A mattress requires extra care when preparing it for both long- and short-term storage. Keep it clean and dry, out of humid environments and areas with extreme temperature fluctuations such as attics. For long-term solutions, store the mattress flat horizontally so it retains its shape.
Preparing a Mattress for Storage
Clean your mattress thoroughly by vacuuming it with an upholstery brush attachment. For a deeper cleaning, add a few drops of an essential oil such as lavender to a bowl containing a full box of baking soda, mixing the ingredients thoroughly. Sprinkle the scented baking soda over the entire mattress; then vacuum it up after 30 minutes or so. Vacuum the sides and the flip side of the mattress as well.
Protecting the Mattress
Seal the mattress in a mattress storage bag -- not a vinyl mattress cover -- to help keep the mattress clean during its time in storage. These specialty bags feature tiny holes that allow some airflow through while still protecting the mattress from dust. If possible, surround the mattress with sheets of cardboard for added protection.
Storing the Mattress
A mattress requires moderate storage conditions without extreme temperature fluctuations, so the attic and a basic garage are not ideal places to store the bed.
- Keep the mattress horizontal, if possible, without anything atop it; otherwise, the mattress shape may distort over time -- especially mattresses made from memory foam or with layers of gel or foam inside. For short-term storage -- if you must keep the mattress vertical -- sandwich it between the wall and a box spring or board so it stays straight and does not warp.
- Store the mattress in a climate-controlled dry environment that keeps both a moderate temperature and low humidity in the air at all times. Excess humidity or moisture in the storage space may cause mold and mildew to grow on the mattress. If necessary, add a dehumidifier to the storage area, if storing the mattress in or near your home.
- Check the mattress every month or two if you're keeping it in long-term storage to ensure it is safe from unexpected leaks or rodents in the storage area.
Storing a Water-Bed Mattress
A water-bed mattress requires extra preparation for storage.
Add a bottle of water-bed conditioner to the bed several days before packing the mattress for storage.
Burp excess air out of the water bed; then drain the water using a water-bed pump, removing as much water as possible.
Turn off the pump once all the water has drained. Replace the cap on the water bed immediately so no air gets in.
Gently roll the mattress and place it inside a mattress storage bag or a cardboard box.
Store the water-bed mattress in a dry place out of direct sunlight.