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We all know how hard it can be to choose a new mattress (in fact, mine is more than ready for an upgrade). Will it sag in a few years? Will the springs pop out? So once you've settled on a mattress you love, you want it to last as long as possible, despite inevitable daily use.

The average life span of a typical mattress is 8-10 years, so treat the one you have with tender loving care, and you may never need to count sheep again. Here are a seven sound tips.

making bed, mattressCorbis

1. Get a vinyl mattress cover. It protects your mattress from spills, pet stains, and all kinds of fluids -- like that coffee your spouse insists on sipping in bed! Plus it provides a barrier against bedbugs. A lot of people don't like vinyl covers, however, because they can make sheets slide out of place. But it's worth trying, just to see if you grow accustomed to it; its benefits pay off in the long run.

2. Get a padded mattress cover. Besides providing further protection for stains, it helps keep the quilted surface of your mattress from indenting where you sleep.

3. Wash the padded mattress cover often. Did you know that we sweat up to seven liters a day? Yes, we didn't want to know that either. But it's true -- dirt and sweat from your body penetrates the sheets, so don't neglect what's underneath.

4. Vacuum the mattress. The Better Sleep Council recommends doing this regularly to pick up dead skin particles and dust, which settle there, soil the surface, and encourage the type of mites that act as allergens.

5. Rotate or flip the mattress. Some mattresses are "one-sided," like a pillow-top. You should turn these mattressed around 180 degrees every few months. They're designed to last as long as a one-sided mattress without being flipped. If you have a mattress that's two-sided, on the other hand (meaning it looks the same on both sides), flip it every few months to promote even wear.

6. Don't let your children use your bed as a trampoline.
Your mom was right. This crushes and misaligns the springs.

7. Use a box spring. A box spring recommended by your mattress salesman will give your particular mattress the correct support it needs in the right places. Using a metal bed frame underneath -- a heavy duty variety -- add more support and keeps your bed from bowing in the middle.

  • Shirley Keep

    Whatever you do, don't buy a Serta. Our last mattress lasted us for 15 years, and that was with several moves in the service. It was a Sealy. We purchased a new Queen sized Serta, and it is only 2 years old, and we are already having to replace it. At the end of 1 year, it started having dips on both my husbands side , and mine. It is one which cannot be flipped. I will never buy another like that.

  • carol

    you are so right, i will never never buy a serta mattress again. what a waste of my money (and it wasn't cheap either..1,400.00)

  • 2 Comments / 1 Pages

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