When you buy a new mattress, you probably don’t want to buy another one within the next couple of years. You want a bed that lasts.
The best mattresses have a long life span, stretching between 7 to 10 years. How long your mattress lasts depends on its materials and how well you maintain it.
How Long Does Each Mattress Type Last?
The materials inside your mattress affect its lifespan, as each material wears down differently. Many mattress types last between 5 to 10 years.
Memory foam is pressure and heat-sensitive, which is why it molds around you when you lie down on it. The lifespan of a memory foam mattress depends on its foam quality. Many memory foam mattresses last only seven years, although a high-quality memory foam mattress can last for over a decade.
While there are a few differences between memory foam and gel foam mattresses, their lifespans are comparable; a quality gel memory foam mattress should last as long as a standard memory foam mattress.
There are two types of latex mattresses—natural and synthetic. Natural latex is made from rubber tree sap, while synthetic latex is produced from chemical compounds.
Of the two, we recommend natural latex mattresses, as they can last 15 or more years. Synthetic latex has a far shorter lifespan of 6 to 7 years.
An innerspring mattress has a coil support layer sandwiched between two layers of cushioning. Pillow tops can add extra comfort to an innerspring mattress, although a pillow top can’t contour and relieve pressure like a foam comfort layer can.
When you lie down on an innerspring mattress, you compress the coils. The coils will eventually loosen and wear out, particularly if it’s a mattress for a heavy person. The average innerspring mattress lasts five to six years, although a poor quality mattress may lose coil support in as little as three years.
Manufacturers combined elements of innerspring and foam mattresses to create hybrids. Hybrid mattresses have a base layer of coils topped with 2 to 3 inches of foam, typically memory foam.
A hybrid mattress often lasts around seven years. Like an innerspring mattress, a hybrid mattress tends to sag as its coils wear out.
An air mattress is often used as an impromptu guest bed, although there are high-end options with various smart technologies available. You can customize the feel of a higher-quality air mattress by adding or subtracting air.
You have to re-inflate your air mattress every few days. Many air mattresses contain a built-in pump to make it easier to re-adjust your mattress; however, the pump can break. Air mattresses are also prone to leaks.
Reports on how long an air mattress lasts vary—some say only 5 years, others say 8 to 10 years. According to Sleep Like the Dead, 25 percent of air bed owners said they had to replace at least one part during their ownership.
Waterbeds were once popular in the 80s, although they have fallen out of favor with the public since then. However, you can still find waterbeds for sale, many of which have a newer design. Now, the water chamber is surrounded by foam or fabric for added comfort.
With care, a waterbed may last more than a decade. Punctures and leaks are common but often repairable. However, the moisture inside can promote the growth of bacteria and mold—if your waterbed develops a smell, you can try cleaning it out, but it might be easier to replace all or part of the mattress.
When to Replace Your Mattress
Sometimes it’s obvious that you need to replace your mattress, but other times the signs are more subtle. Age is often a reason to take a closer look at your bed, as many mattresses are still fit to sleep on after 10 years of regular use.
Many mattresses sag as the materials age. Innerspring and hybrid mattresses often sag as their coils wear out, and foam mattresses sag as foams soften and compress.
Other signs of wear and tear on a mattress include lumps, edges that have lost support, and rips or cracks in the material. Repairing the mattress would not be worth the effort, although you should check your warranty before you shop for a new mattress—depending on the damage, you may qualify for a replacement.
Your Mattress is Unclean
If dirt and stains decorate your mattress, it’s likely time for a new bed. If you see signs of mold on your mattress, such as fuzzy spots and a musty smell, don’t bother trying to clean it since mold can make you sick. It’s far healthier for you to replace your mattress.
Even if your mattress looks clean on the inside, it may not be so clean inside. Mattresses are a dust mite hotspot, according to a 2015 study. Dust mites are microscopic creatures that feed on dead skin, and their droppings can aggravate allergies. If you see an uptick in allergy symptoms in the morning, the reason might be your mattress.
You’re Not Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
How you feel when you wake up is another way to gauge if it’s time to replace your mattress. If you wake up more sore than when you went to bed, it’s a sign that your mattress isn’t supporting you and easing your pressure points.
Headaches and waking up tired after a full night’s rest are also possible signs that you need a new mattress, although they may be symptoms of a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea. If you’re unsure of the cause, consult your doctor.
If you want to test if it’s your mattress or something else causing a miserable night’s sleep, try sleeping elsewhere such as a hotel, a friend’s house, or on your couch. If you sleep better on another mattress, it’s a good sign that you need to replace yours.
