How To Move a Mattress: Step-by-Step Guide

Last Updated on July 13, 2024

by Marc Werner, Founder - GhostBed

Moving a mattress by yourself is not a difficult job when you’re prepared with a plan of action. Read our guide to understand the proper care for your bed when moving it.

I: What is Needed for your Mattress Move

II: Truck Size to Move Bed

III: How to Move a Mattress

IV: Loading Mattress In or On Vehicle

V: How to Move a Mattress by Yourself

VI: Summary

Moving a mattress on your own does not need to be tough when you are prepared for the job. Understanding how to move a mattress will be the necessary first step to completing the task at hand.

A major factor to consider when taking on a mattress move is the size of the mattress. We don’t need to tell you that the larger the bed the more difficult the move may be, especially if narrow corridors and stairs are involved. A larger bed will be heavier as well, so make sure that weight is considered in when enlisting help for this move.

What is Needed for your Mattress Move

How to move a mattress by yourself is not tough with the right supplies – and of course recruiting a friend doesn’t hurt! Make sure that you have all that you need before getting started.

  • Moving Buddy
    When considering how to move a mattress alone it is important to remember the need for another human to help. A mattress, especially a large one, will be too bulky for one person to handle. You will likely need a moving buddy to assist with getting the bed from the bedroom to the vehicle and then into its new home.
  • Mattress Bag or Shipping Box
    Unless simply moving from one room to another in the same residence, it is vital that you purchase a bag or box made specifically to cover and protect a mattress for a move.
    Mattress covers are made of plastic and act like a tough sleeve that the bed can fit into. These inexpensive covers are commonly found at stores that sell moving supplies, such as hardware stores. The cover will save you the worry of your bed being destroyed by dirt, water, stains, and tearing during the move. A shipping box made to fit a bed should be used for a foam mattress, as these types of beds can bend and move around and can be damaged when tied down.
  • Bubble Wrap and Packing Tape
    Bubble wrap is always good to have for protecting mattress corners in a truck or when packing it in a box. You will need tape to seal the plastic mattress cover if it does not have a zipper, as well as a shipping box. You will also want to wrap any parts of a bed frame in bubble wrap to protect from harm during a move. If you’re doing all this moving alone, all these extra steps will save you headache further down the road.
  • Screwdriver and Wrench
    If you’re moving a bed frame that can be taken apart, a screwdriver and wrench should be on hand for quick disassembly and reassembly. Wrap parts in bubble wrap and tape to protect.
  • Gallon Plastic Bag
    Have gallon size locking seal bags on hand for spare small parts and hardware that were removed from bed frame when disassembling. Tape the bags to a box or on top of the bubble wrap that the frame pieces are in.
  • Dolly
    A dolly is certainly necessary for those moving a mattress alone. The dolly can also be used as an aid to move a heavier mattress when enlisting help.
  • Optional Plastic Wrap
    For cases when mattress is moved folded you will want to wrap it in plastic wrap to protect it from the elements.

Truck Size to Move Bed

For a very short move you may want to save money by using the option of a car roof rack, but in long hauls, or to be very careful, a truck or van will be needed to transport the bed. Of course, you will certainly need a truck if also moving a bed frame. Truck size will vary with the size of the bed. An 8-foot pickup truck is the right size for moving a twin-size mattress. For a larger mattress, a cargo van should be used. You will want to rent a 10-foot moving truck if moving multiple mattresses along with bedframes.

How to Move a Mattress – Step by Step Guide

Before the actual move you should remove all bedding from the mattress. Wash linens and pack them with blankets, comforters, and pillows in clean bags and boxes. Once the bed is stripped down it will be time to get started!

Step 1: Lift Mattress off its Platform

Before placing the mattress in a plastic cover, it will need to be stood up off its base. Stand the mattress on one of its long side edges.

Step 2: Cover Mattress

Like placing a pillow in a pillowcase, slip the plastic mattress bag over the mattress from the top to the bottom. As the cover is being placed, have your moving buddy lift the parts touching the floor in order to help get the bag smoothly on.

Once the mattress is safely inside the plastic cover be mindful to check that it covers the corners properly and that there are no tears. If there is a small rip that occurred, then carefully patch it with tape to ensure that the mattress stays fully protected.

With the mattress inside the cover zip up the open side, or if there is no zipper then use the packing tape to assure there is a seal with no openings left for dust and other outside elements to get in.

Step 3: Clear Path to Vehicle

Before actually moving the mattress make sure that a clear path is available so you can avoid tripping over objects as the move takes place. Any furniture that may be in the way should be shifted out of the way. Have doors propped open as well ready for the mattress to have an unobscured pathway to your vehicle. When you’re moving a mattress by yourself, safety is even more important.

