A latex mattress is among the most popular kinds of mattresses on the market because it is durable, comfortable, breathable, resistant to bacteria, eco-friendly, and hypoallergenic.
One of the biggest fears of investing in a latex mattress (they’re not cheap) is how much bang you’re going to get for your buck.
While latex mattresses don’t last forever, they stay in good shape for a pretty long time. You can expect a natural latex mattress to last up to 20 years. Of course, this depends on a variety of factors–most of which you have control over.
But first, let’s take a close look at what exactly is in a latex mattress and its pros and cons.
Inside a Latex Mattress
For those who do not know, latex is a type of rubber that can be manufactured into foam. Sometimes, it is used alongside supportive coils to make the mattress extra comfy.
It’s important to know that some latex mattresses on the market are made with natural latex and others synthetic. Some manufacturers use both synthetic and natural materials together, but singular use of natural latex material is optimal.
There are two types of natural latex: Dunlop and Talalay latex. The difference between these two is in the manufacturing. However, it doesn’t make that much of a difference in terms of quality.
If you have a latex allergy, you can still get the benefits of a latex mattress by purchasing the synthetic option.
Why People May or May Not Choose a Latex Mattress
While latex mattresses are popular, they may not be everyone’s first choice. Just as with any product, they have both attractive and off-putting traits.
Latex mattresses have one of the highest owner satisfaction ratings.
Cooling and Breathability
If you’re a hot sleeper, latex mattresses are for you. Latex has a natural cooling effect and many manufacturers will include aerated channels for additional breathability.
Latex is well-known for how durable it is. You can expect to sleep for more years on a natural latex mattress. Synthetic and blended latex mattresses have a shorter life span and break down within a handful of years.
Perhaps the best trait of the latex mattress is that it’s eco-friendly. If you want a guarantee, look for the following labels: eco-INSTITUT, Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS), GREENGUARD Gold, and Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS).
Latex mattresses are very flexible. This is more important than you may think–especially if you have one of those fancy beds with an adjustable base. If you do indeed have an adjustable base and your mattress is not flexible, it could get damaged.
Healthy and Non-Toxic
For people who may be sensitive to smells, natural latex mattresses have limited to no off-putting chemical smells.
This is one of the important differences between natural and synthetic latex foam. Other mattresses use adhesives and toxic foams such as polyurethane foam (polyfoam) or memory foam that release chemicals into the air as time goes on.
Latex mattresses are firm enough to support those who like to lie on their back and for those who are heavier and need a more stable, even surface. They also provide pressure point relief for all your pressure points.
Naturally Resists Flame
Natural latex mattresses include a natural flame retardant barrier. Many other different types of mattresses use a flame retardant chemical, which is toxic of course.
Naturally Resists Bacteria and Mildew
If you live in an especially warm climate where bacteria and mildew love to replicate, you’ll appreciate this feature.
Latex mattresses are pretty low maintenance in comparison to others because you don’t have to rotate them as often. Keep in mind, many latex mattresses have a comfort layer on top and then a bottom layer for support.
Flipping the mattress can change the bed’s feel, compromise support, and possibly void your warranty. Speaking of warranty, always look for a mattress with at least a 10-year warranty.
Some people believe that latex mattresses are too firm–especially right out of the box. Keep in mind, many mattresses are more firm in the beginning and you may need a few weeks to break it in to reach your desired comfort. If you are picky about firmness, might I suggest you check out the Impression Load Deflection (ILD) before purchasing to give you added insight? Higher ILDs correspond with firmer foam and lower ILDs correspond with softer foam.
This is probably the biggest off-putting trait for latex mattresses–or I should say natural latex mattresses. Indeed, natural latex mattresses can cost several thousands of dollars, which can be a barrier for many people. Synthetic ones are more affordable.
Some people complain that latex mattresses have too much bounce, are too “responsive”, and have poor motion transfer. Although responsiveness can be a selling point, it can also be disruptive for those who sleep with a partner.
Not Conforming Enough
While latex mattresses do contour to your body to some degree, there are other mattresses out there that do it better. This can be an off-putting trait for people who have chronic pain symptoms and need a more snug fit.
