We all know that mattresses aren’t exactly cheap, and they often don’t need replacing for a long while. Though, there is often a lot of confusion when it comes to understanding how long mattresses last and when you’re actually supposed to replace them.
Not only does the way we use our mattresses affect how long they’ll last, but it can disrupt their ability to support us as we sleep too.
In a lot of cases, we know that mattresses should be replaced every ten years for them to be able to give us optimal back support and to reduce the chances of impurities building up within them. However, in some cases, mattresses can last a whole lot longer depending on the materials they’re made from and how you take care of them.
Let’s take a look below at how long mattresses last, and what you can do to prolong their life span.
Lifespan and the Type of Mattress
Right off the top, we’re going to go over the type of mattress you have.
The materials and internal layout of a mattress are arguably the biggest factors in how long or short your mattress is going to last. Open structure designs, such as innerspring and hybrid mattresses can easily fill with skin cells and mites, for example, and these need to be replaced earlier than their foam counterparts for example.
That said, we’ve listed the most common mattress types below and a bit about their lifespan.
To start off the list, the mattresses that last the shortest period of time are the air mattresses. As you might have guessed, air mattresses have plenty of room for failure beyond just the pump.
Depending on the encasing material, the mattress will slowly develop holes and the air pressure won’t be able to stay the same throughout out the night or the weeks you’re using the mattress.
To add, air pumps do fail in time and when the mattress deflates as a result, you’re seeing internal damage to the air cells along with the exterior casing.
All of that in mind, the typical life span for an air mattress rests at around three to five years maximum. You won’t typically see an air mattress offering warranties beyond this time period either.
The tried and true spring mattresses also have a relatively short life expectancy which can be a little confusing to a lot of people.
These mattresses have been around for over one hundred years, though not too much headway has been made in extending their shelf life beyond around seven years, and we’ll go over why below.
The springs inside these mattresses are made of metal coils, which slowly but surely lose their ability to bounce and respond to movement. In time, these coils will dull and become more and more rigid, leaving you with a sleep surface that is essentially a flat, lifeless and pain-creating one.
You can rotate these beds to get a little more time out of them, though there isn’t too much you can do to push the lifespan of a spring bed beyond seven to eight years.
One final thing to note, is that you’ll see these mattresses begin to fill up with impurities and skin cells in that they’re designed with a hollow design. There’s no ‘mass’ inside these beds, and that means that even if your springs do last a long time, the bed might become unhygienic and cause allergies to spark up.
Coming from NASA in the 60s, memory foam is an ultra-dense material that doesn’t have any risk when it comes to getting skin cells and mites trapped within them.
That in mind, these beds will also need to be either rotated or flipped depending on the model to reduce sagging and indents forming. However, this isn’t typically an issue with more modern memory foam mattresses.
One key area that will shave years off your memory foam mattress is liquid and damp spaces. Water and liquids will generally eat away at the foam, so it’s vital to keep these foams well-ventilated and away from liquids.
In all, if you’re looking after your memory foam mattress and following manufacturer guidelines, you should see ten years or more out of these mattresses without too much trouble.
One of the newer materials is coming in clutch with the longest shelf life, and that’s because latex beds are designed from the ground up to be long lasting.
Whether you have a natural latex or engineered latex mattress, these beds will actively work to keep away impurities in that they’re anti-microbial and hypoallergenic. That said, the chance of bugs and mites getting into the mattress is mitigated from the outset — giving you a long-lasting bed.
On top of this, latex is incredibly durable and able to bounce back after each night’s use, reducing the chance of sagging that you’ll see with memory foam or springs.
All of that in mind, and you won’t be too shocked to know that you can get fifteen years or more out of a latex mattress without it showing any signs of ageing at all.
Getting More Time from a Mattress
With those tidbits about mattress age and life span out of the way, we have some tips and pointers when it comes to looking after your mattress and getting more use out of it.
A lot of this comes down to use and cleaning the beds, so be sure to invest in some quality cleaning tools and you’ll be on the right track to getting plenty of use out of your investment.
Cleaning a Mattress
A lot of us don’t typically clean our mattresses all too often, and that can be an issue when it comes to longevity.
If you’re not cleaning your mattress on a routine basis, you’re leaving avenues for impurities and bacteria to build up as well as things like mould and mildew to make their way into the bed.
Not only is this detrimental to your health, but these impurities can actually eat away at the mattress materials and slowly weaken them. With that, you’re essentially left with a mattress that’s getting weaker and more prone to replacement over time.
