When people are about to invest in a new mattress, they mostly wonder to themselves how long that is going to last? This is a question you should be asking out aloud to your experts while mattress shopping. A good mattress can cost you between $150 and $4000, depending on your needs, personal choice and budget. Irrespective of how much you pay, shopping for this bedroom item is a significant expenditure that you cannot pass off as another monthly expense.
How long a mattress will last depend on its brand, make and more. Even today, there is no substantial answer to how long should a mattress last. The lifespan of any mattress signifies how long it will conserve its shape, support, and comfort. Sometimes it is only about 3 or 4 years, while for the luckier (and smarter) homes it can be up to one decade. On average mattresses that cost over $150 should last you at least 6 to 7 years but depending on the daily “abuse” they withstand the lifespan will vary. Not using a mattress topper or using a new mattress with an old box spring can reduce its life force significantly.
A recent study by a team of researchers in Oklahoma State University reports that the quality of mattress determines the quality of sleep in people. Necessary and timely replacements of all kinds of mattresses facilitate restorative sleep. Older mattresses with broken innersprings or multiple saggy spots often cause back pain. In fact, constant use of a mattress that does not offer comfort and support to the sleeper can increase the chances of spondylosis and lumbago.
Sleep is possibly the most essential “chore” we perform every day. Without proper 7 to 8 hours of restorative sleep, your body and mind functions can deteriorate over time. Sleeping on a proper mattress not only improves your joint health, but it also improves your brain function for the next day. We need sleep to restore our lost energy and “repair” the immunity challenges.
That is why you need to know about the different natural life of the different mattress types you might be using or purchasing right now.
How Long Should a Mattress Last?
The high-end mattresses have an average lifespan of about 7 to 10 years. Some families claim that their mattresses are heirlooms and they have been “excellent” for the last 15 years or so. Our knowledge about the properties of old innerspring mattresses and latex mattresses makes us question their judgment.
Even the best of the higher-end mattresses do not hold their integrity for more than a decade. Foam and latex mattresses usually fair better than innerspring and double-sided innerspring mattresses. Here’s a detailed comparison of the longevity of the mattresses depending on their composition and type.
Let us start with the bed that people love most. It might be one of the costliest options for all homeowners, but it is also one of the most long-lived. Memory foam has the power to hold impressions and provide complete support by “remembering” your weight distribution. It offers ultimate comfort for the sleeper.
It is quite ideal for all ages and weights. You need to flip it once in a couple of months to keep it in shape. They retain their shape and comfort for a decade almost. Even then experts deem memory foam mattresses to have a mid-length lifespan.
Latex mattresses can be quite diverse in cost and firmness. They are one of the most long-lasting mattresses. With regular use, latex mattresses can last for about 15 years. So, unless you are a latex mattress owner, saying your mattress has been in your family for 15 years is concerning. Investing in a mid-range latex mattress is a smart decision.
As one layer of the mattress wears out, you can replace it with a fresh coat. You can keep doing this endlessly and experience new comfort and support for over the next decade. Most importantly, you can flip each section of the mattress individually to even out the wear and tear on your latex mattress.
No one dedicatedly shops for innerspring mattresses anymore, unless they have more traditional foundations or slat beds. A large number of the new bed designs can make do with memory foam mattresses and latex ones without the requirement of a separate box spring. Innerspring mattresses have coil springs on both sides to evenly distribute the weight of the sleeper and provide optimum support. To prevent a Princess and the Pea reiteration, the innersprings are usually thin metal coil springs.
Although the mattress is comfortable due to the use of light coil springs, they quickly lose strength and cause the mattress to sag in places. Even the costliest of the innerspring mattresses do not last beyond 7 to 8 years in a family home. The average lifespan on an innerspring mattress does depend upon the weight of the users.
Bloggers and homeowners will often tell you that hybrid mattresses combine the best of both worlds. It has pocketed coil support core and a comfortable soft layer. Hybrid mattresses are a neat mix of innerspring mattress properties with memory foam or latex mattress traits. They provide excellent support as well as the comfort of a soft mattress. Since both the coil layer and the memory foam or gel layer are thin, the wear shows more prominently on these mattress types.
The longevity of hybrid mattresses depends upon the core material. Polyfoams tend to extend the support and comfort lifespan of this mattress type. Hybrid mattresses do not last more than six years. They might be costlier than the innerspring mattresses and latex mattresses, but they need replacement once the bed begins to sag in places.
Determining the lifespan of an air mattress is dicey. Air mattresses are suitable for sleepers, who need customizable support. The lifespan of an air mattress depends mostly on maintenance. It is not ideal for children or households with pets.
