Transporting a Mattress (Entire-Process Guide)

Moving to a new house is very exciting. You’ve spent a considerable amount of time and money to find a new home that fulfills your requirements.

In amongst the excitement is the equally massive amount of work that goes into packing all the things in the current house and moving them over.

Your long list of the pre-move checklist would include items that make sense to move and those that don’t. Like it or not, your existing mattress(es) is one of those that you absolutely need to consider carefully due to the size, weight, and hassle in moving one.

Should you decide that the mattress is worth moving, the step by step guides here would help you to be better prepared for the work involved and the not-so-obvious things to look out for.

5 Important Considerations Before Packing and Moving a Mattress?

Before you get stuck into packing the mattress for moving, there are a number of things to consider.

A mattress is a large and heavy item to move around. You’d want to be sure that it’s worth your while doing it and, if you going ahead with the idea of moving it, be aware of the difficulties and risks involved.

1. Age and Condition of the Mattress

Ask yourself how long ago you bought the mattress that you’re considering moving now.

The mattress in its long service to you suffers from sweat stains, smell from bedwetting, mold growth, as well as indentation and sagging. Regardless of how often you may have flipped or rotated your mattress, the natural wear and tear are unavoidable.

If you cannot remember clearly which year you bought them in, then it is probably old enough to consider buying a new one instead.

It’s simply not worth the time, effort, and money to move an old mattress that has seen better days. It is better for your health to sleep on a new mattress, free from mold, stains, and possibly foul smell.

With the progress seen in mattress design, the same amount of money you spent ten years ago would probably net you a better-quality mattress now.

2. Mattress Type, Size, and Weight

The work involved in packing and moving a mattress depends on the type, size, and weight of the mattress.

A compressible type of mattress can be reduced in volume and thus easier to transport in smaller vehicles and lighter to lift possibly by a single person.

By contrast, a large and heavy pocket spring mattress would require more manpower to wrap and move about, not to mention that it probably requires a large rental truck to move in which is going to cost more.

Use the information in the table below as a guide, although it’s worth noting that your mattress may differ in type, dimensions, and weight.

Mattress Sizes & TypesDimensionsWeight (estimate)Compress/ Fold/Roll
Twin (or Single)
Traditional Innerspring38”x75” (98x189cm)27-35 lbs (12-16 kg)No
Pillow Top38”x75” (98x189cm)35-46 lbs (16-21 kg)No
Memory All-Foam38”x75” (98x189cm)35-48 lbs (16-22 kg)Yes
Foam + Pocket Springs Hybrid38”x75” (98x189cm)53-85 lbs (24-39 kg)No
Twin XL
Traditional Innerspring38”x80” (98x202cm)29-39 lbs (13-18 kg)No
Pillow Top38”x80” (98x202cm)38-53 lbs (17-24 kg)No
Memory All-Foam38”x80” (98x202cm)40-55 lbs (18-25 kg)Yes
Foam + Pocket Springs Hybrid38”x80” (98x202cm)57-80 lbs (26-36 kg)No
Full (or Double)
Traditional Innerspring53”x75” (136x189cm)41-48 lbs (19-22 kg)No
Pillow Top53”x75” (136x189cm)50-70 lbs (23-32 kg)No
Memory All-Foam53”x75” (136x189cm)55-75 lbs (25-34 kg)Yes
Foam + Pocket Springs Hybrid53”x75” (136x189cm)76-110 lbs (34-50 kg)No
Traditional Innerspring60”x80” (152x202cm)50-65 lbs (23-30 kg)No
Pillow Top60”x80” (152x202cm)60-75 lbs (27-34 kg)No
Memory All-Foam60”x80” (152x202cm)68-88 lbs (31-40 kg)Yes
Foam + Pocket Springs Hybrid60”x80” (152x202cm)91-125 lbs (41-57 kg)No
Traditional Innerspring76”x80” (193x202cm)75-95 lbs (34-43 kg)No
Pillow Top76”x80” (193x202cm)82-97 lbs (37-44 kg)No
Memory All-Foam76”x80” (193x202cm)80-115 lbs (36-52 kg)Yes
Foam + Pocket Springs Hybrid76”x80” (193x202cm)112-157 lbs (51-71 kg)No
California King
Traditional Innerspring72”x84” (183x212cm)70-92 lbs (32-42 kg)No
Pillow Top72”x84” (183x212cm)80-96 lbs (36-44 kg)No
Memory All-Foam72”x84” (183x212cm)84-112 lbs (38-51 kg)Yes
Foam + Pocket Springs Hybrid72”x84” (183x212cm)114-156 lbs (52-71 kg)No

