Unlike some of your other furniture, mattresses aren’t meant to last a lifetime, sadly. However, with proper care and treatment, you can ensure that your mattress lasts for a good 10 years or so and still feel somewhat comfortable by the end of it.
Follow this easy, basic advice to keep your mattress in tip-top condition for the next decade.
Flipping and Rotating
You may have heard that it’s important to turn your mattress regularly, especially if you’ve just got a new one. The reason why is because sleeping in the same place on your mattress creates dips over time, which put undue pressure in one spot and wear it down faster. A worn down mattress is not only more prone to breaking, it’s incredibly uncomfortable too.
How to Flip and How to Rotate
Flipping your mattress involves turning it over, so that the bottom (i.e. the side facing the floor) becomes the top. Rotating involves turning your mattress around so that where your feet were before are where your head now lies.
Not every mattress should be flipped – some are constructed differently on the bottom, and flipping them would completely ruin the intended effect. All mattresses benefit from rotation however, so even if your mattress tells you not to flip it, you should still be rotating.
If your mattress can be flipped, it’s best to do both at once. The easiest method is to rotate by 90 degrees, then lift the mattress up onto its long edge. Let it down flat on the other side, then rotate a further 90 degrees. By the time you’re done, the mattress should have been both flipped and rotated.
How Often to Flip and Rotate
If it’s a mattress you sleep on a lot then you should be flipping and rotating every 3 months. If it’s one that’s used less often, such as in a guest room, then once every 6 months is reasonable. It’s best to flip guest mattresses every 6 months even if they haven’t been used much because factors such as the bed base they lie on can also affect the shape of the mattress over time.
If your mattress is new, you may want to rotate and flip it more often, once a month or even once a week if your manufacturer advises. This is because a new mattress is more susceptible to settling badly. After the first 3 months you should be able to go back to a regular schedule of once every 3 months.
A Good Base
One of the biggest things affecting your mattress’s longevity is the base you put it on. A good bed frame can help your mattress last a full 10 years, and a bad one can send it to an early grave.
For spring mattresses, a box-spring bed frame can provide extra support that stops the mattress from sagging or springs getting worn down from carrying too much weight on their own.
More importantly, for double beds and larger, a central support structure is absolutely necessary to stop the mattress from sagging in the middle. Most large bed frames will come with some form of central support, such as a beam travelling down the centre. Make sure that this is sturdy and supportive, to keep your mattress going strong.
Give your mattress some extra protection with a mattress protector, preferably a water resistant one. Mattress protectors prevent the worst of the daily dirt getting through to the mattress, and of course protect it against spills of various kinds as long as you can take it off quickly before it seeps through. They’re also much easier to clean than the mattress itself when those spills do happen.
Even with a mattress protector, some elements of everyday dirt will find their way through to the mattress, which is why it’s important to give it a hoover every now and then. It doesn’t have to be part of the weekly clean, but every 3 months when you’re flipping the mattress is a great time to give it a quick once over. Use the upholstery tool and make sure to get in all the seams to hoover up the worst of it.
Clean with Baking Soda
In case stains do get through, and sadly sometimes they will, you can use baking soda and a little water to help get them out. Don’t let the mattress get wet, just sprinkle some baking soda on the relevant spot and use a very slightly damp cloth to scrub the stain away. Leave the area uncovered to fully dry before replacing bed sheets and mattress protector.
Baking soda is also a great way to get rid of smells in a mattress that might have absorbed some bad odours. Just sprinkle baking soda over the bare mattress, leave for 20-30 minutes, then take a hoover and suck up all the baking soda that’s left. It should take the worst of the smell with it, leaving you with a much sweeter night’s sleep.
Don’t Sit on the Bed
Sitting on the bed puts undue pressure on certain areas of the mattress, whether it’s sitting up in bed to read or sitting on the edge of the bed to put your socks on.
Sitting on the edge of the bed can cause it to sag and deform far too quickly, which then spreads to the rest of the mattress as the edge can’t support its own weight any more.
Sitting on the bed, even supported by the wall or headboard, concentrates all of your downward pressure in one area, rather than spreading it around like you would when lying down. Much like sitting on the edge, this pressure causes the mattress to deform quickly, and as that area breaks down, so will the rest of the bed.
Finally, it may seem obvious, but bouncing on the bed is incredibly bad for your mattress. It doesn’t just have the potential to break the bed frame, which is expensive in itself, but breaking the bed frame will remove a lot of the support the mattress relies on to maintain its shape. Also, jumping puts a lot of pressure into the landing zone, a very small spot, and much like sitting this will cause the mattress to lose shape and break down far more quickly than it should.
Don’t let your kids use their mattresses as trampolines and, even though you’re adults and can do what you want, you shouldn’t treat it like a trampoline either!