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To save money during uncertain times, some may be considering buying a used mattress from a friend, family member or a stranger online. While it may be tempting, I’m here to tell you why that may be a terrible idea. From health risks, to legal complications and warranty voids, there are plenty of reasons why you should stray away from buying a used mattress. 

The truth is that a new mattress can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead, consider a budget mattress you can sleep soundly on without having to worry where it’s been or what’s crawling on the inside. Below, I reveal the truth about used mattresses and offer wallet-friendly alternatives that are as comfy as they are clean. 

1. Bed bugs, dust mites and other horrors

Buying a used mattress means you’re also buying everything that’s built up inside it over time. Depending how old it is, a used mattress can be home to anything from 10,000 to 10 million dust mites and their droppings. Yikes. A used bed can also have a buildup of dead skin, pet dander and even mold. 

You also have to worry about bed bugs if you purchase a used mattress, especially from an online marketplace like Craigslist or Facebook. Bed bugs are small insects that feed on blood and often settle in furniture like mattresses, couches or chairs. You do not want a bed bug infestation in your home. 

Bed bugs are difficult to get rid of, feed on you (especially during the night hours) and may cause psychological effects like anxiety and depression. I once unknowingly moved into a house that had bed bugs in college. One month later, I moved out, had to throw away all my furniture, wash every piece of clothing I owned and spend thousands of dollars on purchasing new items. In the end, the stress isn’t worth the few hundred dollars you save on a used mattress – trust me. 

2. Existing lumps and sags

Mattresses go through normal wear and tear from being slept on each night. Over time, your body naturally leaves an impression, sags and beds generally become less supportive. Mattresses with significant lumps or sags can disrupt your sleep and lead to back pain. 

Even if the used bed you’re buying doesn’t have lumps, it will have a shorter shelf life. Foam beds usually last around five to seven years, while you can get about a decade from an innerspring or hybrid mattress. It also might be softer than you prefer; the more you sleep on a mattress, the softer it gets and the more it wears down. 

3. The warranty is voided

Most mattresses come with an average warranty that covers you for around 10 years. If you run into a manufacturer discount at any time during the decade, the warranty policy protects you and ensures the brand will cover damages. However, warranties are non-transferable. This means that even if your sister gives you her used mattress, you will not be protected by the same warranty she was. So if you run into a problem, that money has to come out of your pocket. 

4. It may be illegally sold  

It’s so ill-advised that you buy a used mattress that some states won’t even allow the sale of a used mattress. If they do, there are often many rules that come with that. Sometimes only certain parts of a mattress are allowed to be sold. Many states also require the original owner to properly sanitize the mattress before the sale. Additionally, some states rule that used mattress retailers must provide color-coded tags, indicating the mattress is used, but has been properly cleaned and sanitized. Check your state’s laws to see what they do and don’t allow when selling a used mattress. 

5. No risk-free trial 

The original owner had the luxury of a risk-free trial. That means if they didn’t like their mattress after purchasing, they have a certain amount of time to return the bed with no strings attached. Unfortunately, if you receive your used mattress and dislike the feel, there’s no getting your money back. 

Buying a new cheap mattress

Save yourself from the burden of buying and owning a (possibly sketchy) used mattress, and consider buying a new budget mattress. There are perfectly good mattresses for $400 or less such as the Lucid bed or Allswell mattress. Not only will your new bed be clean, but you’ll also have the additional perks of being the original mattress purchaser, like a risk-free trial and warranty. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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