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couple moving wrapped mattress into a moving truck

There are many reasons to store a mattress, whether you’re moving, renovating your home or keeping a spare. While storing a mattress might seem simple enough, doing it the wrong way can lead to irreversible damage, especially over the course of multiple months and years. Since mattresses aren’t cheap — the average one costs between $500 to $1,500 — taking care of yours and storing it the right way can help you avoid costly replacements and ensure you get the most value out of it. In this article, we’ll walk you through how to wrap, move and store your mattress so it stays in great condition when you’re not using it.

In This Article:
  1. Where to Store a Mattress
  2. How to Clean a Mattress
  3. How to Wrap a Mattress
  4. How to Move a Mattress
  5. How to Store a Mattress in Self Storage

1. Where to Store a Mattress

Where you store your mattress is just as important as how you store it. For most people, this means either storing it at home or in a self-storage unit. But is one option better than the other?

Pros and Cons of Home Storage

If you have a tight budget, storing your mattress at home may be your best bet (after all, it’s free!). But even though it’s the most cost-effective option in the short term, you’ll need to take extra steps to ensure you’re not accelerating the wear and tear on your mattress. This is because home storage areas like attics, basements and garages are susceptible to extreme temperature fluctuations, which can lead to warping, cracking and other kinds of deterioration of the materials. On top of that, these storage areas tend to be poorly ventilated and insulated, exposing your mattress to high humidity levels that can trigger mold and mildew growth. You’ll also need to be mindful of pests like mice, rats, spiders and insects, which can chew through your mattress’s fabric and stuffing.

The takeaway? If you’re storing a mattress at home, keep it in a well-ventilated area near a dehumidifier. Make sure the space is big enough to lay the mattress flat (see below) and check it frequently for signs of pests.

The Pros and Cons of Self Storage

Putting your mattress in a self-storage unit can help you avoid many of the problems with home storage. Many storage facilities offer climate-controlled units that are kept within tight temperature and humidity ranges to ensure that sensitive items like mattresses are safe from heat, cold and moisture damage. Furthermore, self-storage facilities are cleaned and treated for pests regularly. While you’ll need to pay a monthly fee to rent a unit, keeping your mattress in optimal storage conditions can extend its lifespan and reduce the chance you’ll need to replace it prematurely. Plus, you typically won’t need anything larger than a small storage unit to fit a mattress (which starts at $20 a month, depending on your location), and many facilities offer online promotions for your first month.

2. How to Clean a Mattress

To prepare your mattress for storage, you must clean it first. Ideally, you’ve already covered it with a mattress protector to prevent grime, dust, dirt and bacteria from building up. If you haven’t, that’s okay — you’ll still follow the same steps. 

First, strip your mattress of any sheets or bedding, including the mattress protector (if you used one). Then, remove any debris with the upholstery attachment of your vacuum cleaner (or a handheld vacuum), making sure you get into any creases and crevices.

This might be all your mattress needs before storage, but if you notice any stains, you’ll want to spot-treat them with an enzyme cleaner or a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dish soap. Make sure you let the mattress air out and dry completely before wrapping it to prevent any trapped moisture from causing mold or mildew damage. To tackle odors, you can sprinkle baking soda on the surface of your mattress and let it sit for 24 hours to absorb any smells, running your vacuum over it one more time.

3. How to Wrap a Mattress

Whether you’re storing your mattress at home or in a self-storage unit, you’ll want to wrap it up first to keep out any dust and debris. To start, you’ll need to gather the following materials:

  • A thin plastic mattress cover or a breathable mattress bag (avoid thick plastic, which can trap moisture)
  • Strong packing tape
  • Soft blankets or sheets for added protection

Once your mattress is clean and dry, slide it into the plastic mattress cover or mattress bag, which are designed to protect against dust, dirt and moisture. Make sure the cover is the right size to fit snugly without leaving any gaps. You can also wrap the mattress in soft blankets or sheets before placing it in the cover for a bit of cushioning, and use packing tape to secure any loose bits of fabric.

4. How to Move a Mattress

If you’re placing your mattress in a self-storage unit, you’ll need to handle it carefully during the move to minimize accidental damage. There are several ways to transport a mattress safely, but we always recommend the following:

  • Get a friend to help you — trying to move a mattress by yourself is dangerous.
  • Use a dolly or hand truck to lessen the heavy lifting. While you can rent one from a hardware store, some storage facilities also offer dollies, hand trucks and other moving supplies.
  • Use a vehicle like an SUV or van that’s large enough to fit a mattress (you may need to remove the seats). If your vehicle isn’t large enough and/or you’re moving other items, consider renting a U-Haul for an hour or two.
  • Try to avoid tying a mattress on the roof of your car. While it’s technically legal to do so, you’ll be fined — or, in some states, even subjected to jail time — if your mattress isn’t secured properly and flies off en route.
  • Your mattress should already be wrapped, but you should still use blankets during the move to prevent scuffs or tears in transit.

5. How to Store a Mattress in Self Storage

Again, it’s best to place your mattress in a climate-controlled self-storage unit to protect it from damage related to temperature and humidity changes. But once you’ve rented your storage unit, here are some tips on storing your mattress properly:

Store the Mattress Flat

While you may think you’re saving space by propping your mattress up against a wall, it actually needs to be stored horizontally (flat). When a mattress is stored upright for a long period of time, the internal materials can shift and settle unevenly, leading to lumps, sagging, and irreversible deformities.

Use Risers

Don’t store your mattress directly on the floor. This cuts off air circulation and ventilation underneath the mattress, increasing the risk of moisture buildup and mold or mildew growth. Keeping your mattress elevated can also prevent water damage in the small chance of a leak or flood. We recommend risers, like wooden pallets or other elevated platforms, to keep the mattress off the floor.

Avoid Placing Items on Top of the Mattress

Your horizontal mattress may seem like the perfect flat surface for other items, but make sure you don’t put anything on top of it. Heavy objects can compress the mattress over time, creating indentations, but even lighter items can damage your mattress over time. Instead, place your mattress on top of other items (if they’re in sturdy plastic bins that won’t buckle under the weight of the mattress). We also recommend the following tips if you’re planning on storing other items in your unit:

  • Utilize Vertical Space: Use shelving units or stackable containers to make the most of the vertical space in your storage unit. This helps keep other items organized and off the mattress.
  • Leave Aisles: Create clear aisles around the mattress and other items to allow for easy access and adequate airflow.
  • Protective Covers: In addition to wrapping your mattress, consider using covers for other furniture and boxes to keep everything dust-free and protected.
  • Label Everything: Clearly label all boxes and containers to avoid having to move items when you’re searching for something specific.

By following these suggestions and storing your mattress properly in a climate-controlled storage unit, you can keep it in mint condition and extend its lifespan for years and years of use. If you want more storage and organization tips for your home, check out our blog.

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