Why Memory Foam Mattress Toppers Wear Out Quickly
How Long Before You’re Forced To Replace Your Topper
You would think that toppers made of memory foam last as long as the beds made of the same material. But this is not the case. Not even Tempur-Pedic toppers last as long as their mattress counterparts. All other things being equal, amemory mattress topper has a shorter lifespan because:
Thickness- Memory foam toppers are generally thinner than the foam layers used in mattresses. Toppers that are too thin (only 1-2 inches thick) wear out quicker because when the cells at the top crumble, there is a less memory foam underneath to take their place and provide support.
Overlay- Memory toppers are generally laid over an existing mattress or bed. If the mattress underneath is already worn out and shows sagging, the topper will simply follow that contour and make the sag even more pronounced because of its soft nature. That may take some time to become permanent.
Overweight- Heavy and obese people may speed up the process by adding extra pressure to the visco foam topper. While a memory mattress is held up by a highly resillient core, the topper is held up by air, springs or whatever else the bed is made of. Extra weight also makes the open cells crumble quicker than they would under the average person.
You can expect a viscoelastic foam topper to wear out in 18-36 months.
If Only All Memory Toppers Were Made Of Tempur-Pedic Quality Foam.
Most viscoelastic toppers, however, are not usually made of the same quality grade material as beds and mattresses are. This means they don’t last as long. Viscoelastic material is very expensive to make and usually used to make only beds and mattresses.
Toppers, however, are generally much cheaper and using Tempur-style foam of the highest quality would make it economically unrealistic for manufacturers. Tempur Pedic brand mattress overlays, however,are made of the same NASA-evolved foam technology as Tempur mattresses. There is little information to indicate whether or not other mattress companies use the same grade foam in their toppers.
Bottom line, a visco memory foam bed topper will continue to provide support and comfort without sagging for 1.5-3 years, as long as it’s:
- Made of high density Tempur-style memory foam
- Used over a solid foundation
- Reasonably thick.
Copyright © 2006-2009. All rights reserved.
A Critical Eye On The Latest Mattress Technologies
How Long Does It Last?
What affects the expected lifetime of memory mattress pads and does a Tempurpedic overlay last longer? The answer is years and years as long as it’s made of better quality, higher-density foam.
Real NASA Link
Many manufacturers claim Swedish foam was first used by the NASA Space Program to boost sales for their visco foam beds.
NASA never did use that basic material in the 1960s. NASA bedding or space bedding technology simply does not exist as such.
The truth is the Swedish Tempur-Pedic company did eventually come up with a reliable formula now used in the best-selling Tempur mattress.
While Tempurpedic beds are commonly known to use Swedish foam bed technology, not all such products made in Sweden are made of the so-called NASA bed foam.
How can you check if your purchase as good as a authentic Tempur bed? You can try the wine glass test, the egg test, or the fridge test.
How Long Does a Memory Foam Mattress Topper Last?
A mattress topper is a bedding item designed to be used on the top of your mattress to provide extra comfort and support, improve cleanliness, and prolong the lifespan of a mattress.
Toppers can be made from various materials such asmemory foam,latex, down, etc. and there are many different designs and structures that can suit different needs and sleep preferences.
Your topper should improve the support for your entire body and complement any sleeping position. It should also act like an extra cushion for your entire body, especiallymemory foam mattress topperand allow you to sink into it to prevent the appearance of pressure points and provide you with the peaceful and restful sleep every night.
However, if it causes you to wake up in pain or felling more tired than ever, then it may be that your mattress topper is getting old and that you should get the new one.
Read our article and learn more about memory foam mattress toppers as well as when and why you should replace them.
Table of Contents
How Long Does a Memory Foam Mattress Topper Last?
You would think thatmemory foam mattress topperscan last as long as the beds made of the same material, but this is not the case.
The average lifespan of mattress toppers, including those made entirely of memory foam, is 3 to 5 years.This is only the case with high-quality mattress toppers, whereas those made of cheap materials will only last a year or two.
