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How to Move a Mattress – Tips for Transporting a Bed

It goes without saying that moving is not fun. In an ideal world, you’ve got a moving truck or van with a bunch of burly, professional movers to do all the heavy lifting, dissembling, and reassembling, but those types of services can cost a pretty penny, so if you’re anything like me and want to save a few bucks, you’re probably doing the most of the work on your own.

Unless you’re planning to order a new mattress for your new home, then you’re probably taking your current mattress along with you. Mattresses are bulky and not the easiest to move around. Plus, you don’t want to do anything that’ll damage it for future use. I’ll break down our top tips on how to transport a mattress without having the luxury of professional movers.

What You Need to Move a Mattress

A Helping Hand

Grab a friend, family member, neighbor, or the random guy walking his dog to give you a hand.

It’s not just that mattresses can be heavy; it’s the awkward dimensions that make this a two-person task. If you try to attempt this on your own, you may be more likely to damage the mattress or hurt yourself.

Mattress Bag

For less than $20, you can buy a mattress bag to protect your bed when you move it. It’s a clear, plastic, heavy-duty bag that envelops your bed to keep it safe and clean during transport. Plus, if you need long-term storage, this bag will keep it safe and critter-free.

Ratchet Straps or Poly Ropes

Sets of ratchet straps cost between $20 and $40, and you can use them for tons of applications other than just moving a bed. They’re great for transporting any type of cargo, even motorcycles. If you’re not great at tying knots, these may give you extra piece of mind because you should no longer have to worry about your bed flying out of your vehicle and into oncoming traffic.

If you’re a knot-tying expert, you can probably get away with poly ropes. These are different than regular varieties because they have a braided structure that makes them heavy-duty and extra strength. Typically when moving heavy items, the stronger the rope, the better!


When you put the mattress in the bag, you’ll need tape to keep it in place. A tape gun with medium to high-quality packing tape, or even duct tape, should do the trick. Taping the ends and then wrapping the tape all the way around both vertically and horizontally is a good extra step.


This handy tool is often overlooked and forgotten in the moving process. In fact, you should probably have two pairs with you because one of them might go missing at some point. Scissors will be helpful when it’s time to cut tape, rope, and anything else you need to get through.

How to Move a Mattress

1. Prepare Your Workspace

Getting your mattress ready for transit is going to require some space. Make sure you have plenty of room. The best thing to do is to move everything else out of your bedroom first and have the mattress vertically situated against a wall as you clear out the contents of the room.

The more floor space you have for maneuvering, the better.

2. Place Your Bed Inside the Mattress Bag

This is where that mattress bag you purchased will come in handy. Nothing is worse than getting to your new home and realizing your bed is damaged or dirty because a friend scraped it against the driveway. 

3. Seal the Bag with Tape

The bag you put your bed in is open at the ends, so you’ll need to seal it with tape. Fold over the edges, secure with tape, and then wrap the tape around the bag. Make sure you wrap it around the middle and on the upper and lower thirds. Form a crisscross pattern with the tape, so even if the mattress slides around in the bag, it should still be secure.

4. Load the Bed Into a Vehicle

Now comes the fun part – getting the mattress out of the house and into (or onto) your vehicle. Keep in mind that even with the protective bag you should still handle your investment with care. Getting it through the obstacles of the outdoors and into a car, truck or van can still cause damage if you drop it or allow anything sharp to poke or pierce it.


Transporting a Queen mattress on the roof of your car is challenging, but doable. Secure it to the roof carefully and work the ropes through your open windows.

Once it’s on the roof, take extra care in stabilizing it with rope. You should measure the amount of rope in advance to make sure there’s plenty to hold everything in place. On average, you’ll need about 16-17 feet.

The first step in this process is putting the rope on the top of the mattress and wrapping it both lengthwise and across. You can wrap it underneath your car, and then through the open windows (minus the driver’s side).

To be extra safe, you can complete this process two times.

Wondering why you should leave the driver’s side free of ropes? If you put them through all the windows, you might have a pretty hard time opening any of the doors!


If the seats in your van are removable, the moving process becomes infinitely easier. However, in the event your bed is exceptionally large and the van you have isn’t, refer to the instructions above for how to move your bed to the top of the car.

