When you move around to new houses or places, packing up your mattress might be a common event. You might have heard about mattresses in a box, as they are compressed and rolled into a box, then you wonder whether is it possible to return them to that state so you can take them away easily?
The answer is YES. Most memory foam mattresses can be compressed back into the box again because many of them are made with highly bendable and compressible materials.
First, check if it is too old
So, let’s start by examining your mattress to see if it’s worth compressing. The key signs you need to look for are. We have also covered this topic extensively here.
The age of your mattress
If it’s more than 8-10 years old, it probably needs replacement, and may not withstand another compression. If you want to learn more about if the 8-year law is legit, check it here.
Holes and punctures
If your mattress has tears or punctured holes, they can expand because of compression and ruin the construction of your mattress.
The sagging mattress is also more prone to collapsing because of compression, so if the surface of your mattress is uneven, it’s better to dispose of it and get yourself a new bed.
Note that if your mattress is covered by a warranty, homemade compression can void it. That’s because manufacturers use special compression machines that apply high and even pressure to avoid causing harm to the materials. If you perform this at home, the results may vary, so pay attention.
If your mattress is indeed fitting some of the above-mentioned problems, and you decide that you want to dispose of your mattress, you can cut memory foam into smaller pieces and use it for upcycling, or completely disassemble your mattress and send it off to the municipal waste collecting program.
Now let’s get into how to compress your memory foam mattress
1. Preparations: Grab Your Gear
So here’s what you need:
A mattress bag
Preferably sealable if you cannot find it, just use durable duct tape to seal it. The mattress bag is made of hard plastic and is used to protect your mattress from the elements or from getting dirty. Make sure that you choose the right size: it’s equal to the size of your mattress.
You can purchase a new mattress bag from retailers. These bags are durable and made of thick plastic that will protect your mattress from the elements.
You’ll need this bag to put the mattress in during the transportation process. The plastic bag will also play a significant role in compressing the mattress.
Make sure you get the right size plastic mattress bag for your mattress. If you have a queen-size mattress, make sure you get a queen. If you have a full-size, king-size, twin, etc. make sure you follow suit.
These straps will help you keep the mattress in the rolled state after you compress it. Make sure to choose 2-3 quality-made straps, so they won’t break.
There are straps you’ll use to secure the mattress and so you have something to hold onto when carrying it. Some might consider these a luxury, but we think they’re a necessity.
You’ll need something to close the bag and make sure it doesn’t open. You can’t use basic packing tape, because it won’t cut it. What you need is a tape heavy enough to get the job done right. Duct tape can fix anything, and even if you have a sealable mattress bag, you’ll still want to add some extra security.
Vacuum cleaner or electric pump
These will help you suck the air out of the mattress and compress it. Check the valve on the vacuum or pump and make sure it fits the valve in the mattress bag and creates a tight seal.
Finally, you’ll need a vacuum to suck all the air out of the mattress. Make sure the vacuum hose attachment is compatible with the valve from the bag. You can use a shop vac or whatever you need to create an airtight vacuum seal.
A cardboard box
After you compress and roll your mattress, measure it and get the cardboard box that can fit it. The box will act as extra protection and will make moving a mattress more comfortable.
2. Setup the Mattress and Turn on the Vacuum
Now, when you have all the tools, let’s start compressing a memory foam mattress at home.
Step #1: Clean the Mattress and Encase It
Remove all the bedding from a mattress and vacuum it thoroughly. You don’t want any bits and pieces to be compressed with your mattress because it can lead to tears and punctures.
Lay your mattress out on the floor and encase it in the mattress bag.
Step #2: Compress It
After you place the mattress into a mattress bag, it’s time to compress it.
Connect the valve on the mattress bag to the valve of your pump or vacuum. If your mattress bag doesn’t have a valve, seal it with duct tape around the nozzle or the vacuum.
Once you’ve sealed the connection, turn on the vacuum and pump and start sucking out the air.
This is where you might need help from a friend or relative. Ask them to press on the mattress with their palms, using their weight, so it will more efficiently remove the air.
Start pressing the mattress from the edge, which is opposite to the valve, and slowly move to the center to the other edge.
Once you’ve satisfied with the compression of your mattress, turn the vacuum off, seal the valve on the mattress bag, and proceed to the final step.
Step #3: Roll It Up
Now, you need to roll up your mattress and place it in the box, so you can transport it easily.
Roll the mattress lengthwise and apply constant pressure, but don’t roll it too tight.
Then, take the ratchet straps and wrap them around your mattress. Ideally, you should have 3 straps to secure both sides and the center of your roll. Fix the straps firmly, but don’t squish the mattress or apply additional pressure.
Finally, measure the length, width, and height of a rolled-up mattress. Then get a suitable box and pack it in. Now your mattress is ready to transport!
Use a Sealable Bag
While it’s not entirely necessary, we would recommend using a sealable bag. The last thing you want to deal with is air coming out of the plastic mattress bag after you’ve compressed it. You’ll end up halfway to your destination only to realize you now have a colossal mattress knocking everything over in the back of the truck. Ensuring that no air is escaping is essential with compressing and moving a mattress.
Will compressing a memory foam bed ruin it?
No, compressing the mattress will not cause any harm if your mattress is the right type, which we mentioned below. One exception to the rule is if your mattress is old and has a lot of cracks. If there are many cracks in the foam, you might want to consider compressing or folding it.
If you’re compressing a memory foam mattress to transport it, then it may spend up to 48h in a compressed state because of all the moving hassle.
If you’ve done everything right, this procedure might not have any consequences for your mattress. However, if your mattress isn’t new or is at the low-cost end of the spectrum, you might find out certain problems, such as:
Lumpy and uneven comfort layers.
Incomplete inflation and collapse of some layers.
Holes and punctures after decompression.
That’s why it’s better to double-check the condition of your mattress before you decide to compress it. In case your mattress changes its firmness because of compression.
Can you compress other types of mattresses?
Now, a memory foam mattress might be the most suitable for repeated compressions, but this isn’t the only mattress type.
So, can you perform this procedure with other mattress types?
It depends. Compressing memory foam and latex mattresses are the easiest because these come the same way. We wouldn’t recommend trying to compress traditional mattresses or anything with innerspring because it could damage them.
Also, mattresses without fiberglass might be better suited for repeated compression. That’s because fiberglass, or glass wool, can start to escape through the mattress fabric when the mattress is inflated, and this can provoke skin irritation, allergy reactions, and troubled breathing during sleep.
Knowing how to pack up your memory foam mattress at home is a great skill for people who move around.
Wherever life takes you, have a safe trip, and we hope this helps you along the way!