You may love your latex mattress because it has a higher density. However, this also means that it is heavy and you may find yourself wrestling with it or needing a more supportive box spring.
Factors That Affect the Life Expectancy of Your Latex Mattress
The lifespan of a latex mattress depends on a variety of factors:
- If you are taking proper care of it. For example, are you rotating it regularly and cleaning it? Are you keeping it out of the sun? Are you using a mattress protector? Respect your mattress and it will respect you!
- Your size and weight. Heavier people create more wear and tear in mattresses.
- How much you use the mattress. If you use the mattress every night and nap on it during the day, it may decrease its longevity.
- The number of innersprings in the mattress. More springs are better and take some of the pressure off other materials in the mattress.
- The latex quality. Always look for a higher percentage of natural latex. The more natural latex included in the mattress, the more durable and high-quality it is likely to be. Keep in mind, it can sometimes be difficult to find the highest percentage of natural latex because manufacturers like to use misleading wording.
Signs You Need a New Mattress
Towards the end of your latex bed’s life, you will notice a couple of signs that tell you it’s time to look into a replacement.
The most obvious thing you may notice is that you are waking up in pain. Naturally, your latex mattress is subject to wear and tear, depending on how often you use it and how heavy you are. If you start to experience back pain–especially if you’ve never had back pain before–it could be a sign your latex mattress is no longer as supportive as it once was.
At the same time, you may also notice that the mattress is lumpy, unresponsive, and no longer bouncy.
Finally, you may have breathing trouble. Some people, especially those with allergies, may experience wheezing when they sleep on an old mattress. Why? Because dust mites, bacteria, and dead skin cells build up in older mattresses–even dust-resistant ones.
How To Care For Your Latex Mattress
To get more years out of your mattress, be sure to stick to the manufacturer’s care instructions. Usually, these will tell you to:
- Rotate your latex mattress every six months or so. This ensures your body pressure is evenly spread and one part of the mattress does not receive all the wear and tear.
- Use a mattress protector. Even if children and pets are not sleeping in the bed. A mattress cover will act as another layer of protection, so no spills, dust mites, or body sweat will reach the mattress itself.
- Avoid uncovered exposure to the sun. The sun can do a surprising amount of damage to latex mattresses. When you wash the sheets or mattress cover, lay a blanket over your mattress to protect it. Natural latex can break down when it is exposed to direct sunlight for too long.
- Let your mattress breathe. While it’s already pretty well ventilated, for maximum longevity you should use a slatted bed base so there is more airflow.
- Make sure you have the right support. As stated before, latex mattresses are heavier than traditional mattresses, and thus a strong foundation is necessary. If you have a slatted base, make sure your slats are not too far apart. Additionally, a center support beam for larger latex mattresses is always a good idea. You don’t want any sagging!
- Clean your mattress regularly. While natural latex mattresses are resistant to bacteria, that doesn’t mean there are zero bacteria. Plus, it can’t hurt to do a little spring cleaning! Simply sprinkle a bit of baking powder over your mattress cover, let it sit for a while, and vacuum it up so it stays totally fresh and clean.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that all mattresses–even a quality mattress–will break down. It’s just a question of when.
If you buy the best latex bed on the market (Dunlop latex foam) and take the best care of it, you can expect 20 years out of it, which is a lot longer than your typical mattress!
Probably what people love most about natural latex mattresses is that they are a healthy option for your family and the environment. When it’s time to ditch it after 20 years together, you can feel okay because you’re not throwing something toxic into a landfill.
You should keep in mind that while latex mattresses are some of the most supportive and durable mattresses, they are not immune to lumps or wear and tear in their final years.
I would also keep in mind that there is no such thing as “100% natural latex” because of small amounts of trace chemicals left behind during the manufacturing process. However, you can get pretty close and should look for 3rd party certifications to verify authenticity.
Hopefully, this article was somewhat helpful in helping you answer your question of “how long does a latex mattress last”, and any other questions you may have had regarding latex as a mattress material.