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Would You Ever Buy a Used Mattress?

My current apartment is furnished with furniture thrifted from Craiglist, IKEA pieces, or hand-me-downs from the parents. In fact, our place has no piece of furniture that costs us more than $100.

Now that I am moving across the country, I will need at least new furniture in my bedroom: a bed frame, mattress, desk, etc.

For one split, fleeting second, I considered buying a used mattress off a graduating MBA student. Then I realized that my fear of bedbugs overwhelms my desire to save money. In fact, even my mother (who is the most dedicated saver I know), counseled me against buying used furniture because of the pain and hassle that comes from a bedbug infestation. That stuff is no joke.

Fortunately, Overstock has some bedframes and mattresses for $200 each. That’s even cheaper than many IKEA options! The low prices mean that I can put together a bed & linens for under $500. I can afford it, and I will consider that an investment in my peace of mind. And when I fall asleep,¬†I shall dream of the $2,000 mattress I once tried and loved.

Would you ever buy a used mattress? How about if it’s from someone you know and trust? Or would the “ick” factor be too great to overcome?

  • addvodka - HECK no. I'd never buy a used mattress. That's like the ultimate no-no for me. We bought a new one in January for a great price (it was a boxing day sale) and it's wonderful. Best part is I don't have to worry about bedbugs! ReplyCancel

  • DontDebt - I have bought a used mattress before. It was from someone at the same employer as myself who was cleaning out his parents house as they were downsizing. This particular bed had been in a spare bedroom and grandkids or visitors had slept on it maybe once or twice a year. It was a really nice pillow top mattress and he even included the bed frame and headboard for $100 altogether. I don't know that I would do it again, unless the circumstances were very similar. ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - I don't think I could. I'm a HUGE germaphone. ReplyCancel

  • Carey - Good deals! I would advise against buying the cheapest mattress they offer though. There is a big difference in quality between a $200 mattress and a $400 mattress (Ikea sells some good ones). You'll be laying on it for 8 hours a day, so make sure it's comfortable. ReplyCancel

    • Well Heeled Blog - Based on your advice I'm going to loosen the purchase strings a bit! Maybe even double my original budget. ūüėČ ReplyCancel

  • Lance@MoneyLife&More - I don’t think I would ever buy a used mattress. I spend 1/3 of my life on it so I bought a quality comfortable mattress

    Best money I’ve ever spent. ReplyCancel

  • graddeals - No, owing to fear of bedbugs. ReplyCancel

  • jeff sustainlifeblog - Oh boy. I can say that I'd probably buy a used mattress, pending that I was in the market for one. I dont really have that many qualms about bedbugs (though I hear they are awful). When I was living in grad school, however my roommate (who was famous for owning nothing that couldnt fit in his car) was planning on sleeping on an air mattress. Well, soon after it popped, and he needed a new bed. Lucky for him, there had been a nice queen bed and box spring sitting in the alley for a few days, so him and I went and pulled it into the apartment. He bought about 4 cans of spray Lysol and sprayed it down a few times. I didnt really think that was that odd of a thing to do – though this was before the whole bed bugs in new york thing.
    At the end of the year, he returned it to the alley we found it in, and it was gone in 3 days – and not to the garbage man. ReplyCancel

  • Cristina - Never again. I bought one when I first moved to San Francisco and was unemployed. I was going out of town for the weekend, so I asked my now-husband to pick it up for me. . .when I came home and saw it I was so disappointed. As soon as I found a job, the first thing I bought was a nice, new mattress, which is only now beginning to show signs of wear after 6 years. Looking back, while it was very responsible of me to only spend $100 on a mattress, there are so many 0% financing options that I should have just saved the $100 and financed a new one! ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - I would never buy a used mattress. If I can't afford a good quality mattress, I would rather get a futon or an air mattress. ReplyCancel

  • kim - Things I never, ever, buy used – shoes, mattresses, and upholstered furniture. Ew, yuck, gross; I hate to think what people did on those surfaces or where they've been (in a shed or garage picking up any type of bugs). If you get a used bedframe, wipe it down with disinfectant. ReplyCancel

    • Well Heeled Blog - My couch is actually a Craiglist find.. and it's one of THE most comfortable and well-constructed couch I've encountered. But I bought it when I was young and naive about bedbugs… now, I think I would be a little leery of upholstered furniture as well. Bedbugs ruin everything! ReplyCancel

  • jeweliette23 - No, but my bf bought a mattress from one of his friends. I'd only buy a used mattress if it was from a friend who I trusted! And if it was clean and almost new. :) ReplyCancel

  • Mochi & Macarons - Mattresses? No. In 3 years you can have up to 10,000 dust mites in there, and in 10 years, it's something like 10 pounds or more of dead dust mites and new ones.

