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Your new mattress is an investment. A good one should last you anywhere from seven to 10 years. To help you extend its life and keep it in a condition where it can keep you comfortable, here are some tips to keeping a mattress in peak condition.

Protect it: Buy a mattress protector to reduce the accumulation of dust, prevent stains and protect it from other harmful elements. Most types of mattress protectors are washable and are more convenient to clean than the mattress itself.

Vacuum it: Dust mites, dust and dander, especially if you have pets, can build up in your mattress, potentially causing health issues and increasing the effects of normal wear and tear. The best protection against this unwanted accumulation is to vacuum your mattress regularly with the upholstery attachment, preferably once a week, but at least once a month.

Air it: Periodically strip the mattress or pull the sheets back to air the mattress. At least once a year, if possible, air it outside on a sunny day or in the bedroom with the windows open. In addition to vacuuming regularly, this will help eliminate odors and keep it fresh.

Flip and/or Rotate it: Most current types of mattresses made by major manufacturers like Simmons, Serta and Sealy are designed to provide continuous support without having to use the reverse side. However, if you do not have this style of mattress, you should flip and rotate it on a regular basis. A regular flipping/rotating routine will help prevent the mattress from wearing unevenly. No-flip types of mattresses still need to be rotated.

Prevention is the best medicine:

  • The frame keeps the mattress stable and should stand perfectly flat in order to properly support the mattress and prevent it from wearing unevenly or causing you discomfort. A well constructed, solid steel frame should last through several mattresses.

  • To ensure longevity of your new sleep set, your mattress and box spring should be properly supported. For mattress sizes above a full/double, make sure, when buying a new bed frame, that additional middle supports are provided; these will help bear the extra weight of a larger bed set such as a queen or king.

  • A mattress sags when padding wears out, looses shape or otherwise becomes defective in some way. You can hasten the process by improperly setting up your bed. Make sure that the frame has been assembled correctly and that the mattress sits in the frame properly. If you are using it with a box spring or some other type of foundation, ensure that it is evenly placed in the frame and the mattress sits directly on top of it.

  • Don’t use your bedroom as a dining room. Eating in bed can increase the chances of your mattress becoming permanently stained or soiled. A mattress can be hard to clean because of the combination of stitching and fabric.

To spot clean your mattress:

Keep in mind that the fabric of many types of mattresses is already treated with either stain or fire resistant chemicals. When cleaning your mattress, you don’t want to do anything that might destroy or compromise the fabric. In the event that an accident does happen and you need to spot clean the mattress, here are some useful tips.

  • Use a solution of mild detergent and water.

  • Rub gently until suds form, then wipe away with a clean, damp cloth.

  • Avoid soaking the surface through to the mattress padding.

  • If possible, try to clean the mattress on a warm day; the faster it dries the better.

  • Unless otherwise specified in the manufacturer’s literature (or on the mattress itself), you can also use upholstery shampoo; follow the directions on the container.