The outer material’s toughness determines how long it will last. This type of a mattress usually lasts between 3 to 5 years, after which the air starts leaking. They can come with inbuilt air pumps or external air pumps. After the initial five years, the air pump can finally give up.
These mattresses depend on proper maintenance for lasting long. Since they do not have innerspring, you can expect one to provide optimum service for about 8 to 9 years. However, their lack of innerspring or a firm core signifies the lack of concrete spinal and skeletal support.
Although Hollywood and Rock-n-Roll lifestyle made the waterbeds famous among the everyday folks of the US, they are not the ideal kind if you are looking for a solution to your hip pain and joint pain.
Futon mattresses are very common in the East Asian countries. These tend to have below-average longevity. With proper care, they can last up to 5 years. This mattress type is not well-suited for children or the elderly. Futon mattresses do not make for smart investments, and you should only get one as a backup for your guestroom or your bedroom cot.
What Factors Affect the Longevity of a Mattress?
Have you ever wondered why the same mattress has a different lifespan in different households? That is because how long a bed will last depend on multiple factors. The cost rarely indicates how long the mattress is going to serve you or your little one.
Any expert can only give you his or her best guess when it comes to foretelling the longevity of a mattress. Here are a few factors you need to take into account while estimating the lifespan of any mattress.
Frequency of Use
A mattress that you use less will last longer. That is probably the reason the more pocket-friendly bedding in your guest bedroom outlasts your bedroom mattress or your kids’ mattresses. If you buy a new mattress today and only start using it three years from now, the lifespan will automatically increase by approximately three years.
Eating in bed or drinking in bed is not very uncommon for people, especially if their televisions are directly in front of their beds. Most mattress companies and experts scoff at the practice of eating and drinking in bed. If you have the habit of putting piles of books, exercising weights or your bulky electronic gadgets on the bed, you need to stop now.
You may counter it by stating that human beings weigh more than the average pile of books or computer, but our weight-pressure distribution is very different on a mattress. Spillage with weaken the mattress and void the warranty. A combination of both will devitalize the innerspring and harm the integrity of the mattress.
People with substantial bodyweight have a more significant impact on the mattress. They exert more pressure than lightweight sleepers, and this can reduce the lifespan of their mattresses. Lighter bodies are more comfortable on the innersprings and the foam layers. They exert significantly lesser pressure on the mattress and contribute to a longer lifespan.
Mattresses need the occasional dust and flip. They absorb a lot of sweat, bodily secretions and some amount of dead skins throughout the night. That makes these mattresses a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, fungi and dust mites. Have you ever noticed how some of the older mattresses smell funky? The smell usually emanates from the dust and microbe build-up inside the bedding.
What are the Signs of an Expired Lifespan?
Mattresses deteriorate over time. Sometimes, the signs are not as blatant, and during the other times, the symptoms are right there under our noses, but we choose to ignore them. A damaged mattress usually has the following signs;
Older beds and damaged mattresses do not usually retain an even surface anymore. Some places on the surface can become lumpy and raised, while other areas can become saggy from breaking of the innersprings. Memory foam mattresses usually have a longer average lifespan because they are capable of restoring their original shape within a short period.
No matter how much weight or pressure you put on memory foams, they always restore themselves back to a smooth contour in almost no-time. Innerspring mattresses and hybrid mattresses experience a sagging effect. That is especially true for couple’s beds. Couples tend to stick to their “own side” of the bed, and they sleep in the same positions as well. Repetitive use can wear down the springs and foams at particular places, leaving the surrounding region firm.
Innerspring mattresses sag, and latex mattresses weaken over time. Foam and latex usually soften upon prolonged use. As a mattress starts losing its natural firmness, it also loses its pain-relieving property. People with joint problems and hip pain often suffer more when they sleep on older mattresses that have become softer in places over time.
You should remember that a bed does become softer with regular use as a high-quality leather shoe. However, it is excessive softness that you need to check. The increasing softness signifies a loss of integrity and indicates the ideal time to replace a mattress. When mattresses are firm, medium firm and very firm, their chances of softening over time also increases.
Over years of use, the posture of the sleeper will make a distinct impact on the mattress. This impression can range from being semi-permanent to permanent. This usually happens in latex mattresses. Memory foam mattresses start preserving body impressions only on the last leg of their lives.
Hybrids, airbeds and foam mattresses often protect body impressions to create uneven sleeping surfaces. The loss of a smooth surface compromises the support system and the comfort level. Once you can understand the increasing unevenness of the mattress surface, you need to start thinking about upcoming mattress replacement.
