The best way to tell if you are buying new or used is to look at the label attached to the mattress. New mattresses usually will have a white tag attached to it that indicates that the mattress contains all "new materials." 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 do not see any tag, consider doing business with another retailer.
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.
To be sure you are satisfied with your mattress purchase, the Better Business Bureau, along with the Federal Trade Commission offer the following tips when shopping:
The agency that regulates mattress labeling varies by state. To find out what the bedding laws are in your state, contact the State Department of Health.