Note: The weight (estimate) is only an average across several mattress brands and designs. The exact weight of your mattress may fall outside the range indicated.

3. Mode of Transport

Although getting the help of professional movers is one option, you are probably considering transporting the mattress yourself.

However, whether or not transporting a mattress is doable depends on the type of car you drive or a larger vehicle you can borrow or hire.

Sedan or Small Car

If you’re considering how to move a mattress with a sedan, you’ll be happy to know that most all-foam mattresses that can be compressed and folded or rolled will fit in a car.

Those mattresses, including mattresses in a box, can quite easily fit in a small car as well.

Transporting small mattresses on top of a car is possible for short distances. However, traveling long distances with a mattress on the car poses danger and is not encouraged.

Transporting a mattress on a roof rack would make a safer option.

Mini-Van or Station Wagon

With the increase in interior volume, you would think that you’d able to fit in larger mattresses that a small car can’t.

Unfortunately, it isn’t so simple.

In mattresses term, those that are inflatable which you can then re-compress and keep small in a roll can already fit into small cars. For mattresses that you cannot compress, a station wagon or a mini-van can accommodate them up to a certain size.

With the seats folded down in a station wagon, the greatly increased cargo space would allow a Twin, Twin XL, or Full mattress to sit horizontally in it. You can still squeeze in a Queen-sized mattress lengthwise but at an angle. Any mattress size larger than that cannot fit in a station wagon or a mini-van, unfortunately.

Pickup Truck

Transporting mattresses in a pickup truck is a convenient way of moving if you have access to one.

A pickup with an enclosed cab is a safe way to move and can fit many items. On the other hand, moving in an open-cargo pickup on the open road can be dangerous unless you find ways to protect the mattress and keep the items secured.

An unsecured large mattress can fall off the truck in strong winds and cause accidents.

Professional Mover or Rental truck

Moving with the help of professional movers is straightforward. Simply inform the movers the size and number of mattresses ahead of time and they’ll take care of the rest.

Alternatively, you are looking at renting a truck. Available truck sizes range from 8-feet to 26-feet.

To give you an idea what truck size you need:

  • A 10-feet truck should suffice for a mattress and a few furniture items you typically find in a studio apartment.
  • A 20-feet truck is better suited for a 3-bedroom house and can fit your king-sized or California king-sized mattress.


In the rare case that you only need to move a mattress and nothing else, renting a truck or hiring professional movers for your king-sized mattress may not make economic sense, especially if the mattress is old and no longer in the best condition.

4. Travel Distance

It is important to consider how far you’d be driving when moving a mattress to your new house.

Transporting a mattress on top of the car is risky and should only be done if it is no larger than a queen, properly and safely strapped on, and the house is only a short distance away.

Transporting a mattress in the car is obviously much safer for longer driving distances.

However, whatever type of mattress and how it is placed in the back seat of the car, it is critical that the mattress (or any other moving boxes) does not block the view of your rear-view mirror.

When contemplating how best to move a mattress using a car, always put safety as the top priority. Whenever in doubt, don’t.

5. Flight of Stairs

When you’re moving the mattress by yourself or with helpers, it is important to consider the size and weight of the mattress in relation to any flight of stairs that you need to navigate.

It’s all well moving a mattress when the entire journey does not involve staircases, but when you do the job gets exponentially harder.

