How to Store a Mattress

Protect your investment by following this step-by-step mattress storage guide.

While it's probably not something you have to worry about frequently, it's good to know how to store a mattress should the need arise. Perhaps your living situation temporarily changes, or construction takes place at your home. Whatever the reason is for needing to store a mattress, there are a few must-know tips to follow to ensure you keep it in good, clean condition. After all, buying a mattress is an investment, so it's a good idea to protect and maintain it for as long as possible.

Learn the best mattress cleaning methods, where to place one, plus what not to do when moving your bed to storage. These steps will help you properly store a mattress to prevent damage.

people lifting mattress off bed frame to be put in storage
DGLimages / Getty Images

1. Ensure the Mattress is Clean

First, thoroughly clean the mattress so you can rest assured it comes out of storage in the same condition. After stripping it of pillows and linens, inspect for any stains. It's generally not recommended to use heavy-duty commercial products on a mattress, such as an upholstery cleaner. Instead, spot-treat stains with a stain remover specifically made for mattresses.

Once you've dabbed and dried any spots, employ a simple yet effective cleaning method using something you most likely have around the house: baking soda. The powder's power lies in its odor-absorbing properties. Shake a box over the mattress to fully cover it, then let it sit for about an hour. Next, use a vacuum over it to collect the baking soda. Let it air out for a few hours, then flip the mattress to repeat the process on the other side.

2. Cover the Mattress Properly

Now that it's prepped to be stored, choose a cover for your mattress. Avoid covering it with anything too heavy or thick, which can trap moisture and eventually lead to difficult-to-remove mold and mildew. Instead, choose a thin plastic cover made of polyethylene. You can use a loose wrap or a mattress bag. If you go with plastic wrap, use duct tape to secure the open ends.

Mattress cover bags can be found in any size, from twin to California king, and are available for purchase online, in your local hardware store, or even at the office of a storage unit facility. Many options include a built-in handle, making it easier to transport. Whichever option you go with, make sure that it's sealed well to keep out dirt and dust. The mattress should also be aired out every few months. Depending on how long it's in storage, add a reminder for yourself to do so and reseal the cover well when done.

3. Decide Where to Store the Mattress

Even a small mattress takes up a considerable amount of space so it's important to figure out where you can comfortably keep it. Take measurements of the mattress, or look up the dimensions online, before storing it to make this decision easier. Let's look at two options for mattress storage:

In a Storage Unit

This is by far the best place to store a mattress if possible. It eliminates the need to take up precious real estate in your home, and many facilities offer climate and/or humidity-controlled units. Similar to stuffing a mattress in heavy plastic, keeping it somewhere that has extreme temperatures can potentially ruin it. Look for a storage unit that uses heat in the winter months and air conditioning in the summer.

When transporting a mattress to a storage unit, consider investing in a moving truck for a few hours. Cramming the mattress into a car, SUV, or even a pickup truck can ruin it if bent. And strapping it to the top of a vehicle, especially if done improperly, can warp the frame and potentially be dangerous or even illegal.

In Your Home

If a storage unit isn't an option and you must store your mattress at home, consider the temperature as well as the amount of space you have in a particular room. Realistically, most people are only able to store something as large as a mattress in a garage or basement. If that's the case, and it isn't climate controlled, be sure to add a dehumidifier to ward off any dampness.

bed with trimmed sheets and pillows
Jay Wilde

4. Store the Mattress Properly

Once you've picked a destination for your mattress, follow these simple rules. The mattress should never be stored vertically, sideways, or upright, especially for a long period of time, as it can shift its inner workings and make it lopsided over time. This especially applies to memory foam mattresses. It should lay flat with nothing on top; even soft items can eventually dent it.

Something flat, ideally a wooden pallet, should be placed below it to let the mattress breathe. If you're short on space, consider raising the pallet to give you room to store items below.

When it's time to pull the mattress out of storage to be used again, let it air out for a few hours before moving it back into your bedroom and giving it a quick clean.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long can I store a mattress in a box?

    If you choose to store a mattress in a box, you can do so for several years, provided it is kept free of moisture and is the traditional spring-style mattress. If you have a memory foam mattress that arrives rolled up, you should keep it in the box no longer than 1 to 2 months—any longer, and you could risk ruining the integrity of the foam and weakening the mattress.

  • Can you store a mattress folded?

    No—regardless of the type of mattress you have, it's always best to store your mattress flat on a slightly raised surface (like a few wood palettes). The one exception is for foam mattresses that are rolled when they arrive. They can be kept that way until opening but then should also be stored flat once open.

  • Can you store mattresses stacked?

    In general, it is not recommended to store multiple mattresses stacked. The reason for this is really two-fold; not only can stacking your mattresses in storage trap moisture, which can lead to mold, but the weight of the stack can also compromise the structure of the mattress, making it less supportive when you use it.

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