How to Move a Mattress: Tips for Transportation

How to Move a Mattress: Tips for Transportation

Published: 01 Jun, 2022

Last Updated: 19 Jan, 2023

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Looking for tips on how to move a mattress? Good! Let’s talk mattress moving.

Well, moving a mattress may seem like a pretty straightforward assignment, but it’s one of those tasks you misjudge until you get down to it.

Before you move a mattress, first ask yourself if it is worth the trouble. Because in some cases, it’s simply not.

For instance, if you have a mattress that has seen its best years and bears indentations, tears, or is sagging, it might probably be a better idea to invest in a new one. Then again, that will depend on how many mattresses you are moving, and whether the money is happy at the time or not.

Opting for a new purchase makes more sense if you live alone and are probably relocating halfway across the country. You can decide to sell (or donate) large and heavy items like furniture, mattress, and appliances like refrigerators and simply start afresh when you get to your new city.

For most people, though, mattress moving is the more feasible option, especially considering most mattresses have a long lifespan of about a decade.

How to move a mattress is therefore the question, considering mattresses can be quite heavy and bulky.


What Are the Main Difficulties in Transporting a Mattress?

Depending on the weight, density, and type of mattress – in addition to the distance you’ll be covering – moving a mattress can either be a job for the left hand or it might need some extra hands on deck. Unless, of course, it’s an inflatable; in which case it shouldn’t pose any problem at all.

While some mattresses are easy to manage by oneself, others require a pair of extra hands, whether it’s family or friends, or enlisting the help of professional residential movers to handle it for you. Yes, movers provide labor-only service if it’s what you want; it doesn’t always have to be a full-service offering.

However, if you decide to take matters into your own hands, literally speaking, it’s good to know what you’re up against.

For one, it’s worth keeping in mind that moving a mattress on your own can cause injuries, so having someone to assist helps.

You also need special equipment and materials (more on this shortly) for the mattress move. While some mattresses like those made from memory foam or latex can be folded in the middle for better ease when moving, it’s trickier with spring mattresses. Folding can damage their structure, leading to less comfortable sleep or a ruined mattress; and that’s not what we want.

You also need to think about how to transport a mattress. A van or moving truck is the best way to move a mattress. You can also tie it on the roof of your car, but this can expose the mattress to things like pollutants and other elements, particularly if it’s not covered well. The latter works best if you’re moving a block or two away.

  What Equipment is Needed to Move a Mattress?

What Equipment Is Needed to Move a Mattress?

If you decide to move a mattress DIY, there are a few important items that can make the job easier for you.

  • Mattress bag (or mattress box) – fetching in the region of $5 to $25 depending on size and quality, a mattress bag will protect your mattress from grime, dust, damage, and potential infestations until you get down to unpacking it. Mattress bags are available in all standard sizes and can be sourced from hardware shops or stores dealing in moving supplies. Alternatively, you can use plastic wrap to cover the mattress, in which case you should also pick up some bubble wrap to provide an extra layer of protection;
  • Tape – you’ll use the tape to seal your mattress bag, so make sure the tape is sturdy. Either of masking, shipping, or duct tape should work;
  • Dolly or cart – a dolly or hand cart is the best way to move a mattress from the bedroom to the waiting vehicle and vice-versa when you get to your new pad. You can rent one from a moving company or home goods store near you; unless you want to invest in one for other future uses;
  • Cardboard – depending on how you will be packing your mattress, you may or may not need cardboard. But it never hurts to have one handy in case you find the need to reinforce the mattress;
  • Ratchet tie down strap – a ratchet strap has hooks and buckles that makes it ideal for tying down stuff, mattresses included. You will use it to lock the mattress in place in the moving van or truck bed. Or you can choose to use a nylon rope as an alternative;
  • Retractable knife or scissors – for cutting open the mattress bag. The scissors can also be useful during the packing process.
  How to Move a Mattress: Step by Step Instructions

How to Move a Mattress: Step by Step Instructions

Below are the steps involved in how to pack mattresses for moving:

