With their growing popularity, more homeowners ask, “How long does a memory foam mattress take to expand?”
Shipping mattresses in boxes is incredibly convenient for homeowners, but setting up your new bed could take time.
It’s important to consider the amount of time your mattress needs to change from vacuum-sealed packaging to be ready to sleep on.
- The Conveniences of Beds in Boxes
- Why Do Memory Foam Mattresses Need To Expand?
- How Long Does a Memory Foam Mattress Take to Expand?
- How To Properly Expand a Memory Foam Mattress
- What To Do If a Memory Foam Mattress Doesn’t Expand
- Final Thoughts
The Conveniences of Beds in Boxes
The concept of getting a bed delivered to your home in a small box is something households dreamt of in the past.
Today, it’s a reality, and they’re the most convenient option for bringing a new mattress home or to your dorm.
As its name suggests, your mattress will be packaged inside of a box and vacuum-sealed, so it’s easier to be shipped.
Although the boxes are bound to be heavy, they’re smaller than dealing with a fully inflated model.
You likely won’t need a moving truck or large size vehicle to bring your new bed home as well.
Instead, you simply tear apart the packaging, carefully unravel the mattress, and let it expand.
For as easy as it is to purchase a mattress online and have it shipped to your home, it does require special care.
Instead of throwing straight on your bed as you would with a standard spring mattress, it will need to inflate.
As it’s vacuum-sealed, the materials need to thoroughly expand before they’re ready to be slept on.
Why Do Memory Foam Mattresses Need To Expand?
The primary reason manufacturers recommend time for your mattress to expand is to regain its shape.
Otherwise, you’ll be sleeping on a mattress that’s significantly thinner than what it’s made to be.
Remember, when vacuum sealed, these models become 1/4th their initial size and thickness.
By allowing it time to expand, all fibers can stretch, so it becomes thick and plush.
Without this period, you won’t have the support and comfort needed for a good night’s rest.
It’s also important to note that sleeping on your mattress too early can affect its overall quality.
If pressure is applied to the memory foam while expanding, it could remain in its flattened shape.
Even if you give it time to inflate afterward, you might have misshapen sections, affecting its comfort.
There’s a second reason as to why you must let your memory foam mattress expand, known as outgassing.
Outgassing occurs when materials expand, allowing air in and out of the layers of foam.
During manufacturing, your mattress is exposed to an assortment of materials that can put out unappealing odors.
By ensuring there’s a sufficient outgassing period, these odors can escape from the foam so your bed is safe to sleep on.
Outgassing is significant for people with allergies and sensitive respiratory tracts.
If you’re prone to headaches and congestion from chemical-like odors, you should air out the mattress before sleep.
Also, it’s a great idea to leave it in a room with a window open to help reduce any odors in your bedroom.
How Long Does a Memory Foam Mattress Take to Expand?
Before making your own schedule to determine when your bed is ready for sleep, it’s important to read its instructions.
Every mattress has a different outgassing period depending on the materials it contains and its size.
Thickness is another thing to consider that can affect the length of time needed to fully expand.
It’s likely that the thicker the mattress is, the longer you’ll have to let it settle before putting it on your bed.
For example, 12” mattresses are known to take 48 to 72 hours to fulfill their proper shape.
Whereas if you choose a thinner mattress, like eight inches, it could be ready within 24 hours.
It’s guaranteed that every mattress comes with instructions, so be sure to read through them carefully.
By adhering to these guidelines, you can ensure you’re experiencing the best quality night’s rest it can offer.
How To Properly Expand a Memory Foam Mattress
If you have enough time to let your mattress expand fully, it’s best to unpack it and leave it alone.
However, this isn’t the case for every homeowner, especially if you weren’t prepared for an outgassing period.
Instead of sleeping on the couch for a couple of days, use these tips to help make it expand faster.
Step #1: Remove the Packaging
The first thing you’ll need to do when dealing with a memory foam mattress is to remove it from its packaging.