    I'm an avoid-mattresses kind of person. ReplyCancel

  • shopping2saving - Ewwwwwww no thanks!!!!!! I have borrowed one in college but it just didn't feel right. ReplyCancel

  • Mo' Money Mo' Houses - When I moved out I got a new mattress, but when my BF first moved out he got a used one, though it was from a friend of mine, I knew her really well and she used it for only a year (and she's very clean). He used it for a few years and no bed bugs (thank god!). I don't think we'll ever buy a used mattress again though. ReplyCancel

  • eemusings - My bed is actually used, though I don't admit that to anyone. ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - When I went to grad school, we found our apartment in advance, and I ended up buying a used mattress from the person who lived in my room before me. Somehow it seemed less risky since the thing was already in my apartment. Worked out fine, and was much more affordable than buying a new one. Ended up selling it after 2 years to the person who was moving in to my room after I left. ReplyCancel

  • Christine - No. I would never buy used furniture. Bed bugs are epidemic in the US. It costs an average of $5000 to get rid of them professionally. It is not worth it. Aside from the money, your peace of mind has value as well! ReplyCancel

  • belowhermeans - A bed bug infestation from buying a used couch in my early twenties caused me to get rid of everything I own. No joke. Don't buy used furniture until the government brings back DDT. ReplyCancel

    • Well Heeled Blog - Okay, you've effectively convinced me not to buy used "soft" furniture. I'm assuming "hard" furniture should be OK, right? Un-upholstered chairs, desks, etc. ReplyCancel

      • belowhermeans - They can live in hard too, the couch was wooden upholstered. Wood, clothing, anything. They can survive 18 months without feeding. They find you by your breath because they detect carbon dioxide, they have two "mouths" – one that anesthetizes you so you don't feel them poking in and one that pokes in, and only 10% of people have the allergic reaction to the bites so many people have them and don't even know it. Yes, I know way too much about bed bugs. They ruined my life for a good six months. :( ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - I bought my mattress new when there was a really big sale, on a sales tax holiday. Basically, I jumped on the chance to get it new but cheap. I don't think I'd get one used. We got our couches used off of craigslist, which, luckily, wasn't a problem, but I'd be almost as worried about getting anything fabric used unless I knew the source and maybe sprayed everything down with bug killer/disinfectant and vacuumed it. Besides, even if there aren't bedbugs, a mattress could be misshapen or just full of dust.

    So, with most other commenters: look for a sale on a mattress. Buying a decent one new will be your best option. ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ evolvingPF - I don't think so. When I couldn't afford to buy a mattress, I slept on an air mattress. I've actually never bought one, as my husband and I share what used to be his alone, which he bought new. Then again, I lived in the dorms in college for four years and all of those mattresses were used! ReplyCancel

  • Joanna - As a victim of bedbugs, I agree with most of the people above. It is NOT worth the risk. It cost so much money to replace all of the things I had to throw away and the horrible inconveniences it caused. My infestation was particularly bad and I had nightmares for months! Be careful even with used hard furniture. Bed bugs can live pretty much anywhere–even places like nooks and crannies in picture frames. ReplyCancel

  • Wren - NEVER and it's not just bedbugs. A mattresses weight doubles after 10 years due to all dead skin cells and body oils and that is just gross!!!!! I also hate staying in hotels because of this… ReplyCancel

  • Little House - Definitely NO on the used mattress. To think of what has happened on it and the fact there might be bed bugs makes me squirm. ReplyCancel

  • SP - Honestly, if I was on a tight budget, I probably would. I also wouldn't tell anyone that! However, I see no need to at this point in my life and sincerely hope that I never feel the need. My current mattress we got about 6 years ago on a good discount because the covering was mismatched or something. My "ewww" factor is pretty high – but I don't like to come anywhere near it for no good reason.

    When I was in middle school, my parents purchased a used one that I slept on. I'm from a place where bed bugs were absolutely not a big deal (i.e. I never heard of ANYONE having them, ever). It was fine. Not ideal, but I survived. In a big city i may be more hesitant.


  • Odd Cents - Hell no. ReplyCancel

  • MyMoneyDesign.com - I don't know about buying one, but I've certainly sold some of mine through Craigs List. There were only a few bugs :) ReplyCancel

  • Frugal Portland - I did once but I won't do it again. More for the energy of the bed than bugs… who was here before? What did she leave behind? ReplyCancel

  • Anne @ Unique Gifter - I bought one off my friend when she moved in with her partner. Total win! It was only a year old and I paid less than half. :-) We have since moved on to a king size (I'm never going back!!), but it was a super-duper savings in grad school that I am grateful for. ReplyCancel

  • graduate.living - I'll go ahead and play devil's advocate. I bought my USED mattress, box springs, bed frame, and headboard from a well-respected used furniture salesman in my hometown (he mostly re-sold from garage sales and estate sales). The price for those things was so low because of the mattress and box springs; he probably could've made $75 from the headboard alone. I asked him lots of questions about where it came from before I purchased it, inspected it SUPER closely, and gave it a thorough cleaning when I got home.

    Over three years later, the mattress is great. My one complaint is that it's too firm for my liking, but it's perfect for the BF. While I probably won't buy a used mattress again, I'm a big proponent of used furniture in general – particularly wood furniture. I think as long as you know where it's coming from and inspect it closely (and clean it!) it's a great way to be frugal and environmentally-friendly. ReplyCancel

  • Danielle L. Zecher - I don't think I could bring myself to buy a used mattress. I love the idea of saving money, but that just grosses me out. Just thinking about what could or might have taken place on a used mattress gives me the creeps. ReplyCancel

  • Annie - No — but thanks to your recommendation we just bought a new Aireloom to replace the too-firm mattress we had before. ReplyCancel

  • Katie - This shows that the majority would use a used mattress. http://blog.rentshare.com/would-you-use-a-used-maReplyCancel

  • Latex Beds - Personally I would never buy a used mattress. Although I do understand why some people would because of how expensive quality mattresses are nowadays. ReplyCancel

  • Paretp FP - I have had a couple of used mattresses over the years! not always the cleanest too. Not every has the money to go out and buy a good quality mattress, it`s sometimes wiser to buy a good quality used mattress and buy a cheap and nasty brand new one. ReplyCancel

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