People Are Keeping Their Mattresses Way Too Long
And what’s hiding inside an old bed will gross you out.
According to a survey completed by Dreams (a UK mattress specialist), an estimated tens of thousands of people in the country sleep on a mattress that’s more than 40 years old. That means they bought their bed back in 1975 — yep, the era of disco dancing and bell bottom-wearing.
In fact, the survey guesses 8 million mattresses in the country need to be replaced, and America probably doesn’t differ much: Surveys from the Better Sleep Council have found that we, too, delay replacing our mattresses, even though the National Sleep Foundation recommends getting a new one every 8 years.
If your mattress "seems fine," you’ll likely stall on replacing it, but you also might not notice the signs of wear until it gets really bad. Older mattresses can lack support, so you’re more likely to wake up feeling tired or stiff. Only one in 12 people surveyed by Dreams say they wake up feeling refreshed, and one in 20 report struggling to get even five hours of sleep a night. Not great, people.
Mattresses also get super dirty over time — according to Dreams, the average eight-year-old mattress contains more than 10 pounds of dead skin cells (ick!). This stat might be debatable, but the same is true for pillows, which can double its weight in three years, thanks to collecting skin and dust mites. We don’t even want to think how much 40-year-old mattresses hold.
We can hear you starting the car to head to the mattress store now. (But don’t forget to consider our handy buying guide first.)
Find Out How Long Crib Mattresses Are Good For
As adults, we put a lot of emphasis on our own mattresses. We spend a lot of time evaluating comfort, durability, firmness, and cooling. And, of course, we want the best quality at a reasonable price.
The consideration we put into our child’s mattress, especially for a crib, should be even more thorough. After all, it’s not just about comfort for your baby or toddler (though that’s important, too!); safety is also a top priority.
When you’re looking to get a new bed for your bundle of joy (see our top crib picks), you’ll naturally also wonder how long it will last, if you can use it down the road if you have another child, and even if you can accept a hand-me-down from a well-meaning friend or family member.
In this article, we’ll discusshow long crib mattresses lastand address the above inquiries, too!
How long does a mattress last?
My mattress is getting on in years. In fact, Bill Clinton was in his first term as president when I last bought a new one. Is it time for me to replace my mattress?
You’ve probably logged more than 30,000 hours in your bed, and your mattress has likely become less comfortable and less supportive. But there’s no set formula for determining when you need to replace a mattress. It might be time to buy one if:
•You regularly wake up tired or achy—you make Oscar the Grouch seem as cheerful as Mr. Rogers.
•You tend to sleep better away from home, than in your own bed. Are you planning unnecessary business trips or looking for any reason to go on a weekend getaway?
•Your mattress looks or feels saggy or lumpy—it needs go on the Abs Diet.
•You’re over age 40 and your mattress is five to seven years old. Remember, your body tolerates less pressure as it ages. As if getting older weren’t tough enough . . .
A mattress can be an expensive investment—we’ve tested models that cost in excess of $4,000—but if you treat your new one properly, it could easily last 10 years. Our advice:
•Don’t let your kids use your bed as a trampoline.
•Rotate your mattress. If you have a single-sided mattress (you sleep on only one side), rotate the mattress from end to end—that is, move the mattress 180 degrees. The foot of the mattress is now at the head, and vice versa.
If you have a double-sided mattress, rotate it as above, then turn it over so the bottom is now on top.
Perform these steps every two weeks for the first three months you have your new mattress, then once every two months thereafter. You’ll find illustrated instructions on a number of different Web sites.
• Use a bed frame that has a center support.
Essential information:See “How to buy a mattress without losing sleep” for detailed advice on finding the perfect bed. And watch our video buying guide.
How Long Do Mattresses Last?
Mattresses aren’t exactly cheap, most people replace them very infrequently and consider buying a new one either a chore or a burden. It’s easy to delay or prolong this process simply by taking proper care of whichever type you own. As a general rule, most should be replaced within ten years for best results in sleep and health, however, the average life of a mattress can last beyond ten years or more if taken care of properly. While it is true that how long one lasts depends on different factors, you can easily increase its life expectancy by undertaking a small number of simple steps. Here is a look at a few of the factors that can decide how long should a mattress last, and possible ways to increase its lifespan:
Table of Contents
1. The Type
What type do you have? For instance, is it air, innerspring, memory foam or latex? Each one has its own life expectancy; air and innerspring being the shortest, memory foam being mid length, while latex types are known to last the longest.
- Air mattresses will over time either develop leaks or generally become less effective at retaining air pressure. If they have a built-in pump that becomes faulty, this too can lead to premature replacement. Overall, the average air mattress life expectancy is placed at five years.
- Spring mattresses are good for sharing couples who like a springy and bouncy surface, but unfortunately, due to the inner core being thin metal wire, this type does tend to sag and lose its support even if flipped and rotated regularly. Even ones which have been well cared for will most likely need replacing within 7-8 years.
- Memory foam mattresses are less prone to sagging but not invincible. They too require rotating, and foam does eventually lose its support but after a long while. This type should be good for at least ten years if kept ventilated, clean, and rotated.
- Latex mattresses are the creme de la creme and tick all the boxes for quality and longevity. The naturally hypoallergenic and anti-microbial properties add to the durable nature of latex rubber foam to combine a core which can last up to 15 years.
2. Regular Cleaning
Another important factor which determines mattress life expectancy is to do with cleaning.Howdo you clean it? Do you clean itregularly? Do you give it to aprofessionalcleaner? It’s essential that you clean your mattress regularly to prolong the life. If you do not, it won’t last long at all. This is due to the invisible bacteria, mildew, and mattress mold that can slowly eat away at the materials involved. Moreover, it may be better if you could have it cleaned professionally from time to time, as mattresses are home to bacteria and germs in plenty, which might not get adequately cleansed with household cleaning products and methods.
