How Long do Memory Foam Mattresses Last? | Mattress Lifespan

Memory foam has become a popular material for mattresses since it was developed by NASA in the 1960s. The material, also known as viscoelastic, has the advantage of being soft and energy absorbent, as well as molding to the shape of the body. Anyone sleeping on a memory foam mattress is cradled as it takes on the shape of the body. It also evenly distributes the person’s weight, making for a more comfortable rest.

When weight is removed from memory foam mattresses, they return to their original shape, ready to take on the contours of the sleeper again the next night. This heavy, dense substance is one of the more popular mattress materials. It is also used to make mattress toppers that give other types of mattresses many of the benefits of memory foam. These mattresses typically last 7 to 15 years.

Many variables can affect how long a memory foam mattress lasts. When shopping for a new mattress, or when reviewing the qualities of your current mattress, watch for some specific things that help to determine its longevity. Look at the density of the foam, the support base that is built in, and the base it is placed on. Care of the mattress, such as cleaning and vacuuming, regular rotation, and the use of mattress toppers can also extend its life.

Foam Density

The denser the foam, the heavier it is. Low-density material weighs about two to four pounds per square foot, while high-density foam is generally over five-and-a-half pounds per square foot. Medium-density material falls somewhere in between. Items of different densities look, feel, and behave differently.

High-density foam has cells that are packed together tightly, while the cells are packed more loosely in the lower-density version. Typically foam mattresses of higher density are better able to support the weight of those sleeping on them, resulting in mattresses that have a longer lifespan. However, high-density material is not the best for many people when it comes to comfort, due to its viscosity.

Viscosity refers to how much the material moves to adjust its shape. High-density foam has a higher viscosity, so it moves less under a person’s weight than lower density material would for a person of the same weight. That makes the high-density bed feel stiffer, and for many people, it’s not as comfortable as one of a lower density.

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Internal Support

How long a mattress will last also has to do with how it is made. Typically, the memory foam sits on top of a core of regular foam, which provides a base and cushioning. The better the base, the longer the mattress will last. The weight of the internal support should be at least two pounds per cubic foot. Any less than that and the base is likely to break down too rapidly, reducing the lifespan of mattresses.

External Support

The base mattresses sit on can have a significant impact on how long they will last. A base that is uneven in any way, such as one with broken or missing slats, will cause a mattress to sink at those locations. A memory foam mattress requires an even, solid base. Many manufacturers will not honor the warranty if they discover that it has been placed on a broken or uneven base.

Keeping it Clean

It’s possible to extend the lifetime of a mattress by taking proper care of it. A little bit of routine care can go a long way toward keeping it in good condition and usable years beyond when it might otherwise have become unusable. An important part of care is to keep it clean.

One essential thing to do is to vacuum mattresses on a regular basis. This helps to get rid of dust, flaked skin, dust mites, and any other debris that might be on them. What this does is to remove contaminants that might otherwise interfere with its usefulness, keeping the bed clean and fresh.

Any spills that get on mattresses should be cleaned up immediately, to help to eliminate staining and liquids that can cause odors if left on the bed. Blot up any liquids, then clean according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

One good way to preserve mattresses in good shape is to encase them in a good-quality mattress protector. This will keep out dust, dust mites, and prevent spills from reaching the bed. It’s best to put the cover on when mattresses are new, but it will help to put mattresses into a protective cover at any point. Clean the bed first, then put on the cover.

Rotating Mattresses

Rotating mattresses adds to their lifespan by changing what areas are under the most stress. Flip it so that the place that has been slept on the most is on the underside. What this will do is to give the most-used part of the bed a rest and put another area into use. This is an effective means of preventing low spots from forming.

Using a Mattress Topper

What toppers do for mattresses is to provide an additional surface to take the weight of the person sleeping there. It also provides a barrier to protect the main mattress from exposure to skin cells, spills, and dust. Many mattresses have warranties that specify the use of toppers for the warranty to be valid.

How to Spot a Mattress that Needs Replacing

It can be hard to know whether mattresses need to be replaced or not. This helpful video describes some of the things to check for, along with providing helpful statistics that show just how much a bed has been exposed to over its lifespan.

The video describes how mattresses typically absorb about 80 gallons of moisture over a period of seven years, how a pound of dead skin is left on the mattress each year, and how a sleeper may wake with aches and pains if the mattress is no good. See it here:

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More Information

Although there is no hard and fast rule regarding how long memory foam mattresses last, in general, they should have a lifespan of at least seven years. In addition, there are things the owner can do to extend the bed’s life, such as keeping it clean and rotated. When properly installed and cared for, a memory foam mattress should last a decade or more.

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