Even with a proper box spring or a bed frame, your mattress will reach an expiration date. This is because a mattress is made of foam or coils and will, after consistent weight being applied, break down or cave in. Luckily, there are steps to help improve a mattress’ lifespan and keep it performing at its best.
In this post, we cover the life expectancy of mattresses broken down by type and give you warning signs to look out for and tips to help keep your mattress in good condition.
Life Expectancy of a Mattress
A good mattress can last between 7 to 10 years, possibly longer if properly cared for. Other factors can determine the lifespan of a mattress, like how often it’s used and the amount of weight applied to it. After several years, it may be a good idea to take a long, hard look at your current mattress and decide if it’s time to buy a new one. If your mattress is causing you pain, or you have trouble finding a comfortable spot, it’s time.
Types of Mattresses
Mattresses contain different materials; each has its own deadline. While a good mattress can last up to 10 years, this number varies depending on the type of mattress you have. Some materials last longer than others, while some have a greater risk of breaking down sooner. Below we list each mattress type and their average lifespan.
A memory foam mattress tends to last up to 10 to 15 years. Foam density helps determine how long a memory foam mattress will last. Low-density foam is less durable and more likely to disintegrate sooner than high-density foam. Look for mattresses that have higher-density foam near the top of the mattress, as that is where most of the weight is absorbed.
It’s time to replace a memory foam mattress when the indents are 1 to 2 inches deep and body indentations don’t disappear.
An innerspring mattress tends to last up to 8 years. Innerspring mattresses contain a comfort layer of material, sometimes foam, sometimes just filling, and a steel or titanium coil support core. Durability is determined by the coil’s gauge, or thickness— the higher the number, the thicker the coil.
Thinner coils can result in poor support and risk sagging. It’s time to get rid of an innerspring mattress when there’s sagging greater than 1 inch, the sleep surface is lumpy, or if you can feel coils poking through when you lie down.
A hybrid mattress usually has a shorter lifespan, typically lasting around 6 to 7 years. A hybrid mattress consists of memory foam or latex comfort layers with pocket coils in the base for support. Hybrids try to combine the best of memory foam and innerspring into one perfect mattress without the respective downsides of either type.
The same rules of innersprings also apply to hybrids— avoid low-density foam and coils with a low-gauge rating. It’s time to toss out a hybrid mattress when body indentations don’t recover and there’s a sag deeper than 1 inch.
A latex mattress usually has a long life expectancy, keeping its shape up to 15 years. Latex foam is derived from the sap of rubber trees. Both all-natural and synthetic varieties are available. Synthetic latex, while cheaper than natural latex, will wear out faster.
A latex mattress may not be for everyone because of its firm feel. It’s time to replace a latex mattress when body indentations don’t fade and sagging is greater than 1 inch.
Though there is more maintenance involved, a waterbed can last up to 7 to 10 years. Waterbeds consist of a square-like, vinyl bag filled with water. Customers can purchase waterbeds with a specific range of motion. Some come with full-wave motion, others with partial wave motion, and then a few come with no water motion. Waterbeds face the risk of leaking from the vinyl container. It’s time to replace when leaks start to accumulate.
There is a significant variation in air mattresses, but generally, they last up to 3 to 8 years. An air mattress doesn’t necessarily refer to a typical blow-up mattress. It can consist of a single or multiple air chambers that provide comfort and support. While airbeds don’t come with the risk of materials breaking down, their mechanical features are more likely to malfunction and require repairs and part replacements.
Airbeds may also sag if they include comfort layers. Should sagging occur or if the cost to repair a mechanical part is too high, it’s time to replace that air mattress.
What Affects Lifespan
“Lifespan” refers to the duration in which a mattress can retain its original support and comfort. A quality mattress should have a lifespan of between 7 to 10 years. A mattress’ lifespan can be affected by how often it’s used, the amount of body weight applied to it, and how it’s maintained.
We all have those mornings where we wish we could lounge in bed all day, but the constant pressure can wear down on your mattress. After constant use, wear and tear can start to show over time. Guest beds are the exception since they aren’t consistently used and last longer.
If a mattress has a life expectancy of 10 years based on eight hours of sleep, obviously the life expectancy goes down as the average amount of use goes up.
Increased pressure shortens the lifespan of a mattress. In contrast, less weight and less pressure results in a longer lifespan. Before purchasing a new mattress, consider your body weight and the bodyweight of your sleep partner.
Those with heavier body types may need a thicker mattress. More material provides better comfort and support. If a person who weighs more than 230lbs. were to purchase a mattress thinner than 10 inches, they’d experience deep sagging with little to no support.
It may seem like there’s little you can do for your mattress. It isn’t like a care that needs an oil change every two-thousand miles
But there are two simple things you can do to help keep your mattress in good shape.