Mechanical impairment can include visible breakage in the innersprings or the failure of airbed pumps. The kind of mechanical damage usually varies between different mattress types, but these are visible damage that you can see on/in your mattress. Adjustable mattresses, waterbed mattresses, and airbeds are more susceptible to breaking down as compared to memory foam or latex mattresses.
When Do You Need a New Mattress?
People often realize that they need a new mattress when they suffer from back pains, a stiffness of the neck and recurring aches all over the body. These happen due to decreasing support and evenness of the mattress. Lumps and sags come in the way of proper comfort. Staying up till late, tossing and turning to find your sleep posture may be an indication of the lack of support.
Additionally, old mattresses sometimes also exacerbate allergy symptoms. Frequent allergic reactions happen when the latex or the foam absorbs allergens over time and finally becomes saturated enough to emit them. Any movement on the mattress can mobilize the allergens including animal dander, dust mites, and mold. The level of allergies and incidences of asthma increases in frequency with constant use.
Most importantly, if you are sleeping better on your couch or your guestroom, it might be time to reconsider a mattress change for your main bed. Waking up with sniffles and a frozen neck cannot be pleasant for anyone. Spending a couple of hundreds for a good night’s sleep, every night is the least you can do in today’s hyper-fast world.
What are a Few Things You can Try to Improve the Lifespan of a Mattress?
Most mattresses do not last long as you expect them to last because people do not take proper care of them. So, what can you do to make them last longer?
Mattresses demand some love and care too. They are not as taxing when it comes to cleaning, and you can use robust dusters to get the dust and dirt off them every morning and before you go to bed. Throughout the day the air settles on the mattresses, and they end up collecting a lot of dust. Unless you clean them properly before sleep, you can experience bouts of sneezing, allergic rhinitis and even breathing difficulty at night.
Regular cleaning is necessary to prolong the life of your mattress, as well as maintain your health. Not cleaning your mattress frequently enough will make it a haven for bacteria, fungi, and mildew. Vacuuming it with the special mattress-friendly attachment works wonders to address allergy problems. Some mattresses come with cleaning service.
Even if your bed does not cover a periodic cleaning warranty, you can always opt for a professional cleaning to extend its longevity. Be sure not to use liquid detergent or other household cleaning products on your mattress, if you are not sure about the techniques.
Opt for a Mattress Topper
A good mattress topper can set you back by close to a hundred dollars, but you will be investing a lot more on a new mattress, so buying a topper to protect it makes sense. It is like buying a UPS or a battery for your PC. It will protect the mattress and ensure that you get the proper service the brand promised.
Keeps sweat a layer away. Body odor and pit stains are repulsive on an individual as they are repulsive on a mattress. You can end up voiding the mattress warranty, in case you do not pay attention to the stains your sweat is forming on top of the foam or latex layer. A mattress topper helps stop the sweat from reaching the mattress. This prevents weakening of the mattress core, and it ensures that you will get warranty services for your mattress for a long time in the future.
Dead skin cells. Dead skin cells are ubiquitous inside the household. In spite of the luxury skincare range, you are partial to; you shed skin on a regular basis. In fact, with the amount of skin that flakes off our bodies each year, we can effortlessly put an anaconda to shame. Have you seen the tiny little particles glisten in the sunlight each morning? Those are skin cells too. Using a mattress topper keeps dead skin away from the mattress. This prevents organic material build-up, and it also inhibits the growth of microbes that thrive on it. This adds about a couple more years to your mattress’ life.
Keeps it smooth. Mattresses can lose shape over the years but using a mattress topper usually delays it. The mattress topper absorbs a large part of the pressure. This acts as an added layer of protection to the mattress underneath and prevents sudden sagging. A mattress topper can share the stress on your new mattress and breathe a new lease of life into those innersprings.
Flipping is Good
Irrespective of what your parents might have told you, flipping is right, at least as far as mattresses are concerned. Regardless of the type of mattress and its size, you need to flip it from time to time. Unless you have a built-in pillow or a raised top, you should rotate it too. Flipping and turning will help you distribute the weight and pressure on the mattress from time to time. In case you do not flip your mattress enough, you will end up with lumpy or sagging mattresses.
Contrary to popular belief, the first year demands the most frequent flipping. Flip your mattress at least once a month. From the next year onwards, you can reduce the frequency to once every 2 or 3 months. Air mattresses and water mattresses do not need any flipping since they do not have any core material. Flipping ensures even wear and tear over the next few years.
