You may have already heard this, but yes, your mattress is an investment.
Think about it. You spend about 8 hours of your day in bed. That’s around 1/3 of your life spent using your mattress. Plus, most good Full to Queen-sized mattresses cost upwards of $500 dollars. I don’t know about you but, to me, that’s still a lot of money. Some mattresses even go beyond $2000-$3000!
That being said, any good mattress should last you about 7 years, give or take. However, how you take care of it will either extend its life or cut it short.
So, here are a few tips on how to properly take care of your mattress. These include tips on how to clean your mattress and a few other bits of wisdom that’ll help make your mattress last longer.
How to clean your mattress
Changing and washing your sheets
According to a journal from the American Chemical Society (ACS), we humans shed our outer layer of skin (epidermis) at a rate of 0.001–0.003 ounces per hour. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot but that’s fast enough to peel our entire epidermis within just 2-4 weeks.
Going back to how you spend about a third of your life in bed, that’s a lot of dead skin piling up on top of your sheets! You may not be able to see it but, trust us, it’s there.
Plus, there’s sweat, hair, and oils coming out of you, too. If you eat in bed, then there’s going to be crumbs there as well, not to mention the inevitable pile of dust.
With that said, all these things are going to attract mites and allergens that are not only itchy and downright disgusting, they choke the life out of your mattress, too.
One of the easiest solutions to this is simply changing your sheets about once a week. And, while the old and nasty linens are out, you might as well give them a thorough washing.
Per the Mayoclinic, you should wash your sheets with water that’s at least 130 ℉ or 54.4 ℃. If your sheets can’t be washed in warm water, then put them in the dryer for 15 minutes at the same temperature to kill the mites.
Using mattress protectors
If your sheets are your first line of defense against all the nasty things that attract mites and allergens, think of mattress protectors as sort of a more robust back up. They help shield your mattress from any of the dead skin, hair, crumbs, and dust that might make its way through your sheets.
However, perhaps more importantly, a lot of mattress protectors add a water-resistant layer to your bed. This is important because according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mold growth is common in places with a lot of moisture. And where there’s molds, there’s health hazards in the form of infections, allergies, and toxicity.
So, if you accidentally spill fluid on your mattress or your pets had an accident, a good mattress protector would hopefully just let the fluids slide off.
That being said, mattress protectors come as either covers or pads. We generally recommend covers because they encase your entire mattress rather than just protecting the top layer. If you can, use a mattress protector on the very first day you got your mattress to ensure maximum safety.
Our team uses Slumber Cloud’s Dryline Mattress Protector. It’s NASA engineered and we think it does a great job of protecting our mattresses from all sorts of fluids and mite-attracting debris. Plus, it comes with a 60-night trial period. Don’t like it? Just send it back for a full refund. The downside is that it’s a little more expensive. So, ultimately, just go with whatever fits your budget.
Now, about how to clean your mattress protectors…
Don’t do it at the same time you wash your sheets!
The reason is that using the high heat and/or bleach that you use to wash your sheets can damage the waterproofing and vinyl on mattress protectors, making them less effective at doing their job. However, we do recommend washing your protectors about once a week as well, just not in the same cycle.
Vacuuming your mattress (and killing the nasty buggers)
Sometimes, even with clean sheets and mattress protectors, some of that dirt, dead skin, and everything else that attracts mites still make their way to your mattress. Again, even if you don’t see them, there’s a good chance they’re there.
If you have the budget for it (it’s not particularly expensive), we recommend you get a mattress-specific vacuum like Housemile’s Anti-Dust Mites UV Vacuum Cleaner. We like this vacuum cleaner because it uses UV-C at 254 nm which is the same setting proven in research to kill dust mites, its eggs, and several other bugs.
If you don’t want to buy another vacuum cleaner because you already have one, that’s absolutely fine. You’re going to want to use the wide brush attachment of your vacuum to clean the top and use the narrow upholstery nozzle to clean the smaller sections of your mattress, like the edges, corners, and sides. After this, you can open your blinds or curtains to let some sunlight in and kill those nasty mites.
Whatever path you choose, always make sure that your vacuum is clean before you use it on your mattress (for obvious reasons). Do this about once a month and you should be good.
Spot cleaning your mattress stains
Sheets, protectors, and even vacuum cleaners can only do so much. Occasionally, stains will make its way to your mattress. If you clean it while it’s still wet, it’s a much, much easier job. It’ll likely only take a mixture of a couple of drops of mild dish soap and a cup of water to get it clean.
