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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 also trigger allergies like coughing, sneezing and itching. So ensuring your mattress is protected will keep it clean and dry.

One of the most effective ways to protect your mattress is to place it in a polythene mattress bag. These bags are available online, or you can pop into your local bed store and ask for one. Your local store may even provide one free of charge. Heavy-duty mattress bags are preferable, as they are thicker and don’t tend to rip or tear during carrying.

Slip the bag over your mattress and ensure 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, though, 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 over the mattress. Otherwise, you may need to source a looser-fitting bag. You can also use two single mattress bags by cutting the seams and taping them together.

If the mattress is kept in the polythene bag for extended periods, open 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 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

Try to avoid attempting to lift a mattress by yourself. Not only do you risk injury, but you could also damage the mattress and 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 components and distort its shape. It helps to 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 cover.

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 come with handles. Most lifters use these to grip the mattress better when carrying. However, you should only use the handles to rotate and position the mattress on its bed base and not for moving.

If you use the handles to move your mattress, do so over shorter distances. Also, avoid using 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 up. 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.

Though some mattresses are flexible, try to avoid bending them as this can damage the 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, the mattress must be secure to prevent it from falling into the road, causing danger to other road users.

You’ll need to adjust your driving style if you’re driving the vehicle. Drive at a reduced 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 is a legal requirement to ensure it is securely fastened.

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

If you’re using a roof rack, ensure it has been fitted properly so it doesn’t come loose while driving. Refer to the roof rack instructions to ensure everything is as secure as possible. For longer journeys, take regular breaks 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. Consider placing lining underneath the mattress like rubber mats to prevent the mattress from slipping and provide protection from the floor.

If there are other items in the van, you should ensure they are secure to prevent them from becoming 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 them, as this can damage the mattress.

Final thoughts

Moving a mattress can be difficult. However, following the steps provided in this article should make the process easier. A mattress is a significant investment, so looking after it will help keep it in good condition and prolong its life.

Finally, if you’re struggling to move your mattress, you can always call the professionals.

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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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