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5 ways to kill your mattress

Jacqueline Leppla | Improvement Center Columnist | September 1, 2015

Good mattresses can be expensive, ranging in price from $800 to $2,000 for a mid-priced model, according to bestmattress-brand.org. It might be comforting to know that you have a warranty, but don't rest too easily on that. The Better Sleep Council (BSC) cautions that your warranty "is not an indicator of how long the product should be used before replacement." Mattress warranties generally only provide protection from product defects and do not safeguard you from diminishing comfort over time.

If you sleep between seven and eight hours per night, you might cozy up to your mattress for more than 27,000 hours during its ten-year life. But you won't find an expiration date on any of the tags attached to your mattress because its lifespan is controlled by you, to a certain extent. The BSC suggests that "mattresses should be replaced every five to seven years," but acknowledges that most people own their mattresses for 10.2 years.

Given the investment that we make in our mattresses, it's a good idea to try to stretch their useful lives as long as possible.

But hey, if you're eager to spend thousands every couple of years on a new mattress, here's how to destroy yours:

Jump on it

If you want to minimize your mattress' life, invite your kids and their friends to use it as a trampoline. The layers of padding in innerspring mattresses may be forced into the springs, causing the bed to become lumpy and less supportive over time. Memory foam mattresses may break and tear when subjected to force. Mattresses aren't designed to absorb sharp impacts, so jump on it regularly if you are eager to replace your bed and aren't afraid of injuries.

Skip the mattress pad

Mattress pads absorb moisture and can help prevent your mattress from becoming stained. Did you know that, according to Webb & Bordson, APC, leading manufacturers often include "stain exclusion" clauses in their warranties? Allowing your mattress to become wet and stained can damage the upholstery and is an excellent way to promote mold and mildew growth in the area of your home where you spend about one-third of your time.

Let it rest

Be sure to leave your mattress in exactly the same position once it is installed in your bedroom if you want to replace your mattress on the regular. Disregard recommendations that you should rotate your mattress about every six months - what do the experts really know, after all? While many contemporary mattresses are one-sided and don't require flipping, you can be sure to maximize body impressions and ensure that your bed becomes less comfortable in the shortest amount of time if you refrain from rotating your mattress.

Invite dust and mites to linger

If you can't see them, they couldn't possibly be there! Don't waste your time using the upholstery attachment on your vacuum to clean the top and sides of your mattress, and certainly don't include your mattress in any sort of professional cleaning schedule. Allow your bed to become a source of allergy provocation and you may be able to justify replacing it far in advance of ten years' time.

Go cheap on the bed frame

Definitely skip bed frames with center support. Without a proper foundation, your mattress has a great shot at sagging. An Oklahoma State University study concludes that "The comfort and support of the sleep surface are related to problems of sleep quality and efficiency." With a weak bed frame, your lumpy bed may encourage you to shop for mattress sales before you've completed paying off your existing mattress.

Would you rather sleep well?

Consumer Reports asserts that mattresses are a high mark-up item that frequently go "on sale." If you are noticing that you are better rested when you sleep away from home, often wake up feeling unrefreshed, or observe that your mattress appears lumpy or saggy, it may be time to shop for a new one.

The BSC recommends that you lie down on mattresses in the store for at least 15 minutes to determine which bed is most comfortable to you. Be clear on the seller's return policy, including any restocking or inspection fees and understand your warranty. When your new mattress is delivered, make a commitment to treat it kindly and enjoy it for the longest time possible.

Photo credit to Myryah Shea

About the Author

Jacqueline Leppla has renovated homes from California to Massachusetts. She has remodeled or improved nearly every room in her current home.