The longevity of a memory foam mattress topper will depend on other factors as wellsuch as the weight being put on it, frequency of use, the thickness of the topper, the condition of your mattress, and how well the topper is maintained.
Heavier people may speed up the process by adding extra pressure to the memory foam topper.Memory foam mattressesusually contain a highly resilient core and high density base that make the top memory foam layers more durable, but the topper doesn’t have this.
Extra weight can also cause the open cells to crumble quicker than they would do under an average person.
The thicker the topper, the longer it will last.Thinner toppers usually wear out quicker, while the thick memory foam will last longer as it takes longer to break down over time, and it will also provide greater comfort.
The Condition of Your Mattress
As toppers are generally laid over an existing mattress, if the mattress underneath is old and in a poor condition; if it is already worn out and sagging in places, your memory foam topper will simply follow that contour and make the sage even more pronounced due to its soft and contouring nature.This will eventually ruin your mattress topper.
If your mattress looks like new, but you still experiencepainwhile sleeping, even with the new memory foam mattress topper placed on top, then you still may need to replace the mattress.
If your mattress is over 7 years old then it’s time for a new one, even if it doesn’t show any signs of a long use such as cracks, sagging, protruding wires, etc. because, like we have already mentioned, an old and uncomfortable mattress will decrease the comfort of your memory foam mattress topper and shorten its lifespan.
Frequency of Use
Memory foam mattress toppers in guest bedrooms will last significantly longer than those used every night.
The reason why toppers don’t last so long in bedrooms is because they are used a lot more than toppers in guest bedrooms. Spending 6 to 8 hours a night on them each night puts a lot of pressure on them which is why they wear out faster than those mattress toppers used on beds in guest rooms.
Maintaining Your Mattress Topper
Memory foam may be difficult to clean and maintain, butthere are ways how you can clean them and prolong their lifespan.
You should clean them at least once or twice a year by vacuuming them, spraying them with water and detergent solution, washing them, spot cleaning or using topper covers and washing these regularly.
Well maintainedmemory foam mattress topperswill last longer and serve your better than those that are not maintained at all.
If you avoid cleaning your topper, stains from food or drinks, pet urine, dust and accumulated debris and odor will eventually ruin your topper and render it useless.
DonвЂ™t Even Think About Buying a Memory Foam Topper Until You Read This
Here are the most frequent questions I have received on how to buy a memory foam topper.
Also, at the bottom of this page are fourteen more questions and comments from my visitors.
I will be adding more answers to questions in the future. For now though, I hope these here will help you make a good decision about buying a memory foam topper.
What is a memory foam topper?
All it is is a block of memory foam (known as viscoelastic foam), anywhere from two to four inches thick, and the size of your current mattress. It sits on top of the mattress you already have.
For example, if you have a queen size bed, you need a queen size topper.
To determine what thickness you should buy, here are some guidelines:
For the 2 inch memory foam topper:
- It will have a medium pressure relieving effect on your body while you sleep
- Therefore, in terms of comfort, it will be average
- However, if you buy a high quality topper, and you have a small build, this may be all you need
- As you might expect, this is the least expensive option
For the 3 inch memory foam topper:
- This is the topper size most people end up buying
- Comfort level is excellent if you put it on top of a firm mattress
- Provides good pressure relief on your joints and back
- Not as comfortable as a brand new mattress. But if it’s all you can afford right now, go with this size
For the 4 inch memory foam topper:
- If you are over 250 pounds, this is the size for you
- It provides extra support, which also makes it ideal for camping if you sleep on the ground
Are memory foam toppers good for your back?
Two questions people frequently ask are:
- Does a memory foam topper help with back pain?
- Is memory foam bad for your back?
If you have a bad back, you have to be careful when buying a bed topper to make sure it has good support.
For support, the term you need to be aware of when shopping is memory foam density.
High quality toppers will have a density of four pounds (4lbs) or five pounds (5lbs to 5.34lbs).
If you have a bad back, your best bet is to get a bed topper that has a density of at least four. A density of five or more would be even better.
As for the second question, is memory foam bad for your back? I wrote a detailed article about this called What is the Best Mattress for Back Pain?
