Have an extra bed in too good of condition to part with? Learn how to store a mattress correctly with our essential storage guide.


Did you know: The average person spends about 26 years of their entire life sleeping. Because sleep is so vital to our health and everyday lives, it’s no wonder that mattresses can be quite an investment. After all, you’re using it every single night. You want to make sure it’s cozy, comfortable, and perfectly tailored to your sleeping preferences. 

Because mattresses can be costly, it makes sense to want to store them when they’re not in use (rather than getting rid of them altogether). However, a few months or years in storage can actually damage a mattress beyond repair if the proper care isn’t taken.

Maybe you’re getting married and you need to upgrade to a larger, more luxurious mattress, or your kids are moving out and you want to repurpose their rooms. Whatever the case, learning how to store a mattress properly will significantly expand your bed’s longevity. Keep reading for our best mattress storage and moving tips.

how to store bedding

Related: Best Packing and Moving Tips: How to Make Relocating Less Stressful

First, find the best place to store a mattress

If you can fit it into your budget, renting a storage unit for your mattress is an affordable option. They are safe, secure, and reliable and typically offer spaces with stable, regulated temperatures. For added assurance, consider upgrading from a traditional storage unit to climate-controlled storage. Opting for the added element of climate control will ensure that your storage space will have heat in the winter and stay cool in the summer, safeguarding your expensive mattress and bed from severe temperature changes. To make unloading your mattress easy consider renting a drive-up unit as well. As for size, a typical 5×5 storage unit should do the trick and be enough space for your mattress.

Whether you go with a traditional storage unit or store the mattress in your basement or garage, buying a portable dehumidifier is a good idea. Even though this setup is not ideal, this tool will pump moisture out and help maintain the quality and longevity of your mattress.

Learn More About the Benefits of Climate Controlled Storage: Should I Upgrade to Climate Controlled Storage?

Can you store a mattress in the basement?

A primary concern when keeping any furniture in storage is moisture and major temperature changes. These mischief-makers can significantly damage almost any piece of furniture but are especially important to consider when storing a mattress. These factors make basements a less-than-ideal place to store a mattress for long periods of time.

How to Store a Mattress: A Step-By-Step Guide

Step One: Thoroughly clean and air out the mattress

The first step in storing any mattress may be the most important one: Making sure it’s 100% clean before tucking it away. Not only will this give you peace of mind when it’s time to take your mattress out of its storage spot, but it will help prevent mold, mildew, and bacteria growth during its time in storage. 

There are many different ways to clean a mattress. But if you’re not looking to invest in costly cleaning solutions, we’ve got you covered. Follow these simple steps to get your mattress looking (and smelling) as clean as possible: 

  • Remove the mattress and box spring from the bed frame and strip all bedding.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on the exterior of the mattress and let it sit for 20-30 minutes to absorb any lingering odors.
  • Vacuum up all of the baking soda using a hand vacuum attachment.
  • Let the mattress air out for a few hours before proceeding to the next step.

Step Two: Wrap the mattress

Before moving your mattress to its storage location, you’ll want to wrap it in some type of protective material. Plastic wrap is often the go-to, given that it’s highly durable and relatively inexpensive, but moving blankets can work just as well. 

To Protect Your Mattress for Moving or Storage: 

  • Thoroughly wrap it in plastic, making sure to cover all sides. 
  • Secure the plastic with packing tape to create a tight seal.
  • If possible, do not use thick plastic covers, as these are more likely to trap in moisture. A light, breathable plastic wrap is more ideal.

Regardless of how long you’ll be keeping your mattress in storage, remember that it must stay completely covered while not in use. For long-term storage, consider purchasing a high-quality mattress storage bag with no holes or tears. These covers are designed to prevent mold growth and ensure the mattress stays safe and dry.

Bonus Tip: When storing a mattress long-term, open up the plastic wrapping every few months to air out the mattress. Make sure to reseal entirely afterward.

how to store a mattress (and how not to store one)

Related: How to Protect Furniture When Moving

Step Three: Move the mattress in a covered moving truck

If you’ve chosen the DIY moving route, you already know that packing and driving your moving truck can be one of the trickiest tasks. Maneuvering a massive vehicle can be challenging, and your furniture and belongings can be damaged in transit if they’re not properly packed and protected.

When moving your mattress from point A to point B, it’s important to take the time to pack your moving truck correctly. You’ll want to keep the mattress on its side to create more space in the moving truck. This method is preferred versus piling lots of heavy furniture on top of the mattress. If you’re moving other parts of the bed along with the mattress, cover them with old blankets or sheets to shield them from dirt and damage. Always use a covered moving truck to protect your items from weather, dirt, debris, and other elements.

Can you move a mattress on top of a car?

Transporting your mattress by tying or securing it to the top of your car might be possible, but it’s certainly not recommended. Not only is it potentially unsafe for you and other drivers on the road, but the mattress could also be damaged and bent to the point of no return. Inclement weather could also complicate matters when moving a mattress on an open truck bed.

Related: How to Move Large Items With Ease (5 Tips)

Step Four: Lay the mattress flat when storing

While some sources may tell you to prop the mattress on its side to save space in your garage, basement, or storage unit, you should never store a mattress upright for an extended period. It’s entirely okay to carry your mattress upright, but once you place it inside your storage unit, lay it flat to mimic its natural positioning.

why should you store mattresses flat?

Why do mattresses need to be stored flat?

Mattresses need to be stored flat without anything on top because, in short, they can be easily damaged. The exterior cushioned layer and interior structure can be permanently flattened if large amounts of pressure are applied over time. When you store a mattress on its side rather than laying it flat, the bottom side receives more pressure than the side at the top. As a result, the mattress can become lopsided and uncomfortable to sleep on. The same goes for storing boxes or other furniture items on top of a mattress. 

To make the best use of a small mattress storage space, place the mattress flat on top of other objects, like pallets or other flat-topped furniture items. Just make sure everything is stable!

Related: How to Store Furniture in a Garage or Storage Unit The Right Way

Mattress Storage Made Easy

Following these tips on how to store a mattress and box spring will protect your mattress for years to come. Once you’re ready to retrieve your mattress from storage, head back to step one and repeat the process to make sure your mattress looks, feels, and smells fresh in its new space. 

Do you have any easy mattress storage tips you swear by? We would love to hear from you! Be sure to share your advice and experience with us on social media. 

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This post was originally published on 2/29/16 and updated 3/7/18 and 2/28/23. 

About the Authors

Emily Malkowski

Emily Malkowski is a writer and SEO strategist with over 5 years experience, in Buffalo, New York. Having graduated from University at Buffalo with a Bachelor's degree in Communications, her work has appeared in outlets like The American Prospect, Roadtrippers Magazine, Step Out Buffalo, and more.

Lauren Thomann

Lauren Thomann has written about self storage and moving since 2015, making her our storage expert. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and Linguistics and has published over 150 articles on moving, storage, and home organization. She is also a contributing writer at and Martha Stewart.

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