Along with the difficulty in carrying a mattress up and down staircases, you would need to consider the height clearance at the staircase as well.

The building law generally requires at least a ceiling height clearance of 6 feet, 8 inches above the stair tread (measured vertically). Most mattresses would clear this on the shorter edge when carried vertically.

The situation in your house may differ. So, it helps to check this beforehand.

Another potential difficulty in navigating the staircase with a large and heavy mattress is when you have a narrow or awkwardly-shaped landing. (A landing is a larger step in between flights of continuous steps where the staircase usually changes direction)

This is where hoisting and turning a large mattress can be a problem.

Measure the space and have a plan before you commence moving the mattress. You do not want a situation where you’re stuck at the staircase landing with a large and heavy mattress trying to figure out how best to navigate then.

The Form Your Mattress Can Be Transported In

Not all mattresses can be compressed and rolled for moving. It is pretty straightforward to know if yours can or cannot even if you do not know whether there are springs in your mattress.

Whatever form the mattress came in, that’s how it is going out.

As a quick guide, these types of mattresses can be compressed and rolled or folded:

  • All-foam mattresses (including all-foam memory foam and latex mattresses)
  • Waterbed mattress

The following types of mattresses cannot be compressed and have to be transported as they are:

  • Traditional spring mattresses
  • Pillow top mattresses
  • Foam and pocket spring hybrid mattresses

The Tools You Need to Pack a Mattress for Moving

The tools and materials you need depend on the type of mattress you need have.

For compressing and rolling a mattress, you need:

  • A sealable mattress bag that fits the size of your mattress

These are available in most hardware stores. Ensure that the bag is the right size, or slightly larger, for your mattress. Get one which is heavy duty so it does not tear easily, and recyclable so you can reuse it the next time.

  • A small vacuum bag with valve

You’re buying this solely for the valve that comes with the bag. You’ll be cutting the valve out and attaching it to the mattress bag to turn it into a large vacuum bag of sorts. Make sure that the valve is the right size for the vacuum hose.

The (better) alternative, is to buy a ready-made vacuum bag for the size of your mattress so you do not have to worry about making a DIY vacuum bag for your mattress.

  • Vacuum cleaner

Your regular household vacuum cleaner will do just fine.

  • Rachets straps (3x)

These straps are to be used to tie down the compressed and rolled-up mattress to prevent it from unraveling. Aim to get at least 3 of these tie-down straps – one for each end, and one for somewhere down the middle.

You can also use ropes as an alternative.

  • Duct or packing tape

You’ll be using this to reinforce the edges of the mattress bag so the entire bag is strong enough to hold in the compressed mattress after vacuuming.

Get 2 grades of such tapes – one (strong and sticky) for mattresses reinforcement, and the other (less sticky; optional) to secure the rolled-up mattress in place of, or in addition to, ratchet straps. The less sticky tape is so you don’t tear the mattress bag when unpacking.

  • Scissors

A blade will do as well.

  • At least one helper

The task of compressing and rolling a mattress is made more effective if there is another person helping you out.

For packing a mattress that cannot be compressed, you need:

  • A sealable mattress bag that fits the size of your mattress

You want to get a correctly-sized bag for your mattress. In any case, a larger bag will be good so you have some extra space to work with. This bag is primarily for the protection of your mattress, so heavy-duty plastic will perform better.

  • Heavy-duty stretch wrap with handle

These are commonly used in industrial applications such as pallet wrap.

Aim to get an 18-inch or wider stretch wrap. It is also important to get one with a handle to avoid a painful pair of hands from the wrapping process.

  • Duct or packing tape

You only need a small amount of this tape to tape down the unfilled edges of the mattress bag after putting in the mattress.

  • Blade

A blade in the packing a mattress that cannot be compressed is more appropriate and useful than a pair of scissors.

  • At least one helper

Depending on your type of mattress, a heavy king-sized or California king-sized mattress would require 2 helpers to safely carry out the job.

Step-by-step Guide in Packing and Protecting a Mattress

Up to this point, you can see that there are 2 separate processes for packing a mattress – one for mattresses that can be compressed, and another for those that can’t.

