Can You Put a Mattress & Box Spring on the Floor?
Author: Anne Cowart | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
It's common for people to spend more on their mattresses and box spring, leaving them with nothing left in their budget for a frame. So, can you place your mattress and box spring on the floor without a frame? Or will it damage the box spring?
A mattress is an expensive purchase, and it's worth investing a little more into a new one, considering you'll be spending so much time on them over the next decade or so. Innerspring and hybrid mattresses are great choices for your new bed.
In most cases, these options are more affordable than pure memory foam mattresses and offer good durability and comfort. But the only mattresses that don't require a box spring are memory foam ones, and they're also the most expensive. So you're probably stuck with a box spring.
Do I Need a Bed Frame for My Box Spring?
No. It's unnecessary to place the box spring on a frame; you can leave it on the floor by itself. Frames are another expense to add to the cost of buying a bed. If you want more bed for your money, you might forgo buying the frame to add more to your mattress and box spring.
After all, the frame doesn't add to the bed's comfort; it just adds to the price tag. That said, a frame brings an improved visual aesthetic to the bed, adds more airflow under the mattress, and makes cleaning easier.
On the other hand, a bed frame can become squeaky and collect dust in all of the ornately decorated parts of the headboard and footboard, and your cat will hide under there and leave you hairball surprises. There's pros and cons to having a bed frame, but you don't have to have one.
Buying a frame for your box spring is a good idea if you can afford it. While there's nothing wrong with leaving the box spring on the floor, there are a few reasons why you might want to reconsider leaving the frame out of the deal.
Why Is It a Bad Idea to Put a Box Spring on the Floor?
Let’s cover some of the main reasons you do want to elevate your bed as opposed to putting your box spring directly on the floor, besides the possible damage you can do to your floor with all the staples and screws protruding everywhere.
The first issue with leaving the box spring on the floor and forgoing the purchase of a frame is the potential for insect infestations. There's a good chance the ants will find their way to your bed if you don't have a frame.
We all enjoy eating in bed from time to time. There's nothing wrong with snacking on something under the cover when watching a movie in bed. If you leave a few crumbs behind, it's like an invitation to ants to come and share your bed with you.
If ants enter your bed, other insects will start to move under the covers to eat the ants. So, what bugs eat ants, you ask? – Spiders. Yes, that's right, spiders. The Black widow is especially fond of eating ants, and you don't want one crawling around under the sheets with you.
The most obvious reason you wouldn't want the box spring lying solo on the floor without a frame is that it creates a detracting visual aesthetic. The frame creates an improved and refined look versus leaving the box spring directly on the floor, and leaving it out looks weird, not minimalist.
If you want a bed directly on the floor, you're far better off having a memory foam mattress (which still isn't ideal for air flow) or some types of futons. At least then you gain the benefit of gathering up your bed roll and putting it in a closet to regain floor space.
It Affects the Warranty
Some manufacturers will void the mattress and box spring warranty if you don't keep the bed on a frame. They might require you to send the receipt for the bed and frame to register your warranty. Most manufacturers choose to void the warranty because mold can damage it if you leave it on the floor without a frame supporting it.
It Limits Air Flow
The box spring and all types of mattresses need to breathe. These components of your bed require airflow around them to release body heat through the mattress, box spring, and out into the room. If you leave the box spring on the floor without a frame, you impede this action.
The moisture in the air or generated by your body heat might condensate under the box spring if it's on the floor. As a result, the box spring and the mattress start to experience mold growing under them, ruining the bed, and presenting a health risk. Elevating your box spring on slats is enough to help.
Things Can Get Moldy
As mentioned, the box spring needs airflow to remove all of the moisture you generate within the mattress; without it, things can get moldy. If black mold starts growing under the bed, you might not notice it at first. As the spores move into the air, you'll find the air starts smelling musty, and you experience respiratory issues or the onset of allergies. Black mold is toxic, and you could end up with serious health issues if you don't notice this pathogen in time.
It Makes It Hard to Get Out of Bed
Getting out of bed in the morning is the most annoying aspect of leaving the frame out of the deal when you buy your new bed. You might not notice it if you're young, fit, and healthy. However, if you have some miles on the clock, you'll find getting out of a bed that's low to the floor can cause you to pull your back and hips or herniate your abdomen. You might even strain your shoulder, raising yourself to your feet.
