A quality mattress is more than a piece of furniture — investing in the right mattress is one of the best ways to improve sleep and minimize sleep deprivation effects on the brain. In this guide, you’ll learn how to keep your mattress in good shape longer so you can protect your investment and enjoy plenty of sound, restful sleep.
What Causes a Mattress to Break Down?
In general, most mattresses are rated to last anywhere from five to 10 years. However, the actual lifespan of each mattress varies based on how the mattress is made, who is using it and whether the mattress is well-maintained.
To understand how to keep your mattress in good shape longer, it’s helpful to know how your mattress is manufactured. According to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, conventional inner-spring mattresses are constructed using the following materials:
- Steel – Used in the inner-springs
- Foam – Used to create the padded layer that encompasses the steel inner-springs
- Wood – Used for the frame that gives the mattress structure
- Fabric – Used for the outermost layer of the mattress
With the exception of wood, all the materials in your mattress will break down over time. How quickly these materials last depends on several factors, including:
- Your weight and the weight of your sleeping partner
- Whether you use a good-quality box spring to support your mattress
- If you only use your mattress for sleeping and sex, or if your bed is also used for reading, watching television and using digital devices
- Exposure to mold, moisture and dirt
The lifespan of your mattress will also vary based on how you maintain it, which means rotating and flipping the mattress per the manufacturers’ recommended schedule.
How to Keep Your Mattress in Good Shape Longer
To extend the life of your mattress, follow these simple tips:
- Use a Mattress Protector. A washable mattress protector helps to keep your mattress clean and dry, which can reduce the risk of mold formation and bed bug infestations.
- Rotate Your Mattress Regularly. No matter what type of mattress you have, rotating it 180 degrees at least once every 90 days will ensure that it wears evenly, and that helps extend the life of your mattress.
- Flip Your Double-Sided Mattress. If you have a double-sided mattress that’s designed to be flipped, be sure to turn it over each time you rotate it.
Note that single-sided mattresses aren’t designed to be flipped, as this type of mattress is constructed with side-specific top layers designed to provide support and cushioning. The underside of these mattresses usually consists of exceptionally firm foam that’s not designed to be used as a sleeping surface.
By comparison, double-sided, or flippable, mattresses are built using what’s known as mirrored construction. This means both sides of this type of mattress can be used as a sleeping surface.
Signs it’s Time to Buy a New Mattress
While following the tips we’ve provided on keeping your mattress in good shape longer can certainly prolong the life of your mattress, you’ll eventually need to replace it. Here are some signs that it’s time to upgrade your mattress with a new one:
Your Mattress is Moldy
The Federal Emergency Management Agency reports that mold colonies can develop on newly dampened surfaces within just 24 hours, and that left unchecked, mold will quickly spread throughout your home. FEMA states that exposure to mold spores can cause serious health effects, such as respiratory issues, nervous system damage and joint pain, especially among children, the elderly and individuals with preexisting health problems.
If your mattress is moldy, it’s time to replace it.
You Have a Bed Bug Infestation
Bedbug infestations are on the rise in the United States. While these tiny pests don’t cause or transmit disease, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies bedbugs as public health pests because they feed off the blood of their human hosts.
If your mattress is infested with bedbugs, chances are good you’ll need to dispose of it as it’s exceptionally difficult to eradicate bedbugs from soft furnishings.
Your Mattress Simply Isn’t Comfortable
Even if you take care to keep your mattress dry, flipped and rotated and free of bedbugs and your mattress still isn’t comfortable, it’s time to invest in one that’s suited to your body type and preferred sleeping position. Once you’ve purchased a new mattress, be sure to follow our recommendations on how to keep your mattress in good shape longer to get the most out of your investment.