Buying a new mattress is a significant financial investment. Therefore, taking specific actions to extend your mattress lifespan is an excellent way of protecting that investment and saving money in the long run.
According to the mattress research experts at sleeplikethedead.com, here is the average lifespan per mattress type:
Below are seven specific tips on how to make your bed live for as long as possible.
Use a Mattress Cover
Mattress covers are generally very thin and fit over a mattress like a fitted sheet with stretchy sides. They can be made from a variety of materials, both natural and synthetic. These include cotton, polyester, latex, and bamboo. Water resistant and water proof mattress covers are made from materials like vinyl or plastic.
Mattress covers are the final line of defense against spills and dirt from invading the fibers of a mattress. They also help prevent abrasion on the mattress surface due to body movement.
Clean Your Bedding Once a Week Or More
You may not be aware of this but all human bodies continually produce body oil, with some people producing copious amount of it. This oil rubs off on sheets and other bedding which can then soak into your mattress.
Body oil is very destructive to mattress fibers. Therefore, you want to wash your sheets and other bedding that comes into contact with human skin at least once a week.
Use a Mattress Pad
A mattress pad is like having an insurance policy for your mattress. You know accidents are going to happen so why not be prepared! Bodily fluids can also end up soaking through the sheets onto the mattress.
As opposed to the mattress covers mentioned above, mattress pads are thick and can usually prevent these fluids from reaching the mattress, especially if used in combination with a thin mattress protector.
However, be sure to wash your mattress cover frequently (throw it in with the sheets) to prevent the buildup of dust mites and their fecal material!
You can read more about those on our dedicated Mattress Toppers page.
Rotate Your Mattress Every Three Months
Although some mattress manufacturers claim that you do not need to rotate it to extend your mattress lifespan, you can definitely add years to your mattress if you do so regularly.
As the weight of your body puts pressure on the internal structure of your mattress, these structures can become permanently deformed if you do not give them a chance to restore themselves.
By rotating your mattress regularly, you will distribute your weight more evenly over time, giving the internal structure a chance to revive. If you or our partner is heavier, you’ll want to rotate your mattress more frequently.
Watch Out For Bed Bugs
There is currently a bed bug epidemic in the United States and around the world. While many people assume that bed bugs are just associated with budget motels, there have been numerous reports of bed bugs showing up in the fanciest hotels as well!
So, if you travel, you should take precautions not to track bed bug eggs, nymphs, and adults back home where they could easily infest your mattress, effectively killing it long before its time and prevent it from even reaching the average mattress lifespan!
When you arrive at your hotel, before you pack your stuff into the room, check for signs of bedbugs using a flashlight. The best places to look are in the seams of the mattress, the seams of the pillows, behind the bedboard, and behind pictures and furniture close to the bed.
You are looking for translucent nymphs (those that haven’t had a blood meal yet), excrement that is reddish black in color, and of course adult bed bugs. If you see any potential signs of them, change hotels, or at least change your room.
When you get home from a trip, immediately put your clothes into your washing machine and dry them on the hottest temperature you can. Bed bug eggs, nymphs, and adults are killed at temperatures higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Clean You Mattress Regularly
Most people don’t realize this but if you were to example dust particles with a microscope, you’d discover that some of these particles are hard like glass and have very sharp edges. Therefore, dust particles can literally cut the fabric material of a mattress like tiny knives!
To combat this, you’ll want to vacuum your mattress at least once a month. To do so, do not use rollers on your mattress as this can damage it. Instead, use your vacuum cleaner’s special attachments intended for cleaning upholstery.
This will give you stronger suction as well. Be sure to clean the crevices and cracks but be gentle in how you handle the surface of your mattress.
It’s best not to eat in bed, but if you do, be sure to clean up any food crumbs as soon as you can. The longer you wait, the more insects and microorganisms these food particles will attract. Also, the sooner you clean up the crumbs, the less chance they’ll work their way into the fibers.
Take Extra Precautions For Pets
We saved this one for last because it does not apply to everyone. We understand that people love their pets and it’s only natural to treat them like close family members! Just like children climb into bed with their parents, so do cats and dogs.
The problem is that pets can easily damage your mattress, and significantly reduce its lifespan, if you don’t take extra precautions. Minimally, you should be sure to have a mattress cover, a mattress pad, and wash your bedding more frequently if you sleep with your pets. You can also put a special blanket on top of your own bedding to add another layer of protection.
You should also consider using a waterproof mattress cover. Without this protection, just one accident can mean the animal’s fluids will be embedded deep in the fibers of your mattress forever. This can cause mold and bacteria to grow.
Once this begins, it’s very difficult to stop it from spreading. Urine can also chemically break down your mattress fibers making them weaker. Furballs, vomit, drool, and other substances tracked in on the paws of your pet can have a similar effect so it’s always best to be safe than sorry.
According to consumer associations, the average mattress lifespan is five to ten years.
If you follow the tips outlined above, you can easily make your mattress last on the upper end of that range, and if you buy a quality mattress, you can actually extend its life even longer.
Furthermore, if you take steps to protect your mattress, your bed will be more comfortable and provide a more healthy environment for sleeping.