You’ll need to do this carefully since it will be vacuum sealed and can have a lot of recoil when the plastic is removed.
Try not to use scissors or knives, as it’s dangerous, and instead rip the edges of the packaging with your hands.
Step #2: Fully Expand the Mattress
Homeowners often forget that for the mattress to reach its full potential, it must be fully expanded.
You’ll want to allocate a space in your home or apartment where it can inflate without being bent or distorted.
Ensure it’s placed on a flat surface so that the memory foam doesn’t contour to an uneven surface as it expands.
Our recommendation is to clear some floor space for the mattress to air out untouched.
Also, make sure it’s in a room where your pets and/or children can’t get to it.
Step #3: Adjust Room Temperature
One of the more unique features of memory foam is how adaptable it is to different temperatures.
If you’ve ever used one of these mattresses before, you might have realized the material conforms to your body.
This event occurs because as heat enters the foam, it softens and encourages it to adapt to its surroundings.
With that said, one of the best ways to encourage your mattress to expand is to adjust the room temperature.
The warmer the room is, the faster the material will expand, so it’s best to keep it in a warmer room.
You won’t want to make it too hot, but a few degrees above room temperature should help with the process.
The most important thing to note is that memory foam takes significantly longer to expand in cold temperatures.
If it’s winter and you’ve recently ordered a new mattress, ensure you have your heating on.
On average, it can take an additional two to three hours for the memory foam to expand in cold temperatures.
Step #4: Separate the Layers
This step will depend on how your mattress is designed and if it’s possible without ruining the materials.
Many memory foam mattresses have different layers which can be removed with ease.
Others are solid materials that cannot be separated, in which case, this step isn’t for you.
Since your mattress begins to expand, check it regularly to see if you can carefully peel the layers back.
If you experience any resistance, it’s best to leave it alone, as you won’t want to damage its integrity.
By separating the layers, you allow each section to expand fully without being affected by other layers.
This step can significantly speed up the expanding process, especially if your mattress has multiple thin layers.
Instead of having to wait for 12” of material to expand, you’ll have four separated three-inch layers.
Step #5: Allow Time To Rest
Once you think your mattress is ready to go, it’s a good idea to allow for extra rest time.
Put all of the layers back together and zip the protective cover on top, then move it to your bed frame.
Allow the mattress to adapt to your bed for one to two hours before putting it on your sheets.
What To Do If a Memory Foam Mattress Doesn’t Expand
In rare instances, some homeowners receive vacuum-sealed mattresses that seemingly never expand.
This situation can be particularly frustrating, especially if you’ve waited through the 72-hour outgassing time frame.
It’s not likely your mattress is ruined forever, it’s just that it’s used to being boxed up for an extended period.
Unless there are significant manufacturer defects, these steps could help you revive your mattress.
If this process doesn’t help, it’s best to reach out to the manufacturer to take advantage of your warranty.
Tip #1: Warm Your Room
As earlier mentioned, the warmer the room is, the easier it will be for the memory foam to expand.
If the mattresses were kept in cold storage or traveled a long distance, they might need to be heated.
Try increasing the room temperature to 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit to see if it helps with expansion.
Tip #2: Roll the Mattress
Movement is another excellent option for revitalizing memory foam to encourage it to expand.
Using your body, try rolling across the mattress when it’s on the floor for up to 30 minutes.
Your body heat will help bring the layers back to life and help them soften and expand.
Tip #3: Sleep on the Mattress
As a last resort, consider sleeping on the mattress for up to one week to help it expand.
At night, your body produces plenty of heat that will be transferred into the memory foam.
Hopefully, this will assist it with beginning to expand and if not, return it using your warranty.
Answering, “How long does a memory foam mattress take to expand?” depends on the manufacturer.
Some mattresses can expand within 24 hours, while others might need some encouragement to fill out adequately.
There’s no doubt you can revitalize your bed with your new mattress in no time using these tips.