Mattress Life Spans: A Guide to Mattress Longevity

Most mattresses last anywhere from 5-10 years. Learn how to extend your mattress’s lifespan.

By Loren Bullock

So, your current mattress is getting older, and you’re wondering whether you need to replace it or if you can squeeze a few more years out of it. Maybe you’re looking for a new mattress and want to make sure it’ll last for as long as possible. Plain and simple: when you buy a mattress, you want to extend its longevity. We’ll tell you what factors go into a mattress’s lifespan and how you can get the most out of it.

How Long Should A Mattress Last?

Mattresses are built to last for years—about 5-10 years to be exact. Higher quality mattresses are made to last on the higher end of this figure (about 7-10+ years) and lower quality beds tend to be on the shorter end (5-7 years or less). When you consider mattress types, not only do they serve different purposes for various sleepers, but different types of mattresses wear out more quickly than others:

  • Memory Foam Mattresses: High-density foam mattresses usually have a lifespan of about 10-15 years with proper care and accessories, like a mattress protector to keep away dust mites and spills. Low-density foam tends to last about 5-7 years, even with proper care. Memory foam will last longer than polyfoam, and thicker foam mattresses also keep their shape better.
  • Innerspring Mattresses: Spring mattresses have an average life of 6-8 years depending on the coil/spring quality. The longevity of spring mattresses is so low because they are the type of mattress most prone to sagging. Spring mattresses with higher coil gauges won’t last as long as innerspring mattresses with lower coil gauges. Lower gauges are thicker and more supportive.
  • Hybrid Mattresses: The lifespan of hybrid mattresses varies based on the materials used to make them, but on average it can go anywhere between six to ten years. Because of their coil infusion, this type is prone to sagging over time. Hybrid mattresses that incorporate latex will last longer than those that just use memory foam.
  • Latex Mattresses: Latex mattresses are known for their durability, so naturally they have one of the longest lifespans out of any other type, going anywhere from 8-15 years. Natural latex is more durable than mattresses made with synthetic latex.
  • Airbed Mattresses: Airbeds also have top tier durability with their mattresses lasting between 8-15 years. The pressurized air inside keeps issues like sagging and body impressions at bay. However, air mattresses are prone to malfunctions which may lower their otherwise stellar life spans.
  • Waterbeds: This mattress type has a longevity of 7-10 years. They don’t have springs to make it sag or lasting body impressions. Exactly how long it lasts depends on care and if you have leaks.
  • Futon Mattresses: Futon mattresses last about 5 years because they aren’t designed to be slept on every night.

Another indicator of how long a mattress should last is its warranty. This doesn’t necessarily mean that because a warranty lasts for 20 years or a lifetime that you can comfortably have a good night’s sleep on that mattress for decades. It simply means the company or manufacturer trusts the product not to malfunction for longer.

You can also check what the warranty covers for an indication of durability. A good mattress warranty will cover deep sagging, stitching issues, coil malfunctions, bunching, and other physical defects that aren’t due to regular wear and tear or miscare.

Whether or not a warranty is prorated also shows reliability. Non-prorated warranties are ones where you pay nothing to fix any damages covered; prorated warranties are the opposite. Most long warranties are non-prorated for the first few years and then switch as time goes on. Some are prorated from the very start so be sure to read the fine print.

Also, be aware that mattress warranties labeled as “limited” have more strict guidelines for repairs and replacements than other mattress warranties.

So, now that you have an idea of how long each mattress should last, let’s explore how we can make that period longer.

How to Make a Mattress Last Longer

Though mattress age and wear is inevitable, there are things that are in your control that can improve your mattress’s life.

Pick a Mattress with Quality Materials

If you want your mattress to last long, you should be working with the best materials possible. When buying a mattress, don’t skimp on quality for price; chances are the better mattress will last longer than the mattress made from cheap materials.

The best way to indicate whether or not a mattress is made with good materials is to read reviews. Reviews from people who have bought the mattress will indicate how it sleeps after a few weeks. If it already starts to deteriorate, it’s probably not a good mattress.

