How to Compress a Memory Foam Mattress at Home

How to Compress a Memory Foam Mattress at Home

You’re moving to a new place, and you love your memory foam mattress so much you want to bring it with you, but a mattress is hardly something you can just pack up in a box… or is it?

You’ve probably heard of bed in a box mattresses, where a mattress company compresses a mattress for easy delivery. What you might not know is you can do something similar with your memory foam mattress, right at home. Compressing your mattress will make it easier to transport and protect it from grime as it’s moved to your new home.

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Before we begin, we want to warn you that it is possible to damage your memory foam mattress by compressing it yourself. Mattress companies have special machines they use to apply tons of pressure to the mattress to avoid causing harm. Using a DIY compression method may compromise the bed’s support, leaving you with a lumpy mattress or a mattress that won’t expand back into its full shape while being transported.

Your warranty may also void if you DIY compress your mattress, so read through your warranty before you decide home compression is your answer.

Should You Take Your Mattress?

Before you start your project, ask yourself if your mattress is worth packing up. If your memory foam bed meets the below criteria, you may consider donating or recycling your mattress instead:

  • Your mattress is seven or more years old.
  • Your mattress is uncomfortable, or you wake in pain after sleeping on it.
  • Your mattress has cracks or tears.
  • Your mattress is sagging or losing its shape.

All of these are signs that it’s time to replace your mattress with a new bed.

Ready Your Materials

To pack up your mattress, you’ll need a few different things:

  • Plastic mattress bag
  • Ratchet straps
  • Duct tape
  • Small vacuum bag
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • A box

You may also want to grab a friend or two. This job is much easier if you have another set of helping hands.

Plastic Mattress Bag

You can buy a high-quality mattress bag online or from storage facilities. You’ll need a heavy-duty, airtight, and sealable mattress bag. Make sure to buy the right size. If you’re unsure of what bag dimensions to get, we have the sizes listed below.

SizeDimensions in Inches
Twin size38 x 75
Full size54 x 75
Queen size60 x 80
King size76 x 80
California king size72 x 84

Ratchet Straps

Ratchet straps help the mattress stay compressed, once it’s been compressed and rolled. Three or four ratchet straps should do— you’ll want two on the ends and at least one around the middle. The bigger the mattress, the more you may need.

You may want to use cloths as padding between the ratchet straps and the mattress bag. Ratchet straps can cut into the bag as you tighten them if the bag is made of thinner, inexpensive material.

Duct Tape

You’ll use duct tape to reinforce the seal and attach the valve for compression. The tape can reinforce the mattress bag’s seams to prevent tears and leaks.

While we recommend duct tape specifically because of its heavy-duty nature, packing tape can work as well.

Vacuum Seal Bag

You can find vacuum seal bags in all sorts of sizes to compress clothes, bedding, and more. A small vacuum bag will do, as you’re just using it for the valve. Just make sure the valve fits with whatever vacuum you are using.

Vacuum Cleaner

A standard vacuum cleaner or a shop vac is powerful enough to suck the air out of the bag.

Box (Optional)

A small box can protect your mattress during the move. You might want to purchase a box after the mattress has been compressed and rolled up to better know what size of a box will work best.

How to Compress Your Mattress

1. Set up the Mattress

To prepare your mattress for compression, remove all bedding except for the mattress protector. This means pillows, sheets, blankets, comforters, mattress pads, and mattress toppers.

2. Bag the Mattress

Slip the mattress into the plastic bag. This is easiest with another person helping, but can still be done by one. Start from one side of the mattress, raising an end a few inches, and slide the mattress slowly into the bag.

Zip the bag closed and reinforce the seal with strips of duct tape. Move your mattress to the floor for the remaining steps.

3. Attach the Valve

Cut out the valve from a vacuum bag, leaving enough plastic around the valve to secure it with tape. Then, cut a hole in the mattress bag small enough only the valve can push through. Slip the valve inside the bag and pull it through this hole, then tape up the hole to make it airtight.

4. Vacuum Up the Air

Your mattress should lie flat on the floor for this step as it is better for compressing your mattress evenly to prevent damage to the foam.

Attach your vacuum hose to the valve. If you want, use a strip of duct tape to seal the two together. Turn on the vacuum cleaner and watch as the mattress and bag flatten down. Walking or moving on top of the mattress can help it compress faster.

5. Roll Up the Mattress

Once the mattress is flattened, start rolling it up from one end to the other. It’s best to keep the vacuum cleaner going, as it will suck up any last bits of air pushed out by rolling up the mattress. Roll slowly for a tighter bundle.

6. Tie It Up

Once the mattress is rolled up, wrap the straps around the mattress and crank until tight. As we mentioned earlier, you want to slip some padding in between the straps and the beg to prevent tearing.

After rolling it up and securing it, keep the mattress horizontal to prevent damage. If you have a box, slip the mattress inside and seal the box up.

What If Compression Isn’t For Me?

So you’ve decided against compressing your mattress. There are still other ways to make transportation more manageable, such as a heavy-duty mattress bag with handles. Many are sold with a label like “perfect for moving,” and can help you easily transport the mattress into a moving truck.

What About Other Types of Mattresses?

You might wonder if it’s possible to compress other types of mattresses.

If your mattress is another all-foam bed such as a polyfoam or latex mattress, you can compress it; however, if your mattress is innerspring or hybrid, we do not recommend compression as it may damage the coils inside.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for a memory foam mattress to expand?

Memory foam mattresses can completely expand between 8 to 72 hours. Usually, you can start sleeping on it right away.

How long can memory foam stay compressed?

Material damage may occur if your mattress is compressed for more than two weeks.

Did We Help?

Knowing how to compress a mattress can make a move easier and save you room in the moving truck. All you need is a handful of inexpensive materials, and you can compress your mattress in six easy steps.

This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.

Sarah Anderson, Certified Sleep Science Coach Sarah Anderson

Sarah Anderson is a sleep, health, and wellness writer and product reviewer. She has written articles on changing and improving your sleep schedule, choosing the right mattress for chronic pain conditions, and finding the best pillow for you. Sarah Anderson has her Bachelor of Arts degree from Arizona State University in Journalism and Mass Communications. Prior to working for Zoma, she wrote for a variety of news publications. Sarah's work has been featured on Bustle, PureWow, and other publications.

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    1. Hello, Judy!

      Thank you so much for commenting. Unfortunately, we’re not 100 percent sure how long this process would take ourselves, especially since it can depend on the mattress. But we estimate you should be able to get it done in as little as 20 minutes if you have help.

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