How Do I Keep Dust Away from a Box Spring on the Floor?
If you don't have a bed frame, you'll have to lift the mattress and box spring up a few times a month and vacuum under the bed to remove the dust. Please don't make the mistake of assuming that because the bed is on the floor, dust won't collect underneath it.
Dust gets everywhere. If you have an innerspring mattress, the dust molted by your skin gets into the bed, the box spring, and it gravitates to the floor. The dust collects under the bed and starts creating problems with the air quality in the room.
Moving the bed around might require some effort. While box springs are usually pretty light, a California King size mattress can weigh more than 100 lbs. Trying to lift that by yourself could result in you straining your back, leaving you in bed for a week, unable to move.
Trying to lift and move a heavy bed around every few weeks becomes annoying just to clean underneath it. As a result, you might do it less often than you should, resulting in a health risk.
Try the following strategies to keep as little dust as possible floating around in the room.
Open the Windows
Opening the windows keeps air circulating through the bedroom. While some dust may enter from outside, it allows a lot more to escape, especially the dust created by the skin cells you shed during the day and at night. If you have a floor fan, leave it running, and it will improve fresh air circulation, keeping dust to a minimum.
Install an Air-Conditioning Air Filter
If you have an air-conditioner in the room, change the dust filter. If you don't have an air and dust filter installed in the unit, consider fitting one to limit the dust in the room. If you don't have air-con, consider buying a freestanding unit to trap the dust in the room. Sure, we know what you're thinking, then you might as well buy a frame for the bed. Even if you have a frame, consider investing in an air-con or an air purifier that traps the dust in the air.
Washing & Dusting
Keeping the bedroom clean is essential to remove the dust that enters the air and your lungs and gets under the bed. Wash your bed linen once a week to remove dirt, dead skin cells, and dust. We recommend using a dryer sheet to catch the excess dander and dust in your laundry.
How Do I Clean My Box Spring?
Lift the mattress and vacuum the box spring once a month, and more frequently if you have your box spring on the floor. If there are stains, use a fabric cleaner to remove them. We recommend buying fabric cleaners that feature built-in brush attachments to help you scrub away grime and stains.
You should also sweep and dust under the box spring. If you have storage boxes under your box spring (meaning it’s on some type of bed frame) then you should remove those boxes and clean them and around them as well. You can take the bed spring and stand it up vertically and beat the dust, skin, hair, and food crumbs off of it as well.
Preparing the Box Spring for Storage
If you're moving and want to store the box spring, place it in a mattress storage bag. This strategy prevents dust from penetrating the box spring while in storage. It also stops moisture from getting into the box spring, where it might cause mold growth.
As an additional precaution, sprinkle baking soda inside the mattress bag to absorb moisture inside the box spring and remove odors. When you take the box spring out of storage, remove the bag, vacuum the box spring, and lightly sprinkle a layer of baking soda on the box spring. Leave it overnight to absorb moisture and odors, and vacuum it away.
Where Do I Store the Box Spring?
Storing the box spring with no mattress bag is risky, especially in the attic or basement. These areas tend to have moisture in the air, leading to mold growth on the box spring. We recommend storing it in a climate-controlled storage unit for best results. You can store the box spring flat or standing up. Storing it standing up won't damage the springs.
Key Takeaways for Having a Box Spring on the Floor
Let’s recap some of the main point from above for the sake of the skimmers and to re-emphasize it for the readers:
- You can keep a box spring on the floor without a frame, but it's not ideal.
- Some risks of leaving the frame out of your purchase include dust accumulation, cleaning challenges, insect infestations, and mold growth.
- Keep the bedroom as dust-free as possible.
- Store the box spring in a mattress bag and in a dry area.
The main item to point out is cleanliness. You’ll have a hard time if you aren’t diligent about working this new chore into your routine. You’ll need to clean the mattress and box spring and around it and under it fairly frequently (at least once a month, if not twice).
So, Can You Put a Box Spring on the Floor?
Let's compress all this talk down to one sentence: You can put a box spring on the floor but it's not remotely ideal due to aesthetics and cleanliness and you should seek to acquire a bed frame sooner than later.