You can read my article by clicking the Best Mattress for Back Pain box you see on the right up above. If you have any kind of back, neck, or shoulder pain, you’re going to want to read that article.
Are memory foam toppers any good?
You may read comments on websites that have memory foam mattress topper reviews about how a topper can turn any mattress into a luxury bed. This is simply nonsense. That’s like saying you can put a fake fur jacket on a pig and turn it into a purebred dog.
See, in order for the topper to work, you have to have a good mattress already that the topper can sit on top of.
If your mattress is getting into that seven to ten-year-old range, a topper may not help you get a better night’s sleep. You may need to be thinking about replacing the entire mattress.
Just take a good honest look at the mattress you have. If it’s seven years old and still decent, you might be able to keep that mattress going for a few more years if you put a topper on it.
However, if your mattress is already worn out, and sagging in the middle, the foam topper will sag too. It’s a waste of money because the topper will conform to the underlying foundation.
What situations do memory foam toppers work best for?
It’s probably safe to say you’re looking into a topper because you want memory foam. and you also want to save money.
Perhaps you just can’t pony up the substantial money (often up into the thousands) needed to buy a memory foam mattress.
Fair enough. Just keep in mind that along with what I said above about back pain, a topper is best for the following:
- You have a good bed already, but it’s too firm and you want to soften it up with a topper.
You have a hideaway sofa bed with those awful bars that crack your back. Slapping a good foam topper on top is a good way to go.
You need an extra bed you can simply throw on the floor for guests. As long as the guests are young. perhaps grand kids or friends of your own children. a good topper works great. (For us middle age and older folks, it’s tough to get up off that ground!)
It could be used to make a camper or RV more cozy for sleeping. Toppers are great for camping.
Get one to dress up a dorm room mattress with memory foam comfort.
How long do memory foam toppers last?
If you buy a cheap memory foam mattress topper, you’ll be lucky to get a couple years out of it. Poor quality memory foam will quickly lose its support. In fact, you might find the foam is not expanding and remains indented.
On the other hand, top quality mattress toppers may last up to about ten years if you take good care of them, although ten years is a stretch. It all depends on how often the topper is used. If you get five years out of your topper and use it all the time, consider it a good investment.
Also keep this in mind: a foam topper with a density of at least four pounds will usually last longer. However, they are slightly more expensive.
In my part two article, Where to Buy the Best Memory Foam Topper, we’ll look at one very important health question about memory foamвЂ”toxic chemicals. And I’ll give you three short memory foam mattress topper reviews.
However, if you just want to jump in and go shopping right now for a memory foam topper, see below.
My recommended foam topper
company. and a special mention below
NatureвЂ™s Sleep sells four different topper thicknesses so youвЂ™re sure to find something that suits you. These are all certified pure by CertiPUR-US.
Their 3-inch 4lb density topper is especially nice. And all toppers ship for free.
I recommend reading the topper comments from buyers on their website. Click here to check out Nature’s Sleep memory foam toppers.
A hidden Amazon memory foam topper tip
LetвЂ™s face it. The NatureвЂ™s Sleep toppers I just told you about are plush, top-of-the-line toppers.
They cost a little more too because they are first-rate. For example, on the NatureвЂ™s Sleep website their best seller is the 3 inch, 4 pound density.
But what if you have a limited budget, yet still want a really good topper and canвЂ™t afford their excellent best seller?
Well check this out.
If you go to Amazon.com and type in memory foam topper into the search box, NatureвЂ™s Sleep does not come up (at the time of me writing this). Not unless you go to the much deeper pages.
However, NatureвЂ™s Sleep has put two toppers on Amazon that are not listed on the NatureвЂ™s Sleep website. These two toppers are typical superb NatureвЂ™s Sleep quality, yet priced to sell big time.
IвЂ™m not sure why NatureвЂ™s Sleep is doing this. And I donвЂ™t know if this is a limited promotion to get people over to their website. I do know however that you can get a great price on these toppers if you grab one of them today.
You can get a 2.5 inch topper with a density of 3.5 pounds. Or you can opt for the 2.5 inch memory foam topper with 4.5 pounds of density.
