White Plains Hospital, in the northern suburbs of New York City, had a problem. More and more patients were complaining about the comfort of their mattresses.
Worse, pressure ulcers from hard mattresses were increasing. Turned out the mattresses were past their usable lifespan. Plus, an inventory found that 71 percent of the mattresses were defective in some way, either torn, stained, or dented.
It was time to buy new mattresses.
But instead of replacing the mattresses a few at a time, the nurses at White Plains Hospital decided on something more drastic — replacing all 275 of the hospital’s beds in two days.
How big of a difference would new mattresses make? A very big one. Pressure ulcers dropped 67%, and patient complaints by one-half.
The nurses at White Plains Hospital made this change to help their patients. But they also proved a point to the rest of us. Replacing an old mattress can make a big difference.
Don’t Wait for a Breakup to Replace Your Mattress
Unfortunately, people usually replace their mattresses only when they’re forced to. For instance:
- They move out of their parents’ or the dorms to their own place.
- They move cross-country and hauling a mattress doesn’t make sense.
- They go from a situation where they were sharing a bed with someone to a situation where they need their own.
Yes, breakups are a big reason why people suddenly find themselves needing a new mattress. But don’t wait until a big life change to replace your mattress. Aim to get a new mattress roughly every 7 to 8 years depending on the mattress type (or sooner if you notice a major reduction in comfort).
How Do You Know When It’s Time to Replace Your Mattress?
The best advice on when to replace a mattress is also common sense advice: If you’re uncomfortable, think about switching.
When that will happen is hard to pin down. The “good by” date of a mattress depends on who is using it. Your weight, how much you move when you sleep, the climate where you live — all of these could affect how long your mattress stays comfortable. Do you find it impossible to resist using your mattress as a trampoline? Then, yeah, your mattress might deteriorate faster.
How Mattresses Age
The aging process of a mattress depends on the type of mattress you buy and how the mattress is manufactured.
How Long Does a Futon Last?
A futon is a mattress type that originated in Japan. It can be placed directly on the floor, or on a wood or metal frame.
A futon can last ten years or more. But the cotton material within will compress over time, making the futon harder.
If you’re looking for a very plush sleeping situation you probably aren’t going for a futon anyway, but you may find over time that the futon becomes overly firm. That’s when it’s time to buy a new mattress.
How Long Does an Air Mattress Last?
The air mattress is completely unique, because you replace the “filler” every night. As long as there’s air, you have fresh new cushioning every time you lay down your head. (And if you don’t have air you have bigger things to worry about.)
The life span of an air mattress varies wildly depending on how you treat it. Putting excess weight on an air mattress, moving around a lot while you sleep, or getting close to sharp objects could drastically reduce its lifespan.
No matter how careful you are, holes and deterioration in the seams are inevitable. At some point, you’ll have to patch the mattress to repair this. Air mattresses can also be prone to mold. If you find yourself repairing leaks a lot, or your air mattress has a funky smell, it’s time to buy a new mattress.
How Long Does an Innerspring Mattress Last?
The innerspring mattress was invented in the 1870s. As far as we know, there’s no Rip Van Winkle still sleeping on one of the first models.
An innerspring mattress should last about ten years. But that depends on how you treat it, and the quality of the construction of the mattress.
The springs are the key. Higher-quality mattresses have thick coils using materials that are less likely to deteriorate. In theory, a more expensive mattress should use higher-quality coils, but not every mattress company is forthcoming about the materials they use.
No matter how strong the coils are, they will break down faster if they are absorbing a lot of weight or unnecessary stress. (Kids! No jumping on the bed!) If you start to sink into your innerspring bed, that’s a sign that the coils are failing and it’s time to buy a new mattress.
How Long Does a Hybrid Mattress Last?
A hybrid mattress is an innerspring mattress with a top comfort layer made out of more modern material like gel or memory foam.
The coils that provide the main body of the mattress should last about ten years. The comfort layer should be designed to last just as long, but the material may get less comfortable over time. If you notice lumps or sagging in the comfort material, it’s time to buy a new mattress.
How Long Does a Waterbed Mattress Last?
A waterbed mattress is basically just a plastic container for water, the same way that an air mattress is a plastic conditioner for air. Both types of mattresses require maintenance.
If you care for it properly, a waterbed mattress should last 10-20 years. That care is key, however. You need to buy something called “waterbed conditioner” to treat the water in the bed. Otherwise, microbes or minerals in the water can break down the vinyl mattress.
