How to Ship a Mattress Safely

Key Takeaways

  • Choose the Right Packaging: Select appropriate packaging materials, such as plastic mattress bags or heavy-duty bags, based on your mattress type and shipping needs. Proper packaging is essential to protect the mattress during transit.
  • Labeling and Preparing the Mattress: Ensure the mattress is clean, free of accessories, and properly folded or rolled for shipping. Use clear, well-labeled shipping labels with essential information like addresses, contact numbers, and special handling instructions.
  • Consider Logistics and Professional Help: Depending on the size, weight, and fragility of your mattress, consider professional assistance, such as hiring movers or coordinating with specialized carriers. Plan ahead, clear pathways, and schedule delivery at a convenient time to ensure a successful shipment.

Shipping a mattress may seem like a daunting task, but with the right guidance, it can be a smooth and stress-free process.

Whether you’re moving to a new home, sending a mattress as a gift, or selling one online, ensuring it reaches its destination unharmed is paramount.

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In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the steps to package, label, and ship a mattress safely, regardless of its size or type.

Whether you’re a first-time shipper or looking to improve your shipping skills, this blog is your go-to resource for ensuring your mattress arrives in perfect condition so you can rest easy knowing your shipment is in good hands.

Step 1: Choosing the Right Packaging Materials

When it comes to protecting your mattress during shipping, choosing the right mattress cover is essential. There are two primary options to consider:

Plastic Mattress Bags: These are cost-effective and provide a basic level of protection against dirt and moisture. They come in various sizes to fit your mattress snugly. However, they offer minimal padding, so they may not be suitable for long-distance shipping or delicate mattresses.

Heavy-Duty Mattress Bags: For more substantial protection, opt for heavy-duty, tear-resistant plastic bags. These are thicker and can withstand rough handling and inclement weather. They are a better choice for shipping valuable or memory foam mattresses.

Step 2: Preparing the Mattress

1. Cleaning and Sanitizing

Before you prepare your mattress for shipping, it’s essential to ensure it’s clean and sanitized. Here’s how to do it:

Vacuum Thoroughly: Start by vacuuming the entire surface of the mattress to remove dust, dirt, and any loose debris. Use an upholstery attachment to reach into crevices.

Spot Clean Stains: If your mattress has any stains or spills, spot-clean them using a mild detergent or upholstery cleaner. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning, and make sure the mattress is completely dry before packaging it.

Deodorize: To eliminate odors, sprinkle baking soda evenly over the mattress surface and let it sit for several hours. Then, vacuum up the baking soda.

Consider Using a Mattress Protector: If your mattress doesn’t have a protective cover, consider investing in a mattress protector to shield it from dirt and moisture during shipping.

2. Removing Bedding and Accessories

Before packaging your mattress, strip it of all bedding and accessories:

Sheets, Pillows, and Blankets: Remove all bedding items, including sheets, pillows, and blankets. These should be packed separately.

Mattress Topper: If you use a mattress topper, take it off and package it separately or, if small enough, place it on top of the mattress within the cover.

Bed Frame Accessories: If applicable, disassemble the bed frame and pack any accessories or hardware separately. This reduces the risk of damage during transit.

3. Folding or Rolling Techniques for Different Mattress Types

The way you prepare your mattress for shipping depends on its type:

Innerspring and Hybrid Mattresses: These mattresses are typically not designed to be folded or rolled, as they can damage the coils and affect their support. It’s best to transport them flat.

Memory Foam and Latex Mattresses: These are more flexible and can be rolled for shipping.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Lay the mattress flat on a clean, flat surface.
  2. Starting from one end, roll the mattress tightly, squeezing out excess air as you go.
  3. Secure the rolled mattress with straps or rope to prevent it from unraveling.

Air Mattresses: Deflate the air mattress completely and fold or roll it tightly. Place it in a protective cover or bag.

