How to Move a Mattress in 8 Easy Steps

March 18, 2020 | Casper Editorial Team

You spent months dreaming about buying a new mattress. Now it’s moving day and you have to lug it back down the stairs and out the door. Part of you is questioning the mattress upgrade to a California King, but deep down you know that it was worth it.
Moving a mattress can be a 15-minute process, or an hour of misery. We want to make sure that your experience is the first and not the second. It’s time to lace up your work boots, call in a few favors and pay your friends for pizza. We’ve put together a list of eight steps for making moving unbelievably easy.

What to Know Before Moving a Mattress

Always try to find a buddy to help move your mattress. Depending on the type, a mattress can range from 45 pounds (twin mattress) and 71 pounds (queen size mattress) to 90 and 100 pounds (King size memory foam mattress, California king mattress, and some specialized mattresses).
Attempting to lift and move a mattress alone can cause physical injuries, strained muscles, or nasty falls, so having a partner is essential.
You’ll also want to decide how you’d like to transport the mattress. While it may seem like a quick and easy hack to tie a mattress to the roof of a car, this can damage the mattress by exposing it to pollutants and other elements.
It’s best to secure the mattress inside of a truck or moving van. This allows for full structural coverage and allows you to secure the mattress for transport.

Equipment Needed for Moving a Mattress

Various pieces of moving equipment in rows. Illustration.
Investing in some extra supplies can help make your move easier and ensure your mattress’s safe delivery. Some of this equipment can be rented, or you can purchase it from a moving rental company or online.
Mattress Bag – A mattress bag will protect your mattresses from damage, dust, grime and potential infestations until you’re able to safely unpack it in your new home. You can find mattress bags for $10-$25 at stores like Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Uhaul or Amazon.
Dolly or Hand Truck – A dolly or hand truck can streamline the process of moving the mattress from the bedroom to the transporting vehicle and into your new home. You can buy or rent your choice of dolly at local hardware stores or moving truck rental companies.
Ratchet Tie Down Strap – A ratchet strap is a two-piece tie-down strap that’s ideal for locking the mattress in place in a truck bed or moving van.
Nylon Rope – Alternatively, you can secure your mattress with a sturdy length of rope. You can find them at hardware stores.
Cardboard – If your mattress is on the more flexible side, stabilizing it with a large, flat piece of cardboard can make it easier to transport.
Tape – Make sure you use a strong, durable shipping or packing tape to seal your bag. Shipping, masking and duct tape have durable adhesives that are typically waterproof, strong enough to keep the mattress bag and sealed, and can prevent moisture from entering the bag which can cause damage to the mattress.
Retractable Knife – No move is complete without a reliable knife. Make sure you’re using a sharp, well-maintained blade when cutting open your mattress bag and be careful to avoid cutting the mattress itself. Any local hardware store will have knives. Be sure to follow all safety instructions when using a knife!
Tool Set – If the mattress is on a bed frame, tools such as wrenches, screwdrivers and Allen Wrenches can be used to take the bed frame apart and reassembled at a later time.
Sandwich Bags – Keeping all parts, crews, nuts and bolts together in a sandwich bag, will ensure that important parts are not lost during disassembly or when transporting the bed.

How to Move Your Mattress

Moving a mattress can be a smooth and easy process if you follow these steps.
1. Put your mattress into the mattress bag.
Two people put a cover on a large mattress. Illustration.
Place the mattress flat on the ground or against a wall. Lift one end while your partner slides the mattress bag over the mattress.
Ensure that all of the air has been pushed out of the bag, then fold the flaps down and seal the open ends with tape. Once sealed, look for small holes or rips in the bag and tape those as well.
2. Clear a path.
Two people stand looking at a map of their home. Illustration.
Plan your route to the transporting vehicle and clear all objects and debris that may block the walkway and stairs.
Verify that all doors are propped open and are wide enough for the mattress to fit through when carried or wheeled on a dolly/hand truck.
3. Prepare your transporting vehicle.
A large moving truck with it's back doors wide open. Illustration.
Make sure that the vehicle doors are open and the interior is clear. If seats need to be removed or pushed down, complete this process before moving the mattress into the vehicle.
4. Lift the mattress.
A man lifts a mattress with his back (bad) and a women lifts with her knees (good). Illustration.
With one person on each side of the mattress lengthwise, grab the bottom corners of the mattress and lift together. Avoid lifting with your back. Instead, brace your abdominal core and power the lift with your legs.
5. Place the mattress on a hand truck or dolly.
A man places a large mattress onto a rolling moving dolly. Illustration.
Stand the mattress upright on its side and place it on the dolly. If the mattress is floppy, secure both sides with cardboard for support.
If the path to your vehicle includes descending stairs, be careful to come to a complete stop at the top of the stairs before lifting the mattress off the dolly and carrying it down the staircase. Do not attempt to use a dolly to roll a mattress downstairs.
If a dolly or hand truck isn’t available, line the path to the vehicle with cardboard and slide the mattress across the ground.
6. Load the mattress into your vehicle.
A person pulls a mattress from a truck bed onto a rolling dolly. Illustration.
If you’re using a moving van or pickup truck, simply lift the mattress off of the dolly and into the cargo hold of the vehicle.
If you must transport your mattress on the top of a car or SUV, it’s doubly important that you use a mattress bag to protect the mattress fabric from the elements. Be very careful when placing the mattress onto the roof or luggage rack, and be sure to double-check for any potential tears. If a moving van/truck isn’t an option, follow the instructions for your vehicle below.
7. Secure the mattress.
Four different sizes of vehicles carrying a mattress. A moving truck with a maatress inside, a pickup truck with a mattress in the bed, an suv and a small car with mattresses tied to the roof. Illustration.
Depending on what type of vehicle you’re using, secure your mattress using the instructions below:

  • Moving Truck/Van: If possible, lay the mattress flat in the cargo space. Be sure not to stack the mattress on top of anything else and vice versa.
    If standing your mattress up, lean the mattress on its side against the support wall. Use nylon rope or ratchet straps to secure it against the support rails. If the ratchet strap is too short, connect two to make one large strap.
  • Pickup Truck: Position the mattress as flat as possible in the truck bed. Secure one end of the nylon ropes or straps to the D-rings, wrapping them over the mattress, and ratcheting or tying (with a “trucker’s hitch” knot) the remaining slack.
    If your mattress is larger than the truck bed, you may need to leave the tailgate open. Secure the back end of the mattress with rope or a strap in an “X” to prevent sliding.
  • Car/SUV (with luggage rack): Lay the mattress flat on top of the luggage rack and check for rips or tears in the mattress bag. Wrap the nylon rope or ratchet straps horizontally across the front, center, and back of the mattress. Tie the mattress to the rack using a sturdy knot like the “trucker’s hitch” or one of these other popular knots used for moving.
  • Car/SUV (without luggage rack): If your car doesn’t have a luggage rack, lay the mattress flat on the car roof and check for rips or tears. Wrap the nylon ropes or ratchet straps across the mattress’s body in the front, center and back (and corners if possible). Pass the ropes through the front passenger door jams, back passenger windows and back up to the roof, securing the mattress to the car.

8. Drive slowly and carefully.

A woman drives a large moving truck with her arm out of the window. Illustration.

Driving with a heavy load on top or in the back of a vehicle can be a challenge. Proceed at a moderate pace to ensure that the mattress doesn’t shift when making turns, during sudden braking or while accelerating

Especially if your mattress is tied to your roof, stop and check periodically to make sure that it remains secure. Take back roads whenever possible and be aware of potential shifts.

Can Folding or Bending a Mattress Damage It?

Folding or bending a spring mattress in half damages the structure, which can result in less comfortable sleep or, in extreme cases, a ruined mattress. But polyurethane-based memory foam, like the kind used in Casper’s mattress-in-a-box, has great flexibility and suppleness that allows it to spring back to shape even after being folded or rolled.
Like memory foam, latex can also be folded in half and will retake its original shape within a few hours.

Will My Warranty Protect My Mattress?

Most mattresses provide limited warranties with around 10 years of coverage. For instance, when you purchase a Casper mattress, it comes with a limited manufacturer’s warranty which covers manufacturing defects in a mattress for 10 years.
The warranty becomes void of physical damages such as cuts, tears, stains, or liquid damages that are self-inflicted to the mattress cover or structure after purchase. This is why it’s important to protect your mattress with a mattress bag and plan your route before moving.

How to Store a Mattress After Moving It

If you’re storing your mattress for a long period of time, it’s best to use a climate-controlled storage unit. Moisture and changing temperatures can cause mildew and bacteria to develop. If an attic or basement is the only available space for storage, keep a dehumidifier next to the mattress to regulate precipitation.
Lay the mattress flat in its mattress bag, resembling how it rests on a bed frame. Do not store objects on the mattress, as this can damage the structure. However, it is safe to lay the mattress flat on top of a platform, pallet, table, or similar object to conserve space.
Moving to a new home is stressful, and moving a mattress doesn’t make the process any easier. Chances are that you invested in a premium mattress and leaving it by a dumpster isn’t an option. While bedding can be easily replaced, your mattress can’t. Take time to protect your investment and make sure that it reaches its final destination in one piece.