The following step-by-step guide is for packing and protecting mattresses that can be compressed and rolled for moving:

Step 1:

Ensure the mattress is laid flat on the floor with sufficient working space around all 4 sides of it in order to bag the mattress.

The best option here is to use a vacuum bag the size of your mattress so you can simply slide the mattress into the bag and proceed to Step 2.

The alternative is to make your own vacuum bag by cutting the valve off the small vacuum bag and attaching it to the mattress bag.

You do this by cutting a hole near the sealable end of the mattress bag – a hole that is small enough for the valve to go through. Put the valve through the mattress bag from the inside. Tape the edge of this valve joint to create a tight seal.

Step 2:

Start vacuuming the bag so the mattress begins to gradually compress.

When the mattress gets to about one-third of its original volume, get your helper to step and walk on the mattress to squeeze out any remaining air so the mattress is as compressed as it can be.

Step 3:

Once compressed, roll the mattress starting from the opposite end of the valve. This is so you can vacuum more air out, if any, towards the end of the rolling.

Step 4:

Use the rachets straps or rope to tie down the rolled-up mattress. Spread the 3 tie-downs evenly along the length of the roll.

If you are using rope instead of ratchet straps, use plastic bags to wrap multiple times around the ropes in order to form handles so that it is easier to carry the mattress around.

Watch the video below for a visual demonstration:

In order to protect and prepare a mattress that cannot be compressed for moving, follow these steps:

Step 1:

Lay the mattress flat on the floor and bag it using the mattress bag. It does not matter if the mattress bag has an open or sealable end.

Make sure that the mattress is placed as deep as possible in the bag.

The excess, unfilled portion of the mattress bag (at the open/sealable end) is to be folded and taped down so the bagged mattress has no loose, flapping edges.

Step 2:

Ensure the bagged mattress is flat on the floor with one long edge of the mattress against the wall.

Hold the opposite edge and slowly lift, push, and turn the mattress up until it stands on the long edge against the wall.

More than one person shall do this part, especially for large and heavy mattresses.

Step 3:

Push and pull the upright mattress to the center of the room so that you have ample space around the mattress.

At least 2 persons shall be involved in this step so that it is safe. The mattress is heavy and could topple over.

Step 4:

At least 1 person should hold the stable and stationary mattress so it stays upright (2 persons holding each end is much better).

The other person not holding the mattress shall take the stretch wrap by its handle and start wrapping the mattress throughout.

You can tie the stretch wrap to the mattress handle (if any), or slot it under the mattress, so as to create a firm grip that would allow you to begin wrapping.

As you wrap the mattress, move from top to bottom, keep the wrap as tight as possible, and repeat the process until the mattress gets a consistent 3 layers of stretch wrap around it.

The mattress is now protected and ready for moving.

Useful Tips in Transporting a Mattress

A compressed and rolled-up mattress can easily fit in a sedan or a small car for moving.

Tying a mattress onto the top of the car, on the other hand, is generally unsafe and not recommended. However, transporting a Twin or a Full mattress on the car over short distances is still possible with a roof rack.

Using ropes to tie a mattress to the top of a car is not recommended as this would mean tying the ropes through the car windows, together with the door frames.

In the event of an emergency, it is dangerous if the driver or passenger cannot readily exit the car.

Should you be using a pickup truck instead, ensure that the mattress is properly secured, either when placed horizontally or vertically.

A mattress has a large surface, and in the presence of strong wind, an upright mattress can topple over from the cargo bed and endanger not just you but also other fellow motorists.

How to Transport a Mattress in a Car?

Only mattresses that can be compressed and rolled-up would fit into a car, regardless of the size of your car.

You would use the step-by-step guide outlined above to properly compress, pack, and protect your all-foam mattress for moving.

Transport a mattress on top of a car is unsafe and not recommended.

How to Transport a Mattress in a Pickup Truck?

