Can You Put Your Mattress on the Floor?

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After buying a brand new mattress, you may be debating whether you should spend more money on a bed frame or just putting the mattress directly on the floor. Plopping it on the ground is an inexpensive solution, but it’s important to understand the pros and cons of this approach. Here’s what to know about putting your mattress on the floor.

Pros of Putting Your Mattress on the Floor

There are some benefits to the bed frame-free lifestyle. Here’s what you can expect if you decide to put your mattress on the floor.

It’s Free

It doesn’t cost you anything to put your mattress on the floor, which means you’re saving hundreds and even thousands of dollars on a standard or adjustable bed frame. If money is tight, this is certainly a cost-saving measure in the short-term.

It May Appeal To You Aesthetically

If you appreciate the minimalist aesthetic, a mattress on the floor may be especially appealing. The low profile of a mattress placed on the floor can open up small spaces, especially if your bedroom has a low ceiling.

It’s A Solid Foundation

Just like you need support from your mattress, your mattress needs support from a foundation, whether it’s a box spring, slats, or a solid platform. In most cases, the floor will provide sufficient support for a mattress, but it’s a good idea to check the manufacturer’s recommendations before assuming this is the case for your bed.

It May Improve Back Pain

Some research suggests that medium-firm mattresses can be good choices for sleepers with low back pain. If the solid foundation of the floor puts your mattress into this “medium-firm” feel, it could make it a good fit for easing back pain.

Cons of Putting Your Mattress on the Floor

While there are some benefits to laying your mattress on the floor, there are a few drawbacks worth considering.

It Restricts Airflow

If you tend to overheat while you sleep, be aware that putting the mattress directly on the ground is going to restrict airflow. That can lead to increased heat retention in the mattress when you sleep, which could get uncomfortably warm really quickly. What’s more, excessive heat build-up can increase the chances of mold and mildew inside your mattress.

There’s A Greater Likelihood Of Insects Getting In Your Bed

A mattress and bedding directly on the ground makes it far easier for insects, including bed bugs and dust mites, to get comfortable. These insects are attracted to heat and moisture, too.

It Means Increased Exposure To Dust

Dust and other particles on your floor are more likely to make it into your bed if your mattress is on the ground. You’ll need to be diligent about vacuuming or sweeping regularly to minimize potential allergic reactions and respiratory issues.

It’s Makes It Difficult to Get in and out of Bed

When your mattress is on the floor, you’ll need to squat down low to get in and push yourself up from a reclined position all the way to your feet when you get up. That can be problematic or downright painful if you have mobility issues.

It Might Be Too Uncomfortable For Side Sleepers

Since mattresses that are placed right on the floor feel firmer and more supportive, side sleepers may find the surface doesn’t allow enough cushioning around the hips and shoulders. That could lead to pressure point pain.

It Could Void Your Warranty

Some manufacturers expressly warn against putting the mattress on the ground because of the risk of dust, mold, and bugs. Make sure to check the mattress warranty before you skip the bed frame.

How to Protect Your Mattress if You Put it on the Floor

If you plan on putting your mattress on the floor, take steps to protect it with these tips.

Air It Out

To minimize heat retention that could lead to mold or mildew, try to air out your mattress every few days or once a week by lifting it up and leaning it against the wall. If it’s designed to be flipped, do so regularly.

Clean Beneath Your Mattress Regularly 

Make sure you regularly clean the floor underneath your mattress. This will help deter bed bugs and dust mites and help keep dust at bay. The perfect time to vacuum and disinfect is when your mattress is airing out. Just make sure you give enough time for any cleaning products to completely dry before you replace the mattress on the floor.

Use A Mattress Protector

Whether you have a bed frame or not, a mattress protector is a simple way to keep your mattress clean from sweat, oil, dirt, stains and spills. Since your mattress is more vulnerable to dust when it’s on the ground, don’t skip the protector.

Put A Barrier Between Your Mattress And The Floor

Help keep your mattress clean by putting a barrier underneath it. A foam mat, cardboard, or a non-slip rubber mat will help protect it from dust and dirt, not to mention premature wear and tear. The non-slip option will also keep your mattress from sliding around.

Alternatives to Putting your Mattress on the Floor

Use a Platform Bed

Platform frames are simple and low profile, so they work well in smaller bedrooms. If you’re considering putting your mattress on the floor just because you like how it looks, a platform bed can give you a similar effect without the drawbacks.

Consider An Inexpensive Frame

If saving money is your sole motivation for putting the mattress on the floor, you may be surprised to learn that you can find inexpensive bed frames starting around $100. You’ll likely need to assemble them yourself, and the price range does go up for larger frames, but it might be worth researching before you decide the floor is the only option.

Pair It With A Box Spring

You can put a box spring and mattress on the floor for better ventilation and a little more height than the mattress alone.

Bottom Line

Putting your mattress on the floor has its benefits. Not only is it inexpensive, it makes for a firmer, more supportive sleep surface and has a certain minimalist appeal. But a mattress that’s on the floor is also more vulnerable to dust and bugs, is more likely to retain heat, and could prove uncomfortable if you sleep on your side. Worse, putting your mattress on the floor could void the warranty. Make sure you’re clear on the pros and cons before you decide whether this is the right move for you.

Jessica Timmons