However, a lot of stains happen when you’re sleeping so it’ll likely be somewhat dry when you notice it. In this case, try this simple solution we found on Urcreatedbeautifully’s Youtube channel:
- Baking soda (2-3 tbsp)
- 3% Hydrogen peroxide (1 cup)
- Dawn liquid dish soap (1-2 drops)
Mix the ingredients and transfer it to a spray bottle. Or, you could simply dab the mixture onto the stained area. You want to avoid rubbing it because it might spread the stain into your mattress. Plus, you want to keep your mattress as dry as possible.
Leave it on for around 30 minutes then brush/vacuum the residue. Repeat 2-3 times or until you’re happy with the results. When you’re done, we suggest you let it air it out for at least another 30 minutes just to make sure everything’s nice and dry.
This mixture should work great for most types of stains and should also help eliminate any odors.
It isn’t necessary but you could also use essential oils with disinfecting properties to step up your game. I personally like using eucalyptus but my other colleagues prefer lavender. Other essential oils you could use are cinnamon, peppermint, lemongrass, and a few others more.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you clean and maintain the cleanliness of your mattress. But! Here are a few other things you can do to extend the life of your bed:
More tips to make your mattress last longer
Flipping and/or rotating your mattress
Wait, wait, wait.
Before you actually do the flipping and/or rotating, you’re going to want to check with your manufacturer first. You can usually find the information you need on the mattress’ webpage or under the warranty.
This is absolutely crucial because most of today’s mattresses have dedicated tops and bottoms. Thus, flipping them changes how they feel or, in the case of hybrids, renders them unusable. Flipping your mattress when the manufacturer doesn’t recommend it might also void your warranty, and no one wants that. Rotating, on the other hand, is generally okay but you still want to check with the manufacturer to be sure.
The point to flipping and rotating your mattress is to help ensure that the wear and tear you put on your mattress is evenly distributed. In turn, this helps prevent premature sagging and keep your mattress in tip-top shape for longer.
Your mattress manufacturer typically has their own recommendations on when you should change the orientation of your mattress so you should check with them first. But, from what we’ve seen, a safe timeline would be every 3 months.
Picking the right foundation
Again, this all goes back to checking with your mattress’ manufacturer first and the information you need will also either be on the mattress’ webpage or the warranty section. This is because using the wrong type of base for your mattress can void your warranty.
On that note, box springs are typically meant for traditional innerspring mattresses but most of today’s mattresses are designed to fit platform beds. BUT! If you already have a platform bed at home and your mattress’ manufacturer says it can be used, you might want to check the distance between the slats as well. We’ve come across several companies whose warranties can be voided with slats that are more than 3-4 inches apart, so don’t forget to look up those little details.
With that said, the right type of foundation is going to complement the structure of your mattress and therefore help evenly distribute your weight. Furthermore, it lifts your mattress off the floor where the same dead skin, dust, sweat, and all other nasty things that attract mites are. So, if you were planning on just putting your brand new mattress on the floor, don’t.
Another thing you want to be mindful of is center support. Foundations for larger mattresses (i.e. Queen, King, and Cal King) need to have this to prevent your mattress from sagging around the middle and to add stability and durability for your base.
We think a good way to make sure you get the right foundation is to just buy it at the same place you bought your mattress. After all, most mattress companies sell foundations specifically designed for their own products, too.
No jumping on your mattress!
We know your kids love jumping on the bed and the smile on their faces are priceless. However, if all they wanted to do was jump, please, please, PLEASE get them a trampoline.
You see, jumping on your mattress is only going to put excessive pressure on parts of your mattress. It simply can’t take that kind of beating. Soon enough, it’ll be lumpy and saggy and using it will only hurt your back (Speaking of, here’s a list of mattresses for those of you with back pain). And you know what comes next? Well, you’re going to have to buy another mattress.
Not only that, jumping on your mattress can and will hurt your foundation and frames as well — and that’s going to be even more money out of your pocket!
Speaking of which, we recommend you check on the integrity of your foundation about once every month.
The bottom line
In a nutshell, the way to make your mattress last longer is to keep it as clean as possible and to do what you can to evenly distribute wear and tear.
Keeping your mattress clean can be as simple as regularly changing your sheets, using a mattress protector, and vacuuming your mattress. UV light regardless if it’s from the sun or from a mattress specific vacuum cleaner helps keep the dust mites away, too. For stains, a simple solution of ingredients you might already have at home works wonders.
For even wear distribution, perhaps the biggest things are the regular rotating of your mattress as well as getting the right type of foundation. If you have kids around, then preventing them from jumping around helps a lot, too.
That’s it! Follow these tips and your mattress should serve you well for many years to come. Share us with your friends, will ‘ya? Thanks!