This Is Hands-Down the Best Way to Move a Mattress

published May 23, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

There’s just something about sleeping on the perfect mattress. It’s comfy, it’s cozy, it helps you fall asleep and stay asleep… it’s basically a sleep-infused cloud that whisks you away to a dreamland. (Can you tell I love my mattress?) The very last thing you want is for your mattress to become damaged during a move. With that in mind, we asked the experts to outline the best practices for moving your mattress. Here’s what they had to say.

Bag it up

The first and most important part of moving a mattress is getting it into a mattress bag. These thick plastic bags can be purchased from any moving supply store if you didn’t save the one your mattress originally came in. The plastic bag will be a shield against dirt and tears.

“You spend most of your time on a mattress,” says Eric Welch, the director of operations training at Gentle Giant Moving Company in Boston. “It’s very important to make sure it stays clean.” 

Rachael Lyons, marketing and business development director at Olympia Moving, agrees, noting that even “if you just set it on the driveway momentarily,” your mattress can get pretty dirty right away if it’s not in a bag.

If you don’t have a bag, wrap it in a thick layer of shrink wrap and then wrap it again in moving blankets. If you’re using movers, be prepared to pay a little bit more in the end because of the extra time it’ll take to wrap up. If you have a large mattress, you may also consider using a mattress carrier. These are thicker bags that have handles on each end and go about a third of the way up the mattress, enabling you to “carry it in a sling,” Welch says. They’re beneficial if you aren’t using movers and want to be mindful of tears and scratches on both the mattress and walls.

Don’t bend it

Under no circumstances should you bend your mattress—it will more than likely ruin it. Rotate it, flip it around, angle it to see if it’ll go through the door, sure. But folding or bending? That’s a no-no.

“When you bend it in half, you’re compromising the mattress,” Welch says. “It might look OK when it goes back on the bed, but over time you’re going to feel lumps.”

If you live in a building with narrow or short stairwells, do your best to navigate your mattress through the space—while being cognizant of light fixtures and sprinkler heads, Lyons says—but if you just can’t get it, you’re better off used a crane or hand-hoisting it up through a slider window on a deck.

“Getting a crane out there for a few hundred dollars is cheaper than bending a mattress and having to purchase a new one,” Welch cautions.

Pick the right spot in the truck

Choose the placement of your mattress in the truck wisely. You want it to be in a spot that’s protected from any water that might seep in if it’s raining or snowing, and you want it upright and flat against either the wall of the truck or the back of the load (if it’s far enough away from the door). Put some blankets or cardboard down first, place the mattress upright on them, and secure it to either a box spring, some extra cardboard sheets, or a solid wall of boxes. Use straps if possible: bungee cord hooks can come loose and rip the mattress fabric.

How to prepare specialty mattresses

Those same rules don’t apply to every type of mattress, though. Specialty ones, like Sleep Number beds and Tempurpedic mattresses need specific care.

“Tempurpedics have to be kept flat as much as possible,” Welch says. Even though you can move it vertically (for shorter moves), keeping it as flat as you can will maintain the integrity of the bed and save you an expensive purchase if it gets damaged.

Sleep Number beds also need special considerations, Lyons says. You’ll either need to disconnect the electronics yourself after talking with the manufacturer, or hire a specialist to come out and do it before the move.