You also will likely need to patch the occasional leak. If your waterbed starts to develop frequent leaks, it’s time to buy a new mattress.
How Long Does a Memory Foam Mattress Last?
A memory foam mattress is made from material developed by NASA in the 1970s. So if anyone tells you they’ve had their memory foam mattress for more than 50 years, that’s not even possible!
A memory foam mattress should last 8-10 years. The lifespan of a memory foam mattress depends on the density of the foam, and the weight of the person sleeping on it. Lower-density foam mattresses are less expensive, but also more prone to sagging.
Memory foam should conform to your body, then bounce back after you are done sleeping. If the material loses it’s memory and stops bouncing back, it’s time to buy a new mattress.
How Long Does a Latex Mattress Last?
Latex mattresses are made from a variety of different materials, with different manufacturing processes. Some latex mattresses are made from all-natural materials, while others are made from synthetic latex.
So the lifespan of a latex mattress depends heavily on which latex mattress you buy. Some manufacturers offer warranties as long as 25 years, but check the fine print — by year 25, you may not get full price for a defective mattress, just a discount towards a new one.
How Long Does a Purple Mattress Last?
The materials in the Purple mattress are based on more than 20 years of research and development. Our patented Hyper-Elastic Polymer™ material is top-notch, made from food- and food-contact-grade ingredients and CertiPUR-US® Certified.
We proudly offer a 10-year full-replacement-cost warranty on our mattress. You can rest easy knowing that if your mattress should slump or break, we’ll repair it or replace it free of charge.
You may be able to get 0% APR financing for your mattress. And, because we want to make sure you love your mattress, we make shipping free and offer a no-risk, 100-day trial.
How Do You Make a Mattress Last Longer?
Believe it or not, a little maintenance and care can go a long way toward keeping a mattress in good shape and extending its life expectancy.
Buy a Mattress Protector – One of the simplest ways to protect a mattress and increase its longevity is by using a mattress protector. It just adds an additional layer of protection between your mattress and the outside world. A mattress cover does more than protect your mattress from spills and wear and tear. It also prevents bacteria, dust mites, and sweat from reaching the mattress. And if an accident does happen (whether it’s a naughty pet that revenge-peed on your pillow or a late-night ice cream binge that was a bit messier than anticipated), you’ll be really happy when all you have to do is throw your sheets and mattress protector into the washing machine rather than pay for time-consuming and costly deep-cleaning options.
No Jumping on the Bed – You know what they say: Mother knows best. She wasn’t trying to ruin your childhood fun when she told you not to jump on the bed. As tempting as it might be, jumping on your mattress causes coils, springs, foam, and other materials to break down more quickly. Leave the jumping to trampolines (they’re more fun to jump on anyway).
Spot Clean Regularly – Add mattress cleaning to your quarterly chore list. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated. Even just running a vacuum over it and spot-treating stains with soap and water can go a long way toward keeping your mattress fresh and clean.
Wash Bed Sheets Regularly – When you think about it, our bed sheets are really the first defense our mattress has against the outside world. Which means bed sheets are the first thing to soak up sweat, body oils, hair, bacteria and spills. Cleaning experts recommend washing bed sheets and your mattress pad every one to two weeks.
Get Proper Support – While a quality mattress may not require a box spring, it still needs to be supported. Invest in a solid bed frame designed to support the weight of the mattress and the people sleeping on it. If you start to notice your mattress sagging, it’s time to get a new frame. A well-supported mattress also leads to a well-supported back, so you can thank us when you’re not regularly waking up with random aches and pains.
Rotate Regularly – Not all mattresses need to be rotated, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be. Much like the tire rotations, we do to maintain our cars, rotating your mattress every six months or so ensures that you’re wearing it out evenly and prevents the mattress from getting depressions and soft spots.
Your Old Mattress Could Be Hurting You
Whether or not your mattress has reached the lifespan mentioned above, any type of pain you feel should serve as a hint that it’s time to get a new mattress. It might make you feel better. Knowing how to get rid of your old mattress can make the transition easier.
An Oklahoma State University study of 62 people found significant sleep improvement after replacing old mattresses.
- Reduced back pain (62.8%)
- Reduced shoulder pain (62.4%)
- Reduced back stiffness (58.4%)
- Improved sleep quality (64.4%)
- Improved sleep comfort (69.9%)
Don’t wait for a specific date to replace your mattress — good sleep is too important to wait for.