Should You Replace Your Mattress?
Consumers have been hit with a campaign to replace your mattress every eight years. But is this campaign a true message to promote better health or a stealthy way to get a little more of your money?
In the last few years advertising spots on TV and the radio have bombarded consumers with the "if it's over eight, it's time to replace" mantra concerning their mattresses. The advertisement claims that the mattress doubles in weight every eight years due mainly to dust mites and other contamination caused by pets and people sleeping on the bed.
Some consumers seem to believe it. Facebook and other social media posts show people asking if they should replace their mattress or being concerned with the age of the mattress they are sleeping on.
But is it a health hazard?
Does the average person need to shell out hundreds to thousands of dollars every few years for a new mattress set.
The answer is mostly: No.
What They Claim
The companies claiming that you must replace your mattress mainly cite health reasons. They say that due to sweat and moisture, a mattress will double in weight every eight years.
The thought is that all the sweat and skin flakes create a great place for the dust mites to live. Because so many people have allergies to dust mites, you may be risking your healthy by not replacing your mattress.
Do Mattresses Get Dust Mites?
Yes, most mattresses contain dust mites. Dust mites are microscopic organisms that feed on dust and particles that naturally occur where people and pets live.
According to Mayo Clinic, dust mites thrive in environments of 70 degrees or higher (the temperature of most homes) and eat the shed skin of people. They are a relative of ticks and spiders.
The only evidence that you may have of dust mites is allergy symptoms or feeling like you have a cold. Only an allergist can determine if you are allergic to dust mites or if they are causing an allergy.
So mattresses may be the perfect place for dust mites to live. We spend many hours a day in bed, and naturally sweat and shed skin cells.
But is it a problem that can be prevented of remedied? Does the mattress really double in weight?
According to an article by Elizabeth Landau "Meet the critters inside your mattress" on CNN.com, experts believe that the idea of your mattress doubling in weight every eight years is exaggerated. Experts say this it is not mathematically possible. While mattresses can and do contain dust mites and possibly gain some weight from the absorption of fluids, they are not likely to be gaining weight at that rate.
So what can you do about preventing or reducing the amount of dust mites in your mattress? A simple and inexpensive solution is to use a high quality mattress cover.
Quality mattress cover extends the life of your mattress
A simple and inexpensive solution to stopping or preventing the spread of dust mites is to use a high quality mattress cover on your mattress.
Ideally the cover should be waterproof and should be placed directly over your bare mattress. From there you can add your sheets and other bedding.
If you use memory foam or an egg crate pad, be sure that the mattress pad covers this as well. Dust mites can live in that foam as well.
A waterproof mattress pad acts as a shield, preventing the skin flakes and moisture from your body from penetrating the actual mattress itself, preserving your mattress and your health. Even if your mattress is older, you can add a mattress cover to prevent any further accumulation of moisture or dust mites in the mattress. It will also provide a barrier between you and the mattress, preventing you from breathing in the dust mite allergens.
How do you know it is time to replace your mattress?
There are times when a mattress does need to be replaced but it is likely to last longer than eight years. For one thing, experts recommend checking the mattress label. If it has a 10, 20 or 30 year warranty, with proper care you are likely to get about that amount of time out of the mattress.
You also want to think about comfort. Are their pressure points? Is it less comfortable than it used to be? Would adding a memory foam pad or egg crate pad alleviate some of these problems? If you are like most consumers and watching your money, adding a pad may give you few more years out of the mattress.
You should also visually inspect it. If it is dirty or soiled it may be time to consider replacing it. Putting a mattress cover on at the start of the use of your mattress may help to eliminate these problems with your next mattress.
Picking Out A Mattress
When picking out a mattress, many people have very particular ideas about how it should feel. It is important to get one that is comfortable to you. Consider the quality as well. Watch out for pillow top mattresses that are not able to be flipped over. They are likely to wear down and become less comfortable over time.
Don't feel the pressure to buy an expensive mattress. Look for quality and durability. Check a less biased source such as consumer reports to find the right balance of quality and affordability.
Remember that the biggest point that the "replace after eight" campaign is making is that your mattress will be overloaded with sweat and dust mites. But you can prevent or eliminate this problem by simply adding a quality, waterproof mattress pad.
- In order to get the most life out of your mattress and to reduce allergies wash all of the bedding and the mattress pad regularly. Washing in hot water kills the dust mites that might accumulate in the bedding.
- To prevent wear and tear, remember to flip your mattress every six months to a year, rotating when you flip so that all parts of the mattress have regular wear.
- If your mattress is uncomfortable or has clear wear and tear, it is time to consider a new one.
There is no reason to stress about sleeping on an older mattress. With care a mattress can last a decade or more with no reason to worry.