Households are at risk of bed bug infestations and spreading bacteria in their home due to a reluctance to replace mattresses and soft furnishings.
A study of 1,000 UK adults carried out by interiors etailer Furniture123 as part of its Home Trends report, found half of Brits would keep a mattress beyond the recommended seven years.
Despite health warnings about bacteria in mattresses and the potential for back injuries, the same number (50%) said they would be reluctant to change the mattress any sooner than 10 years after buying it.
Sleeping on the wrong mattress can cause or worsen back pain or injury. Lack of support from a mattress reinforces poor sleeping posture, strains muscles and does not help keep the spine in alignment, all of which contribute to low back pain, according to Spine-Health.
While 34% of Brits are willing to part ways with their pillows and duvets sooner and would change them every year, as many as 1 in 5 (18%) would be reluctant to “ever” replace or change a pillow or duvet unless they were stained, or were no longer in a suitable condition.
A study by The Sleep Council* suggests older, poorly looked-after mattresses can contain dubious levels of staphylococcus, enterococcus, norovirus and even MRSA, which can cause serious, antibiotic-resistant infections.
Adults lose 285ml of fluid each night while sleeping and shed up to 454 grams of dead skin cells each year, all of which is absorbed by a mattress, duvet and pillows.
When it comes to maintaining a clean environment in the bedroom, most people (17%) say they would clean their mattress every month, followed closely by 16% who would carry out this task every 2-3 months.
11% would leave it as long as six months before cleaning their mattress.
While mattress protectors do protect from spillages and strains, they do not protect from dust mites and other allergens, suggesting Brits are risking a buildup in their beds.
Mark Kelly, marketing manager at Furniture123 said: “It is clear to see from the data that modern Brits are very willing to ignore ‘best until’ dates on products like mattresses and sofas and are quite willing to carry on using older products after they have stopped providing optimum comfort, despite health risks associated with this.
“Whether this is due to saving money or a lack of understanding about the germs and bacteria soft furnishings harbor, it is clear we are not willing to just dispose of items until we are almost forced to due to the becoming broken or unusable.”
What makes people change their soft furnishings?
It looks worn or tired – 65%
It is broken – 53%
I was redecorating and it no longer fit with the style/colour/look of the room – 39%
It is no longer comfortable – 36%
I was bored of its appearance and wanted something new – 30%
It is unhygienic – 19%
I saw a new piece of furniture that I liked more – 14%
I got a bargain on a new item that I liked more – 14%