Invest in a Mattress Protector
Yes, mattress toppers and mattress protectors are very different from one another. It adds a waterproof and dirt-proof layer to your mattress. Using one provides ultimate protection to your mattress from spillage accidents.
A good quality mattress protector can extend the lifespan of the average mattress by at least 2 to 3 years. In fact, most mattress shoppers buy protectors along with their mattresses so as not to void the warranties accidentally.
Keep your Pets Off
Here is one point of advice a lot of people with fur babies will not like. You can love your pooch to the moon and back, but you must get them their bed. Make it a habit for them to stay off your bed even when you are not around. We know a lot of pet owners, who have found out that their naughty pets jump up on their beds the moment they exit their homes.
First, your pet will drag up dirt, mud, and food on the bed. Second, they will accidentally spill juice, lotions, makeup and everything else nearby. Third, accidents happen! No matter how well you have trained your dog or your cat, they can end up peeing on the bed without you noticing. To prevent all these from happening, training your pooch to stay off the bed is very necessary. You can help them by moving their bed to your bedroom but always follow a strict ‘no pet on the bed’ policy.
What do Warranties Say About the Lifespan of a Mattress?
Many people like to think that if a mattress comes with an extended warranty of 20 years, the mattress is likely to last 20 years as well. Two decades for a mattress is a ridiculous amount of time, and even if your mattress is showing little to no physical damage, you need to change it after a decade. In most cases, mattresses come with a ten years warranty.
The following defects can allow the owners to replace their mattresses free of cost.
- Mattress manufacturers can replace your mattress if it sags or shows distinct indentations. The level of sagging that warrants a replacement often depends on the manufacturer. Some offer an alternative for mattresses that sag half an inch, while others do not replace unless the sag is at least 1.5 inches. You can easily measure the dip of a mattress at home with the help of a piece of thread and a scale.
- Manufacturing defects that cause the foam or the latex in the mattress to crack warrants a replacement from the manufacturer.
- Broken wires, coils and internal materials that poke through the sides or the top can get you a replacement.
- Any other defects of the mattress cover that comes straight from the packing like broken zippers or loose threads warrant exchange or replacement from the manufacturing brand.
You must remember that the warranties from mattress manufacturers do not cover the following points.
- The visible damage that is a result of the owner’s negligence or misuse does not warrant a replacement. That can include not using a box spring, not using a mattress protector and not cleaning the mattress properly.
- Manufacturing defects on mattresses that bear stains of any kind or on mattresses without a legal tag.
- Any softening or sagging of the foam or latex layer that does not affect the mattress’ pressure distribution abilities does not satisfy replacement requirements.
- Any indentations or sags that do not match the pre-defined measurements (conditions) of replacement from the manufacturer.
Several people often state across the web that their mattress manufacturers offer complete replacement warranties, but they need the buyers to take the mattress to their store. As you must have already realized, transporting a mattress is not an easy job. That is why most stores and brands have their delivery system. Without an in-home service, it is impossible to access the replacement offers. It is not possible for most to drive a mattress to the store or the manufacturer in a family car. It is a neat trick that many brands use even today. You need to be very careful, and you should always read the fine print before committing.
In multiple consumer reviews, we have noticed that people often do not realize the concept of non-prorated warranties and paid warranties. For example – if your warranty promises 20 years of service for your mattress, the first ten years are most likely to cover you completely for all expenses. For the next ten years, you will have to pay for the repair services or the replacement as per different company rules. When a company asks for repair service charge or damages ten years after purchase, they are not dishonest. These terms are always there in the warranty brochure, but the buyers often ignore them.
All potential mattress shoppers should know that right manufacturer warranties on mattresses can save you a lot of money, but not reading the fine print can cost you a lot more. Only shop with brands you trust. Consult shops about warranties and potential costs. Checking out consumer reviews on reliable websites will also help you predict the lifespan of your mattress quite accurately.
What Does your Mattress Lifespan Say?
Each type of mattress comes with a definite lifespan. Experts ask users to replace their mattresses from time to time. Is it time for you and your partner to spend on a new mattress? Here are a few questions you must ask yourself to find the truth.
- Are you or your partner experiencing uneven pressure or pain from sleeping on the mattress?
- Is either of you getting disturbed sleep from numbness of limbs or stiffness of the back at night?
- Are you getting frequent runny noses, watery eyes and attacks of sneezes after going to bed?
If you have answered “yes” to all the three questions above, it is time for you to go out there and look through new mattresses for your bed. Following a few easy steps can contribute to the durability of your expensive mattress. Invest a few minutes each day to enjoy the perks of a great mattress for at least a decade to come.
Co-founder of Counting Sheep and Sleepaholic