How to Store a Mattress in a Self-Storage Unit

Self Storage How-To: How to Store a Mattress in a Self Storage Unit

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What should you do with an old or extra mattress? Your child is off to college, and you’ve been thinking of turning their old room into a home theater, or maybe it’s about time to exchange that old twin bed for a double. The used furniture is still in fantastic condition, so, understandably, you don’t want to get rid of it yet – also, what will your child use when they move back home once they finish college? Here are some tips on properly keeping a mattress in a self storage facility.

How to store a mattress in four simple steps

Mattresses should be vacuumed and cleaned with a detergent before they are aired out

Keeping a dirty mattress in storage can result in fungus, mold, or at the minimum, a filthy mattress fresh out of storage. To prevent this problem from happening altogether, follow some easy steps for a ready-for-use and fresh mattress upon retrieval from storage:

  • Use a vacuum to thoroughly clean the mattress, such as in the crevasse, nooks, and crannies.
  • Use baking soda or an upholstery cleaner to clean the fabric.
  • Let the mattress air out to dry outdoors.
  • When transporting the mattress, ensure that the moving truck you’ll use is covered.

First, meticulously vacuum every surface of the mattress. Then, apply the upholstery cleaner. Remember to carefully read and follow the directions and keep a light hand with the upholstery cleaner application. Although it can be tricky, don’t let it soak the mattress too much to the point where it will take longer to dry.

The entire mattress should be wiped down using a dry brush, then let the mattress dry thoroughly. Even after deeming the mattress dry enough, allow it an extra day to air out just to be sure. You can use low fans and open windows to expedite the drying process.

As a much quicker but just as efficient alternative, though, you may dust baking soda over the mattress, wait until it settles, giving it time to absorb odors, then clean up the powder with the help of a vacuum. If you have one, you may also use a steam cleaner as a fantastic alternative. It’s much easier and quicker than applying an upholstery cleaner manually. Not to mention, steam cleaners can kill various types of allergens.

Some big vacuum brands manufacture these kinds of vacuum cleaners (Hoover, Bissell, etc.). They are very efficient in cleaning not only upholstery but carpets too. These cleaners can also be rented from hardware and grocery stores – for people storing multiple furniture pieces together with the mattress, and it’s definitely worth the hassle.

Be sure to protect your mattress by placing it in the official storage bag it came with


If you need to keep your mattress in a storage unit or a garage, put a mattress cover or mattress topper on it to protect it against dust, dirt, and moisture. Should you lose your mattress’s storage bag, a replacement mattress storage bag is available for purchase at almost all hardware stores to serve as mattress protector while it’s in storage.

Refrain from using plastic if possible, as this could damage the lifespan of your mattress.

The best way to keep your mattress is in a climate controlled storage unit. Avoid storing your mattress in damp basements, sheds, or outdoor storage. Non-temperature-controlled units can encourage bacteria and mold growth inside and on the surface of the mattress. It will not only make your mattress have a foul smell, but it could even be a hazard to your health.

Flatly store your mattress, and don’t stack anything on top of it to preserve the springs

Manufacturers recommend that if there is a space to keep the mattress flat, it would be better to ensure it stays in good shape. Even though folding your mattress seems more convenient, this can shift the springs and coils, which may cause the mattress’s texture to cave in.

Place a tarp down to cover surfaces, then place the mattress on it. Remember never to keep stuff on top of it. It’s not a fixed surface, and things can cause damage to the springs and may even cut the fabric or permanently dent the cushioning.

If you have some flat furniture or big boxes where the mattress will be kept, it is safe to lay the mattress on it, but make sure it is steady.

Sprinkle baking soda on the mattress and spray the mattress with deodorant spray

store a mattress

If the mattress smells a bit stale when you pull it out of storage, despite your efforts, don’t worry.

Here are a few storage tips on how to successfully make it smell fresh again:

  • Dust baking soda on all sides to absorb odor.
  • Vacuum the entire mattress after 10 minutes.
  • Spray the mattress with a natural, odor-reducing spray, allowing it to air-dry completely.
  • Finally, remove the mattress from storage 24 hours before use for best results.

Frequently asked questions

Can you store a mattress on its side?

When discussing how to store a mattress upright, some sources may recommend plopping it on its side to save space. This, however, is not advised. Instead, you can carry the mattress upright, but once you place it in the self storage unit, lay it flat to make your mattress feel more natural than if it was propped.

Mattresses should be stored flat, as eventually, a side-stored mattress’s coils and inner workings settle out of their proper position and suffocate the cushion.

What is the best way to store your mattress?

Essentially, no matter what type of mattress you have, you want to make sure to ne3ver store it on an uneven surface or directly on the ground. You also want to protect it from dust mites and mold.

However, each type of mattress has unique features, which may prompt you to think about arranging the best storage space for it.

  • Memory foam mattresses are designed to mold your body’s unique shape without using coils inside. They are good for back and side sleepers. However, the softness of the memory foam can work against you with an uneven surface. In addition, a memory foam mattress can easily grow mildew, so it is worth wrapping the mattress in clear plastic to protect it or store it in a zippered nylon mattress bag storage.
  • A latex mattress is composed of natural latex. Because of the density of natural latex, it has a higher chance of bending under its weight and is the best place on a flat and supportive surface. Therefore, a latex mattress should not be stored upright or on the side.
  • Hybrid mattresses are among the heaviest due to the coils inside, which can make them uncomfortable for those who are used to a softer mattress. This is due to how the coils are individually wrapped within the mattress, making it easier for them to shift when a mattress is placed on its side.
  • Spring mattresses are constructed with a reinforced coil unit and a wired perimeter, which maintains shape better than hybrid mattresses. However, their rigidity also means they are still prone to bending or breaking through the mattress, so moving a mattress or storing them in a flat position is the best to prolong their life.

Can you stack mattresses for storage?

stack mattress

Yes. Not only CAN mattresses be stacked, they actually SHOULD be stacked. To stack mattresses on top of the other is the recommended way to store them long-term, and make sure the floor of your storage unit is clean. Then, lay down some plastic to protect your mattress. Cardboard works just as well if you have extra boxes. Next, lay down the bed frame’s box spring (if you have one) and then the first mattress. If you have more, stack them carefully on top of each other.

How much is the monthly fee for renting a self storage unit?

Storage units generally cost between $100-$300 per month. Pricing mainly boils down to size (bigger units cost more), availability (prices go up when there aren’t many available units), brand (quality matters too, so it’s worth spending a bit more for), and features. The best storage unit companies are about 20% cheaper if you order online. It’s a great way to put $40 or $50 back in your pocket to help pay for a moving company or hire hourly help.

There is no need to throw a perfectly good mattress to the curb. When you follow these best practices on how to store a mattress, your mattress should be able to stay in usable condition for the future. The well-being of your mattress when being held, in part, depends on the surroundings.

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