Both of these are a fabulous bargain. For those with a smaller budget, finally, a top-notch memory foam topper you can afford.
Here are the links to Nature’s Sleep at Amazon:
Now for that special mention
A good topper will run you several hundred dollars, depending on what size you buy. However, for just a little more money, you can get a complete luxury mattress that has memory foam in it.
For example, you can get an ultra deluxe queen, online, for only $1,099! And from a great company that won an award from the Better Business Bureau for marketing excellence.
A premium mattress of this quality would cost you at least $2,000 in a mattress store.
Before you spring for a topper, do yourself a favor and read my article,Maverick Mattress CEO Answers the Question, What is the Best Mattress for You?You can read this article by clicking on the What is the Best Mattress box you see on the right up above.
You’ll also learn what mattress stores don’t want you to know. And, why a top sleep doctor replaced his $2,800 Tempur-pedic with this luxury discount mattress online.
What Other Visitors Have Said
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page.
Latex Mattress Topper for Scoliosis Back Pain
I have a son with bad scoliosis. He is living in the dorm at college. I bought him a mattress topper but he says it makes him feel like he is sleeping …
Can a Memory Foam Mattress Topper Freeze?
I love my memory foam mattress topper. I also bought one for my camper. The sleep my boyfriend and I get is great. Do have a question. Can the memory …
Water Proof Mattress Pad on Memory Foam Topper?
Do I need a water proof mattress pad on my new quality memory foam topper? IвЂ™m just wondering if a mattress pad and foam topper will be okay together or …
Don’t Buy a Memory Foam Mattress?
Watch out people if you buy a memory foam mattress. I have two that have sagged either side, leaving a hump in the middle. Our newish bed, super king, …
Putting mattresses with memory foam on a box spring
Would it be a good idea to put my memory foam mattress on a box spring? I haven’t found an answer for this question anywhere I have looked. Answer by …
Memory Foam Topper on Top of a Futon
We’ve put a memory foam topper on top of our futon. It’s not working out ideally. Is it because we need a better foam topper, or is it because you can’t …
7 Memory Foam Topper Tips
Question: I am thinking seriously about purchasing a memory foam mattress topper and I don’t really know what I’m doing. I am overweight so I need something …
Memory Foam Mattress is toooo Hot!
Question We currently have a memory form mattress that is a medium firm 11 inch. I am considering purchasing a cool gel memory topper, a 3 inch 4lb …
Memory Foam Pad for Motorcycle Camper Traveling
Would a memory foam topper be good as a primary mattress in a motorcycle camper? I have limited space and weight restrictions. Rich’s answer from SleepPassport.com …
Best mattress underneath a memory foam topper
I am looking to buy a new mattress. I have a memory foam topper that I presently use. It’s 4 inches and 4 pound density. What kind of mattress should I …
Best memory foam mattress for breathing problems?
A reader sent me the following question: Is memory foam safe if you have emphysema (i.e., breathing in the fumes)? Here is my answer. It depends …
Memory foam topper on top of memory foam mattress?
Is it comfortable to put a 3 inch memory foam topper on top of a 8 inch memory foam mattress? Hi Mike, Interesting question. There are two reasons …
Memory Foam Pad for Hard Hotel Beds
I find European hotel beds too hard for me. What should I carry to soften them that is compact and light-weight since I only take what I can carry (a medium …
Will a memory foam topper cut down on tossing and turning?
Hi, I found your site in a Google search on memory foam topper. I’m recently married and my wife has trouble sleeping because I toss and turn. …
Avoid Common Memory Foam Topper mistakes with 5 simple questions
Before you buy a memory foam topper or pad you’ll hate or just don’t need ask yourself the following questions:
- Should you choose a pad or a bed?
- What do they cost?
- Who makes the bestmemory foam mattress pads?
- How to choose a good pad?
- How long does a good bed topper last?
(Buying from links on this website sometimes adds a bit of cash to my lumpy mattress fund. It doesn’t cost you more. And helps me spread sweet dreams everywhere.)
