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The Easiest & Safest Way to Move a Mattress

Author imageThe Mattress Warehouse

Did your parents kick you out of the house? Are you and your family relocating to a new home? Maybe you are just moving down the road, or maybe you are moving to another city. But the question is; how will you move your furniture, especially your mattress?

The easiest and most expensive way to move is getting a moving company to do it for you.

However, moving already goes hand in hand with a lot of expenses! Selling your house costs money, buying or renting a new one also costs money. Nowadays, paying transfer costs are freakishly expensive! Therefore, if you try to save some money by doing it (moving, in case you forgot) yourself, who can blame you?

If you have to move soon and you want to know the safest and easiest way to move your mattress, read on! I’ll tell you how to do everything the safe and easy way.

You might be wondering what gives me the authority to write about moving mattresses? Well, I’ve had my fair share of moving, plus I used to work for a removal company…

Let’s dive into a step-by-step guide on how to move your mattress!

Planning & executing the perfect mattress move

Plan ahead
Plan moving the mattress ahead of time

There are a few things that you need to take into consideration when you prepare to move a mattress.

  • What type of mattress do you have, spring/foam?
  • How many mattresses do you have to move/how many other pieces of furniture do you need to move with the mattress?
  • Where will you put the mattress during the move/how will you transport it?

Why does the type of mattress matter?

Not all mattresses can be transported on their sides. For instance, some foam based mattresses should lie flat while in transit. However, other mattresses can be carried and moved around on their sides. Read your mattress’ label to see if there is any indication as to how to move it.

How many mattresses? What does that have to do with anything?

If you plan to move the stuff on your own, it is generally a good idea to really plan the move. Take a measuring stick and measure all the big stuff you want to move. Then, measure the space you have to put it in.

Now you can play Tetris with all of the stuff you want to move! It’s just a lot easier to play Tetris on a piece of paper than to pack and repack all of the tables, beds and mattresses… Get it right before you even start carrying heavy objects around. Trust me, it saves a lot of time and energy.

How will you transport the mattress?

This is the crucial part.

It is always easier and better to have a bakkie (pickup truck for our international readers) and a trailer at hand when you move. Chances are that you won’t be moving only a mattress, but lots of other large furniture pieces. So, the more space you have to pack things in, the better. Besides, transporting a queen size bed in/on a sedan or hatchback is just not as cool as it sounds.

Additionally, it can be quite dangerous if you don’t do it exactly right!

The bottom line is; try to get a bakkie and/or a flatbed trailer if you plan to move on your own. If you don’t own a bakkie, ask your friend that has one to help you out (he can stay to help you with the heavy lifting as well). Otherwise, if your car has a towbar, rent a flatbed trailer for the day.

Gearing up for the Actual Move!

Okay so, you have a trailer and an extra set of hands. What’s next?

1. Keep the Mattress Protector on

Get a mattress protector.
Protect your mattress. Always.

If you have a mattress protector on your mattress, don’t take it off for the move, since moving can be a dirty business. You don’t want to ruin your bed the day before you settle into your new place!

An average mattress protector costs ten to twenty times less than the mattress itself. Therefore, if it suddenly starts to rain while you are travelling from your old home to the new one, let the mattress protector do its job. You can move assured that your mattress will stay clean and dry!

If you don’t have a mattress protector, seriously consider getting one. It will save you a lot of trouble when it comes to cleaning a mattress. Moreover, it will safeguard your mattress while you transport it from point A to point B. Find out exactly how a mattress protector will save you time and money.

2. Get a Mattress Bag or Heavy-Duty Plastic

Even with the mattress protector on, it is always better to wrap the mattress in heavy-duty plastic or put it in a mattress bag before you move. Especially if you have to travel great distances between your old and new home.

Rain, wind and sand can do a lot of damage to your mattress! You want to avoid those elements at all costs. Remember, you are doing the move on your own because you want to save money. Saving money on the move will be useless if you have to purchase a whole new mattress.

Remember to secure the plastic/mattress bag with a whole lot of duct tape. You don’t want the plastic coming off in the middle of the road, as it can cause serious danger on the road.

3. Loading the Mattress

Loading your mattress
Load it in.

Depending on the type of car/trailer you have, loading the mattress can be as easy as pie, or a great schlep.

Transportation methods

Let’s take a look at the various methods of transportation and how to go about loading and securing your mattress. We’ll go from the easiest and safest method to the most annoying and riskiest. Just skip ahead to the type of transport you’ll have at your disposal to avoid a lot of redundant reading.

  • Flatbed Trailer
  • Bakkie/pickup
  • Van
  • Just a normal car – Sedan/hatchback

Flatbed Trailer

This is probably the easiest and most effective way to move your mattress.