How to Take Care of Your Mattress
You can stretch out your mattress’s lifespan by taking care of it. Use a protector and supportive foundation, and regularly clean and rotate your mattress.
Use an Encasement or Protector
Even if you do your best to protect your mattress from spills, stains, and dirt, accidents can still happen. To plan for the unforeseeable, invest in a mattress encasement or pad.
The tight weave of a mattress encasement prevents liquids, allergens, and pests from penetrating your mattress. The material is thin and surrounds your entire mattress.
A pad has a thicker top than a protector and goes on your mattress like a fitted sheet. Pads can also improve your mattress’s comfort by providing more cushion.
Use a Proper Foundation
A proper foundation for your mattress prevents premature sagging, which will affect your mattress’s support and leave you waking with aches and pains.
The correct foundation for your mattress will depend on what type of mattress it is. Innerspring and certain hybrid mattresses can be kept on a box spring, but you should never place a memory or latex foam mattress on a box spring. A box spring’s interior coils are not close enough together to provide consistent support, which may result in your foam mattress sinking between the box spring’s coils and compromising the mattress’s support.
Your mattress’s warranty should specify what type of foundation you can use. An improper foundation will void the warranty.
Even Out Wear and Tear
If you lie on the same spot on your mattress every night, you’ll eventually create a dent in your mattress. To prevent indentations in your mattress, you should rotate it every three to six months. Your mattress’s manufacturer may specify exactly how often you should rotate it.
Whether or not you should flip your mattress depends on its type. You can flip an innerspring mattress, but memory foam, latex, and hybrid mattresses should not be flipped; you would end up lying on the support layer and compressing the comfort layer.
If you can, avoid setting items on your bed, aside from what you need to sleep. Your laptop may not weigh that much, but leaving it on your bed will still exert pressure on your mattress.
Your body weight also affects how much pressure you put on your mattress, with more weight wearing it out quicker. Staying in shape will help your mattress keep its shape.
Keeping your bed clean will require a bit more effort than simply avoiding eating and drinking in bed—as important as that it is to prevent crumbs and spills from attracting pests.
Change your bedding often to prevent dust mites, allergens, and debris from settling into your mattress. We recommend washing your bedding once a week in hot water since it’s effective at killing dust mites and bacteria.
And use breathable bedding, such as cotton. If you sweat excessively, it’s more likely that mold and mildew will grow in your bed.
When you strip your bedding off to wash it, give your mattress a quick vacuum. You should vacuum not only the top but the sides and underside of your mattress.
You should thoroughly clean your mattress every three to six months, following these seven steps:
- Remove all of your bedding for washing.
- Vacuum your mattress—the top, sides, and bottom.
- Spot clean any stains. Do not spray cleaner directly onto the mattress to spot clean. Instead, spray the cleaner onto a cloth and blot the stain.
- Sprinkle baking soda on top of your mattress to freshen it up. You should leave the baking soda for at least 30 minutes, although a few hours or the rest of the day is even better. Baking soda absorbs and cleans more the longer it’s left alone.
- Wipe down the sides of the bed frame while you let the baking soda set. Check the bed frame’s condition as well—there should be no discoloration or smell.
- Vacuum up the baking soda.
- Replace your bedding.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s possible but unlikely that a mattress will last for 20 years if used regularly. A natural latex mattress may last that long with care, but most other types of mattress will wear out years sooner.
When your mattress will need replacing depends on its material and quality. Low-quality innerspring mattresses may sag in as little as 3 years, while higher quality spring mattresses should last 5 to 6 years. Thin memory foam mattresses may only last a few years, while high-quality mattresses at least 10 inches thick may last a decade or more. Natural latex mattresses have the longest expected lifespan, sometimes lasting 15 or more years.
To determine if your mattress needs replacing, consider how it feels, how clean it is, and how well you sleep on it.
Researchers suggest washing your sheets, blankets, and pillowcases every week to prevent dust mites from accumulating.
According to studies, the best mattress for back pain is a medium-firm mattress.
May tends to offer the best mattress sales. There's not only Memorial Day sales, but retailers trying to clear out older stock in anticipation of companies releasing new mattress models in June.
It's also hard to beat Black Friday mattress sales.
Did We Help?
Your mattress’s likely lifespan will depend on its materials and how you use it. For example, if you’re a heavier sleeper, the added pressure will decrease your mattress’s expected lifespan.
Taking care of your mattress by regularly cleaning it and evening out the wear can extend its lifespan, but it will still need replacing someday. Once your mattress no longer gives you a good night’s sleep, it’s time to start looking for a new one.
This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.