Updated February 24, 2021

How to Store a Mattress

Read more about Mattress

A mattress can last years in storage with proper care. Try these steps to keep your extra mattress in good condition.

Mattresses are large and bulky. They are an expensive investment, so think twice about tossing one that you aren't currently using. A well-cared for mattress can last 10 years or longer.

Keep reading to learn how to store your mattress.

Preparing the Mattress for Storage

Stashing your mattress away isn't as simple as finding an empty corner of your basement.

Here's what you need to do:

  • Clean the Mattress
    Storing a dirty mattress encourages the growth of mold, dust mites, and invites bed bugs. All you need to clean your mattress is a good vacuum and some baking soda.

    Start by vacuuming the top, bottom, and sides to remove any debris and dust. Next, sprinkle the top of the mattress with baking soda. Let it sit for a few hours and then vacuum it off. If you have a double-sided or flippable mattress, flip it over and do the same thing on the other side. This deodorizes the mattress before you store it.

  • Cover It
    Once you thoroughly clean the mattress, it's time to protect it. You can buy a mattress cover for cheap at stores or online retailers. Or you can take the do-it-yourself approach and wrap it in plastic—just make sure it's breathable.

    Thick plastic traps moisture, which allows mildew growth. You want to keep your mattress free from dust and moisture, both of which could leave you with unpleasant surprises when you remove it from storage.

  • Disassemble the Bedframe
    If you also need to store the bedframe, you'll need to take it apart first. Keep any screws or small parts in a bag taped to the bedframe itself. Next, make sure that you cover the bedframe with old blankets. You'll want to store it this way to keep the dust off of it while it's stored.

  • Move the Mattress to Storage
    A moving truck is the safest way to put a mattress into storage. If you don't have a moving truck, a van or pickup truck may work as long as there's enough room to strap the mattress down.

    Place the mattress on its side or flat in the truck if there's room. Just make sure you strap it down to avoid excessive movement. Avoid moving a mattress on top of a car—the risk of it slipping off is too high.

Can you store a mattress in the attic?
The attic is one of the last places you should store your mattress. Attics aren't temperature-controlled, which makes their dark corners a breeding ground for mold and mildew. If you can't store your mattress in a storage facility or your home, the next best spot is the basement in a well-lit area with a dehumidifier running.

How to Store the Mattress

Even if that's how you transported the mattress, you should NOT store a mattress on its side. Instead, let it lie flat so it retains its shape. Mattress manufacturers recommend this because the inner workings of the mattress can shift if kept on its side for prolonged periods.

That also means you need to lay the mattress on a flat, sturdy surface, just like you do in the bedroom. It's best if you can find an open area on the floor, lay down a tarp, and place the mattress on top of it. If you must place it on top of other items, make sure they are flat and sturdy, too.

What Not to Do With a Mattress in Storage

Avoid the following while keeping a mattress in storage:

  • Don't put items on top of the mattress
    Heavy items or oddly-shaped items can damage your mattress. Heavy items can damage a mattress' shape or springs and oddly shaped items can cause wear and tear to the mattress' exterior.

  • Don't store in humid areas
    If you pay for storage, consider a temperature-controlled unit. This helps keep the moisture and humidity out of the air. If you store the mattress at home, keep it within the house, not the garage or attic. If those are your only options, use a dehumidifier in the area to decrease the risk of moisture.

  • Don't store it outside
    Extreme temperatures, rain, and snow can damage a mattress in many ways. The moisture can cause mold growth, while the extreme temperatures can cause the mattress to become misshapen or be unusable.

  • Don't use thick plastic
    Using a cover ensures that your mattress can breathe. If you don't buy a cover, use thin plastic that will do the same.

How long can you keep a mattress in storage?
You can store a mattress as long as you need IF you follow the above steps. Storing a mattress on its side for prolonged periods, for example, will damage the mattress and make it unusable. If you can lay it flat, control its temperature, and properly cover it, there really isn't a time limit you must follow.

Storing a Memory Foam Mattress

Memory foam mattresses are different than traditional innerspring mattresses. Because they are made of foam, many people assume you can fold them. But that's a bad idea—folding a memory bed deforms the foam, which manufacturers say makes the bed unusable.

It's also vital that you don't keep a memory foam mattress on its side. While this is true of any mattress, memory foam mattresses are extremely fragile. Leaving a memory foam mattress on its side for too long will cause the foam to "bunch up," leaving you with a deformed mattress.

Can a mattress get bed bugs in storage?
Bed bugs are a common problem in storage units. If someone brings in a piece of furniture that's infested, the infestation can easily spread to your mattress. This is true even if you cover your mattress well—all bed bugs need is one tiny hole.

Before you choose a storage unit, inspect it well. Make sure it looks well-maintained and that the items throughout look well-kept. While you can't prevent bed bug infestation completely, you can limit the risks by choosing a reputable storage unit.

How to Freshen a Mattress That's Been in Storage

Once you remove the mattress from storage, make sure to transport it using the same safety measures.

Remove the plastic once it has arrived at its destination to let it air out.

In fact, you should leave the mattress for at least 24 hours before you do anything else to it. This allows it to settle back to its normal shape and release any unpleasant smells.

Before you use the mattress, deodorize and clean it just as above. This will remove any dust or debris that the mattress accumulated while in storage.

How to store a box spring?
Storing a box spring is the same as storing a mattress. Clean and deodorize the box spring. Then cover it with breathable plastic, and store it flat in the storage unit with nothing lying on top of it.

What Experts Say

CreditDonkey interviewed industry experts to answer readers' most pressing questions. Here's what they had to say:

Bottom Line

You can store a mattress indefinitely if you take the right precautions. Lay the cleaned mattress flat in a temperature-controlled unit and you should keep it in good condition until you need it again.

Write to Kim P at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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