  1. Cover your mattress with a mattress bag.
    Start by placing the mattress against the wall or on the floor (whichever is easier) then simply slide the mattress bag over the mattress. Before sealing with tape, make sure to push all air out of the bag. This locks out moisture and makes handling easier. Once that’s done, fold the flaps of the bag down and use the tape to seal the open ends. Give the bag a once-over to check for any holes or rips, and seal those too if you find any.
  2. Try not to fold or bend the mattress.
    Some people recommend folding up your mattress but this is not the best way to move a mattress; and definitely not a spring mattress! While memory foam or latex mattresses may allow for it, what this does is weaken your mattress in the middle.
  3. Use cardboard to reinforce floppy mattresses.
    If the mattress is floppy, use a slab of cardboard to secure both sides so that the mattress doesn’t flop around when moving it to the vehicle. Large cardboard boxes should do the trick.
  4. Plan and clear your route to the vehicle.
    It is a moving best practice to clear all paths leading to the moving vehicle on the day of the move. The same advice rings true for when moving a mattress. Remove any objects and debris from the path that might be blocking the walkway (and staircase). You might be surprised to know that moving-related accidents are pretty common on Moving Day, so as granny would say, prevention is always better than cure. Don’t forget to prop the doors open for easy passage.
  5. Prepare the vehicle for mattress transport.
    That means making sure the moving vehicle is clean first and foremost, and the interior clear. If there are any seats that need pushing down or removing, go ahead and do that, then leave the vehicle doors open too.
  6. Lift the mattress properly.
    It’s easy to inflict injury on yourself through improper lifting techniques. Avoid lifting the mattress by bending forward (a default for most people) and instead lift from the knees by bending your hips and knees to squat down. Then proceed to pick up the mattress while ensuring it’s as close to the body as possible, before lifting by straightening your legs.
  7. Carry your mattress to the vehicle.
    The easiest way to move a mattress to the vehicle is with the help of someone else. The option is to use a dolly if you cannot find a helping hand. You can always rent one from a moving company or hardware store. In the case of larger-sized foam mattresses, you may need to use the cardboard boxes we mentioned for ease of carrying.
  8. Load the mattress into the vehicle, according to the special features of your vehicle.
    It’s easier to load a moving truck or van as all you have to do is simply lift the mattress and place it inside the truck. However, you can move a mattress in most vehicles, not just pickup trucks or moving vans. It certainly helps that there are no laws prohibiting mattress transportation on top of the car in the United States, provided the mattress is not distracting your view and that of other drivers. But failure to properly tie the mattress on top of your car could see you get pulled over. You could also be slapped with fines in the unfortunate event the mattress falls off the roof! Speaking of which.
  9. Secure the mattress.
    This is where the ratchet tie down strap or nylon rope comes in. The way you secure your mattress will depend on the type of vehicle you’re using for mattress moving. A moving truck or van comes with support rails that you can use the ratchet strap or nylon rope to secure against. If it’s a pickup truck, simply secure one end of the straps or nylon ropes to the D-rings, before ratcheting the remaining slack or tying it with a trucker’s hitch knot. Use the same knot to strap the mattress down if you’re using a car or SUV with a luggage rack, after wrapping the ratchet straps or nylon rope across the front, center, and back of the mattress. If you’re moving a mattress on top of a car or SUV without a luggage rack, you’ll have to pass the ropes through the back passenger windows and front passenger door jams, and then back up to the roof before finally securing the mattress.
  10. Drive to the destination slowly and carefully.
    What’s left now is to get your mattress to its destination without any incidents. When transporting a mattress, it’s advisable to drive slowly, especially if you’re moving the mattress on top of the vehicle. Drive at a moderate pace and take back roads whenever you can. Be conscious of any potential shifts.

How to Unpack and Set Up Your Mattress?

Now that you’ve successfully got your mattress to its new home, it’s time to finish the job. Unless, of course, you plan to put your mattress in long-term storage; in which case, it would be better off in a climate-controlled storage unit to fend off mildew and bugs.

  • It’s important that you unwrap the mattress immediately to allow it to “breathe”. That’s particularly so if it was in a plastic wrap as this can lead to moisture buildup which could get into contact with your bed;
  • Prop up the mattress against the wall (on its side) as you set up the bed and other bedroom furniture. You can put it in another room as you do this;
  • Before placing your mattress on the bed, consider giving it a deep clean first, especially if it’s been a while since you did. The cleaning process should vary depending on the mattress. Alternatively, you can vacuum it;
  • Finally, once you’ve set up the bed and cleaned or vacuumed the mattress, put your mattress on the bed and that’s it.

Moving a mattress DIY can be tedious but it doesn’t have to be if you have a good idea of how to go about things – which is the whole point of this article. Having the right tools for the job certainly helps, and if you have a van or pickup truck, you’ll be laughing.

However, you can always enlist the help of a professional moving company when moving a mattress so you don’t have to deal with the hassle yourself. Most movers are happy to take even small jobs like these, and if you need storage, they’ll provide that too.

  Frequently asked questions on how to move mattresses

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is It Advisable to Fold a Mattress When Moving It?

Well, memory foam and latex mattresses are supple and have good flexibility therefore they can retake their shape after unfolding. However, what folding does when moving a mattress is weaken it, so we advise you to follow the above guidelines if you want your mattress to remain in tip-top shape.

Will My Warranty Protect My Mattress?

Well, that depends. While most mattresses come with a limited warranty of 10 years or thereabouts, the warranty largely covers manufacturing defects.

So, if you’re moving a mattress you purchased last year and it gets torn, cut, stained, or suffers other self-inflicted damages (that includes damage from folding), chances are it will void the warranty and you’ll be on your own.

Can You Store a Mattress on Its Side?

It’s a common bone of contention and a default storage technique for most people, the justification being that it saves on valuable space. In truth, though, storing a mattress on its side is not a good idea. What this does is cause the mattress to lose its shape (after just a month or two), in turn deeming it uncomfortable to use.

In an ideal world, a mattress should be stored resting flat on a soft surface, in a climate-controlled setting.

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