Conventionally in developed countries, consumers purchase a brand new mattress every 7-10 years and send away their old ones to either the landfill or to be recycled.  That means on average a person would go through 6-10 mattresses in his or her life, spending anywhere between $10,000-$40,000.  A typical queen size mattress is 12 inches thick and contains over 100 lbs of materials.  Getting rid of it entirely is very unnecessary and extremely wasteful, both financially and environmentally.   

Photo credit:

Unlike appliances, mattresses never break down or suddenly stop functioning.  With years of use, they will pack down and harden, becoming uncomfortable for their owners due to the loss of elasticity.  Although older mattresses can no longer mould to the contours of the body, they become firmer and provide better support, which is beneficial to ageing owners with back and hip problems.  

To regain elasticity and comfort, all you have to do is add a 3" thick new modular mattress on top of your existing one to form a new mattress.  The new module will cushion your body comfortably while the old mattress at the bottom provides firm support.  In another 10 years as the new module loses elasticity, you can purchase a new module to put on top.  I've been experimenting with this approach personally for nearly two years.  My husband and I sleep on a mattress that's about 10 years old.  Two years ago we started having backaches, which may be caused by a variety of factors such as stress and old injuries.  Sleeping on an older mattress didn't help either.  At that time I was in the process of developing our new latex mattress, so I brought home a few pieces of latex foam to try.  When I put a piece of 3" thick latex foam on top of our old mattress, I noticed how comfortable our bed felt as soon as I lay down.  I am happy to report that our back problems have significantly improved and we've been enjoying bedtime much more.       

Dream Designs modular mattress
Dream Designs' modular mattresses: organic cotton pad (top), latex (bottom) 

I should mention that I am not the first person to come up with the idea.  Many ingenious people before me have tried and proven it to work.  However, it's very much an unconventional approach because the mattress industry advises consumers to replace the entire mattress every 7-10 years.  They would obviously much rather you spend more money to replace the old mattress with a brand new one.  It's good for their bottom line, but terrible for yours and the environment.

Prior to placing the new modular mattress on top of the old one, you should check the old mattress for sagging.  You can easily fix sagging by placing towels in the sagged area.  (For more information on this, you can read my other blog titled "Why Mattresses Sag?").  Over time, your mattress may become way too big and heavy as you add more and more modules to it.  When that happens you may want to consider giving the bottom modules away to someone in need.

The modular method will significantly prolong the life of any type of mattress.  Since it will be part of your home for a very long time and a significant factor in your indoor air quality, it is very important to choose good quality healthy materials that stand the test of time.  Dream Designs' modular mattresses are made from premium organic cotton, latex, and wool, specifically chosen for health and longevity.  We offer different types of modules so you can select the elasticity, firmness, and breathability that best suit your needs. 

Besides extending the life of your mattress, saving you money, and reducing waste, modular mattresses have other wonderful benefits.  They isolate motion so co-sleepers won't disturb each other as they get in or out of the bed.  Modular mattresses are also portable and easy to handle, so you can bring them with you to sleep comfortably when you travel or make a temporary bed for your overnight guests.  

In conclusion, it is not necessary to replace a mattress every 7-10 years.  Old mattresses lose elasticity but gain firmness and support with years of use.  They can work well as the base for a new modular mattress.  I hope this blog has provided enough knowledge and tools to dispel the myth of mattress replacement so consumers will feel empowered to hang on to their dear old mattresses decades longer.


Linda Tang is the Owner and Creative Director of Dream Designs in Canada, which has been making premium organic natural healthy bed, bath and yoga products since 1981.  Linda lives near a coastal temperate rainforest with her husband, two children, and her parents.  In her spare time, she enjoys hiking and yoga, both of which bring her joy and endless inspiration.