3. Amount of Use
As you can imagine, anything that is used more will last less. However, there are two things that need to be kept in mind. Whichever type you own, it wouldn’t last as long in cases of extreme use, for example sharing couples who use for 10+ hours per day, and secondly on the other hand, if it has been left unused and uncleaned for prolong periods of time. Mattresses that are moderately used, where people sleep on it for around 7-8 hours a day, and then cleaned regularly are the ones that have the longest life.
4. The Cleaning Products
The question of how long do mattresses last really is to do with many supporting factors, but quite often depends on the cleaning methods used to clean them. For instance, in case of blood stains, you might have to use hydrogen peroxide to get rid. Too much of this chemical (and other heavy duty stain removers) would lead to a reduction of mattress life as these are not made to withstand such chemical uses.
5. Proper Precautions
It is always nice to have kids around the house. However, if your kids want to use your bed as a trampoline, it seriously isn’t a good idea. You would rather have them play elsewhere since this can seriously damage your bed. Imagine you have an innerspring, the springs will become too soft and compressed in no time at all and will leave you with a creaky and sagging surface. Additionally, whether it’s latex or memory foam, soon there will be indentations which are beyond repair. To prolong its life, you can also rotate and flip it from time to time, but that’s only if it’s double-sided and permits you to do so. You could perform this every few months for the duration of its life, which will significantly improve how long a mattress can last.
When Do You Know You Cannot Use Your Mattress?
Usually, mattresses that are over seven years old do not provide the comfort and support you need on the bed. Once you see there are signs of the surface and support wearing out, or you’re feeling uncomfortable in the bed when you are sleeping on it, you would be better off changing it. Some of the common visible signs of wearing are sagging, holes and tearing. If you cannot get a full night’s sleep and feel that you’re having a better slumber elsewhere than your bed, you need to start looking for a replacement.
You might buy the most expensive mattress, but if you do not care for it properly, it might not even last ten years. On the other side, ones which are taken care of correctly are known to last more than 15 years.
Buying a mattress
There are many types of cot mattress available. You can choose between foam spring interiors, natural fibres, special anti-allergy fillings, or a combination of any of the above.
You may find it difficult to decide which is the best and safest mattress for your baby. But The Lullaby Trust states that it doesn’t matter what kind of mattress you use, as long as it:
- is firm not soft
- fits the cot snugly without any gaps
- doesn’t sag
- doesn’t have signs of wear and tear
Any mattress you choose should conform to BS 1877-10: 1997. It should also be at least 8cm to 10cm deep to support your baby while she sleeps.
If the mattress you choose has a fabric cover, vacuum it regularly to keep dust mites at bay.
Unless you know the history of a second-hand mattress, buy a new one. This will give you peace of mind.
Foam mattresses are generally the cheapest. They are designed to provide the right support and maintain your baby’s natural posture. They often have a wipe-clean PVC cover or removable, breathable covers on one or both sides. They may also have ventilation holes to help keep your baby cool, but these aren’t necessary.
- provide good support
- good value for money
- generally easy to keep clean
Coil spring mattresses
These traditional mattresses have a coiled spring interior with layers of felt and foam padding. They often have a cotton cover on one side and PVC, or other wipe-clean material, on the other side.
A spring inner core will support your baby. These mattresses also tend to hold their shape well. If you choose a cot bed, you may prefer a coil spring mattress as they tend to be longer lasting than foam.
The space within the spring lattice allows for increased airflow through the mattress. This helps to regulate a child’s body temperature and to keep the mattress fresh.
- They are a traditional, popular choice with many parents.
- In hot weather, you can lay your baby on the cotton cover side to prevent her becoming clammy.
- More expensive than a foam mattress.
- The cotton side may be preferred for comfort, but can be more difficult to keep clean, unless your mattress has a removable panel.
Pocketed spring mattresses
These mattresses are very similar to coil spring mattresses, but each spring is in its own pocket to provide improved support for longer.
- excellent support
- extremely hard-wearing
- Probably not cost-effective, unless you have a cot bed that your baby will sleep in for several years, or the mattress will be used for more than one child.
Dual Core™ mattresses
The Dual Core™ cot mattress is a patented design that incorporates two cores in one. It aims to meet the needs of your child from when they are first born to when they start school.
For your newborn baby, it has a coir and orthopedic foam interior, which provides a flat and firm sleeping surface. As your baby grows into a toddler and preschooler, the second core incorporates micro-pocketed springs to conform to your child’s changing weight and shape.
- excellent support throughout your baby’s early years
- extremely hard-wearing
- holds its shape well
Natural fibre mattressess
Natural fibre mattresses have a core of coconut fibre with other layers of different materials. The fibres are coated in latex for strength and protection, and the natural fibre filling helps air to circulate through the mattress. These mattresses are available with a soft cotton or wipe-clean covering.
- Good choice if you are concerned about your baby sleeping on synthetic material, or you are concerned about introducing unnecessary chemicals or synthetics into your home.
- One of the firmest types, so the mattress is long-lasting, and holds its shape well. This could be a sensible choice if you want a mattress that will last for more than one child.
- More expensive than foam or most spring interior mattresses.
- Less widely available than other types of mattress.
If allergies or asthma are a concern in your family, you may want to consider a hypoallergenic mattress for your baby. These come with a quilted top layer that can be easily detached and washed at 60 degrees C to kill the dust mites that may cause allergies. Allergy UK has a list of approved mattress covers and bedding.
- Good choice if your baby has allergies or asthma.
- Easy to keep clean.
- May be more expensive than other kinds of mattress.
- For most babies, this may be a luxury buy.
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