Putting off replacing an old mattress may do more than keep you awake at night, according to an examination of the bacteria, moulds and yeasts living in old mattresses.
Looking at mattresses that were eight years old, the research, commissioned by bed specialist Dreams and led by environmental hygiene expert Dr Lisa Ackerly, identified some unpleasant bacteria and troublesome moulds.
The test analysed samples taken from the surface and from different layers inside the ageing mattresses. Some yeasts and moulds such as Cladosporium were found on the top layer and others, Aspergillus and Saprophytic moulds, were present deeper within the mattress. Mould spores can cause coughing wheezing, itchy eyes or eczema or make asthma worse, especially as you could be breathing them in all night. Allergens in dust mite droppings can cause similar problems.
The tests also detected the presence of bacteria which could be harmful to health in some circumstances including Enterobacteriaceae, Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus.
If it’s time for you to get a new mattress, take a look at our mattress reviews which cover memory foam, pocket sprung and latex mattress. Some Best Buys are under £250.
Looking after your bed and mattress
But there are simple steps you can take to minimise any risks. Dreams suggests that you keep the bedroom well ventilated, ideally with windows open.
Leaving the duvet pulled back to air the bed will help restrict the growth of moulds and yeast.
Put bedding though washes hot enough to kill germs and dust mites and use a washable mattress protector to help keep bugs at bay.
For more tips on this see Which?’s advice on looking after your mattress.
Time for a new mattress
However well you look after your mattress, it will need replacing at some point and Which? advises replacing after eight to ten years.
Dreams also asked Dr Ackerly to look at potential bed related causes for common conditions. Sagging springs and floppy foam that doesn’t give the right support can result in neck and back pain as well as joint pain, compressed nerves and sciatica. A survey also carried out for Dreams discovered that nearly two in five people find themselves waking up during the night due to pain or discomfort.
- Not sure whether to go for memory foam? Take our advice on finding the perfect mattress
- Choose your new mattress from our Best Buy mattresses
- Want to make sure your bedding’s well washed? Check out Best Buy washing machines