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Get more years from your mattress

Congratulations! You've bought the mattress of your dreams. Now, to keep your investment as sound as your sleep, follow these 10 simple steps.

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1. Get a chair.
Many people sit on the edge of their bed as they chat on the phone. It's easy and tempting to do, especially if your bedroom is not appointed with conveniently located chairs -- so make sure yours is. Mattresses are meant to support evenly distributed weight, and compressing certain areas will lead to sloped edges and uneven support.

2. Tell the kids: Feet off!
Nothing says "trampoline" as much as a new, bouncy mattress, but try to curb it. Similarly, don't use your bed in lieu of a ladder or stepstool, to change overhead bulbs, hang pictures, or clean or paint walls.

3. Flip and rotate?
Perhaps you've heard that mattresses should be periodically flipped (make the "top" side the "bottom") and rotated (make the "north" end the "south"). The sound reasoning behind this is that it will help equalize wear and tear. However, depending on the makeup of your mattress, the optimal schedules for flipping and rotating can vary; and for some types -- pillowtops, as one example -- it may be unnecessary or even inadvisable. Therefore, ask the retailer for guidelines specific to your mattress (if it's not in the literature).

4. Give it air.
Spring-clean your mattress with a day out in fresh, breezy air and sunlight. It may not exactly be disinfecting, but it will refresh surface areas. And no need to beat the poor thing with brushes.

5. Suck it up.
Vacuuming with the upholstery attachment is the safest way to clean your mattress. Note that anything on the mattress that requires water or other fluids is an iffy proposition (think mildew and compression of materials, for starters). But spills and accidents are almost impossible to avoid, which takes us to the next step, and it's a vital one. ...

6. Put on a mattress pad or cover.
Depending on your needs, there are pads designed to be waterproof, or hypoallergenic, or to provide extra cushioning. Some are amazingly multifunctional. However, even the simplest mattress pad will, at the very least, help keep your mattress cleaner and drier -- and longer-lived -- than nothing at all.

7. Don't short shrift on sheet-changing.
A famous talk-show host says her sheets are changed daily. All right, ours aren't -- but let's not go longer than a week before changing. Realize that no matter how protective your mattress pad is, your sheets are your mattress' first line of defense.

8. Don't manhandle.
The handles on the sides of the mattress are generally there to help you position the mattress properly over its foundation -- not to bear the full weight of the mattress as it's yanked, say, across a room (rrrrrip).

9. Don't place a board between your mattress and its foundation.
They're sold as a set because they're designed to work in tandem. Tampering with the team may compromise the integrity and function of your mattress. (And you shouldn't need go-betweens in a new set, anyway -- hope you've kept your warranties and guarantees!)

10. Do not remove the 'Under penalty of law' tag.
No, the cops won't bang down your door, but keeping the tag in place can help establish your identification and rights, in case of problems.

Bonus: Don't smoke in bed.

 
-- Posted: July 8, 2005
   

 

 
 

 

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