Updated November 23, 2020There are lots of reasons why you might want to store a mattress—Maybe you’re moving on a temporary basis, and you’ll be needing it again in a few months; maybe your kid outgrew theirs, and you’re waiting on the next kid to grow out of their crib and take the mattress as a hand me down; or, maybe you had a pipe burst and it’s going to be a while before you can live at home again. (We hope it’s not that last one!)Regardless of why you want to store a mattress, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. Storing a mattress improperly can damage it beyond repair, and if you’re going to go through the hassle of putting it in storage, you probably want it to at least be usable afterward. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how to properly put your mattress in long-term storage so it doesn’t fall victim to the three M’s: moths, mold, and moisture.1. Clean and Dry Your MattressStoring a dirty mattress is a big mistake. Not only can still-wet stains facilitate mold growth, but food and drink spots will attract all kinds of pests hanging out in your storage facility.The easiest way to clean a mattress is by removing all the bedclothes, vacuuming it on both sides, and then giving any stains a good scrub with an upholstery cleaner. If you want to go the extra mile, you can sprinkle baking soda on the mattress before vacuuming. Just make sure you’re giving it enough time to soak up the dirt and moisture on the mattress—at least 10 minutes.If you don’t want to do all that work or your mattress is really dirty, you can also have it professionally cleaned. However, you decide to clean your mattress yourself, make sure it’s going into storage dry and stain-free.2. Wrap the Mattress in PlasticMattresses in storage are more vulnerable to damage because you’re not paying attention to them on a nightly basis, so you might go a long time without knowing whether they’re growing mold or getting wet. That means you need to cover them in something to make them impervious to water and keep out pests. You have several options to do this.First, you could wrap the mattress in thick plastic sheeting and secure it with packing tape, making sure all areas are covered and the whole thing is tightly sealed. You could also purchase a mattress bag. These usually aren’t expensive; they’re around 20 to 40 bucks. Just make sure you’re buying a quality one that won’t rip or break down.3. Lay the Mattress FlatIf you lean your mattress against the wall or sandwich it vertically between other things, gravity will seriously damage its internal structure. When you sit your mattress upright, even for a short period of time, coils will bend and foam will settle in a warped, lopsided way. Sitting like this over the long term will eventually permanently destroy your mattress.4. Don’t Lay Anything on Top of the MattressYou can also cause permanent compression by sitting things on top of your mattress long-term. Heavy objects can damage mattress springs or leave indentions in foam. If you need to make use of your storage space, you can lay your mattress flat on top of other items like furniture pallets or large tables. Just make sure your mattress is flat and evenly distributed.5. Consider Your Storage SpaceMusty old garages don’t make the best storage spaces if you want to keep your mattress pristine. Humidity is a huge danger to mattresses because the water in the air can absorb straight into fabrics and foam, leading to mildew and water damage.In addition, big temperature changes in storage units without climate control can cause the material to contract and expand pretty significantly, which may lead to loss of firmness and bounce. Freeze damage can also be an issue for mattresses stored in cold climates.For these reasons, it’s better to store your mattress in a climate-controlled facility that can both keep temperatures from swinging and maintain low humidity. If you’re in a climate with high humidity, also consider moisture-absorbing dehumidifiers like silica gel canisters.Threats to Mattresses in Storage: The Three M’sOf course, there are tons of other threats to your mattress besides moths, mold, and moisture, but if your mattress is going to get destroyed in storage, more often than not it will be by one of these three.MothsThere are tons of different moth species that eat cloth, including multiple species of clothes moths that love nothing more than to lay hundreds of eggs on all kinds of fabrics. These eggs will hatch into caterpillars that will live on your mattress for weeks—consuming it as they go.Moths aren’t the only dangers to bed fabrics. You also have tons of other pests that eat the organic fibers found in mattress covers and stuffing, including carpet beetles, firebrats, silverfish, and sometimes even termites. This is why it’s so vital to use a mattress storage bag or plastic cover.MoldMattresses tend to retain the third big threat—moisture, which causes them to grow mold and mildew. Mold requires humidity, darkness, and air stagnation to thrive, all of which can be found in abundance in storage environments. Mattresses don’t just retain sweat or things you spilled on them, they also can absorb the humidity out of moist air, meaning they’re especially in danger from fungus and mildew in humid climates.MoistureMoisture isn’t just a threat to mattresses because it can facilitate mold growth. It can damage mattresses in itself. Dirty water falling on a mattress can leave stains that never come out. And being immersed in water—like if your storage area flooded—can leave a mattress unsalvageable. Professional mattress restoration companies might be able to save a water-damaged bed, but it’s a lot less expensive to put it in a moisture-proof bag that keeps water out in the first place.FAQsHow do I refresh my mattress after storing it?Baking soda is a great or starch is a great option for freshening up a stored mattress. Sprinkle it in an even layer over the surface of your mattress, and allow it to sit for at least 10 minutes to absorb dirt and moisture from storage. Then give your mattress a thorough vacuuming using the brush attachment to remove all the dirt, dust, and baking soda.Can I store my mattress on my bed?It’s better to take your bed frame apart and store items separately because leaving your bed set assembled in storage makes every part of your bed more vulnerable to damage. You should take the frame apart and wrap it in protective plastic. Also, store your box springs or mattress foundation in a separate cover from your mattress.What’s the best way to move my mattress?While it’s tempting to just slap a mattress on top of your car, this kind of negates cleaning and covering it. The best way to move a mattress is laid flat in an enclosed vehicle, like a moving truck or covered flatbed. That way, dirt, insects, debris, and raindrops won’t be launched into your mattress before you store it, and there’ll be no chance of wind damage to your mattress bag.Can I stack multiple mattresses in storage?It’s better not to because the weight of the mattresses on top can over-compress the mattresses below, and the mattresses on top may sag for lack of proper support. But if you must stack mattresses, lay them flat on the floor rather than sandwiching them together on their sides. Also, make sure to lay the largest and heaviest mattresses on the bottom and go smaller and lighter as you get closer to the top.Do I have to do anything special for memory foam?Not really. Storing a memory foam mattress shouldn’t be all that different from storing any other mattress type. Since they retain moisture even more than innerspring mattresses, you might need to keep an even closer eye on humidity. Also, memory foam is a lot heavier than coils, so moving a memory foam mattress might pose more of an issue than moving an innerspring.Bottom LineStoring a mattress is a lot more complicated than just tossing it in a basement somewhere. You’ve got to make sure to protect it from the bugs that would eat it, the fungus that would grow in it, and the water that would saturate it. The good news is that if you take proper care of your bed before storing it and follow the tried-and-true steps listed above, you can store your bed for long periods and rest assured it will stay in good shape.This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional. Comments Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Name Email I agree to the Terms and Conditions of this website.