Even the best mattress will wear out and need to be replaced. An old mattress can keep you from a night of restorative rest, so it’s best to be rid of it and buy a new mattress.
In this guide, we discuss how long a mattress is likely to last and the signs it’s ready to be replaced. We look at how much to budget for a new mattress and give a brief overview of how to pick the mattress right for you. We also talk about what you can do with your old mattress and how you can take care of your new mattress to ensure it lasts for many years.
How Long Does A Mattress Last?
The lifespan of a mattress depends on the materials it’s made with and how often it’s used. On average, you can expect to need a new mattress every six to ten years.
Let’s take a look at the four main types of mattress on the market to see how long each tends to last:
- Innerspring: An innerspring mattress lasts six years. Innerspring mattresses are the kind of mattress most likely to sag with use as coils wear out.
- Hybrid: A hybrid mattress lasts six to seven years. As hybrids also use coils, they have a similar problem with sagging.
- Memory foam: A memory foam mattress lasts seven years on average, but you can get 8 to 10 or more years out of a quality memory foam mattress.
- Latex: A natural latex bed should last at least eight years, and up to 12 to 15 years. Synthetic latex has a far shorter expected lifespan of six years.
How Do You Know Your Mattress Needs Replacing?
The age of your mattress is a good reason to take a closer look at it and see if it’s still fit to sleep on. But what are some of the clues that your mattress is ready to be tossed? Some are hard to deny, such as a sagging mattress, but others are a little more subtle, like worsening allergy symptoms.
Wear and Tear
One of the more common and more obvious signs you need a new mattress is if it’s losing its shape. All types of mattresses are susceptible to sagging and indentations as they age, but some are more prone to it than others. Mattresses with coils are particularly susceptible to sagging as time passes.
Sagging and indentations are normal in an aging mattress, but if they exceed an inch you’re likely to find yourself waking up in pain from insufficient support to your spine. Similarly, if you’re rolling to the center of your mattress or sinking in too deeply, the core of your bed might be damaged and no longer offering support.
Sagging isn’t the only sign of a mattress that’s losing its shape. Lumps and signs of wear such as rips, tears, or splits are all reasons to start shopping for a new mattress.
If your mattress develops lumps, tears, or sagging, the attached warranty may cover the costs of a replacement. However, warranties are only effective for a set amount of time, often no more than 10 years. And warranties typically only cover damage that exceeds reasonable wear and tear, such as sagging that is more than an inch.
The coils of an innerspring or hybrid mattress don’t just sag as they wear out. Aging coils isolate less movement and make more noise. If there’s creaking and squeaking as you shift in bed, or if you’re feeling your partner’s every move through the bed, then it’s time for a new mattress.
If you own a foam mattress, your mattress is at risk of excessive softening as it ages. A foam bed that’s grown soft can’t provide the support it once did. Conversely, your bed may feel firmer than it once did, as the comfort layer is flattened by use.
A good mattress should not leave you waking up in pain. Your mattress should ease pressure on areas such as your shoulders, hips, and back. As materials deteriorate, though, your mattress provides less targeted support.
A simple test of your mattress’s comfort is to spend the night sleeping somewhere else. If your sofa provides you with a better night of sleep than your bed, it’s a sign that you need a new mattress.
If you’re getting a full eight hours of sleep and still feel tired when you wake up, the problem could be your mattress. It’s not the only potential explanation, though, and you may wish to eliminate the possibility of other factors such as a sleep disorder or stress first.
Poor sleep quality can lead to other health problems such as weight gain, anxiety, lowered cognitive performance, and heart disease. So it’s important to have a mattress that promotes a restful night of sleep.
Allergies and Pests
If your allergy symptoms worsen after a night of sleep, you might need a new mattress. Allergens such as mold, mildew, and dust mites can collect in a mattress over time.
Another common pest, bed bugs, are difficult to eliminate once they take up residence in your mattress. If you’re waking up with small bite marks or if your bed has a musty smell, your mattress may have unwanted guests.
When something makes its way into your mattress, it’s often easier to simply buy a new mattress rather than have it professionally cleaned. Although in the case of bed bugs, the bugs may have spread to other areas of your bedroom. A call to a pest control company and a new bed frame may be necessary to be completely rid of them.
How Much Should A New Mattress Cost?
Once you’ve committed to buying a new mattress, you may be wondering how much you should budget for it. You can find mattresses for less than $100 and more than $3,000. So what’s a fair price to pay for a quality mattress?
We recommend budgeting roughly between $1,000 to $1,500 for a queen-size mattress, although it’s quite possible to find a quality mattress for under $1,000. Be careful of any mattress costing far more than this, as it may not last significantly longer than a mattress in our suggested budget and may just have unneeded extra features. And a mattress that costs far less, under $500, is unlikely to last you more than a few years.
