Here’s How to Store a Mattress Properly

updated Apr 29, 2024
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: evrymmnt/

You may need to store a mattress for any number of reasons. Maybe you’re moving from a home with a guest room to one without, or your child has gone off to college and you want to convert their bedroom into an office. No matter the reason, it’s good to know the proper way to put that mattress up for some time. Here’s what you need to know.

Cleaning the Mattress Before It’s Stored

First things first: Clean your mattress. You don’t want to store something dirty that will just keep festering in storage. Start by vacuuming the entire surface to remove any crumbs, dust bunnies, pet hair, or anything else that may be on your mattress. Then spot clean it to remove any stains, like those from sweat or urine. Next, sprinkle baking soda on the mattress and let it sit for a few hours, then vacuum that up and air out your mattress outside, if possible.

How to Properly Cover a Mattress Before It’s Stored

If you’re just storing your mattress for a short time — like a couple of days, maybe — then wrapping it may not be necessary. But overall, wrapping your mattress for storage is always a good idea. “It will keep dust and dirt from getting on your mattress but will allow any off-gassing to not get trapped,” says Noah Duarte, training manager at Gentle Giant Moving Company. Mattress bags are the best option. Home Depot has a decent selection; check by the moving products.

If you decide to DIY it instead of using a pre-made mattress bag, you’ll need heavy plastic sheeting and duct tape. You can even use a clean tarp if you have one. Remove all bedding from the mattress, clean the mattress, then completely wrap the mattress in the plastic and duct tape it closed.

Where to Store a Mattress

The best place to store your mattress is someplace dry and insulated from any outside critters. “A barn can be dry, but allows the possibilities of an animal finding a new home,” Duarte says. Consider something like a climate-controlled storage unit or in a storage space in your home that doesn’t have huge temperature fluctuations.

Credit: Trong Nguyen/

How to Store a Mattress

Ideally, you’ll store your mattress lying down flat, with nothing on top of it. But that varies based on how you’re storing it, where, and what type of mattress it is. “In an ideal world, if the mattress is primarily made of natural latex or memory foam and it will be stored for a prolonged period, you would like to store it flat,” Duarte says.

He does note though that this can present a problem for people who have cost or space restrictions. In that case, you can store the mattress upright or on its side, as long as it has enough additional support to keep it upright.

“Not having enough structure around it can cause the mattress to sag and buckle,” Duarte says.

How to Store Boxed Mattresses

For boxed mattresses — ones that are compressed, air-sealed, rolled, and placed into a box — brand new ones still in the box can be kept as-is for a few months. Any longer than that, and you’ll want to unroll it so the foam layers don’t get damaged. If it’s already been unrolled, store it the way you would any other mattress: ideally flat but upright with support if necessary.

How to Store a Sleep Number Bed

For a mattress with air bladders (like a Sleep Number bed), take it apart and store it in pieces. Otherwise, the components inside will shift and you’ll need to readjust everything before setting the bed up after storage. As for a traditional coil mattress, that “can safely be stored on its side with minimal concern for damage,” Duarte says.

How Long Can You Store a Mattress?

How long you can keep any mattress stored changes based on the conditions. If the mattress is protected and laid flat with nothing on it, it should be fine in storage for several years. For a mattress stored upright with full-side supports, try to keep it under a year. Otherwise, the inside could settle and you’ll end up with a bed full of lumps. For mattresses that are vacuum-sealed and rolled, the storage time is typically a few months. Be sure to check with the manufacturer, though, to see what they recommend, Duarte says. You don’t want to damage the mattress or void its warranty.