5 Helpful Tips to Unbox Your Mattress

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Bed-in-a-box mattresses are super popular these days. If you’re not familiar with the term, they’re essentially mattresses you can order online that arrive at your door compressed in a box. Consumers like them because they’re very convenient and easy to set up. They also are appealing since they can be affordable, high quality, and come in all different styles (memory foam, hybrid, innerspring — whatever your sleepy heart desires!). 

But it’s a good idea to know what to do once your brand new bed arrives and how to unbox a mattress. As a mattress expert, I unbox new mattresses on pretty much a weekly basis. I have unboxed a ton of mattresses and made plenty of mistakes along the way. In this guide, I’ll share my personal strategy on how to unbox a mattress in the easiest way possible and also provide some tips on what not to do during the unboxing process. 

How to Unbox a Mattress 

When your new online mattress arrives it’ll be compressed in a large box at your door. Within that box, it’s typically vacuum sealed in a thick layer of plastic and then folded and rolled up in a thinner layer of plastic — kind of like a giant mattress crunch wrap burrito. Here are my tips for having the smoothest unboxing process. 

Clear Space

You’re going to want plenty of space for your new mattress in the room you’re putting it in. Although it looks smaller while squeezed in the box it comes in, it will quickly expand to being regular sized. Look up the dimensions of your new bed and be sure to have the available space for it. Here’s a quick reference for the most common mattress sizes: 

Recruit a Friend

I always recommend having a friend help you with the whole unboxing process. These mattresses can weigh a lot — queen sizes are often around 100 pounds! Although having a dolly can also help with moving the box around, it’s still a bulky box you’ll need to physically move at some point in the unboxing process, whether that’s up some stairs, down a hallway, or onto a frame. It’s safer (and much easier) to have someone helping along the way. 

Bring the Box to the Right Bedroom

While still packaged in the box, bring the mattress into the bedroom it’s going to live in (or will at least be in for the next few days). If you already have a box spring or bed frame for it, I recommend setting it up so it’s ready for the mattress to go on top. Put the bed-in-a-box on top of the frame (or floor if you don’t have a frame for it yet), and position it so it’s horizontal on the vertical bed frame or space.

Follow Unboxing Instructions

Your new mattress should have unboxing instructions with it that you’ll want to read and follow. Be sure to gather the right tools, such as a box cutter, scissors, or the cutting device that may come with the mattress, and take your time as you go. There’s no reason to rush through this process!

It’s essential to follow your specific mattress brand’s unboxing instructions, but here’s a step-by-step guide that works for most bed-in-a-box mattresses: 

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1. You and your helper stand at different openings of the box

2. Open one end of the box with a box cutter or scissors

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3. Have one person pull out the plastic-wrapped mattress from the opened end of the box while the other holds onto the box from the other end — and then get rid of the box

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4. Unwrap the outer layer of plastic from the mattress by unrolling the bed away from the plastic, the bed will remain compressed but will start to take a larger shape 

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5. Set up the mattress to lay how you want it on the bed or floor space

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6. Cut through the remaining plastic, which will break the vacuum-sealed part

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7. Watch your new bed expand before your eyes!

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Allow the Bed Time to Fully Expand

Although you may think your new bed looks like it’s ready for a snoozefest, it actually may need another day or two to fully expand and release any off-gassing smells from the packaging process. We recommend opening a window or allowing the fan to run in the room if the mattress unboxing smell is strong. Don’t worry — it’s totally normal for it to smell the first few days and is totally harmless. Once the mattress has had a day or two to take its shape and get rid of any smells, it’s ready to offer you some Zzz’s!

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Can you sleep on a mattress in a box right away?

We recommend giving your new mattress at least 24 hours to fully take its shape and release any packing smells before sleeping on it.

Do you need to unbox a mattress immediately?

Some mattress brands recommend opening the box within 72 hours, while others say their mattresses can stay in the box for 60 days. So you’ll want to check the company’s instructions. We do recommend you open it as soon as you can, though, so you can test it out and use your trial period effectively.

How long does it take for a rolled mattress to expand?

It will expand immediately after you cut its final layer of vacuum-sealed plastic, but it usually takes 24 to 48 hours to fully form and adjust to its final shape and correct firmness level.

What’s white glove delivery service?

Several mattress brands offer white glove delivery service — either for free or for a fee. If you do white glove delivery, movers will come set your new bed up for you in your room of choice for free and take away your old mattress if needed.


Unboxing a new mattress can actually be a pretty fun process if you know what to expect and follow directions. Not only is it really visual and cool to see your new bed taking its shape, but it’s also a sign of (hopefully) many restful nights to come! If you’re on the hunt for a new mattress, be sure to check out our mattress buying guide and see some of our top picks for the best bed-in-a-box mattresses of the year.

Bridget Chapman

Bridget is a Certified Sleep Science Coach and the former senior commerce editor at Sleepopolis, where she did everything from test out mattresses to writing about how to fall asleep fast. You can also find her in videos on our YouTube channel. Bridget graduated magna cum laude from San Diego State University with a degree in journalism and a minor in English. Before joining the Sleepopolis team, she was a TV news reporter and worked in cities across the country. She loves spending time outdoors, checking out new restaurants, snuggling with her pets, and of course, getting some quality Zzz’s.