There are a couple of ways you can cut down on mattress costs. You can buy your mattress online rather than in-store. Online mattress brands have fewer business expenses than a storefront business, so they can offer their mattresses at a lower cost.
You can also keep an eye out for mattress sales. Some of the big sales days are New Year’s Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Veteran’s Day, and of course Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
How Do I Choose A New Mattress?
Now comes the big question: how do you pick your next mattress? Well, it depends a lot on your sleeping style and even your body type; both can influence what firmness and mattress type is best for you.
A side sleeper typically needs a plusher, softer mattress than a back sleeper, while a stomach sleeper needs an even firmer mattress than a back sleeper does. Similarly, a heavier sleeper needs a firmer mattress than a sleeper of average weight, while a lightweight sleeper needs a softer mattress than the average sleeper. We break all of this information down in the table below:
|Type of Sleeper||Ideal Firmness|
|Side sleeper||Soft to medium|
|Back sleeper||Medium to medium-firm|
|Stomach sleeper||Medium-firm to firm|
|Weighs under 130 pounds||Medium-soft to soft|
|Weighs between 130 to 230 pounds||Medium to medium-firm|
|Weighs more than 230 pounds||Medium-firm to firm|
We recommend a bed between 10 to 14 inches thick for most sleepers, although heavier sleepers should shop for a bed at least 12 inches thick. The right mattress firmness and thickness are important not only for proper support but also because your mattress can wear out quicker if it’s not made to take on your body weight.
Then there’s the type of mattress that’s best for you. Of the mattress types on the market, the four main ones to consider are memory foam, latex, innerspring, and hybrid mattresses. All of them have their upsides and downsides, as there is no such thing as the perfect bed.
If you have chronic pain issues, then an innerspring mattress is probably not the right bed for you. And if you’re shopping on a tight budget, you may want to pass on a latex or hybrid bed.
A quality mattress is made not only with quality materials but comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a warranty spanning at least 10 years. This is a guarantee of the company’s faith in its mattress.
When you’re looking at mattresses, take the time to skim through customer reviews. You should be able to find some on the company website, and it’s a red flag if you can’t. Pay special attention to lower-rated reviews to see what common customer complaints might exist.
Our final bit of advice is when you’re shopping for your next mattress, it’s a good idea to approach it as a long-term investment. You’re not just buying a surface to sleep on right away, but something meant to last you years and years.
What Do I Do With My Old Mattress?
You might be wondering what to do with your old mattress, as it’s a little large to just throw into your trash can or recycling bin.
Some mattress companies will take away your old mattress upon delivering your new one. If you’re buying a mattress with a white glove delivery service, they will not only set up your new mattress but remove your old one as well.
If your mattress is still in decent condition, you might try donating it to charity. Many large charity organizations do not take old mattresses, but a smaller, local charity might. Places you might try include your local women’s shelters, homeless shelters, and churches.
The trouble is you may have to figure out a way to transport your mattress there, as not every charity can arrange to pick it up. Your mattress must also be fit for someone else to use, which may not be the case if you’re replacing it.
You can also try recycling your mattress if it’s not fit to be donated, although the mattress must not have stains or bed bugs to be fit for recycling. Some recycling plants may even offer home pickup for your mattress.
If all else fails, you can try a junk removal service to haul it away for a fee. A quick Internet search for “mattress removal” should bring up options in your area. Prices for these services can vary.
Taking Care of Your Mattress
Once you have your new mattress, it’s a good idea to invest some care into it to get the most possible use out of it. Your mattress should rest on a supportive foundation with clean bedding, and be rotated and cleaned often.
It’s important your mattress rests on the right foundation, as the wrong foundation can cause your bed to sag or deteriorate prematurely. Using an improper foundation can also void your warranty because of the likely damage it will cause.
Many mattress brands suggest a suitable foundation for their mattresses, and some even sell their own. The right foundation will depend on the type of mattress you own.
A box spring is suitable for innerspring and hybrid mattresses, but should never be used with a foam bed. A memory foam or latex mattress needs uniform support to keep its structure, which a box spring cannot provide.
A foam bed should be placed on a foundation or frame with slats no more than 3 inches apart or on top of a solid piece of plywood or particleboard placed inside the bed frame. Slats are preferred over a completely solid surface as they provide ventilation, preventing your mattress from overheating.
Memory foam and latex mattresses do well on adjustable bed frames, as do some hybrid mattresses. Innerspring mattresses, though, lack the flexibility needed to move with the base and may be damaged if used on an adjustable frame.
The floor can even work as a foundation as long it’s clean, even, and flat. The drawback is that heat can’t escape through the bottom of the mattress as it can on a bed frame, which may lead to overheating.
