How to Compress a Memory Foam Mattress at Home?

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Written by: Alex Savy
Read 8 minLast updated May 3, 2021

You probably know about memory foam mattresses in a box. They are kept in a compressed and rolled state until you install them on your bed, rip off the protective seal and let the mattress inflate.

And you’re good to go.

But is it possible to compress a memory foam mattress at home, if you need to move, for example, and want to bring your favorite bed with you?

Most manufacturers say that once inflated, a memory foam mattress cannot be compressed back. But is this true?

Continue reading this article, and you’ll find out all the answers!

In Which Cases Compressing a Memory Foam Mattress at Home Is Worth It?

So, let’s start by examining your mattress to see if it’s worth compressing. The key signs you need to look for are:

  • The age of your mattress. If it’s more than 8-10 years old, it probably needs replacement, and may not withstand another compression.
  • Holes and punctures. If your mattress has tears or punctured holes, they can expand because of compression and ruin the construction of your mattress.
  • Saggy spots. 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. We have a great selection of the best memory foam mattresses at this link, so you can take a look if you’re interested.

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 be aware of that.

Also, if 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.

Preparations: Grab Your Gear

OK, so you’ve decided to compress your mattress at home. Here’s what you need:

  • A mattress bag. Preferably sealable, but 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.
  • Ratchet straps. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

How to Compress a Memory Foam Mattress at Home: 3 Steps

Now, when you have all the tools, let’s start compressing a memory foam mattress at home. Don’t worry: you have to perform only three steps!

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!

What Are the Possible Downsides of Homemade Mattress Compression?

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.
  • Warranty void.

Also, your mattress can change its firmness because of compression. Memory foam mattresses tend to soften with heavy use (1), and 24-48 hours of constant compression might change the structure so that the mattress will break in faster and even might become uncomfortable for you.

That’s why it’s better to double-check the condition of your mattress before you decide to compress it.

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?

The answer is: it depends.

You shouldn’t compress the mattresses with coils at home, because this will most likely cause damage to the coil system and the mattress won’t be usable anymore.

Speaking of mattresses without memory foam, such as those made of natural or synthetic latex or standard polyfoam, might not expand properly after you remove the packaging. These materials feature an open-cell structure, which feels more spongy and heavy than the standard memory foam, and might not survive repeated shrinkage and expansion.

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.

FAQ

Will my memory foam mattress expand back after homemade compression?

In most cases, yes, it will return to its original shape after you install it back on your bed. However, if your mattress has been in active use for years and started developing some signs of wear and tear, then additional compression might make things worse.

How long can I keep a memory foam mattress in a compressed state?

You can keep the mattress in a compressed state for up to 48 hours, but it’s better that you let it spring back as soon as possible after moving to a new house.

Conclusion

Mattress manufacturers usually advise strongly against repeating compression of the memory foam mattress at home, mainly because it will void your warranty.

But at the end of the day, it’s up to you. Go through all pros and cons and decide whether it will be a good way to transport a mattress for yourself, or, maybe it’s better to replace it with a new one.

Have you ever considered transporting your memory foam mattress like this? Share your feedback in the comments!

References

  1. Bryan Trandem (n.d.) How To Make Your Mattress Softer Or Firmer? Retrieved from https://www.hunker.com/13403455/how-to-make-an-uncomfortable-mattress-comfortable

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