I'm possibly selling a used mattress (plead the 5th) and to my surprise was told that it's illegal! I've never heard this before. It seems that many others are asking this question and have heard it too:

None but the Pennsylvania question seems to have a definitive answer.

Is it illegal to sell a [for simplicity's sake, non-stained, not-known-to-be-infested, etc.] used mattress?

Feel free to differentiate between person-to-person sales vs. via a business if the requirements differ. If, as one of the Wiki answers posts states, this might be state dependent, a summary of which states (or countries) allow/disallow this would be neat to have.

  • I think that if you specifically state that it is used to whoever is buying it you are fine. but you might just want to send it to a recycling plant May 26, 2012 at 17:33
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    From the Federal Trade Commission: ... in most parts of the country, used mattresses can be resold as long as they meet certain labeling and processing requirements.
    – Oliver_C
    May 26, 2012 at 21:32
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    @Oliver_C: and the "certain labeling and processing requirements" are? And is this addressed to regular folks or stores?
    – Hendy
    May 26, 2012 at 22:36
  • @Hendy - Click the link, it varies by state, e.g. New York. Another FTC link.
    – Oliver_C
    May 27, 2012 at 11:48
  • @Oliver_C: The original FTC link above makes the statement you suggestion, however if you read further, the labeling requirement is so that you know if it's new or used. I've stated it's used... this makes me wonder if this is geared toward stores. Also, the NY link simply states that used can't be transported with new unless they've been sanitized... they don't address selling.
    – Hendy
    May 27, 2012 at 15:19

1 Answer 1


For starters, like almost every question that begins "is it illegal", the real answers are always:

  1. It depends on where you live, so
  2. Ask an actual lawyer.

Having said that, it is not illegal to sell a used mattress in any United States jurisdiction that I know of. However, most states have restrictions on what you can and can't do when selling used mattresses, primarily involving fraud or health concerns.

For people who sell bedding as a business, the rules are rather strict, frequently requiring licensing from the Health Department, among other things. Many states (20 as of 2/10/2013) are part of a national cooperative, the International Association of Bedding and Furniture Law Officials, that attempts to synchronize bedding laws. You can read all the various requirements that member states adhere to on their site.

For a consumer selling bedding to another consumer, you avoid many of the regulations. What's left typically boils down to two things:

(2) Any secondhand mattress, pillow, bolster, featherbed or comfortable, unless since last used it has been thoroughly sterilized and disinfected by a reasonable process approved by the Department of Health and Social Services.

  • 3
    Note that laws typically require sterilization which is nothing like mere sanitizing. Oct 17, 2016 at 17:11
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    "leasing used mattresses" So you return the mattress with a certain number of hours slept on it? How does this work?
    – Anoplexian
    Oct 17, 2016 at 22:25
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    FYI, any time you ask a lawyer if something is illegal, they tell you "safer not to try it".
    – piojo
    Aug 19, 2019 at 2:26
  • @Anoplexian yes, you can now lease beds and mattresses, and other furniture. Silly as it sounds... Lease is for a number of months or years, not hours used.
    – jwenting
    Aug 20, 2019 at 3:39

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