Sleeping on an old, sagging mattress isn’t comfortable and it isn’t good for your back. Even the best mattresses are prone to developing impressions over the years, but there are simple things you can do to extend the life of your mattress for as long as possible.
Making sure your mattress is firmly supported and performing simple cleaning and maintenance tasks from time to time can help keep your mattress clean, comfortable, and supportive for years.
How Long Does a Mattress Last?
There are a number of factors that influence a mattress’ lifespan. The quality of the materials from which the mattress is made plays an important role in determining its lifespan, but the construction of the mattress matters as well.
Traditionally speaking, mattresses used to be designed with a combination of springs and padding – they were called innerspring mattresses.
Innerspring mattresses or simply “spring mattresses” were usually built with a continuous coil system and topped with one or more layers of softer material. Continuous coil mattresses feature rows of coils in which each row is made up of a single wire continuously wound in a coil shape. These mattresses tended to be fairly firm and supportive, though the addition of padded layers on top can give the mattress a softer, more comfortable feel.
Spring mattresses tend to wear out the most quickly, usually lasting between 5 and 6 years.
Modern mattresses are made from a wide variety of different materials including memory foam and latex. Some mattresses even feature a hybrid design that combines some kind of coil system with one or more other materials.
Generally speaking, the firmer the mattress material, the longer it will last before it starts to sag or lose shape. Latex mattresses typically last the longest, followed by high-density foam and memory foam mattresses. Lower-density foam mattresses and hybrid models wear out a little more quickly.
Though the details vary, most mattresses last somewhere between 7 and 10 years.
Is It Time to Replace Your Mattress?
While most mattresses will last you a good 7 to 10 years with proper maintenance, that’s not a hard and fast rule. Your body weight and sleeping position may affect how quickly your mattress wears out, especially if your share your bed with a partner.
There are a few signs you should look for that may indicate it’s time to get a new mattress. Here are some of the signs it’s time to replace your mattress:
- The mattress has started to sag or develop deep grooves and indentations.
- It has developed stains and smells that can’t be removed.
- You’ve developed a bed bug infestation.
- The mattress has started to feel lumpy or bumpy.
- Your allergies are starting to act up due to dust mites in the mattress.
- The springs in the base have started to squeak and creak.
- You wake up most days feeling stiff, sore, or achy.
The most obvious sign it’s time to replace your mattress is that it no longer feels comfortable. If you find yourself tossing and turning all night, struggling to find a position comfortable enough for sleep, or if you wake up feeling stiff and achy, it’s probably time to upgrade your mattress.
Tips for how to Extend the Life of Your Mattress
Buying a new mattress is a serious investment, so you want to make sure it lasts for as long as possible. Keeping up with routine cleaning and maintenance from the moment you bring your new mattress home can go a long way in extending its lifespan.
Here are some simple tips to help extend the life of your mattress:
- Make sure it has proper support
- Use a mattress protector
- Wash your linens on a regular basis
- Rotate the mattress often
- Remove stains quickly
- Air it out from time to time
Now, let’s take a closer look at each of these tips.
Make sure it has proper support.
Many modern mattresses don’t require the use of a box spring, but you do still need to make sure the mattress is supported. You’ll need a solid, flat foundation or a slatted foundation for memory foam and latex mattresses.
If you’re using a platform bed, make sure the slats are no more than 3 inches apart. Solid foundations have no space between the slats and generally work for memory foam, latex, and hybrid mattresses, especially if you’re going for a firmer feel. If you’re using a traditional innerspring mattress, a box spring is generally the best foundation to go with.
Use a mattress protector.
In addition to making sure your mattress is properly supported, you should take steps to protect it against spills, stains, and bed bugs. When you bring a new mattress home, put a mattress protector on it immediately.
Though you can find mattress protectors that look similar to a fitted sheet and cover the top and sides of the mattress, a mattress encasement completely covers all sides of the mattress and provides the best protection against moisture and bed bugs.
Wash your linens on a regular basis.
Your body sheds skin cells, sweat, and natural oils as you sleep and these materials accumulate in your bedding. Ideally speaking, you should wash your sheets once every week – every two weeks at the most. You may not need to wash your top layers as often, but it’s still important to keep them clean.
Rotate the mattress often.
No matter what kind of material your mattress is made from, it can benefit from being rotated occasionally. Rotating your mattress helps prevent the formation of impressions and it can help the mattress wear more evenly. Rotate your mattress 180 degrees every 2 to 6 months.
Remove stains quickly.
Accidents are bound to happen from time to time whether it’s a poorly trained pet or a spilled glass of wine. Your mattress protector will help keep stains off the mattress, but they can soak in eventually so it’s important to remove stains quickly. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to spot-clean the mattress as needed.
Air it out from time to time.
Every once in a while it’s a good idea to remove all your bedding (including the mattress protector) and give the mattress time to air out. Open the windows if the weather allows and give the mattress a few hours of fresh air and sunlight. This helps prevent the accumulation of moisture and dust mites.
How to Restore a Memory Foam Mattress
While memory foam is a very supportive material, it does tend to sag and form indentations over time. If your memory foam mattress is already showing signs of wear, the steps above may help but you might have to take additional measures to restore the mattress and increase its lifespan.
Here are some simple tips to restore a sagging memory foam mattress:
- Add a mattress pad. One of the simplest ways to restore a memory foam mattress is to add a memory foam mattress pad or topper. These work best for cases of mild sag, only about an inch or two, but may be less effective against deep impressions.
- Increase the level of support. The foundation you place your mattress on plays a major role in preventing sagging, so consider adding more support to your sagging mattress. You can either place pillows directly under the sagging areas or add a layer of plywood under the mattress.
- Rotate the mattress. When all else fails, rotating the mattress may help prevent sagging in certain areas from getting worse. At the very least, you may be more comfortable.
Once your memory foam mattress starts to sag, there’s not much you can do to restore it to its original shape, but you can prevent or at least delay future sagging. In the future, consider upgrading to a firmer mattress made from high-density memory foam – these tend not to sag as much over time.