How Long Should You Keep a Mattress?
Having a quality mattress is essential for a good night's sleep. A mattress that doesn't provide adequate support will cause you to wake up with aches and pains or simply feeling exhausted. And that's not to mention the long list of health problems that can be caused by long-term sleep deprivation.
The thing is, even the best mattress will deteriorate over time, with the average lifespan of a mattress being around seven to 10 years. Of course, the exact number of years may vary quite widely depending on various factors including the type of mattress you have and the way it's used.
So, how long should you keep a mattress? We put together this guide to mattress lifespan and when to replace a mattress to help you figure out just that.
Contributing factors to a mattress's lifespan
Various factors contribute to how long your mattress will last, including what material it's made from and how it's been used.
- Mattress type: The type of mattress makes a huge difference for its lifespan. Latex mattresses usually last the longest, followed by high-density memory foam mattresses, then innerspring mattresses and low-density memory foam.
- Mattress quality: Mattresses made of higher-quality materials such as high-density foam, natural latex, and organic cotton will last you longer than mattresses of the same type made of cheaper materials, e.g. low-density memory foam or synthetic latex.
- Frequency of use: How often you sleep on your mattress plays a big role. A mattress that sits in your guest room and is used only occasionally will last longer than a mattress you sleep on every night.
- Body weight and sleep position: Heavier bodies may find that their mattress begins to sag more quickly (people with these body types should look for mattresses made with stronger, more durable materials to prevent premature sagging). Your sleep position may also affect how quickly your mattress wears out: Sleeping on your side puts a lot of weight in the areas of hips and shoulders.
- How you care for the mattress: The better you take care of your mattress, the more life you can get out of it. That means using a protective cover, rotating the mattress every few months, and following the manufacturer's care guidelines.
5 signs your mattress needs to be replaced
So how can you tell when to replace a mattress? Here are some common signs that tell you your mattress might be nearing the end of its lifespan.
1. You keep waking up with aches and pains
If you wake up with aches and pains at least two or three times a week, it’s a sign that your mattress is not supporting your body properly anymore. Whether it’s because of wear and tear or because your body has changed, it is a definite sign your mattress needs to be replaced.
2. Your mattress has stains and tears
Inspect your mattress: Does it have stains or smells? Are there big dips or impressions in the top layer or any rips and tears? All these mean that it’s time to replace it.
3. You feel your partner moving around more than usual
Keep a close eye on other signs of change in your mattress performance: Can you feel your partner moving around in bed more than you used to? If your mattress’s ability to prevent motion transfer has decreased, it might be nearing the end of its lifespan.
4. Your allergies have gotten worse
Have you noticed an increase in allergy or asthma symptoms every time you wake up? It might mean your mattress has become home to allergens that wreck your sleep.
5. You can't get comfortable
Finally, if you simply can’t get comfortable on your mattress anymore for no identifiable reason, and you’ve had it for longer than seven years, consider getting a new one.
How mattress type impacts the life of a mattress
One of the biggest factors contributing to mattress lifespan is mattress type. Here's what you can expect from the most common types of mattresses.
Innerspring mattresses have one of the shorter lifespans and will typically last you about six to seven years. That’s because the coils in an innerspring mattress tend to lose their elasticity over time and break down. An innerspring mattress with a pillow top and/or comfort layer made of foam (a hybrid) may last slightly longer.
The lifespan of a memory foam mattress will depend on the type and quality of memory foam in the mattress. A high-quality memory foam mattress could last you up to 10 years or more—if it's made with high-density foam of at least three pounds per cubic foot (four or five pounds is considered premium). By contrast, bed in a box foam mattresses are made with low-density foam and will only last you a handful of years.
Latex mattresses have the longest lifespans and can potentially last you 15+ years. Keep in mind that a natural latex mattress is more durable than a mattress made with synthetic latex.
Hybrid mattresses typically feature a thick comfort layer made out of memory foam or latex on top of an innerspring base. This added comfort layer protects the coils, preventing them from breaking down as fast. This will ensure the mattress lasts slightly longer than a regular innerspring, around eight to 10 years.
Adjustable mattresses that have individual air chambers on each side to adjust the firmness level are some of the longest-lasting mattresses on the market. These may last you 10 to 15 years, depending on the specific features of the mattress. An adjustable mattress that has a moisture barrier to help keep out mold and mildew will last the longest.
5 tips to maximize how long your mattress lasts
With proper care, you can extend the lifespan of your mattress and keep it in tip-top condition for as long as possible.
1. Set your mattress on the right foundation
Generally, most foundations will work for most mattresses—but do check whether your mattress requires a specific type of foundation. For example, queen- and king-size mattresses need vertical center support to prevent sagging. (Here's how to tell whether a box spring vs foundation is right for you.)
2. Clean your mattress regularly
At least twice a year, go over your mattress with the upholstery attachment of your vacuum cleaner to get rid of dust, crumbs, and dust mites. Then deodorize your mattress by generously sprinkling baking soda all over it. Leave the baking soda on for a full day, then vacuum it up and go over your mattress one more time with the upholstery attachment.
3. Use a mattress protector
To prevent stains, dirt, and allergens from accumulating on your mattress, always use it with a mattress protector.
4. Rotate your mattress
Over time, mattresses develop body impressions. Some of these are normal. To prevent deeper wear and sagging, though, you should rotate your mattress 180 degrees every few months. Additionally, you may want to change your sleeping spot occasionally to prevent excessive wear.
5. Move your mattress carefully
Handle your mattress carefully if you’re moving to a new home. Before the move, wrap it securely in a high-density polyethylene mattress storage bag, taping the edges completely shut, then put the mattress in a protective cardboard box to prevent structural damage.
The bottom line on when to replace a mattress
While the average mattress lifespan is seven to 10 years, the best way to tell if it's time to replace your mattress is to pay attention to how it looks and feels.
If you notice major signs of wear and tear or experience discomfort when you lie down, it's probably time for a new mattress. The good news is, there are plenty of high-quality mattresses to choose from that'll give you a good night's sleep for years to come.
Decided it's time to replace your old mattress? One of the most important factors to consider when buying a new one is size. Check out our comprehensive mattress dimensions guide to determine which size is right for you.