There are a number of common household items that require specific precautions in order to protect them before you place them in a storage unit. Wood and paper require extra protection from humidity, while dust can be fatal for electronics.
One common item that requires even more protection than most is a mattress. That’s because mattresses are at risk from almost every threat other items face: dust, humidity, and bugs. And on top of that, mattresses are usually a more important belonging than your average DVD player or set of files, as they can cost thousands or even thousands of dollars to replace. So here’s what you need to do before you stick your mattress in a storage unit.
Dust can collect inside a mattress and quickly ruin it for good—if it gets bad enough, there can be no way to completely remove all the dust and your mattress will be done for. Fortunately, dust is the easiest threat to prevent. First, before you pack your mattress for storage, vacuum it thoroughly to remove as much dirt and dust as possible. Lightly beating on the surface of the mattress will help dislodge any dust.
To protect your mattress from dust while it’s in a storage unit, it’s best to place it in a special mattress bag. These 2mm-thick plastic bags run between $6-$15 depending on the size of the mattress, and will tightly seal the mattress inside, keeping it nice and safe from dust.
Humidity is a huge danger for all organic items in a storage unit—which includes the organic materials in your mattress. That’s because when humidity reaches certain levels, mold and mildew spores start to proliferate. And unlike in your home, there’s very little airflow inside a storage unit, meaning mold and mildew can have a field day. The result can be as little as an irremovable, musty smell to your mattress, or as bad as its complete destruction.
Your mattress bag will protect against moisture, but it’s possible for humidity to get inside the bag. Raising your mattress off the ground so it gets more air, keeping it spaced away from other items in the unit, and visiting every once in a while to let fresh air in will help, but ultimately you should go for a climate controlled unit to prevent humidity. Though climate control is a bit more expensive, it’s definitely not more expensive than having to buy a new mattress.
To bugs, your mattress is a Bed and Breakfast. It’s not just a great place for them to make a nest but is full of organic materials and your own dead skin cells, tasty meals both. Your mattress bag will offer some protection against bugs, but its best to add extra protection like placing it inside a cardboard box. Keeping your mattress off the floor will make it more difficult for bugs to access.
Climate controlled storage offers the ultimate bug protection, as those units are typically grouped inside a single large building, meaning that there are many more barriers for bugs to get through.
Don’t let your mattress get lumpy
Stacking things on top of your mattress, or stacking your mattress atop uneven surfaces, can cause the mattress to get lumpy and lose shape. Prevent this by either standing the mattress on one of its ends or on its side. Try to reposition it with every visit.
Cleaning your mattress after storage
When you bring your mattress home from the storage unit, vacuum it thoroughly. Then use baking soda and a kitchen sifter to cover the mattress with a dusting of baking soda. Leave it there for about an hour while the baking soda absorbs all the moisture from the surface of your mattress. Then vacuum the baking soda up again. If that still isn’t enough—say, if your mattress still has a musty smell on it—either hire a professional to steam clean it or use a steam cleaner on it yourself.
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