When you go to rent the trailer, make sure that it has a high safety railing. The railing helps to keep the furniture on the trailer, and you can tie ropes and straps to secure objects.

Depending on the kind of mattress you have, you can either put it on its side or let it lie flat.

For mattresses that can go on the side, put them right up against the railing and strap/tie them to the side. Now put the base of the bed next to the mattress and also tie it to the side. Make sure that the knots are tight (not so tight that you won’t be able to untie them).

If you have a foam mattress that has to lie flat, pack the trailer and then, right at the end, put the bed on top of everything. Base first, mattress on top. Just as if you were planning to take a nap on top of the loaded trailer!

It would obviously help if you pack the rest of the furniture in such a way that the bed has a fairly flat surface underneath it. Once again tie/strap everything down properly and you’re good to go!


Single mattresses should fit between the wheel wells of most bakkies. So, if you have more than one mattress to move, put the single one in first. In this manner, the larger mattresses can rest on the smaller one. It will also help to counteract any sag!

On the other hand, if you don’t have a single mattress and your double to king-size mattress doesn’t fit between the wheel wells (it won’t trust me) you have to go the diagonal or upright (side) route.

The process for loading the mattress on its side is similar to what we discussed above. However, you might have to keep the tailgate open, in which case you have to triple-check that it is tied securely to the vehicle. You don’t want the mattress sliding off while you are in the middle of a busy road.

When you put the mattress diagonally across the pickup, you will need to put in some form of support first. Because you don’t want the mattress to sag in the middle, as this might damage the integrity of the mattress. So if you have a solid base, put it in first and then load the mattress on top of that. Chances are that the tailgate will have to be kept open, so make sure that the whole lot is tied securely to the bakkie.


Depending on the size of your van, you can either position the mattress flat, diagonally across or on its side.

Take out the back seats and clean the van before you start.

The easiest and best way to transport a mattress in a van is to place the mattress laying flat. If that is not an option, put it up against the side of the vehicle. In the worst case, if it has to go in diagonally, put in something to support the mattress before you place it in the car.

You might not have the option of tying the mattress down inside the van, so you might have to prop it up with other pieces of furniture. If this is the case, make sure that there are no sharp edges or corners pressed up against the mattress, as this may cause tearing or internal damage.

How to transport a mattress with a car

Put a mattress protector on your mattress if you plan to transport it on your car.
Not ideal, but doable.

You don’t really want to transport your mattress on top of your car. However, if there is absolutely no other choice, it is doable.

If you drive a small car, don’t put anything but a single mattress on the roof. You don’t want the mattress sticking out everywhere because other motorists will bump into it. Larger sedan type cars will be able to support a double or maybe a queen-size mattress, but definitely nothing bigger!

Having a roof rack to put the mattress on will be a lot better for your car and for your mattress. However, if you don’t, then you’ll just have to be extra careful when you load and tie the mattress into place.

Remember, the roof of your car is slippery and the plastic you wrapped around your mattress is… You guessed it! Also slippery! So when you tie down the mattress you have to make 101% sure that it cannot budge!

How to tie down the mattress:

First thing’s first, ensure that you have more than enough rope!

Now, after putting the mattress on the roof, loop the rope over the mattress and underneath the car. Make sure the rope won’t be in contact with the exhaust system or any moving parts because you don’t want it to come undone halfway to your new home.

Now, open all of the passenger windows (not the driver window) and loop the rope around the mattress and through the windows to secure it to the roof of your car.

Lastly, you have to tie down the mattress back to front. So tie a length of rope to the front bumper, loop it over the mattress and tie it securely to the back bumper. Try to do this on both the right and left-hand side of your car.

It is essential that the mattress can’t move around on top of your car. I can’t emphasise this enough!

4. Unloading and Carrying the Mattress

Once you get to your destination, it can be tricky to get the mattress into your new home. Especially if there are large flights of stairs involved.

How to move a mattress up apartment floors

Get your strongest mates to help you out! Remember, you don’t want to bend your mattress, so carrying it up a flight of apartment stairs can be uncomfortable at times. With your strong friend(s), carry the mattress on its side.

If the stairs are narrow and zig-zag, you’ll probably have to carry the mattress diagonally up the stairwell and turn it upright to go around corners before you tilt it back down to the diagonal. That’s why strong friends are a big help in this department!

And there you have it!

I hope that gave you an idea of how to move your mattress! And remember, always use a mattress protector when you move your mattress.

On the other hand, if it sounds like too much of a hassle, just buy a new mattress from The Mattress Warehouse and give us the address of your new home. If it is in any of the major centres in South Africa, we’ll deliver it to your door, free of charge!

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