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Expert Shopper Bed & Bath

How to store a mattress

Storing your mattress safely

When you know how to store a mattress the right way, you can be sure it will still be good to use when you need it again. Maybe you're traveling for an extended period or you're turning your guest room into a gym — whatever the reason, it seems a shame to get rid of a perfectly decent mattress that you might need again in future. Preparing your mattress carefully and storing it correctly can keep it in good shape.

Clean and dry your mattress

The first thing you should do before storing a mattress is clean it. Even if a mattress isn't visibly dirty, sweat, skin cells and dust build up in it and can lead to mold and mildew if you wrap it up and store it without cleaning it. Remove your sheets and vacuum the surface of your mattress with a handheld vacuum or the upholstery attachment on the hose of a standard vacuum cleaner. 

Next, give the surface of your mattress a clean, paying special attention to any stains. You can use a dedicated upholstery cleaner to do this, or work diluted laundry detergent into the surface of your mattress with a sponge. Whatever your method, make sure you only get your mattress slightly damp, not properly wet, as you'll need to wait for it to dry before storing it. 

Once cleaned, leave the sheets off and the windows open (if weather allows) and let the mattress air dry before moving onto the next step. 

Cover your mattress

Your mattress will need to be covered while in storage to protect it from dust, damp in the air and anything else that could soil it. The easiest way to cover your mattress is with a mattress storage bag. This is a waterproof bag that fits over mattresses. Some higher-end options are zippered, but others you need to tape closed. 

If you don't want to splash out on a mattress bag, you can wrap your mattress in clean plastic sheeting and tape it up, but if you don't already own plastic sheeting, it won't cost any less than a cheap mattress bag. Whatever you choose to use, it should be waterproof and you should check for any holes or tears before storing.

Choose climate-controlled storage

For long-term storage, you’re best off storing your mattress in a climate-controlled facility. Some damp can still seep into a mattress that's covered in plastic or a mattress bag, and over months and years, this can cause mold and mildew to grow. Once a mattress is moldy, it's tough to get it completely clean and sleeping on it may be detrimental to your health. If you're simply storing your mattress at home in a garage or outbuilding, you can make use of a dehumidifier to keep excess moisture out of the air. 

Store your mattress flat

Storing your mattress on its side might seem to make sense in terms of saving space, but it can cause mattresses to become misshapen over time. This is especially true of innerspring mattresses, as the pressure of being stored on their sides can shift the springs around and make them extremely uncomfortable and unsupportive to sleep on. Even memory foam mattresses should be stored flat to mimic their natural position and keep them from losing their shape. For more information on different types of mattresses, see the BestReviews mattress buying guide.

Don't stack items on top of your mattress

When you're thinking about fitting as much as possible in a storage space, it might be tempting to put other items on top of your mattress. The weight from these items, however, will damage your mattress over time to the point where it's no longer comfortable or supportive to sleep on. Laying your mattress flat with nothing on top of it might take up more space, but it's the best way to store your mattress. If you're pressed for space, it's better to lay your mattress flat on top of other items (ideally with relatively flat surfaces) than to stack items on top of your mattress.

What you need to buy for storing a mattress

Linenspa Mattress Bag for Moving and Storage

These simple mattress bags are rip-resistant and waterproof, keeping your mattress clean and dry. Simply slip your mattress inside, fold the extra material over and tape it up. 

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ForceField Fabric Cleaner

This spray is great for cleaning the surface of your mattress before you wrap it up and store it. It works well on mattress covers — just don't soak your mattress with it or it will take a long time to dry.

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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