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 Important Points:

  • Be sure to plan enough time for draining your waterbed before the movers arrive. Some less efficient methods may take several hours
{a moving graphic}
  • Most moving companies require the customer (you) to remove water from waterbeds
  • All water should be removed prior to shipping
  • Water left in mattresses can cause several problems and make mattresses too heavy to move

Advice: If you plan on putting the bed in storage for a number of months, you should put fresh treatment in the mattress several days prior to draining. This will help keep the inside of the mattress from souring. How long a mattress can last in storage depends on how well it is put away and what the warehouse conditions are. There are several ways of removing the water.

{tube bed}
Tube Style Mattress


With tube type waterbed mattress, you can simply pick it up and carry it to the sink, tub, or outside. Open the fill valve and let it drain while maneuvering the tube for best drainage.  
With full motion mattresses on the second floor you can let gravity do the work by running the hose down stairs.

With one and two piece mattresses that have fiber or are "baffled" you need a device to remove the water. One low cost option is the Venturi pump . These are acceptable for full motion mattresses although relatively slow.

They are acceptable for mattresses with a single fiber layer, but are not recommended for mattresses with several layers of fiber. Fiber mattresses need to be pumped until they are flat. Anything less will allow the fiber to shift during moving and the mattress will probably never be the same again.

{ hooking to the faucet }Venturi Pump


For mattresses with baffles or fiber layers, one option is to get an electric pump from a large moving and storage business.

Many larger rental companies that have moving trucks and other rental items often have electric pumps to rent out. A larger pump can drain a waterbed mattress in minutes.

You need to stay there while it pumps. Running a pump dry for more than a minute can burn up the pump head.


{ a rented pump }

Using a Vacuum

Using a Wet-Dry Vac™ is a great way to get out the last vestiges of water and allows you to pack mattress that is as dry as you can get it. We recommend this with mattresses that have been drained most of the way using a venturi pump. The Wet-Dry Vac will get the remainder of the water and get the mattress tight enough to pack and move.

Wet-Dry Vac's are readily available, and if you have to buy something to get the water out, a Wet-Dry Vac or similar vacuum has many other household uses. A trip to your neighborhood Sears® or other large hardware store should do the trick. The 12 gallon vacuum or larger is suggested. They also should have the adapter pictured at the bottom off the page.

Other brands of vacuum cleaner work as well and other brands have adapters that can be used to adapt from the vacuum hose down to water hose.

You can use your Wet-Dry Vac to empty the whole mattress, however it will require several trips to the bathtub, deep sink or outside to empty the water from the vacuum.

{ using a vacuum }

Vacuum Cleaner
and Hose Adapter

Weigh down the hose to valve coupling at the waterbed with old telephone books or encyclopedias. The valve coupling should be lower than the rest of the mattress so that good water flow can occur.

If you hear lots of gurgling and the mattress doesn't seem to be draining this could be the problem.

Sometimes you have to "prime" the hose by prefilling it with water before pumping or siphoning the water.

See our Waterbed Care Kits if you need to order any of these products.

{ weigh it down }

Weight the Hose-Valve Coupling
Elevate the top of the mattress after draining for a while. Place some boxes under the top to prop it up. This concentrates the water toward the foot of the bed where the water can easily be drained or sucked out.

Disconnect the hose and replace the cap and seal on the mattress immediately when finished draining it. You must keep the air out and the mattress shrunk up so that the padding will stay in place. The more water you get out, the lighter the mattress will be. If you don't get all the water out, the mattress will not be tight and the padding will shift and ruin your mattress.

{ elevate the top }

Elevate It.
{ roll up the mattress }The waterbed mattress should be rolled up if it is a fiber filled or "baffled" mattress.

There is a lot of confusion caused by the fact that new mattresses come folded. While this is true, the fiber in a new mattress is dry, flat and under vacuum allowing it to fold easily into a small package that is easily shipped. Once the fiber is wet, it swells and takes on weight making it much harder to handle.

Roll the mattress from the head of the bed to the foot, much like you would roll a large carpet. Then you can use two wardrobe boxes to box the mattress. Moving companies usually have wardrobe boxes.

Slide the base of each box over the end of tha mattress. Use tape to secure one end of the box to the other. It is now safely packed for moving.

Fiberm mattresses should be rolled only. Be sure to get all the water out and draw down the mattress under vacuum to prevent the insides from moving. If the fiber moves it will probably ruin the mattress. Folding this type of mattress can damage it.

Free-flow, Full Motion or Non-Baffled mattresses are easier to handle when folded.

Folding a Mattress:
Fold the mattress end - t o - end at the middle of the mattress first. Then fold it roughly 1/3 of the way from the top, finally fold the remaining 1/3 of the way.

The mattress should be wrapped and or tied or taped and boxed so that it is protected in shipment. Do not put tape directly on the mattress.

Larger mattresses require a wardrobe size box. Be sure to order extras for your waterbeds when discussing your move with your moving company.

Place bed hardware in a zip lock bag and pack carefully. If you have a wooden frame and it is not wrapped to protect it in some way, prepare to live with some scratches.

Heating pads should be rolled up and placed in a box of some type. Do not try to fold them or force them into any shape because many models are not capable of bending.


Should I
{ roll up the mattress }

Roll It

{fold it}
Fold it?