Remove all sheets and accessories, and take a close look at your mattress.
According to the Mattress Recycling Council, “more than 50,000 mattresses end up in landfills each day.” To help reduce this rapid pileup, donate mattresses in good used condition—no rips, tears, or stains. For those mattresses you’ve had for a while or aren’t in a condition to donate, we’ll go through your mattress disposal options below.
DonateCheck to see if friends or family want your old mattress or if any local churches have members in need. If you feel comfortable, post on websites like FreeCycle or Craigslist—someone in your community might appreciate your kind offer.
While every organization is different, there are places that accept mattress donations and offer free pickup. In fact, as part of Tuft & Needle’s 100-Night Sleep Trial, customers are encouraged to donate their “returned” mattress to a local charity or non-profit organization. They have the opportunity to make a difference in their communities and still receive their full refund.
Keep in mind that charitable organizations that accept mattresses require them to be in good used condition. Be sure to provide a clear and honest description, and consider taking photos of the mattress if setting up donation arrangements.
Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul, and Habitat for Humanity are examples of bigger organizations that accept mattresses in many parts of the country. To search for donation locations in your area, type “mattress donations in [your zip code]” into Google or another search engine.
Be mindful of varying donation requirements. Some places only accept certain sizes, or require mattresses to be donated with frames or foundations. Waterbeds, mattresses manufactured before a certain year, or beds missing their MFG labels (manufacturer labels) may not be accepted.
When in doubt, contact an organization. Sometimes furniture and large item donations are put on pause if there is limited space and volunteers, but if you’re willing to be flexible, many charities will work closely with you to find the mattress a new home.
RepurposeGive new life to a tired old mattress. Your mattress could be reused in a guest room or play space, or become a bed for your fur babies. Let your ingenuity decide, but don’t rule out Pinterest and other DIY sites for ideas.
RecycleIf your mattress is past its prime, look into responsible disposal options.
Mattress disposal initiatives are slowly sprouting around the country. For example, the Bye Bye Mattress recycling program currently active in California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island is working toward funding proper mattress recycling and reducing waste buildup.
Check out the Bye Bye Mattress website for helpful resources or Wayfair’s furniture disposal tool if you need help finding places to get rid of your mattress. You should also research bulk trash options in your city or consider hiring a company like 1-800-GOT-JUNK? that offers removal services for a fee.
If the reason for removal is bed bugs, seek professional help to ensure proper handling and disposal. For more information, visit the Environmental Protection Agency website here.