If your mattress is old enough to be considered a legal adult, it's probably time to replace it. Much like those cushions on your favorite couch or chair, a mattress wears out over time, offering less support the more it wears. While there's no single "expiration date" that applies to all types of mattresses, it's time to start thinking about a new mattress after about seven years.
General Mattress Longevity
The average mattress, under typical nightly use, lasts eight to 10 years. A mattress of sub-par quality may not last as long, nor will a mattress subjected to abuse such as kids or dogs jumping on it on a regular basis. Some mattress types, such as high-end latex varieties, may last even longer, thanks to layers that can be replaced.
Innerspring Mattress Matters
The classic innerspring mattress has an added advantage over many modern pillowtop mattresses when it comes to longevity: it can be flipped to extend its useful life. Mattress manufacturers even recommend flipping and rotating that mattress to promote even wear. Rotate your innerspring mattress every three months, or with the change of each season. Flip it at least once a year. Flip the mattress from head to foot at least twice a year for the most even wear. The typical innerspring mattress can last seven to ten years when rotated and flipped regularly.
Innerspring mattresses with pillow tops tend to be more comfortable at first, thanks to that extra cushy layer on top. But when it comes to longevity, they're not quite as good as the innerspring-only mattress. That extra cushioning tends to lose its supportive properties within five years—sometimes even sooner, according to compilations of customer reviews.
Memory Foam Mattress Longevity
Memory-foam mattresses may last a bit longer than an innerspring mattress, if cared for according to manufacturer's directions. The highest quality versions last 10 to 15 years. As with innerspring mattresses, a memory foam mattress should be rotated every three months. Most memory foam mattresses are not meant to be flipped, as they're built with the layers designed to support the body positioned on top.
Latex Mattress Longevity
A natural latex mattress lasts 8 to 10 years, similar to an innerspring mattress. Not all latex mattresses are created equally, however. Some that are partially synthetic might last about six years. Some companies claim their mattress can last even longer, offering 20-year warranties. SavvyRest, which makes organic latex-and-cotton mattresses, offers full replacement and repair coverage for up to 10 years for any portions of a mattress deemed defective. This company also offers an additional 10 years on its warranty, prorating the cost of specific replacement or repair issues. Whether you purchase a latex mattress or another variety, read the warranty terms ahead of time to help make the best choice.
Time to Replace That Mattress
As with any other item in your home, a mattress may wear out prematurely or last far longer than expected, depending on how and how often it is used. For instance, a mattress used only occasionally in a guest bedroom should stay in good, usable condition far longer than a similar mattress used every single night. A few simple signs help you know when it's finally time to ditch that mattress.
- It sags. If you feel more like you're sleeping in a hammock or if you roll into a pit in the center of the bed every time you lie down, your mattress needs to be replaced. Your box spring could be part of the problem if it has broken slats, so replace them both together.
- You wake up achy every morning. If restful sleep seems like an oxymoron, your mattress could be the culprit. A mattress in good condition should provide sufficient support for proper spine alignment as you sleep. A mattress that's lumpy or worn out in some areas could contribute to aches and pains, particularly in your back. If you feel better after sleeping on a different bed, then awful after sleeping on your own, it is time to replace your mattress.
- It's falling apart. If your mattress is ripped, torn or seems to be coming apart at the seams, it's time to start shopping for a replacement. If you own an innerspring mattress and can feel springs poking you in any area of the bed, replace that mattress or at least remember to flip it over and rotate it regularly.
- Allergy-like symptoms get worse. If you sneeze or have an asthma-like attack whenever you get into bed, the mattress may be to blame. Vacuum the actual mattress whenever you change the bedding, if you have allergies or asthma. Be sure to clean the bed frame and areas under or around the bed, too. If your mattress is old, dust mites, and other matter may be built up inside that mattress. Replace it.
- The Better Sleep Council: When to Say "So Long" to Your Mattress
- Casper: How Often Should I Replace My Mattress?
- Better Homes and Gardens: You're Probably Not Rotating Your Mattress Often Enough
- The Sleep Help Institute: Latex Mattress Reviews
- Ghostbed: The Benefits and 4-Step Process to Rotating Your Mattress
- Savvy Rest: 20-Year Limited Warranty
- Sleep Like the Dead: The Truth About Pillow Top Mattresses
Kathy Adams is an award-winning writer. She is an avid DIYer that is equally at home repurposing random objects into new, useful creations as she is at supporting community gardening efforts and writing about healthy alternatives to household chemicals. She's written numerous DIY articles for paint and decor companies, as well as for Black + Decker, Hunker, SFGate, Landlordology and others.