For the purpose of clarity, transporting a mattress in a truck with an enclosed cargo area is different from transporting one in a pickup truck.

It is when you transport a mattress in a pickup truck that has an open truck bed that there is a risk of the mattress falling off it. How safely you transport a mattress using a pickup, especially over long distances, depends on how well you are able to secure the mattress onto the truck.

And if you were wondering will a king mattress fit in a pickup truck, the answer is yes.

In order to have the mattress transported safely in a pickup truck, follow these steps:

Step 1:

Pack and protect the mattress in a mattress bag by following the step by step guide above on protecting and preparing a mattress that cannot be compressed for moving.

Step 2:

Use a tarp to cover the mattress for extra protection from the weather. Secure the tarp by tying ropes around the entire mattress in both directions (top to bottom, and side to side).

Use one long, continuous rope length for tying in each direction, if possible.

Step 3:

Carry the mattress onto the truck bed. Use 2 or more persons to carry it depending on the weight of the mattress.

A twin, twin XL, and a full-sized mattress can sit horizontally in the truck bed comfortably. Depending on the size of your truck, a queen-sized mattress may be able to lay flat on the truck bed as well.

For a king or California king mattress, your option would be to stand it on its side and lean it against either side of the truck bed railing.

As the height of the truck bed railing is barely a third of the width of the mattress, the mattress would have to be laid at approximately 30 degrees from the floor and rests on the top rail.

Ensure that the mattress is not blocking the rear-view glass panel for safe driving.


In order to support the span of the mattress against sagging during transportation, place a box spring underneath the mattress (if you’re using one with the mattress) or use other items or moving boxes.

Step 5:

Use ropes to tie the top rail (where the mattress sits on) to the ropes on the top of the tarp, and finally to the bottom rail on the opposite side of the truck bed railing.

Step 6:

If the end of the mattress protrudes beyond the rear of the truck bed, leave the tailgate open but use ropes to tie around the protruding end of the mattress to the opposite end of the truck bed (where the driver’s rear-view panel is).

The important point here is to prevent the mattress from sliding out.

Tips in Unpacking a Large Mattress

Once the mattress is at your new place, it is easy to simply rip the mattress bag and any protective layers apart. But you only do that if you do not intend to re-use the mattress bag.

Unpacking a compressed and rolled-up mattress is straightforward and you do it as you would a new mattress in a box.

For unpacking a large mattress that you have moved to the new place as it is (without compressing), the following steps would reduce the amount of work and save you the mattress bag for re-use:

  • Stand the mattress to the left or right side of the bed base and against the wall.
  • Align the mattress in the correct head-to-toe direction as the bed base.
  • Ensure that the open end of the mattress bag is at the top of the mattress in its upright position.
  • Cut away the protective stretch wrap layers and carefully remove duct tapes, if any.
  • Open and remove the mattress bag from the top, moving downwards.
  • Lift one end of the mattress at a time so you can remove the mattress bag from underneath it.
  • Lay the mattress down onto the bed base from its upright position by using the mattress edge in contact with the floor as a pivot.
  • Make final adjustments as needed to make sure the mattress sits squarely on the bed base.

Useful Tips if You Are Moving the Mattress by Yourself

Moving service is big business and the professionals are well-trained and well-equipped for the job.

Depending on the number of things you need moving, doing it yourself is more cost-effective and entirely possible if you have enough manpower to tap into.

As with any tasks that involve heavy lifting, your safety and the safety of helpers are of paramount importance.

In order to carry out the entire operation safely, use these tips:

  • Wear sneakers

The benefits of wearing sneakers are two-fold.

When you have a good grip under your feet, you move around more easily and the process will be less tiring. Carrying heavy items is also made safer.

When you are focused on carrying large and heavy items, it is easy to accidentally knock your feet on corners of the wall or furniture when you’re not looking. Having your feet protected can prevent any injury to your toes.

  • Check weather forecast

As much as possible, plan the moving on a day when no bad weather is forecast.

  • Plan multiple lighter journeys

When moving a mattress and other items in a car by yourself, avoid the urge to pack in as much as possible to reduce the number of journeys.

