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Good Question: How Often Should Mattresses Be Changed?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - A WCCO viewer named Marilyn heard a recent mattress commercial claim dust mites can double the weight of our mattress after eight years, which is when it should be replaced.

She wanted to know: Is this a gimmick or should we follow their advice?

The answer differs depending on the expert asked.

Doctors at the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center recommend considering a new mattress every seven years or when the mattress begins to affect sleep.

Those over 40 years of age might want to buy one every 5-7 years because as we get older, our bodies are more susceptible to pressure.

Dr. Charlene McEvoy with Health Partners suggests buying a new mattress when the old one becomes uncomfortable. She says a mattress must be firm enough to support a spine.

Dr. McEvoy says there is no magic number on replacement, but the times can depend on the weight and quality of the mattress.

When we asked people on the street how often they replace their mattresses, the answers ranged from two to 20 years. Many people cited comfort, dust mites and sweat as the reason for replacement.

Dr. John Sweet, an allergist with the Hennepin County Medical Center and Fairview Health Services, says that although there are likely more than a million dust mite particles in a mattress, they'll only affect a person that's allergic.

"They are species that live among us. They are in everyone's bed, everyone's carpeting," Dr. Sweet said. "They eat our dead skin that sloughs off."

He estimates one in five people are allergic to dust mites, which can bring on asthma and eczema. For those people, he recommends an allergy cover on mattress and pillows, washing bed sheets and covers in hot water once a week and wiping down surfaces in the bedroom.

"You have to be aggressive," he said.

But, as for the claims dust mites can double the weight of a mattress, he is doubtful.

"That would have to be [a] very light mattress," he said.

Mattress Firm, a company whose logo includes the phrase "Replace after Eight," says it follows the guidelines of the Better Sleep Council, a non-profit organization supported by the mattress industry, which is 5 to 7 years.

Sari Martin, a spokesperson for Mattress Firm, says that a mattress bought today might now be well suited for your body years down the line.

"This is because our bodies and lifestyles can change over the years, so what felt comfortable and supportive at first may not work as well today," Martin said.

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