Storing a mattress in an attic can be a good option for some households, but there are important factors to consider first. The main concerns with storing mattresses in attics are temperature, moisture, pests, and accessibility.
– Mattresses can be stored in attics if the temperature and humidity are properly controlled.
– Extreme heat, cold, and moisture can damage mattresses over time.
– Using a mattress cover and placing the mattress on pallets helps protect it.
– Regularly checking on the mattress for pests is recommended.
– Carrying a mattress up and down attic stairs can be challenging.
– Storing mattresses in attics is best for temporary use rather than long-term.
Attics can experience extreme temperature fluctuations from very hot in summer to very cold in winter. Most mattresses, especially those with memory foam layers, do best at normal room temperature of around 65-75°F. Exposure to prolonged hot or cold temperatures can cause mattresses to soften or harden too much, damaging the materials and shortening the usable life.
Here are some temperature-related risks of storing a mattress in an attic:
- Hot temperatures can cause mattress materials to soften and break down more quickly.
- Cold temperatures can harden foam and make it more brittle and prone to cracking.
- Temperature swings between night and day in attics can stress materials.
- Foam and other cushioning materials may not recover their proper shape and support after being distorted in extreme temperatures.
If you intend to store a mattress in an attic, aim to keep the temperature as close to 65-75°F as possible. Here are some tips:
- Insulate attic spaces well to minimize temperature fluctuations.
- Use air conditioning or a fan to actively cool hot attics.
- Install an attic vent fan to remove hot air in summer.
- Use a space heater or insulation to prevent severe cold in winter.
- Consider using foam mattress toppers to add protection from temperature extremes.
Moisture and Humidity Concerns
In addition to temperature, moisture is another big consideration for storing mattresses in attics. Mattress materials like foam and fibers absorb moisture readily. High humidity causes mold, mildew, and dust mites to proliferate as well.
Sources of damaging moisture in attics include:
- Humidity from lower levels of the house entering the attic
- Leaks from rain, snow, and ice buildup
- Condensation forming on cold surfaces
- Lack of adequate attic ventilation
Too much moisture can lead to stained, warped, or degraded mattress materials. Musty odors may also develop. Here are some tips for keeping mattress storage spaces dry:
- Use moisture traps, dehumidifiers, and desiccants to maintain low humidity.
- Look for and repair any roof leaks or gaps in insulation.
- Increase attic ventilation with vents, fans, and open areas.
- Place moisture absorbers like baking soda near the mattress.
- Let the mattress air out occasionally if possible.
Try to keep relative humidity around 50% or lower. Ideally keep mattresses off concrete floors as well, using wood pallets or platforms.
Mattresses stored in attics also risk exposure to pests like mice, insects, dust mites, and mold. Cellulose and foam materials are vulnerable. Here are some common pests that can infest mattresses:
- Mice and rats: Nest in cushioning materials and can chew through covers.
- Bed bugs: Hide in tufts and seams to hitch rides on mattresses.
- Dust mites: Microscopic bugs that thrive in warm, humid conditions.
- Ants: Forage for food particles around mattress edges.
- Cockroaches: Infest mattress interior and exterior.
- Mold: Grows on mattresses with excess moisture.
To deter pests:
- Use mattress covers sealed tightly to block entry.
- Inspect mattresses regularly for signs like holes or staining.
- Vacuum and flip mattresses when checking them.
- Sprinkle baking soda or diatomaceous earth around the storage area.
- Use traps and monitors to identify and manage pest populations.
- Treat infestations quickly with targeted methods only.
Moving a mattress up and down attic stairs or ladders can be very difficult, especially for one person. Mattresses are bulky, inflexible, and heavy. Trying to angle them around bends risks strain or damage too. Some accessibility considerations include:
- Open stairways are easier to manage than space-constrained pull-down ladders.
- Straight or slightly angled stairs are ideal. Tight turns make it very hard.
- Wider stairs and landings are better for maneuvering mattresses.
- Having someone to assist carrying the mattress makes a big difference.
- Specialty tools like a mattress carry strap can help.
