Is it actually illegal to rip off a mattress tag?

Without a doubt, you, like so many of us, have woken from your slumber on more than one occasion and realized that, in a fit of the night terrors, you've tried to tear the tag off of your mattress, and, in so doing, nearly committed that most heinous of crimes. 

"Nothing to do now but start fresh," you've probably thought to yourself before setting fire to your house, leaving behind a perfect recreation of your lower jaw so that dental records will show that you died in the blaze, and jetting off to an extradition free country to start a new life as a day laborer on a coffee plantation, perhaps under the assumed name of Pedro Nonchalance. 

You needn't have bothered, Pedro. The idea that it's illegal to remove a mattress tag is sort of a misconception. Yes, it's against the law to yank the tag, it's just not illegal for you to do it. 

It all goes back to around the late 19th and early 20th century. According to Live Science, at the time, there was much hoopla over the fact that mattress manufacturers, emboldened by the fact that nobody really looks at the inside of a mattress anyway, were stuffing their products with any old thing. The tamer end of the mattress-stuffing spectrum included things like corn husks and animal hair, while the more nightmarish example listed was the disused remnants of hospital bedding. Clearly, there was a health hazard inherent in taking what was essentially a sponge for sick people and then jamming it into somebody's bed, so legislators passed a law stating that mattress companies had to clearly label the contents of their products, and that the removal of said labels by the manufacturer would be punishable by hefty fines.

You, on the other hand, as the consumer, can do just about whatever you want with your bed. Reclaim your freedom. Tear the tag off. Viva la resistance.