Experts recommend replacing your mattress about every 10 years. Yet, considering that most mattresses cost a few hundred dollars — even as much as several thousand, depending on the make and model — few people feel good about throwing out what seems to be a perfect find mattress once per decade.
There are several reasons that mattresses need replacing. For one, mattresses gather all sorts of unhealthy particles, like body oils and dead skin cells, which in addition to making the mattress look gross can cause allergies to flair and attract creepy-crawlies like mites. For another, mattress materials degrade over time, and a mattress lacking proper shape can interfere with proper sleep.
Still, it is possible to stretch your mattress’s life. Whether you aren’t in a great financial spot for buying a new mattress or you just don’t like the idea of waste, here are a few tips and tricks for increasing the lifespan of your mattress.
Buy a Mattress Protector
The biggest threat to the longevity of your mattress is your own body. While you sleep, your body sheds sweat, oils and cells, which can seep into the mattress, damage the materials and decrease the mattress’s lifespan. Thus, the single most effective thing you can do to keep your mattress in good condition is to put something between your body and your mattress. To accomplish this, you have two options: a mattress protector or a mattress pad/topper.
Mattress protectors are like an extra fitted sheet which goes beneath your sheets and acts as an additional barrier to block the accumulation of substances and mites. When you wash your bedding, you also wash your protector. Usually, you can’t feel a mattress protector, so if you like the comfort level of your mattress as it is, you might opt for a protector only.
Mattress pads or toppers, on the other hand, typically do have some additional padding to increase the softness of a mattress. You can buy mattress pads of almost any material, and you can find an organic mattress pad for a more sustainable solution, too. If you do invest in a valuable pad, you might want to place a mattress protector over your pad, to preserve its quality as well as that of your mattress.
Keep Your Bed Linens Clean
Though sheets usually aren’t as defensive of your mattress as a dedicated protection layer like a protector or a pad, they can soak up some of the substances from your body — but only if they are clean. A survey from the National Sleep Foundation found that 91 percent of people change their sheets every other week, but experts recommend stripping the bed and washing all linens at least once per week. This will not only elevate your sleeping experience, but it will ensure that your sheets can perform as small protection for your mattress.
Don’t Invite Your Pets to Bed
You might love your furry friends as much as you would children, but that doesn’t mean your pets should be allowed to sleep with you. Pets tend to have even dirtier bodies than people, which means they radically compound the problem of griming up your bedding and mattress. Even worse, pets have nails and teeth that can rip your mattress to shreds. Unless you are freezing and desperately need extra body heat in your bed, it isn’t a good idea to let your pets sleep on your mattress.
Rotate Your Mattress Regularly
Rotating your mattress involves flipping it over, so the side previously down is now up. Regular rotation helps to prevent excessive compression of the mattress in certain spots — in other words, it slows the development of lumps and dips. How often you should rotate your mattress depends on the materials and age of your mattress. Newer innerspring mattresses need to be rotated once or twice per year, which is the same for foam and latex mattresses. Older innerspring mattresses might need rotation between two and five times per year.
Give Your Mattress Air and Sun
You can and should clean your mattress — which entails vacuuming the mattress, applying a stain remover, sprinkling baking soda, and performing a few other simple tasks — but perhaps the best thing to keep your mattress fresh is air and sunshine. Once per month or so, while you are cleaning your bedding, you should throw open your bedroom windows and let the sunlight and air seep into your mattress. This will likely kill any bacteria or mites currently calling your mattress home, which will keep your mattress alive and thriving for longer.
If you don’t want to bother with mattress shopping once every 10 years, you should be able to stretch the lifespan of your current mattress by taking good care of your bed. Still, you should pay close attention to your quality of sleep, and if you haven’t invested in a new mattress in a good, long while, you might want to start planning for a quality mattress replacement.