Mattress care: when to replace mattress and pillows

Have you ever wondered why you slept restlessly throughout the night or woke up feeling sore all over? These might be signs that you need a new mattress as the current one doesn't provide the right comfort and support that you need anymore. Determining when to replace your mattress can be difficult as you sleep on it every day and the effect of wear and tear may not be obvious.

unsupportive mattress causes backpain

How often should you replace your mattress

Even with good quality care, all mattresses eventually reach a ‘snooze-by’ date by which point they should be replaced. As a general rule this will be between 7 and 8 years after purchase according to the Sleep Council1, but look for these signs:

  • Visible wear and tear
    This is the most obvious signal that your mattress is in need of a replacement. If it looks saggy, dented, worn, torn, or even visibly stained, then chances are it is time to replace it. 
  • Waking up sore
    If you wake up with stiffness, aches or pains, then it is quite possible that the cause of this is an un-supportive mattress that needs replacing with one that offers proper support and comfort. Equally, if you have a significantly better night’s sleep in a hotel or similar, this could be a sign that your night’s sleep is being troubled by your mattress.
  • Partner disturbance
    If you and a partner sleep in the same bed, check with them as well. If you are both still tired in the morning, then the mattress is probably not reducing motion transfer as it should.

Most people keep their mattresses too long. If your mattress fulfils any of the above criteria despite looking fine, it is advisable to replace it.

Issues that could arise with your mattress and pillows

Not only can your mattress become unsupportive over time, but bacteria can also be an issue. Due to the inevitable amount of time spent in contact with your mattress, it is not unreasonable to assume they will need replacing after a number of years. Add to this that we lose about half a litre of perspiration per night; mildew and bacteria accumulation is to be expected. To minimise this, it is good to have a removable and cleanable cover in order to keep your mattress in a better hygienic condition and to make it last longer.

Pillows are slightly different. They will need to be replaced more often, yet pillows made of latex retain their shape for longer as they have shape-retention properties due to the latex being able to ‘spring back’. Latex is also dust-mite resistance and anti-bacterial, so combined with regular care by rotation and washing, will last longer than normal pillows. Experts at the Sleep Council2 suggest every two to three years for replacements, however if you are particularly susceptible to allergies or have asthma, some suggest every six months. Pillows that have lost their shape and body offer no support, and can contribute to neck pain, and so if you are experiencing these symptoms it might be down to pillows that are in need of replacement.

How to care for your mattress and pillows

It is vital to ensure you replace your bedding regularly. Latex mattresses have many benefits, such as being anti-microbial and dust-mite resistant, yet still proper care is needed in order to be as supportive and comfortable as possible. Latex mattresses and pillows offer natural springiness for a restful night’s sleep, and careful care can ensure you enjoy their benefits for as long as possible.



  1. The seven year hitch
  2. A fact sheet on pillows