How to Store a Mattress the Right Way

Wood chair and small table stored on a mattress

Maybe your college student’s room is going to become your fabulous new home gym, or it’s time for that twin bed to become a double. What should you do with the old mattress? It’s still in good shape, but you don’t want to throw it out—and what if your kid moves back home after college? What if you never use the exercise equipment and decide to turn the space into a guest room instead? (It’s been known to happen!)

Store a Mattress in 4 Simple Steps

Mattresses are an investment, one from which you can get more than a decade of use with the proper care and maintenance. There are many reasons you might put your mattress in a self storage unit, from downsizing your lifestyle to needing overflow space until you can move into a new home. Access Self Storage is here to offer several helpful tips on how to store a mattress properly until it’s needed again.

1. Clean your mattress by vacuuming, using cleaner, and air drying.

Putting a dirty mattress into storage can result in mold, fungus, or at the very least a dirty mattress coming out of storage. To avoid this problem altogether, follow a few steps for a clean, ready-to-use mattress upon retrieval from storage:

  • Vacuum the mattress thoroughly.
  • Apply upholstery cleaner or baking soda.
  • Place the mattress outside to air out and dry.
  • Use a covered moving truck to transport to storage.

First, vacuum thoroughly, then apply an upholstery cleaner. Use a light hand with the upholstery cleaner; it can be tricky, so read the directions carefully and don’t soak the mattress to the point where it won’t dry. Work the cleaner with a brush, then allow the mattress to dry completely. Even after you think it’s dry, give it another day. You can use floor fans and open windows to expedite the drying process, or put it out in the sun if possible.

As a quicker and simpler alternative, you can sprinkle baking soda over the mattress, let it settle to absorb odors, and then vacuum up the powder. A steam cleaner is also a great alternative to applying upholstery cleaner by hand, as it kills all kinds of allergens. These types of vacuum cleaners are made by the major vacuum brands (Hoover, Bissell, etc.) and can be very effective in cleaning both carpets and upholstery. You can also rent these cleaners from some grocery and hardware stores—if you’re storing several pieces of furniture along with the mattress, it’s worth the bother. To clean your mattress, you’ll need a model with a handheld attachment. Again, be sure to avoid soaking the mattress.

Transporting Your Mattress to Storage

What about keeping your mattress protected during the move? It’s safest to shield the bed from filth and damage with blankets, sheets, or other fabric inside your moving vehicle—preferably a covered moving truck. Don’t have one yet? We’ve got our tenants covered with free truck use. Tying a mattress to your car with bungee cords can be a risk to you and other drivers as well as the structural integrity of the mattress. Plus, you never know when unfavorable weather conditions might strike on moving day!

2. Wrap your mattress in a mattress storage bag or plastic.

If you have to store your mattress in a garage or storage unit, keep it covered to protect not only against dirt and dust, but also moisture. Mattress storage bags are available at many hardware stores and among Access’s available on-site packing and moving supplies. If you’re using plastic, be sure to thoroughly clean and dry the mattress before wrapping it. Otherwise, you could be sealing moisture in instead of keeping it out, and your mattress won’t be in good shape for very long.

In addition, it’s best to store your mattress in a climate-controlled environment—and you can find a storage unit with climate control at an Access Self Storage facility near you. Avoid damp basements, outdoor storage, and storage sheds. (Really, would you want to sleep on a mattress that came out of a shed?) If you live in an area with high humidity, storing a mattress in a non-temperature-controlled unit can lead to mold and bacteria breeding inside and on the mattress. Not only will your mattress smell like gym socks, but it could also be a health hazard.

3. Store your mattress flat and clear of items to protect the springs.

If you have the space to store the mattress flat, manufacturers recommend this for keeping it in good shape. It may be more convenient to store your mattress standing, but when it’s stored upright, the coils and springs can shift and cause the mattress fabric to sag. Lay a tarp down on the floor before placing the mattress on top.

However, never store items on top of the mattress! It’s not a steady surface, and objects can damage the springs and cause cuts or permanent dents in the cushioning. If you have large boxes or flat furniture where the mattress will be stored, you may lay the mattress on top (as long as it’s steady). Check out our guide to organizing a storage unit for further advice on maximizing space.

4. Freshen up your mattress with baking soda and deodorizing spray.

If, despite your efforts, the mattress comes out of storage smelling a little musty, not to worry. Here’s how to freshen it up:

  • Sprinkle baking soda on each side to absorb the smell.
  • After 10 minutes, vacuum the entire mattress.
  • Spray the mattress with a natural deodorizing spray and allow it to air-dry completely.
  • To ensure it has time to air out, remove the mattress from storage at least 24 hours before you need to use it.

Mattress Storage from Access Self Storage

There’s no reason to toss a perfectly good mattress out to the curb. When you follow these best practices on how to store a mattress, you should be able to keep yours in usable condition for the future. The well-being of your mattress in storage, in part, depends on how well you store the surrounding items—which is why we’ve compiled some general packing and storage tips, too.

Need reliable storage space for your mattress any other household items? At Access Self Storage, we have a full range of unit options to fit your lifestyle. Reserve storage online today!