4. Using Straps or Ropes for Added Stability

To prevent the mattress from shifting inside its packaging or the shipping container, use straps or ropes:

Position the Mattress: Place the wrapped mattress in the center of the shipping container or on a pallet if applicable. Ensure it’s flat and well-centered.

Cross-Strapping: Use strong nylon or polyester straps or ropes to create an “X” pattern over the mattress. Secure the straps or ropes tightly to keep the mattress from shifting from side to side.

Vertical Strapping: For larger mattresses or added stability, consider placing vertical straps or ropes over the mattress in addition to the horizontal ones. This will help distribute the pressure evenly.

Tighten and Secure: After positioning the straps or ropes, tighten them as much as possible without damaging the mattress. Ensure they are firmly secured to the shipping container or pallet.

5. Protecting Corners and Edges

To safeguard the vulnerable corners and edges of your mattress during transit, follow these steps:

Corner Protectors: Place corner protectors made of foam or cardboard on each corner of the mattress. These protectors act as cushions and reduce the risk of damage from impacts.

Edge Padding: If your mattress has exposed edges, wrap them with additional padding material like foam or bubble wrap. Secure these protective layers with tape.

Step 3: Labeling Your Shipment

When labeling your mattress shipment, it’s crucial to include all the necessary information to ensure smooth transit and delivery. Here’s a checklist of the required details:

Recipient’s Address: Clearly write the recipient’s full address, including street address, city or locality, state or province, postal code, and any specific delivery instructions.

Your Return Address: Include your complete return address in case the shipment needs to be returned or if there are any issues with delivery.

Contact Numbers: Provide both your phone number and the recipient’s phone number. This allows the shipping company to contact you or the recipient if there are any delivery-related queries or issues.

Special Handling Instructions: If there are any specific instructions for handling your mattress shipment, such as “Fragile,” “This Side Up,” or “Do Not Stack,” make sure to clearly communicate these on the label.

Tips for Labeling And Packing

Though labeling is considered important for the manufacturers to gain a competitive advantage, according to the research, it is helpful in transporting the mattress safely.

To ensure that your label is easy to read and understand, follow these tips:

Use a Bold Marker or Label Printer: Use a thick, legible marker or a label printer to print or write the information on the label. Make sure the text is large and clear.

Print in Uppercase Letters: Use uppercase letters to print the address and contact information. This makes it easier for shipping personnel and machines to read.

Double-Check Spelling: Verify that all names and addresses are spelled correctly. Mistakes in addresses can lead to delivery delays.

Use Clear Label Holders: If you’re attaching the label to the mattress cover or packaging, use clear label holders to protect the label from damage during transit.

Centered and Flat: Place the label on the mattress packaging or container in a centered and flat position. Avoid placing it on seams, folds, or uneven surfaces.

Avoid Overlapping Seams: Ensure that the label does not overlap seams or edges that could potentially cause it to tear or become partially unreadable.

Protect with Clear Packaging Tape: To safeguard the label from moisture or damage, consider covering it with transparent packaging tape. This helps keep the label intact and legible throughout the shipping journey.

Bubble Wrap: Wrap fragile areas, such as corners or edges, with bubble wrap to provide extra cushioning and protection against impact.

Foam Padding: Foam sheets or egg crate foam can be placed on top of the mattress before sealing it within the cover. This adds an extra layer of protection against bumps and pressure.

Cardboard or Plywood: For added stability, place a piece of sturdy cardboard or plywood between the mattress and the box’s bottom. This prevents the mattress from sagging and getting damaged in transit.

Scissors or Box Cutter: You’ll need these tools to cut the mattress cover to the appropriate size and trim excess materials.

Strapping or Rope: Use heavy-duty strapping or ropes to secure the mattress within the packaging.

Seal the Mattress Cover: Start by sealing the mattress cover securely with high-quality packing tape. Make sure the tape is firmly adhered, especially along the seams, to keep the cover in place.

