How often should you change your mattress?

How often should you change your mattress? Make sure your bed stays supportive, comfortable and hygienic with our guide

How often should you change your mattress – Bedroom with bed base and mattress
(Image credit: Loaf)

Asking the question how often should you change your mattress so a bed remains comfortable and clean? 

Good quality sleep is vitally important to heath and wellbeing and the best mattress is an important factor in getting the best shut-eye possible. Leave it too long before the mattress is changed and poor nights as well as aches and pains could be the result.

But it’s also important in order to reduce the symptoms of asthma and allergies. However well you clean a mattress allergens accumulate in an old mattress. To avoid these issues, too, our guide answers the question how often should you change your mattress.

How often should you change your mattress?

There isn’t a single answer to the question how often should you change a mattress. The reason is that how long a mattress will last depends on factors including the type and quality, whether you cared for it as the manufacturer recommended, how much you use it for reading, watching TV and so on as well as sleeping, the weight of sleepers, and whether companion animals share the bed.

‘As a general rule of thumb, you should look to change your mattress every six to eight years, and certainly every 10 years,’ says Karen Yu of Zinus. ‘This isn’t set in stone – some mattresses will last longer than others, and there are variety of different factors affecting lifespan.’ These are the details.

Why should you change a mattress after seven years?

If a mattress remains comfortable, why should you think about changing it after seven years? ‘After this time a mattress has been subjected to over 20,000 hours of wear and tear,’ says The Sleep Charity. ‘We lose half a pint of fluid each night and shed a pound of dead skin cells a year,’ the experts explain.

Dust mites make a home in mattresses because they can feed on these dead skin cells, and they thrive in the warmth and high humidity. While you can’t see them, they do accumulate in an old mattress and mold and bacteria can be present, too. 

These factors can lead to allergy symptoms and trigger asthma – plus, well, it’s just not pleasant.

Which other factors influence how often to change a mattress?

The buildup of dust mites, along with mold and bacteria will lead you to want to change a mattress after seven years or so for reasons of health and hygiene. But you might want to change it sooner. These are the signs to look out for.

‘Are you sleeping worse than you used to?’ asks Karen Yu. ‘If you’re no longer as well rested as you used to be, it might be time for a new mattress.’

Feeling stiff or achey after a night’s sleep when that didn’t used to happen may mean it’s already time to change your mattress.

Sleeping better when you’re in a different bed might also start alarm bells ringing that a mattress has reached the end of its lifespan.

Sags, lumps and tears in the mattress are also signs that the time has come for a new mattress. 

Allergies or asthma symptoms have become worse. An old mattress could be the cause, or at least playing a part.

Rolling together or disturbing each other more at night if you share a mattress. Older mattresses can begin to transfer motion between sleepers when one of you changes position.

How can you tell you need a new mattress?

To decide whether you need a new mattress, first take a look at the mattress. If it’s saggy or lumpy, or it looks used or worn, a new one could be on the agenda.

Think about what it’s like to sleep on. Does it have springs that now make a noise? Does your partner’s movement during sleep now disturb your own slumber? Has it started to be uncomfortable during the night? Do you ache when you wake up in the morning? And do you have a better night’s sleep when you sleep in a different bed?

You’ll be able to tell if it’s started to smell bad, and if your allergies or asthma have got worse, you might suspect the mattress. Note that if you do replace it, or in the interim, covers are recommended. ‘Use zippered allergen-resistant or plastic covers on your pillows, mattresses and box springs,’ recommends the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. ‘These covers are very effective in controlling your contact with dust mites. Encasing mattresses works better than air cleaners to reduce allergy symptoms.’

New circumstances could also mean changing the mattress is a good idea. Changes in your weight or starting to share a bed you previously occupied alone, or pregnancy, for example, might make a new one worth considering. 

Health issues make changing a mattress something to think about. ‘Pain is often exacerbated by an uncomfortable mattress,’ points out Karen Yu.

What is the average life of a mattress?

A mattress might have an average life of between seven to 10 years. We recommend considering whether it’s time to change when it reaches seven years old – but think about it earlier if you can see or feel its quality has deteriorated.

Lifespan does depend on the material from which it’s made as well. Latex mattresses might can last into the longer side of the range so long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions on care. The lifespan of foam and innerspring (coil) mattresses tends to depend on the original quality of the mattress. A good quality hybrid mattress can also hit the longer possible duration.

‘A mattress on a guest bed that’s not slept on each night can last well (although that will also depend on quality),’ says Lucy Searle, global editor in chief of Homes & Gardens. ‘And, for your own bed, it makes a difference it you spend time reading, watching TV and working in bed rather than using it mostly just for sleeping.’

Sarah Warwick
Sarah Warwick

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor. Previously executive editor of Ideal Home, she’s specialized in interiors, property and gardens for over 20 years, and covers interior design, house design, gardens, and cleaning and organizing a home for H&G. She’s written for websites, including Houzz, Channel 4’s flagship website, 4Homes, and Future’s T3; national newspapers, including The Guardian; and magazines including Future’s Country Homes & Interiors, Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living, and Style at Home, as well as House Beautiful, Good Homes, Grand Designs, Homes & Antiques, LandLove and The English Home among others. It’s no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house renovator.