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How to Store a Mattress

Malena Piper

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Poorly-stored mattresses can be damaged in just a few months or years. Potential risks include permanent damage to the shape and structure, growth of mold or mildew, and punctures and tears. Knowing how to care for and store your mattress is key for prolonging its lifespan and maintaining its quality. In this post, we share guidelines on how to properly store your mattress and keep it in its best condition.

Tips For Properly Storing Your Mattress

Keep Your Mattress Flat

In order to keep the mattress’ shape intact, storing it flat is crucial. When stored on its side for long periods, the mattress’ padding and springs can shift, and its structure can permanently change. Even the materials found in foam and memory foam mattresses can fall victim to gravity over time, eventually sagging and creating an uneven surface. When this happens, the mattress becomes uncomfortable and no longer usable.

If possible, set up your bed frame for your mattress to rest on, just like it naturally would when being used. If you don’t have enough space for this, try placing your mattress on top of other even surfaces like moving boxes, palettes, or flat furniture like a dining table. To protect it from dirt and water, avoid storing it directly on the ground. If side storage is your only option, you should rotate the mattress every few months to even out wear and tear.

Use a Breathable Cover

Properly protecting your mattress with a cover is essential for shielding it from dirt, dust, and pests. Waterproof mattress covers also help to keep moisture out, which can cause mold and mildew to grow.

If you plan on having your mattress in storage long term, you’ll want to use a light, high-quality plastic cover to protect it. Opt for a thinner one as thick materials can trap moisture and cause mold and mildew to grow.

If you’re storing your mattress for a short period, wrapping it in thin plastic and securing it with packing tape should suffice. Double-check that there are no holes in the plastic where dirt and dust can potentially enter and settle into the mattress.

Lastly, be sure to cover the mattress before moving it. This will prevent any potential damage from occurring during the transportation process.

Clean and Air the Mattress Out

Before storing your mattress, take this opportunity to freshen it up. It’s a good idea to remove any dirt or dust mites that may get trapped in the plastic covering. Loose dirt and dust can cause damage to the mattress’s surface, and this debris is much more difficult to clean right after it’s collected on your mattress rather than later on down the line.

Once you have all the bedding removed, vacuum the mattress on both sides and then use an upholstery cleaner to deep clean it before letting it air dry. If you’re short on time, use a handheld steamer or sprinkle baking soda on the surface and let sit for an hour or two. The baking soda will absorb any moisture or odors already present and can be easily vacuumed up afterward.

Regardless of how you choose to clean your mattress, make sure it’s fully dry before wrapping it in plastic or covering it. This is crucial for preventing mold or mildew while it’s in storage. You can also further prevent any mold from growing by airing out the mattress every few months. Remove it from storage and let it sit for a couple of hours with the cover off.

Let It Breathe

If your mattress has been in storage for more than six months—even in a climate-controlled storage unit—you’ll want to let it breathe before using it again. This allows any trapped odors to escape before you put your bedding back on.

To do this, remove the plastic and let the mattress air out for three to four hours. To really freshen it up and get rid of any potential odors, sprinkle the mattress with baking soda and let it sit for an hour before vacuuming.

How and Where to Move Your Mattress

Disassemble It

If you plan on storing your entire bed, removing the headboard will save you valuable storage space and make the bed frame much easier to move. Make sure to keep all bolts and screws together and in a safe place, ideally labeled in a plastic bag and taped to the headboard.

Use a Covered Moving Truck

A covered moving truck will protect the mattress from moisture, dirt, sharp objects, and inclement weather during transportation. Ideally, you’ll want to lay the mattress flat in the truck with nothing on top of it. However, if there is not enough room to do this, you can store the mattress upright for a short period without experiencing structural damage.

Refrain from tying the mattress to the top of your car as this could compromise its shape, expose it to unexpected weather, and be a hazard to other drivers.

Store in a Climate-Controlled Storage Unit

Humidity is one of the top things that affect mattresses in storage. When humidity reaches 50% and above, it can cause mold and mildew to grow. By storing your mattress in a climate-controlled storage unit, you’re able to prevent severe temperature changes and ward off the chance of mold forming on or in your mattress. Climate-controlled units are generally indoors too, which adds an extra layer of protection.

How Not to Store Your Mattress

In a Basement or Attic

Basements are damp and dark—an ideal environment for mold to grow, especially in porous materials like mattresses. However, if a basement is your only option, store the mattress with a portable dehumidifier to help reduce and maintain the level of moisture in the air.

Attics, garages, sheds, and other outdoor storage areas are not ideal for storing your mattress either. None of these options are temperature-controlled and they’re often vulnerable to excessive dirt and weather elements that can damage the mattress.

With Items on Top of it

Heavy items stored on top of your mattress can cause major damage to its material and structure, making it unusable in the future. The weight can ruin springs and coils and cause permanent impressions. Sharp objects and pointed corners can puncture or tear the mattress as well. Instead, store your mattress on top of an even surface. For example, moving boxes, flat-topped furniture, or a palette would work well.

On the Ground

Storing your mattress directly on the ground is not a good idea, even in the cleanest of storage units. For one, in the event of a flood, your mattress will be ruined. It’s also much easier for dirt, dust, and pests to get to it. Using a flat surface to elevate it even a few inches is better than resting it on the ground. You can also store the mattress on its bed frame or on top of other flat furniture.

Things to Look for in a Storage Facility

  • Climate-controlled
  • Spacious
  • Free of dirt and bugs
  • Low humidity
  • Indoors

FAQs

Where should I store my mattress?

An indoor climate-controlled storage unit is the most ideal space to store your mattress long-term. Avoid basements, garages, outdoor sheds, attics, and anywhere with high levels of humidity to keep your mattress safe from temperature changes and mold.

Can I store my mattress on its side?

You should store your mattress flat to ensure it keeps its shape and structure. Storing it on its side will cause its materials (i.e., springs, coils, gels, foams, etc.) to shift and sag over time. It’s okay to transport it on its side, but be sure to store it flat for prolonged periods.

How do I store my box spring?

The best way to store a box spring is similar to a mattress. You should clean and cover it before placing it in storage, being mindful to not place any heavy items on top of it.

Like a mattress, a climate-controlled storage unit is the best place to keep a box spring. Box springs, however, can be stored on their side without suffering any structural damage. When you’re ready to use it again, clean and air it out for a few hours.

Can I use my mattress after it’s been in storage?

Yes, you can use your mattress after it’s been in storage. It’s best to clean it and let it air out for three to four hours before putting any bedding back on, especially if it’s been stored away for more than six months.

To clean your mattress, vacuum its surface and use baking soda as a deodorizer. After vacuuming, sprinkle the mattress with baking soda and let sit for an hour or so to absorb any odors and excess moisture. Then, vacuum the baking soda off of the mattress to reveal a fresh, clean bed.

Should I store my mattress or just toss it?

If your mattress has visible sagging or you feel like you’re sinking when you lay down, it could mean that the coils, springs, or foam have broken or bent. This can happen over time and ultimately cause back and joint pain due to inadequate support. If this is the case, there’s no point in keeping it any longer and you shouldn’t bother storing it.

Conclusion

Knowing how to properly care for your mattress is crucial for preventing it from damage, like mold growth and structural changes, that can occur while in storage. Opting for a climate-controlled storage unit, laying the mattress flat, and using a light, breathable mattress cover all help protect your bed from dirt, pests, moisture, and other unwanted contaminants. You can also further shield it from damage or odors by using a covered vehicle for transportation and properly cleaning and drying it before and after being in storage.

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