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

If you’ve ever tried to move a mattress, you already know how tricky it is. Heavy, floppy, and hard to move, mattresses are the sloths of the furniture world. Want to know how to move a mattress without the headache? We’re here to help. These guidelines and tips will help you keep your mattress clean and intact as it makes its way from home to home. It may not be easy, but knowing how to move a mattress correctly will be worth it come moving day.

Before You Move a Mattress

Evaluate Your Mattress: Should You Take it?

Before starting to clean, wrap, and load your mattress, consider its age. If your mattress is 7-10 years old, sagging, or uncomfortable, you might want to replace it. Moving is the perfect time to choose a new mattress if you need one, but don’t leave a perfectly good mattress when you could follow these steps and take it with you. After all, learning how to move a mattress isn’t that hard.

Consider the Size of Your Mattress

You may think that the larger mattress the more challenging the move. But this isn’t always the case. Take, for example, a split king size mattress and a queen size mattress. Although a split king size mattress may be larger when set up, it splits into two parts, while a queen size mattress doesn’t. So a queen size mattress could actually be harder to move through narrow hallways and around corners. It’s important to consider factors like this when planning to move your mattress.

To avoid any unnecessary surprises, be sure to measure your mattress before attempting to move it. Maneuvering the mattress and moving it out of your home will be a struggle if it turns out to be even an inch longer than you planned.

Choose the Right Vehicle

Now that you know the size of your mattress, you can start thinking about the right vehicle for the job. You want to avoid folding your mattress if you can, so try to use a large enough vehicle that the mattress can lay flat in. When deciding how to move your mattress, keep in mind that standard (not split) king size mattresses generally only fit inside moving trucks.

The best vehicle to safely transport a mattress is a DIY moving truck. If you can get your hands on one, you can fit just about any mattress into the back. Just make sure nothing heavy sits on your mattress and that whatever it rests on is flat. For those without access to a moving truck, don’t worry. You still have options.

The next best vehicle to move a mattress with is a van. Wondering how to move a mattress in a van? Simply remove or fold down the seats and slide the mattress in. Another good vehicle to move a mattress in is a pickup truck. You can fit most twin, double, and even some queen size mattresses. Though this option leaves your mattress exposed, it should be just fine as long as you wrap and secure your mattress well.

If you find yourself asking, “But how do you move a mattress without a truck or van?” Well, that’s where things get tricky. If the mattress absolutely cannot fit inside your vehicle, you can load and secure it on the top. However, we don’t recommend this. Plenty of things can go wrong when you transport a mattress this way, from the mattress getting damaged, to damaging another vehicle, to causing an accident.  It is possible, but it’s never worth the risk.

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Ask Friends to Help You Move the Mattress

As we mentioned, mattresses are heavy and can be hard to handle. If you want to know how to move a mattress without throwing your back out, the secret’s in the manpower. Recruit one to two friends at least two weeks before your move and make sure you have some food and refreshments to offer them for helping you out. You can even turn it into a mini-celebration or pre-housewarming to decompress after a long day’s work.

Buy Equipment to Move a Mattress

Have you ever tried spreading peanut butter with tongs? Without the right tools, the simplest task is a struggle. When it comes to deciding how to move a mattress, take care to select the correct equipment and have it ready for when you move. Make sure you pick up the following items  before moving your mattress and dismantling your bed:

  • Waterproof mattress cover

  • Moving straps or ratchet straps (Rope can work, but these are the most secure straps available.)

  • Screwdriver

  • Wrench

  • Allen key

  • Sandwich bags

  • Tape

  • Moving blankets

How to Move a Mattress

You’ve gotten your supplies and the time has come to finally move your mattress! This will be a cinch if you do the following steps:

Step 1: Purchase a mattress cover and bag.

Step 2: Put the mattress in the cover and package it in the plastic mattress bag.

Step 3: Clear your exit route – move furniture, prop open doors, and clear space in the moving vehicle.

Step 4: Carry your mattress out to the vehicle with a friend.

Step 5: Load and secure the mattress with moving straps.