The web is also filled with sites that spend time doing mattress testing and reviews. You can use their pages (like our best mattress guide) for a deeper dive into how the mattress is constructed and how each of the layers and materials contributes to your comfort or support.

Flip Your Mattress

Another way to extend the lifespan of your mattress is to have a flipping or rotation schedule. Each night, you and your sleep partner probably sleep in the same spot. While this is comfortable for the both of you, over time it creates body impressions that can lead to mattress sagging. To prevent this, it is recommended that you flip your mattress every month for the first year, and then three to six months for the rest of its life.

Of course, nowadays some mattresses don’t need to be flipped (or shouldn’t be flipped). These include mattresses that are specifically one-sided, mattresses with layers, airbeds, and most foam mattresses. If you have one of these mattresses, consider rotation. Your bed rotation schedule should be the same as a flipping schedule.

When flipping or rotating a mattress, make sure you have a friend or your partner help you as most mattresses can be heavy.

Use Mattress Accessories

Mattress accessories are not only the key to getting a great night’s sleep, they also prolong the life of your mattress. The following mattress accessories should be utilized ASAP to improve the durability of your bed:

  • Mattress Protector: Arguably one of the most important mattress accessories for longevity, mattress protectors keep your mattress safe from dirt, oils, spills, dust mites, and bacteria. This protector is especially important if you sleep with pets, are prone to night sweats, or like to eat in the bed. In some cases, using a mattress protector is required in order for your warranty to be valid.
  • Mattress Topper: Memory foam and latex mattress toppers are a great tool to getting a good night’s sleep by adding an extra comforting layer to your bed. They also help extend your mattress’s life two different ways: one, they collect dead skin cells, dirt, and bacteria before your mattress does, and two, they absorb your body indentations to keep your mattress from sagging.
  • Mattress Pad: Mattress pads work the same way as mattress toppers, by providing a layer that absorbs sweat and bacteria before your mattress can. Mattress pads are usually more affordable than mattress toppers, but they provide a thinner layer of protection.

Though you don’t have to use all three to extend the life of your mattress, putting all three layers on your bed can only make it last longer (not to mention make your bed super cozy).

Mattress material quality, flipping, and accessories are all things you can do to make the life of your mattress longer, but there are also don’ts that can shorten your bed’s durability.

Spring in old bed mattress with pills. Hole in old dirty leaky couch, need of repair or replacement.

Factors Affecting Mattress Lifespan

Knowing what makes your mattress wear out quicker is equally if not more important than knowing how to extend its life. Here are some factors that shorten the life of your bed:

  • Body Weight: The more weight added to your mattress, the quicker it is likely to have deep body impressions, sag, or loose edge support. This means people with bigger bodies and couples will have mattresses with shorter life spans than people who weigh less or sleep alone, especially on spring and foam mattresses. An easy way to prevent this disparity is to buy a mattress designed for heavy sleepers. This type of mattress is specifically made with stronger materials to hold more weight than an average mattress.
  • Frequency: How often you sleep on the mattress will determine its longevity. Obviously, most people sleep on their mattress every night, so there isn’t much you can do about that. However, if you’re thinking about a mattress for the guest bedroom, know that it will probably last longer than the mattress in your bedroom due to frequency.
  • Activity: Most of us do more on our mattress than just sleep: we lounge, read, have sex, watch TV, and even eat. The more time you spend in the bed not sleeping, is not only increasing the frequency of use, but the activity as well. This includes putting heavy objects on it (like the box you just ordered from Amazon) or placing sharp objects on it (like scissors). So, as fun as jumping on the bed may seem, try to hold off to increase the time you have it for.

How to Avoid Excessive Wear: Keep it Clean

There are things you can do to diminish the excessive wear and tear on your mattress so that you can sleep on it for longer, and the main thing is to clean your mattress! While this may seem like a no brainer, this simple step can make a huge difference in a mattresses life.