Once you confirm that the mattress can safely fit inside the van, lay it flat and do your best to keep it flush with a solid surface. This should prevent any distortion or buckling from occurring. Also, double-check no sharp edges are poking the bed, which could cause damage.

Pickup Truck

This method is generally preferred because it may be the easiest and safest. All you have to do is load the bed into the back of the pickup truck. Larger, King sizes may need to lay at an angle, but the good news is that loading and unloading should be much easier than the other options.

5. Secure the Bed Properly

Once you’ve loaded your bed into the vehicle, now comes the important step of securing it, so it doesn’t move around, get damaged, or come loose and wreak havoc on the freeway.

Ratchet straps should be among the best ways to secure everything. Before putting these straps in place, make sure the mattress is lying flat to prevent any distortion. If you’re using ratchet straps and they end up being too short, hook two of them together to extend the length.

Take extra care if you’re using the top of your car to transport this item. Exposure to the elements plus excess wind can cause some serious problems if you’re not careful.

6. Drive Safely

I just mentioned the wind. This can be a hazard, especially if you’re a fast driver. To be safe, drive slower than normal and keep a steady eye on your rearview mirrors so you can detect any problems before they become catastrophes.

Other Ways to Move a Mattress

Moving Container

If there’s going to be a period of time between when you leave your current home and move into your new one, you may want to use a moving container for temporary storage. The wonderful thing about this is you can load all your belongings into the container and let movers handle the rest.

There is generally a fee involved that’s higher than just renting a truck, so it might be a good idea to call around and get several quotes.


If you’re moving a long distance or you’re in a rush, you may want to hire a shipping company to transport everything for you. Follow our earlier tips about wrapping your mattress and then go online to a company like Enter your specific details, and you should get several quotes to choose from. If you’re on a tight budget, try naming your price first and see if any shipping companies take the bait.

Moving Company

If you can afford it, this might be the most convenient way to transport a mattress. Plus, professional movers have a ton of experience and should come with all the tools you need to get your bed safely from Point A to Point B.

Moving a Mattress FAQs

Is it legal to tie a bed onto a car?

It’s not technically illegal. However, if you do a haphazard job of tying your mattress to the top of your car, you might be stopped and cited by an officer for endangering the safety of fellow motorists.

Can you transport a boxspring on a car?

Yes, but do so carefully. The sheer size can be problematic in securing it to the roof, and there are some aerodynamic issues involved. For example, if too much of the boxspring is hanging over the windshield and your speed exceeds 20 miles per hour, you may experience some unanticipated lift, similar to airplane wings.

Be extra diligent with ratchet straps and rope. When you tie the rope under the car, avoid putting it near any vehicle parts that can either get too hot or cut through the rope. Hot metal can get hot and burn through or compromise the strap, and sharp edges could just as easily cut through.

How do you move a mattress by yourself? 

Start by clearing out the room the bed is currently in and placing the mattress in a plastic, heavy-duty bag. After that, you’ll load it securely into (or onto) whichever vehicle you are using. Then, once you’re ready to hit the road, drive slowly and safely, especially if your bed is strapped to the roof of the vehicle.

Final Word of Advice

When it comes to mattresses, it’s mostly their size and bulkiness that make them awkward to move. However, some mattress types, such as hybrids, can often be much heavier than all-foam ones, which can make the moving process that much more strenuous. 

Remember, your bed was an investment. Treat it carefully, use protective layering, and tie it securely, regardless of the vehicle you’re using. And most importantly, enjoy your first night in your new home! 

Still mattress shopping? Explore our tested picks for the best beds of 2024.

The Advisor Says

If you’re transporting a mattress without the help of professionals, make sure you have a partner to help out, especially if you have any kind of pain or limited mobility.

Jill Zwarensteyn

Jill Zwarensteyn


About Author

Jill Zwarensteyn is the Editor for Sleep Advisor and a Certified Sleep Science Coach. She is enthusiastic about providing helpful and engaging information on all things sleep and wellness.

Combination Sleeper

Education & Credentials

  • Certified Sleep Science Coach