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How to Move a Mattress The Best Way to Protect and Transport a Bed

how to move a mattress

Do you need to move a mattress? This guide will help you through the process of packaging, securing and moving a mattress. I’ve done this hundreds of times and it’s the best way I know to successfully move a mattress. It doesn’t matter if you just need to move your mattress up stairs, into a moving truck (because you’re moving into a new house), or just moving it to the garage.

The critical part is that your mattress doesn’t get damaged or dirty. And since a mattress is usually heavy, it’s easy to drop it if you don’t move it correctly. Once a white cover hits the mud or dirt, it’s not easy to clean it. Believe me, I’ve done it. So take the time to move it right!

How to Move a Mattress

This method works on all foam mattresses and mattresses even spring mattresses you buy online that come in rolled in a box. DO NOT attempt it on thicker traditional mattresses that come flat and that have springs or pillow tops – it’s likely to ruin your bed. Some manufacturers warn against folding. However, I’ve successfully folded many different brands.

The video below shows the steps you need to take to wrap your mattress so it won’t get dirty or wet, how to secure it and how to move it so you won’t kill your back.

Supplies Needed

I have links below but I want to explain what to look for.

Mattress bag or painter’s plastic
A mattress bag should be made of at least 3.5 mil thick plastic. Some mattress bags say they’re this thick but are actually flimsy. I don’t recommend the kind you buy at a moving place like UHaul. They’re very thin and will rip easily. If you have a mattress thicker than 12″ then it might be tough to fit into a mattress bag so we recommend using the plastic method.

Racket Tie Down Straps or Rope
This can be nylon tie down straps with rackets or rope. I prefer racket straps because you can tighten them and they stay. If the mattress is secure in half, it will be easiest to move. It won’t flop open. It’s much easier to carry a heavy mattress if you use straps. Carrying a heavy mattress with rope to hold onto isn’t easy on your hands!

Packing Tape
I like the Scotch brand. This is to seal the end of the mattress bag, cover any tears or to tape the ends if you’re using painter’s plastic.

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Here are links to the supplies (we may earn a commission when you shop through our links)

➡️ Heavy Duty Mattress bag these are the exact ones I’ve bought and used many times. Or these are 4 mil for heavier mattresses https://amzn.to/2Jq3U5r
➡️ Painter’s Plastic: https://amzn.to/2Om3mwh
➡️ Rope (paracord):
https://amzn.to/2YR5mQY 
➡️ Racket tie down straps:
https://amzn.to/2TfMJmw
➡️ Packing tape with tape gun:
https://amzn.to/2WbtUan

Optional: a dolly (I used a folding dolly that fits in the back of my car. You can put the straps over the handle so the mattress is securely attached).

There are two ways to package your mattress. This gives it a waterproof barrier and keeps dirt from getting onto your mattress. Rain is the enemy because you can get mold if your mattress gets and stays wet. So tape it well if you’re taking your mattress outside and it could get rained on. Water damage looks a lot like pee stains which aren’t something you want on a mattress.

Both of these methods are shown in the video above. It’s helpful to see them.

Mattress Bag Method

Step 1: Bag the mattress.

Leave the mattress flat. I always like to put the mattress bag on first and then fold it. It just helps you keep it so you can fit it in the back of the car and you can put it in a van. You can do this by yourself, but it’s easier with two people.

Step 2: Fold the mattress in half.

Step 3: Secure the mattress with tie down straps or rope. Make sure the racket on straps is near the top so it won’t damage the floor if you slide the mattress.

Painters Plastic Method

Get 1.5 mil or thicker painter’s plastic (see link above or you can buy locally at a hardware type store). Don’t want to go for 0.7 mil or 0.5 mil or just it won’t hold up. Again, you’re into this mattress a few hundred, minimum. Make sure you protect it while you move it.

Step 1: Cut your plastic

  • 7 feet long for twin or twin XL
  • 8 feet long for a full or queen size mattress
  • 9 feet long for a king.

So you can get two Queens and a King out of a 25 foot roll without any waste.

Step 2: Fold the mattress

Step 3: Wrap the mattress

Step 4: Secure the mattress

If by chance you do not have plastic bags or painters plastic, there’s a third option you can use that works pretty well. And that’s a tarp. You can use a tarp with the same method that we just taught you with the plastic won’t tape as easily. You might have to use duct tape or heavier duty tape, but it will work in a pinch. Make sure the tarp is clean though. If it’s dirty, it can transfer that dirt right onto your mattress.

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How to Fit your Mattress into your SUV, Truck or Car

Now that your mattress is folded, you can put it into the back of a car, truck or SUV with the seats down in the back and the front passenger side pulled all the way forward. I can fit a king size mattress in the back of my Honda CR-V. It’s a little tight but it works. This is my car with a king size mattress inside:

how to fit a mattress in a car

Will it fit into your car or vehicle? It depends on how wide the trunk space is. If you have to, you can strap the mattress (folded or not) onto the top. You thread the tie down straps over the mattress and connect the ends inside the car. You have to have the window open for the straps to connect. This isn’t optimal because if it’s raining or cold, you have to have the windows down. But it works in a pinch.

Alternatively you can rent a trailer or UHaul because you can fit a folded king size mattress in the smaller enclosed trailer (you need to have a trailer hitch of course).

Now maybe the mattress you want to move is simply up the stairs! In this video I’ll show you how to do that, the easiest way I’ve found.

Do you have any questions about how to move a mattress? Let me know in the comments and I’ll try to help! Also, if you liked this article, be sure to share it with anyone you know who is moving. Moving a mattress is hard work! And since they’re not cheap, you want to protect your bed the best that you can.

And if you do need a new mattress because you’re expanding your family or moving into a new home, here’s a list of Mattresses with Sleep Trials. This helps you at a glance see the key information to pick the right mattress for you.

Sometimes it’s not worth moving a mattress because it’s so worn out! Believe me, I’ve seen a lot of awful mattresses in the back of a truck and I feel sorry for the poor soul who has to sleep on it. Investing in your sleep pays back again and again. Remember, if your mattress has flowers on it, it’s probably too old. You may be used to it, but think of how much better you could sleep if it had more support.

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