Memory foam is one of the most popular mattress materials, at least in part for its durability, but mostly for its instant comfort to the body. It adapts to virtually every sleeping position and body type, which is why you’ll see so many foam mattresses in our ultimate mattress guide.
But how long does a memory foam mattress last? And what affects its longevity? Firstly, it depends on what they’re made of – there’s a big difference in quality and durability between the cheaper models and the best memory foam mattresses. Here, we look at how long you can expect yours to last and how to extend that lifespan so you get more value for your money.
What is a memory foam mattress?
Memory foam (also known as viscoelastic polyurethane foam) is a type of polyurethane foam. Developed by NASA in the 1960s for use in spacecraft seats, this synthetic foam has now been rolled out for use in a variety of consumer products, from mattresses to slippers.
The name ‘memory foam’ was coined because foam has the ability to temporarily hold the shape of something by pressing down on the foam. So if you lie down on a memory foam mattress and get up again, you will see your body shape for a short period of time as the foam holds the ‘memory’ of your body.
As memory foam conforms more closely to the body as the heat and pressure continues, these mattresses are famous for contouring and ‘hugging’ the body for excellent pressure relief.
In the case of memory foam, polyurethane is treated with certain chemicals to increase its density and viscosity, causing the material to react with your body heat and slowly adapt to its shape.
Interesting fact: memory foam is not a single material, but a name for a broad group of similar foams. Depending on the brand, you’ll find memory foam with a number of different response times (how quickly or slowly they contour to you and then regain their shape), in various firmness ratings, and infused or cut in different ways to promote the flow of air.
How long do memory foam mattresses last?
A memory foam mattress lasts six to ten years on average before it loses its shape and ability to contour to your body, but some can last for 15 years or more. Many factors affect longevity and determine whether your mattress ends up at the shorter or longer end of its lifespan.
Good quality beds naturally last longer than cheaper models because they use more durable foams. The benefit of this is improved sleep comfort for you as you will feel fresher and better supported.
In general, memory foam mattresses are among the most durable bedding types and can last longer than hybrids as they are built with fewer components (like coils) that tend to deteriorate faster.
How to determine the longevity of memory foam
There are other ways to gauge how long a memory foam mattress will last and they include the following:
When used against memory foam, density is measured in pounds per cubic feet (PCF). Low PCF foams degrade faster than high PCF foams (the longest lasting ones), so the more high density foams used in your mattress, the longer it will last. These cost more, as high-density memory foam is expensive to make.
Recoil Load Deflection (ILD)
This scientific sounding term refers to the firmness of the foam, and is usually tested by a heavy machine that compresses a sample of the foam to 25% of its original thickness (height).
A high ILD is generally found in firmer foams, while softer foams have a low ILD. Thicker layers of foam will also have a higher ILD as more pressure will be needed to compress them so they will withstand more wear and tear for years to come.
The length of the warranty offered is a good indicator of how long you can expect your memory foam mattress to last – or at least how long you can expect some level of coverage. Most warranties last ten years, but there are lifetime warranties on foam mattresses like Saatva, Nectar, DreamCloud, and Avocado.
What Most Affects the Longevity of Memory Foam
You will still need to air and rotate your mattress regularly, and always keep it covered with a good quality mattress protector to reduce sweat, body oils and spills that seep into the mattress as they can cause the foam to deteriorate further. quickly. If you hop or hop on your memory foam mattress, it will also sag and sink faster.
The bed frame you place it on can also cause premature sagging if you have a slatted base where the slats are spaced too far apart – the foam will spread, causing early sagging and physical discomfort to your spine because you will not be properly supported and aligned. Getting a base of support is one way to fix a sagging mattress.
Mattresses naturally deteriorate over the years, regardless of their materials, and yellow stains on a mattress are a telltale sign of mattress aging.
How to make a memory foam mattress last longer
Clean it at least twice a year
All mattresses should be cleaned regularly, with removable covers being washed frequently and the mattress vacuumed to remove dust and debris. Learning how to clean a mattress properly will help your memory foam mattress last longer as it will be subject to less sweat, oils, bacteria and other dirt that can seep in.
To increase the longevity of your bed, clean your foam mattress at least twice a year. If you spill food or drink on it (or vomit or urinate), address it immediately with spot cleaning to reduce deep stains and material damage.
Give him a proper base to rest
Make sure your memory foam mattress is placed on a solid, good quality foundation. Check your mattress manufacturer’s guidelines as some mattresses can only be used on specific bases. But in general, solid foundations or slats are good. Make sure the slats are not spaced too far apart, otherwise your memory foam bed will not be supported properly and the material could be damaged.
It’s vital to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines here, as not using a support base will not only damage the mattress, it could also void your warranty. Inadequate support will cause sagging, undercuts and loss of shape.
Rotate it every three months
Memory foam naturally softens over time, so it should be rotated regularly to spread wear and tear. How often should you rotate a mattress? Every three months. Make sure your mattress can be rotated, as those with zoned support cannot. Some mattresses can also be flipped, but this is unusual with mattresses in a box, which are usually designed with a specific top and bottom.
Use a bed protector
These smart accessories absorb some of the natural wear and tear that happens to memory foam mattresses, helping them last longer. They can also be used to add firmness or softness to a foam bed that is not to your liking. For our expert recommendations, check out our guide to this year’s best mattress toppers for every budget.
Signs Your Foam Mattress Needs Replacement
There are certain telltale signs that mean your memory foam mattress needs to be replaced. While the average foam bed will last six years or more, cheaper models or those that aren’t properly cared for will show signs of replacement sooner. On the other hand, a well-maintained bed will take longer to show signs of wear and tear.
But if three or more of the following resonates with you, it’s time to consider replacing your memory foam mattress:
- You are constantly waking up in pain or stiffness
- Your body dips too far into the mattress to feel comfortable
- There is a big sagging in the mattress
- Now it’s retaining too much heat, making you sweat in bed
- It’s covered in stains and fabric tears (bacteria will love this)