A memory foam topper can give you many of the benefits of a memory foam mattress at a much lower cost. A quality memory foam mattress top can almost eliminate painful pressure points that cause you to toss and turn all night. They will help you get to sleep more quickly, sleep more deeply and wake with fewer aches in joints and muscles. Sometimes doctors actually prescribe memory foam mattresses and pads for people with certain health and sleep problems.
Q1: Can you get by with just a pad, or do you need a new mattress? Don’t drive yourself crazy with frustration or confusion over how long you’ve had the bed or how much you spent. It’s simple. Buying just a pad instead of a whole new mattress will work if your mattress is basically in good shape. If your mattress is too soft, has compressed areas, or a hammock feel, get a new one.
If your mattress just needs to be a bit more comfortable, maybe it’s a bit too firm, then buy the mattress pad.
Q2: How do you choose a good memory foam topper?
A good memory foam pad has many of the same properties as the top layers of a visco elastic foam mattress:
ThicknessA good pad should be between 2" and 4" thick. Personal preference. Some people are happy with 2 inch pads. I don’t like them, they’re too skinny for me. I have a 4" topper. It has enough depth to cushion the wide shoulders of a 5’11" overweight side sleeper. If you’re a smaller person you’d probably be happiest with a 3 inch thick pad.
DensityBetween 3lb and 5lb. Most people seem to prefer 4lb pads. If you weigh over 200lbs you might want to go with a 5lb or higher density pad for more support.
ILDIndentation load deflection (ILD) is a measure of the foam’s comfort, or how easily it deflects. Between 8 and 20 is an acceptable range. But many people prefer ILD measurements between 12 and 15 for that melt-into-the-bed feeling
Temperature sensitivityMemory foam should soften at body temperature. That’s how it provides the conforming support. The foam cells closest to your body soften and the ones further away stay firm. If you live in colder climates, a memory foam mattress top might feel a bit hard just as you get into bed. But it warms up quickly to contour itself to your body.
Q3: How long do they last?
4 to 8 years with 4lb density foam. However, I’ve seen warranties up to 10 years.
Q4: Who makes the best memory foam mattress top?
Most of the major mattress manufacturers now carry a line of pads and toppers. Sealy mattresses, Serta, Simmons and even TempurPedic mattresses have them. In 2006, Sensus came out on top in an informal test conducted by a Wall Street Journal writer. But there’s many more pads out now, so choosing the best rated mattress pads is a bit more challenging.
So make your choice easy. Follow the criteria outlined in the "How do you choose a good topper?" section, choose a reputable manufacturer and wait for a good sale.
Q5: What’s a Good Price?
Here’s average low prices for Queen size pads:
You will pay more for higher pound density memory foam. There’s just more stuff in it, so it is going to cost more pound for pound.
Make sure that your memory foam topper has at least a 30 day no questions asked return policy. Even after answering these 5 questions on memory foam toppers, you won’t really know if a mattress pad will work for you until you try it in your own bedroom.
Memory Foam: Pros and Cons
Considering a memory foam mattress or similar product? Read what sleep experts say about it.
Few things feel as good as a good night’s sleep. That’s especially true if sleep seems to escape you, night after night after night.
If you’ve heard about memory foam, you may wonder if it could improve the quality ofyoursleep. Some people swear by it. Others are less enthusiastic.
What exactly is memory foam? And what are its pros and cons? Here’s information to help you decide whether memory foam is worth a try.
What Is Memory Foam?
First designed in the mid-1960s for NASA airplane seats, memory foam is made from a substance called viscoelastic. It is both highly energy absorbent and soft.
Memory foam molds to the body in response to heat and pressure, evenly distributing body weight. It then returns to its original shape once you remove the pressure.
In addition to protecting against impact, these properties make memory foam very comfortable. After its "virgin flight" for NASA, memory foam made a foray into other applications. For example, it was used as cushioning in helmets and shoes. Medicine found a use for it in prosthetics and products to prevent pressure ulcers such as seating pads for people who are severely disabled.
Then, memory foam really took off. It’s now well known for its use in pillows, mattress pads, and mattresses, which come in different densities and depths.
