How to move a mattress

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When moving a mattress, you need to ensure it is well wrapped. Do not attempt to drag or fold the mattress and make sure it is secure if it is being transported. Your mattress is an investment, so looking after it will keep it in good condition and help to extend its life.

Whether you’re moving home, decorating or rearranging bedrooms, there are several ways you can move your mattress safely and effectively.

removal men carrying wrapped mattress up stairs

Ensure your mattress is well wrapped

During a move, your mattress may come into contact with the floor, walls or anything else that can transfer dust or debris. A soiled mattress can attract unwanted guests like dust mites and bed bugs and trigger allergies like coughing, sneezing and itching. So it is important your mattress is well wrapped to keep it clean and dry.

One of the most effective ways to protect your mattress is to slip a polythene mattress bag over it. They are available to buy online or in-store from various retailers. You can even pop into your local bed store and ask them for a polythene bag. They may even provide one free of charge. Heavy-duty mattress bags are better. They are thicker and don’t tend to rip or tear during carrying.

Slip the bag over your mattress and make sure it is sealed, as this will prevent it from sliding off and protect the mattress from getting soiled. Some mattress bags come with zipped covers or easy to seal strips. Otherwise, you can seal the bag with strong, durable packaging tape. Avoid wrapping the mattress too tightly, as this can distort the mattress’s shape.

Sometimes slipping a polythene bag over a deeper mattress can be difficult due to the tight fit. Rather than forcing the bag over or squeezing the mattress, slightly cut the seams on the polythene bag. This should loosen the bag and make it easier to slide on. Otherwise, you may need to source a looser fitting bag. You can also use two single mattress bags instead, by cutting the seams and taping them together.

If the mattress is kept in the polythene bag for longer periods, open up the plastic packaging slightly to allow the mattress to breathe. Don’t forget to reseal it afterwards.

Make sure you have plenty of space to work with

Before moving your mattress, ensure that the path is clear to the destination. To prevent injuries and breakages, remove any obstacles and clutter that might be in the way, such as boxes, lamps, bedside tables, rugs and even pictures. Also, prop open any doorways, so you’re not struggling to try to open them whilst carrying.  

Also, be aware of any steps, uneven surfaces or sloping ceilings that may be problematic along the way.

If you have a zip and link mattress (two mattresses zipped together), unzip it. It will be much easier to carry and manoeuvre as two separate mattresses.

Don’t move a mattress by yourself

You should never attempt to lift a mattress by yourself. Not only do you risk injury, but you could also damage the mattress as well as other items in your path.

The best way to move a mattress is to ask a friend or family member to assist with the lifting.  Mattresses are much easier to carry when there are two people involved. You could even ask a third person to help navigate and guide you from one place to another.

Communication is essential as any unexpected movement from one lifter may cause the other person to lose their balance or drop the mattress. It’s also best to move at a pace both lifters are comfortable with and set aside plenty of time to complete the task.

Lay the mattress flat

Avoid propping the mattress up on its side. Whilst this might create space, propping your mattress up for an extended period can damage the interiors and distort its shape. You should always lay the mattress flat in its natural position.

Never place items on top of your mattress

Avoid placing or stacking items on top of the mattress. Heavy items, in particular, can leave marks and impressions on your mattress. Furthermore, items with sharp edges can rip or tear the mattress upholstery.

Also, avoid placing your mattress on top of items as this can cause your mattress to bend. Your mattress should be flat and well supported.

Moving your mattress

Mattresses are notoriously difficult to move, especially when protected with a polythene bag. You may feel your hands sliding off the bag and lose your grip on the mattress.

Some mattresses have handles sewn into the side, and most lifters use the handles to grip the mattress better when carrying. However, these handles are to help rotate and position the mattress on its bed base rather than to help with moving.

If you decide to use the handles for moving your mattress, do so over shorter distances. Also, do not use excessive force on the handles as this may cause them to rip or tear.

Otherwise, gently place the mattress on its side and lightly grip it from underneath. Try to open your hands slightly so that your palms are facing upwards. Keep your hands soft and relaxed, and avoid squeezing or compressing the sides of the mattress. You may need to open up the bag slightly for a better grip. Try to grip the bag rather than the mattress if this is the case. As you lift, bend from the knees and lift slowly, keeping your back straight.

Another method is to place folded sheets or blankets underneath the mattress. The idea is that the sheets or blankets create a hammock for the mattress. So that when you lift, you’re gripping the fabric rather than the mattress.

While some mattresses have more flexibility than others, try to avoid bending your mattress as this can damage its components. Do not drag or slide the mattress across the floor, as this can distort its shape.

How to transport a mattress

There are several ways that you can transport a mattress. Whether it’s by car, van or some other way, it’s important that it’s secure to prevent it from falling into the road, causing danger to other road users.

If you’re driving the vehicle, you’ll need to adjust your driving style accordingly. Drive at a sensible speed and go easy on the brakes and accelerator.  

Transporting your mattress on the roof of a vehicle

If you’re considering transporting your mattress on the roof of a vehicle, it must be securely fastened. This is a legal requirement.

When a mattress is secured to the roof of a vehicle, it is exposed to different weather conditions. It needs to be well wrapped to keep it dry and secured correctly with suitable restraints to prevent it from either falling off or being blown away.

If you’re using a roof rack, make sure it has been fitted properly so that it is doesn’t come loose as you’re driving. Refer to the roof rack instructions to ensure everything is as secure as possible. For longer journeys, stop regularly to ensure ropes and straps are still in place.

If your mattress overhangs the front, rear or sides of the vehicle, you’ll need to check it meets the legal requirements.

Transporting your mattress in a van

Another option is to transport your mattress in a van. This will shelter your mattress, keeping it dry and safe.

You will need a van with sufficient storage space in the back so that you can lay your mattress down flat. You may want to consider placing lining underneath the mattress like rubber mats. This will help prevent the mattress from slipping and provide protection from the floor surface of the van.

If there are other items in the van, you should ensure that these are secure to prevent them from coming loose and damaging the mattress. Avoid stacking items on top of one another in case they topple over and fall onto the mattress.

If you’re using ratchet straps or rope to secure your mattress, be careful not to over-tighten as this can damage the mattress.

Final thoughts

Whilst a mattress can be awkward to move, following the guidance provided in this article will make the process a lot easier.  Remember your mattress is an investment, so looking after it will keep it in good condition and help to extend its life.

Finally, if you struggle to move your mattress, you can always call in the professionals.

About the author

About the author

Tony Brown is the founder and creator of The Bed Consultant. His career in the bed industry began in 2002. After graduating from university with a degree in Business Administration, Tony joined one of the largest independent furniture retailers in the UK as a bed consultant. Tony has helped thousands of customers find the perfect mattress.

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