Just like everything else, mattresses eventually wear out:
- They get saggy.
- Their springs lose tension.
- Their foams get old and stiff.
What’s worse, without proper maintenance, mattresses can become full of pollen, dust, dead skin cells, and other things that can exacerbate allergies. So at some point, you’ll have to replace your old mattress.
The main determining factor of how often you have to replace your mattress is its construction. Some materials and structures last longer than others. Below, we’ll talk about how long you can expect each material to last. We’ll also talk about some things you can do to increase your mattress’ lifespan.
Innerspring mattresses are generally the least durable type of mattress. Innersprings can have pocketed coils, but most of the time, they have open coil support cores. This means that the coils of an innerspring mattress are wired together rather than being individually wrapped in foam or fabric.
Open coil support layers tend to wear out fast. They can start to sag after just a few years of use because the coils lose tension. Coils may also become detached from the network and tear your mattress. For these reasons, you can expect innerspring mattresses to last anywhere from 6 to 10 years, depending on their materials and construction quality.
Hybrid durability is variable, depending on a few different factors. All hybrid mattresses have pocketed coils. But coil count (the number of coils in the mattress) and coil gauge (the thickness of individual coils) both have an impact on durability. Higher coil counts and lower gauges tend to be more durable.
The foam in a hybrid’s comfort layer can also impact its longevity. Latex foam is more durable than memory foam. Hybrids with transition foam and base foam layers may also be more durable because these layers protect the coils and help fight sagging. That means you can expect a quality hybrid to last between 10 and 20 years.
All-foam mattresses are typically the most long-lasting beds because they don’t have any coils to wear out. However, memory foam wears out the fastest of the two most common bedding foams. This is likely because memory foam is synthetic, while its counterpart latex is all-natural.
Memory foam mattresses come in a wide range of qualities and price points. That means they also have a wide range of life expectancies. For example, a lower-quality memory foam mattress might only last 8 to 10 years. A higher-quality one can last between 15 and 25 years.
Of all the mattress types, latex is the most durable. Latex is made by whipping rubber tree sap into a stable, springy foam. There are two types of natural latex: Dunlop and Talalay. Dunlop is denser and more durable than Talalay.
So if you want the longest-lasting mattress possible, Dunlop latex is for you. A well-maintained, high-quality Dunlop latex mattress can easily last more than 20 years. In fact, some people have made their latex mattresses last twice that long.
The Consequences of Not Replacing Old Mattresses
We know the price of a new mattress can be steep, but the cost of sleeping on an old mattress can be even steeper.
Sagging, lumps, soft spots, and other issues with your old mattress can interrupt your sleep by reducing your comfort. The negative impacts of missing out on a good night’s sleep can’t be overstated.
They include weight gain, anxiety, depression, heart disease, cognitive impairment, and more. Needless to say, if your mattress is interrupting your sleep, you need to get a new one before you start experiencing these or other symptoms.
Sleeping on a saggy and unsupportive mattress can cause you all kinds of aches and pains. Back pain is among the most common issues caused by an old mattress. One of a mattress’ main jobs is to keep your spine in neutral alignment. Aged and sagging mattresses can’t do this. Lack of support can cause severe pain and even injury.
As mattresses age, they become full of dirt, dust mites, pollen, bed bugs, and other allergens. An aging mattress also loses its ability to resist mold, mildew, and bacterial growth. Other pests like roaches may be attracted to the spills and odors on an older mattress as well. These pests may crawl into an older bed when you’re not around, bringing their germs and filth with them.
Old mattresses can stink in more than just a figurative sense. All the yucky things that grow in an older mattress, like mildew and bacteria, produce their own equally disagreeable smells. Not to mention the odor that comes from the buildup of sweat, body oil, and skin cells.
Aging mattresses are one of those things that you can’t just learn to live with. There are too many negative consequences if you hold onto an old mattress. From pain to interrupted sleep to allergy symptoms, you can suffer a lot by skimping out on purchasing a new mattress.
If budget is keeping you from shopping for mattresses, take a look at memory foam or innerspring mattresses. It is quite possible to get both these mattress types for a very reasonable price. In fact, for as little as a few hundred dollars, you could have a quality new memory foam or spring mattress that will last years to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
Often, your body will tell you that you need a new mattress. Are you sleeping on an older mattress? Have you started experiencing allergies, interrupted sleep, or pain? Do you wake up feeling unrested? You may need a new mattress.
Other signs you may need a new mattress include:
- Noisy and squeaky coils
- Sagging and soft spots
- Foul odors
- Rips and other damage
How long your mattress lasts depends not just on its material but how well you care for it. Proper mattress maintenance can add years to your mattress’ life expectancy.
One of the best things you can do for your mattress is to get a mattress protector. Protectors defend your mattress against stains, moisture, pests, and dirt. You can also wash your mattress protector just like you would sheets and pillows. This reduces your need to clean your mattress.
The other mattress maintenance action item is flipping and/or rotating. To flip your mattress, turn it over so that the bottom becomes the top. Also, make sure you rotate it so that the side at the footboard goes to the headboard and vice versa. Many mattresses have layers of foam and coils that mean they cannot be flipped. But you still need to rotate these at least twice a year.
Manufacturers usually give you a reasonable estimate of how long they expect their mattresses to last in their warranty agreements. For example, if a mattress maker offers a 20-year warranty, then they expect their mattress’ lifespan will be 20 years.
Keep in mind, the warranty’s indication of life expectancy is based on ideal circumstances. If you’re eating in bed, allowing kids to jump on the bed, failing to use a mattress protector, etc., your mattress will likely not last as long as the warranty indicates.
If you’re shopping on a budget, used mattresses can feel like the solution to your problems. However, a used mattress is usually not a good idea. Used mattresses already come with a lot of the problems your old mattress has. They may be saggy or more aged than they look. They also can come infested with mold or pests.
The best thing to do if you’re shopping on a budget is to look at value mattresses. There are now plenty of high-quality mattresses online that come at a reasonable price. A new value mattress is a safer bet than a used mattress.
Mattress toppers or mattress pads are no replacement for a new mattress. A mattress topper is a way for you to change the firmness or feel of your mattress without buying a new mattress. For example, you could soften a medium-firm mattress with a plush mattress topper.
However, mattress toppers are not made to fix a saggy mattress. They’ll just sag right with it. If you have absolutely no money for a new mattress, you might be able to lay some pillows underneath a mattress topper to reduce sag and even out your sleeping surface. But this is a temporary band-aid at best.