What Are the Benefits of Memory Foam?
Could the special properties of memory foam enhance your sleep? Sleep specialist Donna L. Arand, PhD, says that objective studies supporting the claimed benefits of memory foam — or the effects of any particular type of sleeping surface — are lacking.
This is true for a variety of reasons, she says. This type of sleep study can be expensive, if conducted independently. Or it is "chased" by a shadow of bias, if supported by industry.
Also, some sleep technology, such as memory foam, is relatively new, so it hasn’t been well studied. But perhaps one of the more difficult stumbling blocks to testing the health benefits of mattresses such as memory foam is the subjective nature of sleep. It is simply difficult to measure.
Sometimes the brain’s electrical activity, measured with an electroencephalogram (EEG), and other findings recorded during a sleep test don’t always match up perfectly with a person’s subjective experience, says Arand, who is the clinical director of the Kettering Sleep Disorders Center in Dayton, Ohio. "They might say, вЂI had a great night’s sleep,’ but the EEG parameters might not really indicate that."
Sleep is not only subjective, but preferences for sleep surfaces are individual, Arand says. "There’s quite a bit of variability between individuals in terms of what type of surface — whether it’s firm, hard, or soft — they prefer when they’re sleeping," she says. "As far as we know, there is no rhyme or reason for that."
Many of Arand’s patients who use memory foam have offered unsolicited glowing reports like these about memory foam: "I’m sleeping great." "Best sleep I’ve ever had." "I love going to bed at night." Arand says these anecdotal responses may be one-sided. That’s because she and other staff don’t ask all their patients about their sleep surfaces. "We may only be hearing the good stuff," Arand says.
Kathy R. Gromer, MD, sleep specialist with the Minnesota Sleep Institute in Minneapolis, agrees that memory foam may improve sleep. "It can, if it relieves painful pressure points," she says. But Gromer adds that memory foam doesn’t do anything for sleep apnea or other sleep-breathing disorders — and sleep disorders are the primary complaint of most her patients.
"When you lie on the memory foam, the heat from your body softens it in appropriate points," Arand says, "so this helps to support your body along the curves and natural lines of the body." Memory foam manufacturers claim this helps relieve pain and thereby promotes more restful sleep. And, though consumers often believe that very firm mattresses are best, more "giving" mattresses like these may lead to better sleep in people with back pain, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Although there aren’t scientific data to support the hypothesis, Arand wonders whether memory foam sleep surfaces might be especially helpful for older people. For them, minimizing extra movement could reduce the number of times they awaken during the night. Being less aware of a bed partner’s movements might be an extra benefit, she adds. "Without the coiled springs, you feel your sleep partner’s movement less, and that might help, too."
What Are the Disadvantages of Memory Foam?
Gromer says that memory foam products may retain body heat, which could make them less comfortable in warm weather. However, Arand has not heard this complaint from her patients. "In our culture, most people can adjust their thermostats or blankets for the appropriate season," Arand says.
When new, memory foam can produce an odd chemical smell — a phenomenon called offgassing. To minimize this problem, the Sleep Products Safety Council, a sleep products trade group, recommends airing out the mattress or pad for at least 24 hours before putting sheets on it. "If you follow directions, the smell dissipates quickly," Arand says, "But I’ve never heard of anyone having reactions to it."
Are Memory Foam Products Safe for Young Children?
"I would strongly recommend avoiding this and similar very soft materials for use in infants’ beds," Gromer says. "That’s because soft bedding traps [carbon dioxide] and increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) deaths."
NASA Scientific and Technical Information: "Forty-Year-Old Foam Springs Back With Newer Benefits."
Donna L. Arand, PhD, clinical director, Kettering Medical Sleep Disorders Center, Dayton, Ohio; research associate professor, Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine.
Kathy R. Gromer, MD, sleep specialist, Minnesota Sleep Institute; medical director, Respiratory Care Program, Saint Paul Technical College.
National Sleep Foundation: "Buying the Right Mattress for You."
Sleep Products Safety Council: "Mattress Odors" and "Sudden Infant Death Syndrome."