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How to Move the Bed

Now that the mattress is out of the way, you can start dismantling your bed. Depending on the frame, your screwdriver, Allen key, and wrench will come in handy here. You may also want a few extra hands to make the process easier and to help you wrangle any large pieces. Be sure to keep your sandwich bags handy and store all the screws and small parts in them, then tape the bags to your bed frame. Be strategic with your tape placement so you don’t lose any paint when you remove the bags.

Once taken apart, carefully wrap your bed frame in moving blankets and carry it out to the moving vehicle. This will protect your bed frame and your walls from any dings or dents. Put the frame in your vehicle and secure it with the moving straps. Be careful not to stack your bed frame on top of your mattress because you could end up with some unwanted (and uncomfortable) indentations.

How to Unpack a Mattress

You learned how to move a mattress and got it to your new home without a hitch. Congrats! The day isn’t over, though. You still have to unload the mattress. Undo the moving straps and slide your mattress out of the vehicle. It's a good idea to recruit a friend for this to avoid accidentally dropping your mattress or having to slide it into your new home. Carry it inside and remove the plastic moving bag, keeping the mattress on its side, preferably near an open window to air out. We recommend placing it in a room that isn’t your bedroom so you have space to put your bed frame together.

Want to know how to unpack and disinfect your mattress? You’re in luck! Moving is a great time to give your mattress a deep clean. A good place to start is by vacuuming the mattress with a clean brush nozzle to remove any dust that collected on the way over. If possible, stand your mattress outside for one to two hours on a moving blanket.

Next, sprinkle baking soda on your mattress and vacuum it off after a few hours. If you have a steam cleaner, even better. Just run it over your mattress for a few minutes. Lastly, lightly spray your mattress with disinfectant and wipe it off with a clean cloth. You can put your bed back together while your mattress dries and once it’s completely dry, you’re good to go!

If you’re short on time, make sure you vacuum the mattress, air it out near an open window, and leave the sheets off for as long as possible. You want to sleep on a clean mattress, so this step should not be missed.

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How to Move a Memory Foam Mattress

Not all mattresses are created equal, and memory foam mattresses are a perfect example. It’s important to understand how to move a memory foam mattress properly to avoid damaging it. What makes them so hard to move? They’re like giant noodles. Foam mattresses don’t keep their form as traditional ones do, so stabilizing your foam mattress is key when moving it. There are a few additional steps to move a foam mattress correctly, so be prepared to put in the extra effort.

Step 1: Measure your mattress.

Step 2: Buy a mattress cover and put your mattress inside.

Step 3: Order a mattress shipping box and bubble wrap.

Step 4: Wrap your mattress in the bubble wrap and secure it with tape.

Step 5: Slip the bubble-wrapped mattress into the box and close it up with tape.

Step 6: Carefully carry the box into your moving vehicle and either lay it flat or on its side. Either way, be sure not to put anything on top of the box.

Step 7: Secure the box with moving straps. Tighten them enough that the box won’t move, but not so tight that you dent the box.

How to Store a Mattress

Aren’t taking your mattress to the new place right away? No worries! Renting a storage unit is easy and you can lease a small storage unit for as little as $45 a month. Once you know how to store a mattress correctly, you can rest assured that it’ll be fresh and clean when you move your mattress into your new home. Before storing your mattress, it’s going to need a good clean.

Grab the vacuum to remove any dust and dirt. Then, cover the mattress with a light, breathable cover. Do not store your mattress in plastic wrapping. It traps any moisture inside, making your bed a breeding ground for bacteria. Always store the mattress on its base, in a horizontal position, and on a flat surface. Be careful to properly pack and organize your storage space and ensure nothing rests on top of your mattress to keep it in good shape.

When taking your mattress out of storage, follow the same steps as you would when moving and unloading it. As always, thoroughly clean and disinfect the mattress before sleeping on it.

And that’s the whole kit and caboodle. You now know how to move, store, and clean your mattress as safely and painlessly as possible. We hope this guide takes a load-off on moving day, leaving you more time to kick back and get a good night’s rest. Happy moving!


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