Making your bed every day is something most of us are taught to do as children and a habit that's said to encourage productivity. But you may be surprised to hear that this daily habit could be preventing you from keeping your mattress in good nick.
According to Nimble Fins, the average double sized mattress will set you back £375 for a memory foam, £272 for pocket sprung. This is a sizeable investment for most of us, so you want to make sure you're maintaining the quality for as long as possible.
When it comes to mattress care, commonly-held beliefs could be more of a hindrance than a help. We consulted the experts at the GHI to separate fact from fiction and ensure you’re not shelling out for a new mattress before you should be.
Fact or Fiction?: You should make your bed each morning
Straightening the duvet and tucking in sheets when you get up might actually be bad for your mattress. But why?
We each lose up to half a pint of water every night as we sleep – more if we are unwell or if the bedroom is hot. Some of this is exhaled as water vapour, but some leaves our bodies as sweat, which can soak straight into bedding.
By making the bed, we risk trapping this moisture instead of allowing it to evaporate. This creates the perfect conditions for dust mites to multiply, says Martin Seeley, CEO of mattress retailer MattressNextDay. 'Dust mites tend to thrive in warm environments that have a lot of moisture,' he explains. 'Many studies show that unventilated bedding, caused by making your bed immediately, can create an environment that leads to higher concentrations of dust mites.'
A better idea is to air the bed by turning back the duvet and sheets after you get up in the morning.
A machine washable mattress protector adds an extra line of defence against spills and body fluids. Wash it regularly at the highest temperature recommended on the care label.
Fact or Fiction: All mattresses should be turned regularly to prolong their life
Whether you need to turn your mattress depends on the type you have, so the only sure-fire way to know is to check the manufacturer's care advice. If you don’t follow the manufacturer’s guidance, you may invalidate the warranty on the mattress.
As a general rule, sprung mattresses should be turned and rotated through 180° weekly for the first three months of use, then once every three to four months. This allows the filling to settle more evenly and helps distribute wear and tear.
However, some mattresses – particularly those with an upper layer of memory foam – are designed with one sleeping surface only. These shouldn’t be flipped as you will not be able to receive the benefits of the comfort layer on top of the mattress and the supportive base. The same applies to gel foam mattresses.
Instead, memory foam and gel foam mattresses should be rotated end to end weekly at first, then once every few months.
Fact or Fiction: Mattresses need to be vacuumed regularly
Verdict: Fact, in most cases
It’s not a pleasant thought, but along with sweat and body fluids, the dead skin cells we shed at night also find their way into sheets, duvets, pillows and mattresses. Again, this helps make our beds very appealing habitats for dust mites, which can cause allergies.
Nearly 6 in 10 people who suffer from indoor allergies say their symptoms feel worse in the bedroom, according to the National Bed Federation. This is perhaps unsurprising, given dirty bedding can cause allergic reactions, illnesses, infections and spread viruses.
Get into the habit of vacuuming your mattress every couple of months using the upholstery attachment of your vacuum cleaner. Just ensure you check the manufacturer’s care advice on whether they permit this as some claim it can dislodge the mattress filling.
While you have the vacuum out, do the bed frame or base thoroughly at the same time. It’s also important to vacuum behind and under your bed. Dust, skin cells and hair can easily collect back there, and dust mites thrive in these conditions.
Fact or Fiction: Bedding should be washed weekly to keep your mattress in good condition
According to a survey by Hammonds Furniture, one in three people only wash their sheets once a year! Needless to say, you need to wash your bedding far more than this — at least once a fortnight. Changing bedding less often than this could encourage dust mites, who can survive in both unwashed bedding and mattresses.
Washing at a temperature of at least 60°C should discourage those mites from making a home in your bed. It's also a good idea to use a machine washable mattress protector to help stop sweat or other body fluids coming into contact with your mattress.
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