By: James Cusk

April 30, 2020

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How to Compress a Memory Foam Mattress at Home

If you’re like me, you’ve made the decision to just buy a new mattress when you move to avoid the hassle of carrying a spineless bed in and out of narrow doorways.

And sure, that’s an okay method unless you happen to really love your current mattress.

If you found the bed that is perfect for you, you don’t want to buy a new one. Even if you bought the exact same model again, there’s no guarantee it’ll feel the same. You know the ol’ saying, “you can’t buy the same mattress twice.”

Plus, let’s be honest, buying a new mattress when you move can get costly.

Luckily, memory foam mattresses can actually be compressed at home. If you’re familiar with the bed in a box concept, chances are you’re already familiar with compressing a memory foam mattress. But I bet you haven’t done it at home before.

Don’t worry. That’s why we’re here. In this post, we’ll cover how to compress a memory foam mattress in 5 easy steps.

1. Get the materials you’ll need

  • Sealable mattress bag. You can get this at a local u-haul or on Amazon. They’ll most likely come in a package that says for king or queen size mattress.
  • Duct Tape. Everyone has duct tape in their toolbox, right? Whatever you do, don’t try and use a different type of tape. There’s a lot of weight and pressure you’re about to compress, and you need the strength of duct tape.
  • Vacuum. Believe it or not, you don’t need an industrial vacuum to compress a memory foam mattress at home. You just need a vacuum with a hose.
  • Scissors or something sharp. It can even be a house key. You’ll only need to use this once, and it’s to cut a hole in the sealable mattress bag.

2. Remove bedding and clean the mattress

You want your mattress in factory condition. That means no sheets, no protectors, no pillows.

We also recommend that you put your mattress on the floor. Once you start sucking the air out and compressing your memory foam mattress, you’ll be applying weight on it (more on this below) and this is easier done when the bed is on a very hard surface, such as your floor.

But before you get started with the next step, we recommend you vacuum the mattress for two reasons.

Cleaning a mattress is important and too few of us do it regularly. Take the opportunity here to spend a little extra time and vacuum your mattress.

You’re compressing your bed which, depending on its size, will end up weighing between 80 to 140+ lbs. We don’t want any hair or dander or dirty to be compressed under the much pressure into the fabric of your mattress.

3. Cover the mattress with the plastic bag and seal it up

Once your mattress is clean and positioned, just cover it with the sealable matttress bag you’ve purchased. It’s important there are no tears or holes in this bag. If you do accidentally tear it, you need to patch it up with your handy duct tape.

When your mattress is covered, seal the bag up. Most store-bought sealable bags make this very easy. If it’s not going smoothly, you can use duct tape again.

4. Vacuum the air out.

Now take your sharp object and cut a hole in the sealable mattress bag. Do this at the head or the foot of the mattress. The hole doesn’t need to be big, you’re just using it to insert your vacuum hose.

After you’ve inserted the vacuum hose, you want to duct tape around the hole and the vacuum hose to seal that up and prevent any air from escaping. But, don’t go too crazy on the duct tape. You’ll need to get your vacuum hose back out safely without damaging the plastic bag.

Once it’s all connected, turn the vacuum on and . . .

5. Roll the new skinny mattress up and secure it.

. . .start rolling your mattress up. It’s easier to do this by applying weight on your mattress as the vacuum sucks out the air. Just crawl (hands and knees) on the mattress and your body weight will help you compress your bed down.

Once you have it down to its thinnest layer (you’ll know cause the air will have stopped going out), secure it.

You can secure your bed by using more duct tape. You can also use ratcheting straps or rope. Whatever’s easiest for you. The point is to restrict movement so the bed can’t come undone, poke a hole in the bag, and re-inflate on you during your move.

And that’s it! We’ve done this a few times and it’s usually taking us about 5 – 10 minutes. If you have questions or concerns, reach out to us in the comments and we’ll get back to you.

But for now, we’re going to answer two more questions we often get asked.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should you leave a memory foam mattress before sleeping on it?

If you bought a bed in a box mattress before, you’re probably familiar with a waiting period after you unbox your bed.

Unfortunately, if you ask the mattress company why you need to wait, you’ll get a variety of answers and sometimes just awkward silences.

The reasons are two-fold.

You want to give your new mattress time to off-gas (something all beds and most pieces of furniture do) before you cover it up.
Memory foam mattresses need to expand fully before you put significant weight on them.

Reason number one only applies to new beds, but reason number two applies to the bed you just compressed at home.

Because of this, we recommend you unwrap your bed and let it sit fully inflated for two hours before sleeping on it.

Are some memory foam mattresses easier to compress than others?


That’s the short answer.

One of the biggest distinguishing factors between memory foam mattresses is foam density. Density is measured as PCF, or pounds per cubic foot.

The more dense your layer of foam, the heavier it is. The heavier it is, the harder it’ll be to compress.

Plus, mattress thickness plays a role. The thicker your mattress, the harder it’ll be to compress.

Still, assuming your mattress is between 8 and 15 inches, you should be able to compress your memory foam mattress at home following the instructions above.

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