Make sure you vacuum your mattress once a month using the vacuum attachment. As you sleep and shed skin cells, it creates dust. Dust particles have sharp edges that create tiny cuts in the material of your mattress. By vacuuming these up frequently, you diminish these particles and keep the cuts to a minimum.

Wash your bedding, sheets, and mattress protector often. These harbour bacteria, mold, and body oils. These can eat away at your mattress materials and make them less effective as time goes on. Most recommend washing once a week, but bi-weekly should also work well.

Try not to eat or drink in bed. Of course, we can’t tell you what to do, but the crumbs and potential for spills puts your mattress at risk. Most mattress warranties will be rendered invalid if the mattress has any stains. If you decide to eat in bed anyway, always use a mattress protector, wash it often, and vacuum any crumbs.

Do your best to keep bed bugs out of your sleep space. These little insects mean the end of your mattress. The best way to keep bed bugs away is prevention. Use a mattress encasement, check hotel beds or anywhere else to sleep so you don’t bring them home, and beware of used mattresses.

Pets?

Nowadays, 71% of pet owners sleep with their animals, but what does that mean for your mattress? Unfortunately, the jury is out and they rule sleeping with your pet is not good for the life of your mattress.

Pets aren’t as gentle with mattresses as people are. They also tend to have accidents, sweat, drool, and bring outdoor particles into the bed. This causes mold and bacteria to grow, and shortens your mattresses life.

If sleeping with your pet is absolutely crucial for your good night’s sleep, make sure you’re using that handy dandy mattress protector and are frequently cleaning your mattress and bedding.

But sometimes, as hard as you try to save your mattress, it’s just time to buy a new one. How can you tell the difference between a mattress that can be saved and a mattress that needs to retire?

Signs You Need a New Mattress

Even if you’ve followed all of the do’s and don’ts your mattress could simply just be really old. There are a few ways to tell if your mattress should be replaced, and it’s time to change your mattress, between physical signs of aging and your quality of sleep, you’ll know when it’s time:

  1. The Sagging is Bad: Mattress sagging is normal after a few years, especially with foam mattresses and spring mattresses. But when it becomes so deep that flipping and rotating don’t help, or if it messes up your spinal alignment, this is a sign of extreme mattress wear. It may be time to explore other mattress options; you don’t want to sleep in a hammock every night, do you?
  2. Sleep is Causing You Pain: A good night’s sleep is supposed to be restorative, refreshing, and good for your body. So, if you’re waking up with aches and pains in your neck, back, hips, and shoulders, it’s probably your mattress. Tossing and turning is also a pretty good sign that the support layer of the bed has worn down or is less effective than it once was.
  3. Your Allergies are Acting Up: Even if you’re using a mattress protector, a mattress that needs to retire will end up collecting small amounts of dust mites and bacteria over time. If your asthma or allergies begin acting up all of a sudden every time you are in bed, your mattress could be the culprit. In this instance, changing your mattress is good for your health.
  4. It Looks (and Sounds) Like it’s in Bad Shape: By the end of its life, chances are your mattress looks completely old and beat up. It looks lumpy; there are tears, rips, and holes; and every time you sit or lie on it, it squeaks or makes an unpleasant noise. This is your mattresses way of telling you that it is too old. Listen to it.
  5. The Warranty Becomes Costly: If all of these things are present in your mattress you’re probably thinking “well, at least my warranty is still good,” and it might be. If your warranty is still in the non-prorated stage, go ahead and get it fixed or replaced! But, after a few years it will become prorated, and you’re going to have to pay for the repairs.

If these repairs cost about the same or more as just buying a new mattress, just bite the bullet and go mattress shopping.

Your mattress may check all 5 of these boxes or just a few of them. Regardless if it’s for your health or a good night’s rest, take it as an opportunity to invest in a quality mattress. With your new purchase, come bedtime, you’ll be excited to sleep and wake up refreshed.


Summary

The lifespan of a mattress varies from 5 years to 15 years depending on type, quality of materials, and care. You can extend the life of your mattress, but eventually, you will have to replace it. Put your sleep quality first when deciding whether to prolong your mattresses life or find a new bed.


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