A new mattress is a significant investment. Not only do you spend hundreds (maybe thousands) of dollars, but you have to account for the time it takes to research the different options and choose the mattress that’s right for you. When properly cared for, a high-quality mattress can last 8 to 10 years.
When you’re not actively using a mattress, but it still has a few years of life left in it, it’s important to store it properly. Storing a mattress the right way ensures it will be ready to use when you need it. Improperly storing a mattress could take months or years off its lifespan at best and, at worst, could damage it irreversibly. Here’s what you need to know about the best way to store a mattress.
The Importance of Proper Storage
When storing a mattress, it’s important that you protect the mattress in all stages of the process. Before you move the mattress to its storage location, wrap it securely in plastic to keep it clean during the move and protected from dust and moisture in storage. If you don’t take these precautions, you may come back to use your mattress after a few months or years in storage and find that it’s no longer usable. A little bit of moisture can do a lot of damage to a mattress.
Not only do you need to protect the mattress during moving and storage, but you want to be sure you’re placing it in the storage area properly. It may seem prudent to store the mattress on its side as a space-saving measure, but that could be a big mistake. Storing a mattress on its side compromises the internal structure of the mattress which could shorten its lifespan. Mattresses should always be stored on a flat, even surface with nothing heavy on top of them.
The Best Way to Store a Mattress
Whether you’re storing a mattress for a few months or a few years, proper technique ensures that your mattress will still be in good shape when you’re ready to use it. Before you can store the mattress, however, you need to know where you’re going to put it.
When choosing a mattress storage location, the most important thing to avoid is moisture. Even a little bit of moisture can ruin an unprotected mattress. Second, you want to avoid temperature changes as much as possible – extreme changes in temperature can negatively affect the mattress materials. The best place to store a mattress is in a temperature-controlled storage unit or a spare room in your home.
If you’re going to be storing your mattress in a garage, basement, or traditional storage unit, you may want to consider using a dehumidifier. The dehumidifier will take any excess moisture out of the air, helping keep the mattress dry. The increase to your utility bill will be insignificant, especially compared to the cost of buying a new mattress.
Once you’ve decided where to store your mattress, the next thing you need to do is prep it for storage. Taking the time to prepare your mattress for storage is essential – here are the steps to follow:
- Clean and air out the mattress.
Before you store your mattress, you want to make sure it is clean and well-aired. To clean your mattress, remove all bedding (including your mattress cover) and sprinkle baking soda all over it. Let the baking soda sit for a few hours to absorb any lingering odor, then thoroughly vacuum the mattress. You can also use the upholstery cleaner attachment of a carpet cleaner, just make sure to let the mattress air out sufficiently so it is completely dry before you move on to the next step.
- Wrap the mattress securely in plastic.
Once the mattress is clean and dry, wrap it securely in plastic. Ideally, you should buy a mattress bag that is appropriately sized for your mattress. Avoid using plastic that is too thick because it could end up trapping moisture inside the mattress – something light and breathable is ideal. A high-quality mattress bag should cost you less than $20 and will help you protect your investment.
While you want to keep the mattress covered the entire time it is in storage, it doesn’t hurt to air it out every few months. You don’t have to remove the plastic entirely but open it up to let the mattress breathe for a little while before wrapping it back up as securely as the first time.
- Transport the mattress in a covered vehicle.
If you’re transporting your mattress to an alternative storage location, it’s best to do so in a covered vehicle like a moving truck. In addition to having a covered vehicle, you’ll want to protect the mattress from dirt and damage using moving blankets or old bedding.
It is unsafe to tie a mattress to the top of a car or SUV for transport – not only could it fall off, but you could end up bending the mattress to the point that it never regains its original shape or structural integrity.
- Lay the mattress flat for storage.
Once you’ve moved the mattress to its storage location, make sure you store it on a flat, even surface. It may save a lot of space by storing the mattress upright, but long-term storage on its side could damage the internal structure of the mattress and reduce its lifespan.
If you have no other alternative, you can transport the mattress upright in a moving truck – it’s better than piling heavy boxes on top – but if you can plan ahead to make the mattress one of the last items you load you should be able to fit it on top of the pile in the truck.
- Keep heavy objects off the mattress.
Not only should you store your mattress flat, but you should avoid putting anything on top of it. Placing heavy objects on top of the mattress will compress the springs or other internal materials which can create indentations. If you’re storing the mattress in a storage unit, place it on top of other flat furniture items to make the best use of space.
Tips for Moving a Mattress
If you’re going to be storing a mattress, chances are you’ll need to put it somewhere other than your bedroom for the storage period. Not only is it important to know how you’re going to store the mattress, but you need to take certain steps to get it to the storage location safely and securely.
Here’s a step-by-step guide for moving a mattress:
- Measure the mattress.
You probably already know what size your mattress is, but it helps to know the exact dimensions as well – both when choosing a place to store it and when purchasing a mattress bag. It also helps to know the dimensions of the mattress when you go to plan your moving path from the bedroom to the truck.
- Gather your supplies.
The most important supply you’ll need is a heavy-duty mattress bag – this will keep the mattress safe and clean during the move and you might choose to use it for long-term storage as well. In addition to the mattress bag, you’ll probably want some packing tape, scissors, and rope to secure the mattress once you get it into the truck.
- Place the mattress in the mattress bag.
Secure the mattress in the mattress bag to keep it protected during the move. This part (and the moving itself) can be tricky to do on your own, so we recommend enlisting a friend or two to help. If you’re lucky the mattress bag comes in a set of two so you can use the extra for your box spring.
- Flip the mattress on its side.
Once the mattress is secure in the mattress bag, flip it up onto its side so it’s easier to move through doorways and down the hall. Flip the mattress up horizontally so it’s longer than it is tall. Before you start moving it, walk through the moving path to make sure it’s clear.
- Load the mattress and secure it in the truck.
The final step is to actually move the mattress out to the truck and to secure it in place. Traditional innerspring mattresses as well as memory foam and hybrid mattresses should be loaded flat without anything on top of them. Box springs can be positioned flat or on their sides. Use rope or ratchet straps to keep the mattress in place during transport.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you store a mattress upright?
While it may save you a great deal of space to store a mattress upright (on its side), it’s generally not the best long-term storage solution. Storing a mattress on its side can damage the internal structure of the mattress and reduce its lifespan – it’s best to store a mattress on a flat, even surface.
Can you store a mattress in a garage?
You can store a mattress in just about any location as long as you do it properly. If your garage is damp, you’ll want to be extra careful to wrap the mattress securely in plastic or use an airtight mattress bag. Again, it’s best to store the mattress flat rather than on its side.
Should you wrap a mattress for storage?
Yes, it’s always a good idea to wrap your mattress for storage. Wrapping the mattress in plastic or using a mattress bag helps keep the mattress clean during transport and it protects it from dust and dampness. It can also protect the mattress against bed bugs and other pests.