Putting Your Mattress on the Floor Isn't a Good Idea - Here's Why?

why you shouldn't be placing mattress on the floor

When buying a new bed, you may consider saving money by ditching the frame and putting your mattress on the floor. In some cultures, this is standard practice, but for most of us, it’s not a good idea and comes with several risks.

Putting your mattress on the floor is suitable as a temporary sleeping arrangement, but for the long term, it’s not recommended and, in most cases, voids the warranty. This guide will introduce you to the risks and provide some suggestions for some practical alternatives.

What Are the Risks of Putting Your Mattress on the Floor?

Sleeping on a mat or mattress on the floor has a long history of use worldwide. It was common practice for many civilisations, including the Ancient Egyptians

However, now that other options are available, it’s clear that it comes with additional risks:

1. The air can’t circulate underneath

When you place your mattress directly on the floor, there is no space for air to circulate. This means that any heat or sweat has no way of escaping and creates the perfect environment for mould and pests such as bed bugs.

A mouldy mattress can cause a range of health issues, including allergy complications, asthma, and breathing problems.

2. It will expose you to cooler temperatures

Because warm air rises, it can be much colder nearer the floor. So, if you sleep on your mattress without a frame, you’ll likely get much colder during the night. This is particularly challenging in colder climates or during cooler times of the year.

As well as any discomfort or poor sleep caused by feeling cold, breathing in cold air can increase your risk of respiratory infections.

3. Dust can build up on your mattress

Dust usually settles on the floor, but when your mattress is close to the ground, you’ll likely see it accumulate on your sheets. Dirt and dust can significantly impact your health and cause a range of illnesses or allergic reactions. 

You will need to thoroughly clean your sheets and mattress frequently to prevent this. It’s also essential that you hoover the floor every two or three days.

4. It’s difficult to get in or out of a low mattress

A standard bed with mattress and frame or box-spring usually measures between 45cm and 80cm above the floor. This makes it the ideal height to sit down and then lie down on. However, a mattress on its own could be only 20cm to 30cm off the floor. 

This makes it much more challenging to get down to, particularly if you suffer from a bad back or have any joint problems. It’s equally difficult to get out of such a low bed.

5. Sheets and doonas may drag on the ground

Bedsheets and doonas regularly hang off the side of a bed, but if your mattress is on the floor, they’re likely to collect more dirt. In addition, dragging your sheets along the floor means that they will need to be cleaned more often and may make your bed uncomfortable and unpleasant to sleep in. 

This can happen with a mattress on a box-spring, but it’s considerably more likely if your mattress is on the floor.

6. May void your warranty

Most mattresses are intended to be used off the ground on a frame or box-spring. Mattress companies know that putting them on the floor may shorten their life through increased wear and tear, dirt and mould. As a result, some brands explicitly state that placing it on the floor will void the warranty and make you ineligible to claim for any issues or damage that develops.  

Australia’s leading mattress brands, including KoalaErgoflex 5G and Ecosa, do not cover moisture, mould, or water damage in the warranty, which is common when the mattress is laid on the floor. On the other hand, latex mattress brand Peacelily clearly mentions in its terms that using the mattress on the floor voids the warranty.

Because mattresses can be such a significant investment, a warranty is essential, and we recommend that you follow all of the manufacturer’s guidance to care for them. This will preserve the guarantee and allow you to make a claim should something go wrong.

Are There Any Benefits to Putting Your Mattress on the Floor?

Despite some very persuasive reasons to never put your mattress on the floor, there are a few benefits that are worth considering as well:

1. Cheaper

If you need a new bed but can’t afford a mattress and a box-spring, you may think about buying just the mattress. This might work for you in the short term, but a better long-term solution would be to choose one of the recommended budget bed frames from our list of Australia’s Best Bed Frames and Bases of 2022.

2. Firm support

Placing your mattress on the ground will increase its firmness and give you more support. If you have a bad back or just prefer to sleep on a firmer mattress, this may be an attractive option. However, there are many firmer mattresses and bed frames available without resorting to a mattress-only sleeping arrangement. To find our favourite medium to firm support mattresses, check out our article on Best Mattresses for Back Pain in Australia.

sofa bed

Alternatives to Putting Your Mattress on the Floor

Instead of placing your mattress on the floor, why not find an affordable alternative to a traditional bed frame or box spring:

  • Opt for an affordable bed that comes with a frame or box spring. If you’re worried about saving money, you don’t need to give up your comfort and health by buying a mattress on its own. There are plenty of affordable mattress bed combinations out there.
  • Building a DIY or temporary bed frame is a great option if you want to keep your mattress free from mould and out of the dust. They’re simple to construct and can even be made from recycled pallets or discarded furniture. 
  • Futons and sofa beds are often cheaper than a mattress and frame set but can provide the necessary comfort. Check out the ones we like best in our article Best Sofa Beds in Australia of 2022.

Wrapping Up..

Don’t rush to place your mattress on the floor; take some time to consider your options and find a suitable alternative. While you might think that sleeping on just a mattress will save you money, in the long run it’s likely to cost you more because you’ll need to pay for a new bed sooner than expected.

Tom Russell

Tom Russell

Tom Russell is a web content writer who specialises in health and wellness. He has a particular interest in sleep quality and how it can affect our day-to-day lives and overall health.

Five years ago, Tom was suffering from regular bouts of insomnia, which led him to explore the concept of sleep hygiene. He learned that a few changes and the introduction of a night-time routine could improve his chances of a good night's sleep. Now he avoids caffeine after 12 pm, puts all screens away at least an hour before bed, and sleeps like a log.

Tom and his wife share their home with two daughters and a lifetime's collection of books. He grew up in Norfolk, UK, and graduated in English and History at Anglia Ruskin University.