It’s a common saying (especially in mattress store advertisements) that your mattress is one of your most important assets because you spend about a third of your life there. A mattress may cost you upwards of $1,000, which makes sense–a quality mattress can last more than 10 years with proper care.
I’ve always thought there are two kinds of mattresses in the world. There are saggy, likely stained mattresses that are on their way to being replaced … someday. These mattresses draw ire from their owners, who acknowledge they need a replacement, but for some reason–be it overwhelming options, fear of a hard-sell situation or perhaps fatigue from a poor night’s sleep–are waiting it out. The other type of mattress is the dream mattress. No sag, no stains, just the right firmness–this mattress is the one you plan to keep for years to come. An owner of a dream mattress loves his or her bed and wants to keep it pristine for as long as possible; he or she rotates the mattress as directed and may even protect it with a waterproof cover.
If you’re moving and you love your mattress, it’s imperative that you store it properly. A Google search for “how to store a mattress” returns many results, some of which directly contradict one another, so we had to take our research a step further. We reached out to Mattrezzz Guys, a retailer that’s making a name for itself as an Austin favorite (check those Yelp reviews), and spoke to owners Frank and Anthony about how to properly store a mattress.
Do: Get a Climate-Controlled Storage Unit
“The number one tip if you’re storing for an extended length of time: climate-controlled storage,” Frank advised. “Especially in Austin.”
He might have been speaking to local customers in this case, but this tip applies anywhere with a relative humidity that swings above 50 percent (hint: almost everywhere at some point in the year). Mold is a serious threat to the health of your mattress and potentially to your health, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Anything else you’re storing in the unit–books, furniture, electronics, artwork, clothing, bedding–will benefit from the climate control as well. Moreover, climate-controlled units are usually inside and thus afford better protection from pests and water damage than outdoor-facing units.
Don’t: Store the Mattress on Its Side
This is the main reason this blog post exists. Not to point fingers, but other blog posts and websites often say to store the mattress on its side. Frank and Anthony strongly advise against it.
“This is just as important as getting a climate-controlled unit,” Frank said. “If you stand it up, the padding and coils can settle and the mattress will never be the same. Don’t forget, gravity’s not always our friend.”
The difference between storing a mattress flat versus on its side may mean getting a bigger storage unit. But if you intend on keeping this mattress in good shape, you’ll want to mimic its natural positioning–maybe even setting up your whole bed inside the storage unit. Similarly, gravity can come into play if you leave something on top of your mattress (or you have your mattress resting on something). To avoid wear and tear, make sure nothing is weighing down your bed. The only thing that should be on the mattress and boxspring is a plastic cover.
Do: Use a Plastic Mattress Cover or Plastic Wrap
This final layer of protection can prevent worst-case scenarios. Frank and Anthony recommend completely wrapping the mattress in plastic, be it a specially made mattress bag or stretch plastic wrap. Water damage or pests shouldn’t be a problem at most storage facilities, but the covering has a more important application as well: It prevents dust from settling into the fibers of your mattress, which can happen even in the cleanest indoor unit.
You should apply the mattress cover before moving to help protect it while it’s being transported. And while we’re on the topic of transportation, you should avoid tying your mattress down on top of your car. You’re either going to warp your mattress by tying it down too tight or ruin it having it fly off the top of your car and onto the road. You should transport your mattress protected from the elements in a covered moving truck.
Edit: Removed a line about storing your mattress flat. It’s okay to transport the mattress on its side, as long as you’re not leaving it there long term. “Gravity alone isn’t the enemy when talking about materials settling… it’s gravity and time,” Peter Cancelli of TheMattressExpert.com wrote us in response to this post.