Ensure that the view of the car’s rear and side mirrors are unblocked. Driving with less weight onboard makes driving safer as well.

  • Lift heavy items with the correct posture

Always lift a heavy mattress with both hands and with knees bent and the back upright. Let your quads (thigh muscles) do the heavy lifting, not your spinal cord.

What if You Decide to Use Professional Movers Instead?

When moving using professional movers, take these points into consideration:

  • Make a list of items to move

Before getting a quote from the movers, make a list of large items such as your mattress(es) and furniture, and estimate the number of moving boxes.

This is to facilitate accurate quotation from the movers, rather than getting unexpected added costs on the day of moving when they arrive.

  • Get a quote from at least 3 movers

Getting at least 3 movers to provide you a quote would ensure you get competitive pricing.

With the exhaustive list you made earlier it becomes easier to pass on the same piece of information to more movers.

Ask for details on how they will be protecting your furniture, including the mattress(es).

  • Communicate your requirements clearly with the mover before accepting the quote

Communicate any special requests to the mover before you accept the quote. You want the costs quoted to be all-inclusive with no surprise hidden costs.

  • Label large items and boxes

Make stick-on colored labels for all large items and boxes. Place the labels where they are clearly visible.

These labels shall indicate where or which rooms – upstairs or downstairs – you want all the things to be placed when they reach your new house.

The last thing you need at the end of a tiring day is to move each item to its final place yourself.

Other FAQs

How to Move a mattress Across Country?

You love your mattress as much as your most precious belongings and perhaps it’s nowhere near old enough to consider discarding it.

However, moving your mattress across the country can be a very costly affair, depending on the method you choose to use. Most of the time, relocation involves many items and furniture so your high total moving costs shouldn’t be attributed to the mattress alone.

In order to move a mattress across the country, the following options are available to choose from:

  • Hire professional movers (costs upwards of $2000)
  • Freight shipping (costs upwards of $450)
  • Rent a truck yourself (costs upwards of $50 per day for a 20’ truck)
  • Use a trucking brokerage solution such as Uber Freight (source; costs upwards of $200)
  • Consider buying a new mattress

Note: The pricing is only an estimate. The cost for you would differ depending on the number of items you are moving and the distance of the relocation.

How to Move a Mattress with Bed Bugs?

No doubt you can find ways to move a mattress with bugs. In principle, you ensure that the mattress (compressed or otherwise) is bagged and sealed tightly in a heavy-duty mattress bag before transporting it.

However, moving a mattress with bed bugs is not recommended. In fact, it is strongly discouraged for the following reasons:

  • The bed bugs would be transported to and introduced into your new home (you should aim to start anew).
  • Even if you think you’ve killed the bed bugs, the fact is they lay eggs and those eggs are probably living deep in the mattress. Future infestation is just a matter of time.
  • It is unhygienic and unhealthy for you.

How to Transport a Mattress Without a Truck?

Large items require an even larger vehicle to transport them in – the mattress is no different.

However, if you do not own a pickup truck or a large-enough vehicle in which you can simply transport the mattress as it is, your options are less but the job is still possible.

Without a truck, your options to transport a mattress include:

  • Rent a truck for moving yourself (rental cost less than $100 a day)
  • Hire professional movers (costs a few hundreds for moving locally; a few thousand dollars for interstate)
  • Use a truck brokerage solution as such Uber Freight (costs a few hundred dollars)
  • Transporting it in your car (but only for mattresses you can compress)

How to Move a Bed Frame by Yourself?

It is possible that not only do you not want to leave your mattress behind in your relocation, but you also want to take the bed frame along.

If a bed frame can be assembled, then you can disassemble it for moving. Take a little time to understand how the frame is assembled and slowly reverse-engineer it. Loosen and remove each screw, bolt, and nut until you get all the individual parts separated. Parts of similar sizes should be grouped together and tied up using ropes or ratchet straps. Use stretch wrap on them for extra protection.

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