Cover and Bedding
Ensure your mattress is encased in a mattress cover or mattress protector. Many mattresses come with a mattress cover, but it can be worth it to invest in an additional waterproof mattress protector. Covers and protectors are also washable for easier cleanability, while you can’t exactly throw your mattress into a washer.
You can lengthen the lifespan of your mattress by changing your bedding often. By washing your bedding every week, you prevent dead skin, bacteria, and allergens from accumulating. Although many items of bedding come with a recommendation to wash with cold water, hot water is the better way to eliminate any lingering bacteria or dust mites.
Don’t make your bed first thing in the morning and instead give your mattress a chance to breathe. Let the mattress air out by pulling the sheets back for at least half an hour.
Rotations and Flipping
Rotating your bed helps to even out wear, extending its likely lifespan. You can rotate it between every three months to once a year, and the company may recommend how often it should be rotated.
You can also flip your mattress to further even out the wear on it, although be warned many mattresses made today are one-sided and not designed to be flipped. Flipping your mattress may even void the warranty, so always check first to see if it can be flipped.
You may need more than one person to rotate or flip your bed, particularly if your mattress is heavy or you have chronic back problems. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if it’s needed.
Keeping it Clean
Take the time to familiarize yourself with the manufacturer’s care and cleaning instructions once you have your new mattress for any important do’s and do not’s.
To help keep your bed clean, we advise against eating in your bed. Crumbs and spills can deteriorate the bed’s materials.
A little bit of sweat is to be expected, but too much sweat can be the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew. Switch up your sleepwear and bedding for something lighter, and speak to your doctor if excessive night sweating continues.
Vacuum your mattress at least once a month, and take the time to spot-clean it as well. Foreign material can grind into your mattress, breaking it down, so it’s a good idea to get rid of any bits of waste as soon as you can.
Give your mattress some occasional sun and air as well, although you can leave the cover on for protection. Ideally, you should take it outside for a few hours on a sunny day, but we know that’s not feasible for everyone. Leaving it by a sunny window can still freshen it up.
How Often Do I Need to Replace My Bedding?
We’ve discussed how often a mattress needs replacing and how to tell when it’s time for a new one, but what about your bedding? How often do you need to shop for new pillows and sheets? Much like with a mattress, there are ways to tell when your bedding is past its prime.
The choice and quality of materials in a pillow can vary greatly. So your pillow might need replacing after six months if it’s a low-quality pillow or it might last three or more years if it’s a high-quality memory foam pillow.
There are a few clues your pillow is ready to be replaced:
- You’re waking up with neck pain or a stiff neck.
- Your pillow has developed lumps or has otherwise lost its shape.
- You’re seeing more acne breakouts on your face.
- Your allergy symptoms see a big uptick after you’ve slept.
- You can’t remember where or when you bought your pillow.
You may also need a new pillow if you’ve switched sleep positions, as the support your neck needs will have changed with your position. Side sleepers typically need a thicker pillow than back sleepers do, and many stomach sleepers sleep best on a thin, flat pillow.
When you buy a new pillow, it’s a good idea to make a note of the date of purchase. This way, you’ll know exactly how long you’ve had your current pillow. Write an entry in your phone or file the receipt away for safekeeping.
We have a couple of tips and tricks to stretch out your pillow’s life:
- Change your pillowcase often. Ideally, you should put on a new pillowcase every week.
- Use a pillow protector underneath your pillowcase.
- If your pillow is washable, then wash it about every three to six months. Run it through the dryer on the lowest heat setting to get rid of any germs and dust mites.
You’ll likely need to replace your sheets every two to three years. This may seem like a short amount of time, but think about how often you use your sheets. You’re wrapped up in your sheets every evening, and your body may shift against them as you sleep for more wear and tear.
If the fabric of your sheets has visibly thinned or faded with age, it’s time to start shopping around for a new set. A poor set of sheets may not cause you to wake up with aches and pains, but it can still disturb your sleep and keep you from the full rest you need.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a mattress last 20 years?
In theory, yes. But it’s not likely. Many mattresses last around ten years or a little less, and with care, a quality memory foam or latex mattress may last 15 years.
Which mattress type lasts the longest?
On average, a natural latex mattress has the longest lifespan, lasting for about 12 to 15 years. A quality memory foam bed is close behind, lasting about 10 years or more.
The trade-off to the durability of a natural latex mattress is it’s one of the more expensive types of mattresses on the market.
Did We Help?
We compiled this guide to help you know when it’s time to replace your mattress. It’s natural to feel attached to a mattress after you’ve owned it for a few years, but for the sake of a good night’s sleep, it’s crucial to know when to let go and move on to a new mattress. It’s good to start every day refreshed and ready to tackle challenges, and a new mattress can help you do this. If you have any questions or comments for us, feel free to leave them in the comment section below.
This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.