Step 4: Moving the Mattress

With the mattress standing on its longest side have your moving buddy stand on one end of the mattress while you are on the opposite side. Remember to lift safely with your knees and not your back, both of you should bend your knees enough so that your hands can fit around bottom edge of mattress.

Stand up as you both lift your respective ends of the mattress at the same time. This way the weight of the mattress will be evenly distributed as it is picked up.

Be prepared to move slowly and carefully. As the leader will likely be walking backwards the follower may need to provide direction verbally. Carry the mattress at hip level in order to place the least amount of stress on the arms as possible.

Be prepared to angle mattress up at times to get around tight corners, stairs, and/or doorways. If one of you gets tired, then take care to place the mattress on floor to rest a moment.

*Important Note for Moving Memory Foam Mattress

Special attention needs to be taken for moving a memory foam mattress. Foam beds can be heavier than traditional coil spring mattresses and can also flop about as they are being carried.

Unlike a coil spring mattress, a foam bed can be damaged if tied down with a rope. If you need to tie this type of mattress down when moving then it’s suggested that you place it in a mattress shipping box secured with bubble wrap, instead of a plastic cover. A box will keep the mattress from flopping while being moved and will provide a surface that can be safely tied down.

Loading Mattress in or on Vehicle

Whether using the roof of a car or a large truck, it is important to safely load and secure the mattress in or on the vehicle before beginning the journey.

  • Car
    Although not the best option, a car roof is doable for moving a mattress as large as a Queen size for a short distance. The mattress will need to be secured to the roof with ropes tied around it through the open rear windows of vehicle. Take the time needed to assure that the mattress is secured with enough rope length. At least 17-feet of rope is recommended. The rope will need to wrap around and secure the mattress across both the width and length if the car. Wrap the rope through the bottom of the vehicle and around the top of mattress as tight as possible to keep it in place. Place the rope through the open rear windows and tightly around the width of mattress as well. Repeat the lengthwise and across process for extra security. A memory foam mattress can be bent in half in order to be placed on top of car, but be careful when tying down edges so as to not damage mattress. Use a roof rack and place some cardboard where ratchet straps are used to hold mattress. Use three or four ratchet straps to hold the mattress across the roof rack to keep bed moving from side to side. Two additional ratchet straps should be attached to across the mattress lengthwise to the front and back of the vehicle to hold bed in place.
  • Van
    A cargo van is easy but if a passenger van is being used then try to remove seats to create an open space ahead of time. Note that larger mattress sizes may not fit inside a smaller van. Also, be careful to remove any sharp objects that might damage the mattress when laying it down. It is important to lay the bed flat inside the van. If the mattress is not moved in a flat position, then it could buckle which would leave it distorted once move is complete. If the mattress must be placed at an angle, then try to pack it in box first. If mattress cannot be laid down, place it on one of its long edges and keep it in place with a rope or strap. Note that a memory foam mattress should be in a box for this.
  • Pickup Truck
    A pickup truck will have generally the same rules as a van but will be a bit easier with its open design. Make sure to have a day without inclement weather when moving the bed in a pickup since the back is exposed.
  • Cargo Truck
    As with the van a larger truck will have the same rules. The cargo truck is perfect for those moving the mattress along with the bed frame.

How to Move a Mattress by Yourself

While not the best solution, moving a mattress alone is possible if moving a foam bed. Although a memory foam mattress is heavier, it is also pliable and can be folded in half.

Step 1: Fold Mattress

By folding the mattress in half, you will be reducing its height to make the move more manageable and keep flopping to a minimum, making it easier to move when you’re alone. Once folded, wrap the mattress in plastic wrap to assure that it will be kept clean of debris and prevent it from opening.

Step 2: Tie Mattress

Wrap a ratchet strap around mattress to hold it folded in place. Place cardboard to keep the strap from digging into mattress edges. This will help keep mattress from being damaged.

Step 3: Use Dolly

Now put folded mattress standing on top of flat dolly making sure to stand it on an edge side. Be careful to not have the mattress fall off the dolly as it is being wheeled.

Step 4: Place Mattress on or in Vehicle

Follow same instructions for car and van. Be aware that you are lifting this by yourself so you may want to rent a van or pickup as a car’s roof may prove to be difficult to maneuver with a single person.


Most important when moving a mattress is to be prepared with supplies and a well laid out plan. Be sure to prep the mattress by placing it in a protective covering before moving. If tying it to the top of vehicle it is essential to make sure that it is on tightly so as to prevent shifting while in transit. The better prepared you are the easier and quicker the move will be.

Marc Werner - Founder, GhostBed

Marc Werner

Founder - GhostBed

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Marc has spent the last two decades designing & manufacturing mattresses and other sleep products, drawing on a lifetime of experience working with the material sciences. With several patents to his name, he works closely with the GhostBed team to create products with the perfect balance of comfort & support. Learn More

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