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  • Tim Kraemer

Keep It or Toss It

Updated: Jun 14, 2019

Picture This: You’re crawling into bed after a long day.  You settle in and start to dose off when all of a sudden it hits you…how long have I had the mattress I’m lying on?  How old is my pillow?  What’s lurking in these items?  Your skin crawls at the idea of dust mites and bed bugs.  You grab your phone and start browsing for mattress sales near you.  The place that is supposed to bring you comfort and rest suddenly leaves you feeling uneasy.

Have you ever had such an experience?  Have you ever put thought into the age and condition of your mattresses, pillows and furniture cushions?  Are you unsure whether you should keep or toss certain items?  The following are things you should consider.

Mattresses: There’s the common saying that mattresses should be kept for 7-8 years.  But there are many factors which will cause this length of time to vary.  Consider how often the mattress gets used.  Is it an everyday bed or a guest room bed that is only used a handful of times throughout the year.  Do you have a mattress protector?  Has the mattress ever been spilled on or soiled?  Did you buy the mattress brand new?  Was it hand-me-down or a garage sale find?  Also, consider who sleeps on the mattress.  Do you shower before bed?  Or do you go to bed dirty?  Do your furry friends join you?

Pillows and Furniture Cushions: Keep time can range from 6 months to 3 years.  Is it a daily use pillow/cushion, guest room pillow/cushion, couch pillow/cushion, or decorative pillow/piece of furniture?  Much like a mattress consider spills, soils, use, and age.  Do dirty humans or pets sit or sleep on these items?  Do these items get eaten on?  Drooled on?

All of these items will collect skin cells, oils and sweat over time.  And this makes for great living conditions for dust mites.  Although unless allergic, dust mites don’t tend to cause much harm.  Dust mites can be prevented with allergy protective covers.  It is also said that if you flip the mattress it will kill the mites on the underside as they are cut off from humidity in the air.

We’ve come up with this simple equation to help take the guessing out of keep or toss.

Mattress/Pillow/Cushion Age Equation:

Condition (stains/spills/rips) + Amount of Use + Years Had= Mattress/Pillow/Cushion Age

The higher the age…the more likely you should toss it!  If it’s still a piece in good condition, but you no longer use it, please consider donating it.  And be cautious in taking pieces left on the curb.

Take these considerations to help you decide whether you should keep or toss that mattress, pillow or couch.

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