Before storing a mattress in an attic, test carrying it up and down while empty. If it proves too difficult, consider alternative storage options or enlisting help. Remove doors where possible too for straight access.
In addition to physical access, confirm your attic structure can safely support a mattress’s weight. Weight ranges by mattress type:
|Average Weight Range
Factor in total load with bed frames and foundations too. Watch for signs like sagging ceilings and floors over time. Reinforce attic framing as needed if weights become concentrated.
Using Mattress Covers
Encasing mattresses in protective covers or bags helps control conditions like humidity and pests. Features to look for include:
- Waterproof outer layer to repel moisture
- Vinyl or nonporous fabric to resist pests and allergens
- Zippered access for encasing entire mattress
- Breathable panels to prevent condensation
- Durable, rip-resistant material
Vacuum seal bags can compact mattresses for storage efficiency too, expelling excess air. Just avoid compression for too long, as it strains foam materials. Use covers in combination with moisture absorbers for added protection.
Storing mattresses directly on attic floors increases exposure to moisture, pests, and damage. Placing them on an elevated platform or pallets helps:
- Allows air circulation under the mattress.
- Reduces humidity against floor surfaces.
- Keeps pests from crawling under or into mattress.
- Lifts mattress off cold, heat-sinking concrete floors.
- Prevents sagging or compression from sustained floor contact.
Pallet and platform materials can include wood boards, plastic trays, shelving units, and storage racks. Ensure platform structures are sturdy enough for the mattress weight without buckling over time.
Climate Control Options
If attic conditions prove difficult to regulate, certain climate control options exist to create a mattress-friendly environment:
- Attic ventilation systems – Power attic fans, roof vents, and soffit vents to exchange hot and humid attic air with drier outside air.
- Air conditioners – Window or portable units placed in attic to directly cool and dehumidify the air.
- Dehumidifiers – Remove excess moisture from the air.
- Space heaters – Warm attics during winter months to prevent freezing cold.
- Insulation – Batt or spray insulation keeps attic temperatures stable and reduces condensation.
- Vapor Retarders – Plastic barriers facing attic space reduce moisture penetration.
Take measurements over time to see if climate controls are keeping temperature and humidity in acceptable ranges for the mattress. Adjust or add devices as needed.
If storing a mattress long-term in an attic, rotate it occasionally to promote even wear and shape recovery. Rotating once or twice per year helps:
- Prevents sagging and compression in one spot from the mattress’s weight.
- Allows cushioning materials to fully re-expand between uses.
- Extends the usable life of the mattress.
- Provides an opportunity to inspect for pests or damage.
Flip the mattress over as well to alternate the sleeping surface. Even out impressions in foam from prolonged loading. But avoid excessive flipping that strains materials.
When checking on rotated mattresses, clean them to remove dust and allergens. Suggested cleaning tips:
- Vacuum mattress covers and crevices to remove loose debris.
- Spot clean stains gently with upholstery cleaner.
- Deodorize with baking soda left to sit then vacuumed up.
- Let the mattress air out completely before re-covering.
- Wipe down wooden bed frames and headboards too.
Avoid excessive liquid cleaners that will be hard to dry from an attic-stored mattress. Harsh chemicals may damage material coatings as well.
When to Replace Mattress
Despite best storage practices, attic conditions will degrade mattresses faster than bedroom use. Watch for these signs a mattress stored long-term may need replacement:
- Noticeable sagging, soft spots, or loss of support
- Impressions that don’t recover after rotating
- Visible cracks, folds, or clumping in foam
- Musty, moldy odor that persists after cleaning
- Rodent or insect damage like chew marks or holes
- Tears, rips, or ruptured seams in covering
For premium mattresses in their original owner’s use, expect a lifespan of around 7-10 years on average. Harsher attic conditions may shorten usable life to 3-5 years before issues arise.
Storing mattresses in attics can work but presents challenges from temperature, moisture, pests, and access. Take steps to actively control conditions like using covers, platforms, and climate devices. Rotate and inspect mattresses regularly if attic storage is necessary. Monitor closely for damage and know that lifespan may be reduced compared to bedroom use. Consider alternatives like spare room storage if attic environments prove too harsh despite best efforts.