Is your mattress too old? Here’s how often to replace it

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The average mattress lasts somewhere between six to 10 years -- but many folks can and do keep them longer due to their cost. Truth is, there's no single way to tell for how long every mattress will actually last. Plenty of factors play into that fluctuating number of years, including the type of mattress, the quality of its materials and how well you take care of it.

Below, we explain how often to replace your own mattress and how to shop for longevity, plus a few ways to extend the life of the bed you already have.

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Different mattresses have different levels of durability 

Memory foam

If you take good care of your memory foam mattress, and it's routinely rotated (when recommended), it could stay with you a nice, long while. A memory foam mattress made of quality materials with a thick, supportive density can last for up to 10 or 15 years.

Innerspring

Innerspring mattresses usually last from five and a half years to 10 years. But they can last even longer than that if they're cared for, kept clean and, if flippable, turned over regularly.

Hybrid

These mattresses combine foam and innerspring coils, providing a nice level of durability if their  coil system and base foam materials are of a high quality.

They're known to last from six to seven and a half years on average, although they can last longer if treated well. 

Latex 

Latex beds tend to be long-lasting, which helps customers to accept their frequently higher price tags. They can be even more durable if you purchase the natural or organic latex variety. While they can last as few as eight years, they often come with lengthy warranties of up to 25 years. 

Airbeds

These beds come with customizable air chambers, made to adjust for personal comfort either all over as one or separately on both sides.

Some even come with handy remote controls for this purpose. While they're pricier than other options, they are also known for their quality materials and durability, lasting on average a minimum of eight years. Their biggest downside with these is their occasional equipment breakdown, which can be expensive to repair. 

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Other factors can make your mattress last longer (or not)

Materials

As would be expected, longer-lasting mattresses tend to consist of higher quality materials in general.

Lower quality beds often allow for earlier sagging and long-lasting body impressions as well as drooping edges. They may also more quickly lose their supportiveness and develop premature softening all over.  Poor quality all-foam mattresses and cheap innersprings are frequently the least durable for these reasons, while hybrids made with premium materials and latex beds usually last longer.

And while you may be able to score an airbed for a low price, the likelihood of equipment malfunction goes hand in hand with cheaper models.

Foam densities and coil gauges

If you want your mattress to last as long as possible, shop for mattresses with higher, sturdier foam densities when looking at memory foam beds, and thicker coils when browsing for hybrids and innersprings. Measured as pounds per cubic foot, or PCF, a good foam density for memory foam is at least 5 PCF, while for polyfoam it would be around 1.7 PCF at a minimum. For longevity, the right coils on an innerspring or hybrid would be on the thicker range of coil gauge, being at or near a 13-gauge, as these are more durable and firm.

When it comes to latex, go for the all-natural models rather than synthetic.

When to replace your mattress 

Regardless of how long you've had your mattress, there are some signs that can help you decide when it needs replacing. These include:

  • You've started to regularly have trouble sleeping for no other identifiable reason
  • Your mattress has begun to show visible sagging or damage, especially in the middle or corners
  • It has become asymmetrical in its shape, with possible lumps and bumps throughout
  • When you wake up, you feel pain, soreness or stiffness in the joints or muscles
  • Imprints of your body linger indefinitely in the memory foam
  • You experience an increase in the number of days you suffer from allergies or asthma
  • Your mattress feels either harder or softer than when it was purchased
  • You start to realize you sleep better at other people's homes or in hotels
  • You can't fall asleep on your mattress anymore, or it takes much longer than usual
  • The mattress is starting to get noisier (for example, you can hear springs squeaking when you turn over on it)
  • It has noticeably frayed edges
  • You start to feel your partner moving more and more as your bed loses its ability to reduce motion transfer

Read more: 9 signs it's time to replace your mattress

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How to extend the life of your current mattress

While it's inevitable that your mattress will eventually need replacing, there are things you can do to extend its life right now so you can hold off on that major purchase a little longer.

Up the mattress maintenance

Make sure you take good care of your mattress if you want to keep its quality for as long as possible. This means you must clean your mattress regularly and rotate it every few months (three to six is about average).

If it's flippable, flip it as directed (usually once every six to 12 months), too. Consider a professional cleaning once a year, if it works for your budget.

Use a mattress protector 

Keep spills, dust and dirt from damaging your mattress by covering it with a great mattress protector. Many of these will extend the life of your mattress while making it cushion-y soft and cozy at the same time.

Look for fun features like cooling properties in your mattress protector if you'd benefit from them.

Carry it properly

If you need to move your mattress around, be sure to do it properly. Lift the bed from the bottom, rather than by the straps, and keep the bed straight as you move it between rooms. Never tie it to the hood of your vehicle to transport it from one home to another -- it's risky for both your car and the mattress.

Match it with the proper base

Support your mattress by pairing it with the proper foundation, base or box spring. Do a bit of research to find out what works best with your mattress, and definitely consider the foundations made by the same brand.

Sometimes these are the best possible options because they're made to go together, even though they may cost a bit more. 

Let the sunshine in

Air and sunlight can be a masterful combination for freshening up your mattress, increasing ventilation, brightening up dull white fabric and eliminating any moisture that's beginning to collect. Strip your bed of its sheets and bedding on occasion, then open up the windows and let the sun and fresh air in. Let it sit this way as long as possible during the day. 

Limit jumping and critter time

If you have littles in your household, give them a trampoline and make it clear that's where the jumping happens -- not on the mattresses.

Similarly, animals are great sleeping companions, but their claws, playful chewing and dirty paws aren't great for keeping a mattress in good condition.

Consider buying or making them their own beds.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice.

Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.