Additional Layers: For added protection, consider adding an extra layer of bubble wrap or foam padding around the mattress. Secure it with tape to prevent it from slipping.

Taping Edges and Seams: Pay special attention to taping the edges and seams of the mattress cover. Reinforce these areas to prevent them from tearing during transit.

Shipping Options and Considerations

When it comes to shipping your mattress, you have several options to choose from. Consider the following shipping methods:

Freight Shipping: Ideal for large and heavy mattresses, freight shipping involves using a dedicated freight carrier. This method is reliable and offers better protection for oversized mattresses, but can be more expensive.

Parcel Shipping: Smaller mattresses or those that can be rolled or folded can often be shipped via standard parcel carriers like UPS or FedEx. It’s a cost-effective option for standard-sized mattresses.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) Shipping: LTL shipping combines several smaller shipments into one larger truckload. It’s a budget-friendly option for mid-sized mattresses.

White Glove Delivery: This premium service includes not only shipping but also unpacking, setting up, and removing the packaging materials. It’s convenient but comes at a higher cost.

Local Pickup or Delivery: If you’re selling a mattress locally, consider offering local pickup or delivery options to save on shipping costs.

Insurance and Tracking Options

Protecting your mattress during shipping is essential. Here are considerations for insurance and tracking:

Shipping Insurance: Many shipping carriers offer insurance options to protect your mattress against damage or loss during transit. It’s advisable to purchase insurance, especially for valuable mattresses.

Tracking Services: Choose a shipping method that provides real-time tracking information. This allows you and the recipient to monitor the shipment’s progress and estimated delivery date.

Delivery Confirmation: Request delivery confirmation to ensure that your mattress reaches its intended destination. This confirmation provides peace of mind and helps prevent disputes.

Tips for Shipping California King and Larger Sizes

Shipping larger mattresses like California King or King sizes requires careful planning and handling:

Select the Right Carrier: Choose a reputable shipping carrier that specializes in handling large and oversized items. They should have the necessary equipment and expertise to transport mattresses of this size safely.

Measure and Verify: Accurately measure the mattress dimensions, including length, width, and height. Ensure that the shipping container or packaging is large enough to accommodate the mattress without excessive compression.

Use Supportive Materials: Consider reinforcing the mattress with additional support, such as plywood or MDF boards, to prevent sagging or damage during transit. Place these supports under the mattress and secure them to minimize movement.

Securely Fasten: Use multiple straps or ropes to secure the mattress to pallets or within the packaging. Make sure the mattress is tightly secured to prevent shifting during transit.

Step 4: Coordinating Assistance and Logistics

When dealing with fragile or oversized mattresses, coordinating assistance and logistics is essential:

Professional Movers: If your mattress is particularly large, heavy, or valuable, consider hiring professional movers. They have the necessary equipment and experience to handle the logistics safely.

Plan Ahead: Coordinate with the shipping company or movers in advance to ensure they are prepared for the size and weight of the mattress. Provide clear instructions on handling and delivery.

Clear Pathways: Ensure that the pathways in your home and at the destination are clear and free of obstacles to facilitate the safe movement of the mattress.

Timing: Schedule the shipping or delivery at a convenient time when you or the recipient can be present to receive and inspect the mattress.


In conclusion, shipping a mattress safely requires careful planning, the right materials, and attention to detail.

By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can significantly increase the chances of your mattress reaching its destination in perfect condition.

Remember to choose suitable packaging materials, prepare the mattress properly, secure it for transit, and label your shipment accurately.

Additionally, understanding your shipping options and potential challenges, especially for fragile or oversized mattresses, is crucial to a successful delivery.

Avoid common pitfalls such as rushing the packaging process or neglecting shipping regulations to ensure a smooth shipping experience.

So, take your time, follow these guidelines, and rest easy knowing your mattress is in good hands throughout its journey. Safe shipping!

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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