Our biggest tip here is to clean your mattress regularly, around every six months or so and do your best to clean with a focus on the internals of the mattress. There are plenty of tools and cleaning agents that make it easy to dry vacuum your mattress and to also get a good scrub on the interior too.
However, if you’re looking for a simpler way to go, you can always reach out to professional mattress cleaners to take care of the job for you. This is certainly our top suggestion for those who have invested in high-end mattresses and are looking to get the most use out of them.
Get Out of Bed
Another way to extend your mattress’s life is to simply get out of bed.
We don’t mean cancelling a sleep in for this, but rather reserve your bed for sleeping only and not hanging out in bed during the day.
If you can work or read from a sofa or a reading nook, then head to those places in the home and give your bed a break to return to its natural shape. Prolonged use for beyond 10 hours a day can chip away at your mattress’s ability to bounce back into its original shape, and will slowly create sagging points and divots which don’t only cause back pain but will require a replacement sooner.
In all, the mattresses in the home that are used less often, about eight hours a day for example, are going to have the longest shelf life and will prevent you from having to re-invest in new beds all too often.
Forgo Harmful Cleaning Agents
When it comes to cleaning furniture and items around the home, many of us have a go-to suite of cleaning agents.
As you’d agree, not all of these are made for the items we use them on and can sometimes damage or shorten the life expectancy of a home decor piece or anything else.
With that said, it’s imperative that you use only advised cleaning agents on your mattress and the tools that manufacturers suggest. You don’t want to run the risk of tearing a cover on the bed, or impacting the latex on the inside of the mattress and having to replace the bed after just a year or two due to a corrosive cleaning agent eating the latex or the foam.
As an example, don’t go all-out on bleach sprays to remove wine or blood stains from a mattress, but rather take a more neutral route with hydrogen peroxide. It’s important not to clean beds with corrosive and medical-grade cleaning agents unless you absolutely must or your bed is designed for this.
To end, heavy duty cleaning agents are going to severely reduce the life expectancy of your mattress, so go natural or leave it to the professionals.
Don’t Be Rough and Careless
We know that the bed is the ideal height to sometimes throw heavy items on when we’re cleaning the house, though it’s important not to do this.
Mattresses are designed for weight to be evenly distributed across them and if you’re throwing a 20kg weight on the bed in a small area, you’re going to damage the materials that work to support your spine as you sleep.
It’s also important to have rules set in place.
We weren’t told as kids not to jump on the bed just to ruin our fun, but to protect the mattress from irreversible damage, and it’s important to keep these rules today too. If the kids are jumping on the bed, or if anyone is routinely using the bed for an at-home boxing ring, for example, you’re going to see a whole lot less use out of the mattress’s life.
Keep in mind, the areas you do over-use and are too rough with will begin to sag first and leave you with an uneven sleep surface.
There are ways to combat this which includes flipping the mattress or rotating it, depending on the design, though it’s best not to have to do this at all.
To sum up, your mattress isn’t a surface that’s as resilient as you might think, and jumping or storing heavier items on a bed is going to slowly wear away at its ability to support you as you sleep.
When to Replace or Stop Using a Mattress
To end our article, we’ll go over a few essential factors; when to replace a bed and when to stop using it entirely.
A good place to start is to take a look at how you’re sleeping and whether you’re comfortable on the mattress or not. If you’re finding it hard to fall asleep, or dealing with joint pains that seem to stem from sleeping on the mattress, then there’s a good chance the bed needs to be replaced.
In a similar vein, if you’re waking up in the morning not feeling well-rested or could simply fall right back to sleep, this might be a sign that the lack of support and the discomfort is stopping you from getting a good night’s rest.
A good rule of thumb is to understand a mattress that’s uncomfortable is asking for a replacement whereas a mattress that’s causing pain and preventing sleep should not be slept on. You don’t want to run the risk of causing long-term joint pain and muscle issues — and you should move from your bed to another sleep surface until a replacement arrives.
With all of that said, it’s easy to see that there is a tonne that goes into how long mattresses last, though a lot of this rests on you and your ability to care for the mattress correctly.
You may have invested in a rather costly mattress, though if you’re too rough or not taking great care of it, then you’re certainly not going to see it last for its expected life span.
In all, take care of your mattress, treat it as a space for sleeping only and do your best to keep it nice and clean and you’re on the right track to upwards of 15 years with your bed.