First, put your mattress on a warranty-protecting, sturdy foundation. Sometimes people buy a new mattress and put it on an old box spring. The problem is old box springs usually offer minimal support to your mattress and this can lead to sagging issues.
Second, cover your mattress in a waterproof mattress protector. You may think if you don’t drink in bed or have any incontinence issues, you won’t need a mattress protector. But the truth is sweat also seeps into an unprotected mattress, along with dust mites and other allergens. Keep your bed clean by using a protector.
The length of the warranty coverage doesn’t necessarily determine a mattress’ lifespan, but it gives you an idea of how long the company expects their mattress to last. Most mattresses come with a standard 10-year warranty. Always read the fine print before purchasing a mattress. Know what to expect from a manufacturer and what the manufacturer can expect from you.
Defects covered by the warranty vary depending on the type of mattress. Typically, a warranty will list justifiable defects versus non-justifiable defects.
- ½ to 1 ½ inch sagging
- Manufacturer flaws that may cause damage to the product
- Protruding coils and wires
- Sagging measurements outside of what’s considered defective
- Repair or replacements based on the owner’s personal preferences
- Damages from misuse or lack of care
- Bed bugs, mold, and mildew
Repairs and Replacements
Every warranty includes a guarantee that the manufacturer will replace or repair a defective mattress. For each repair and/or replacement, owners may have to cover the following charges:
- Shipping and transportation costs
- Inspection fees
- Upgrade cost if replacing the old model with new, updated one
Prorated vs. Non-Prorated
“Prorated” refers to a division of cost, meaning after a certain time period, customers will need to pay a certain amount should a defect occur or a repair be needed, while the company will cover the rest. A non-prorated warranty means that the company will repair or replace the mattress at no extra cost to the customer.
Make It Last
By adding bedding accessories like a mattress protector and topper, and cultivating good sleep habits, like keeping pets out of the bedroom, you can improve the lifespan of your mattress. Improper care could void your warranty.
Mattress protectors shield beds from spills and stains. Many include protection against dust mites, bacteria, and bed bugs. While many beds come with a mattress cover, it may not be enough protection. Invest in an encasement, which covers all sides of the mattress. Most are machine-washable, and it’s easier to wash a mattress protector than it is to replace a mattress.
Mattress toppers provide an extra-plush comfort layer for users who feel their mattress is too firm or unsupportive. Mattress toppers also act as another barrier between the environment and your mattress. They keep dead skin cells and bodily fluids away from the mattress, with more wear on the topper instead of the bed, but they are not a substitute for a good protector or encasement.
By flipping and rotating your mattress regularly, wear is evened out and reduces the risk of sagging. Many newer mattress models don’t require flipping or rotation because of their one-sided construction. If you own a flippable mattress, it’s best to flip and/or rotate it every six months.
Signs It’s Time For a New Mattress
As much as you want your mattress to last, at some point, it will reach its expiration date. Know the warning signs that you’re due for a new mattress, and avoid putting up with the same discomfort each night.
Sagging may happen if you favor a specific side or area of the mattress. It can occur in any type of bed except waterbeds. Sagging can disrupt sleep and cause sleepers to wake with aches and pains in the morning. Using mattress toppers and rotating the mattress are only temporary solutions.
If you wake up with back pain or feel discomfort when lying down, your mattress could be the cause. If you experience back pain, see if the pain occurs in the same area and if it happens after using the bed— if the pain goes away after getting up and stretching, it’s probably time to replace your mattress.
Bed Bugs & Dust Mites
Without the protection of a mattress protector, dust mites and other allergens can accumulate inside your mattress over time, even with proper cleaning and care. Bed bugs can happen at any time, and are extremely hard to remove. If you’ve tried DIY methods for getting rid of the infestation and it doesn’t seem to be going away, it’s time for a new mattress.
Non-Removable Stains and Smells
Over time, stains can pile up. A regularly used mattress may aggravate allergies and accumulate bacteria or other debris. You know it’s time to replace your mattress if the stains and smells linger despite regular cleaning.
New Noises and Uneven Surface
If you start to hear new sounds when lying down on your mattress, like grinding metal and loud squeaking, it may be time for a new bed. These types of sounds usually signal that the mattress’ materials are starting to break down. Another warning sign is if you can feel the springs or the surface is lumpy.
More Than 7 Years Old
After 7 years have passed since your last purchased a mattress, take the time to evaluate its current comfort level and support. If you find yourself with more sleep disruptions due to pain or sleep better in other beds, it’s time for a new mattress. Guest beds are an exception to this rule, since they’re not used as often and can last longer.
Make the Switch to a New Mattress
After tossing that old mattress, it’s time to find a top mattress you can rely on. Remember: mattresses don’t last forever— materials break down and mattresses wear out over time. If you constantly wake up with pain, it could be your mattress.