How often should you rotate or flip your mattress?

How often should you rotate or flip your mattress?
(Image credit: Getty)

For a mattress to stay supportive and even, it’s advisable to turn it every so often. But how often should you rotate your mattress, and what happens if you don’t? Here we’ll go through the main things you need to know, including which ones can be rotated and which can’t, plus we’ll look at some easy care tips to keep it in shape.

As we explain in our best mattress guide, not all mattresses should be flipped and some can’t even be rotated. Why? Because certain types, such as hybrid mattresses, have been designed with a foundation and a top layer that work in a specific way - and in a specific order. 

These can be still rotated though as the top layer will still be the right way up if the end that used to be beneath your head is now beneath your feet and vice versa. However, some special mattresses can’t be flipped or rotated (we cover these below). Let’s now take a look at how often you should rotate your mattress to keep it supporting you properly each night.

Why do mattresses need to be rotated?

If you sleep on the same mattress night after night, the weight of your body will eventually cause wear and tear or unevenness in the parts of the mattress where your body digs in most (such as the head, shoulders or hips). 

To keep the mattress surface more even, you should rotate the mattress to make sure it is still supporting you well. Also, by rotating the mattress you will switch to a part of it that is used less, which keeps the top layer fresher.

Not all mattresses can be rotated. This includes models that have a special zoned top layer with support aimed at specific parts of the body. So if you rotate top to toe, then you might experience discomfort or fail to get the proper support of pressure relief the mattress has to offer, so check before you rotate.

How often should you rotate a mattress: A woman sits on a mattress holding a hand to her lower back

If you flip or rotate a mattress that it designed for either, you'll make it very uncomfortable to sleep on (Image credit: Getty)

However, if your mattress can be rotated, then you should set a reminder to do this essential chore, as it not only makes your mattress last longer, but it keeps you healthier too. Here’s a recap of why you shouldn’t put off rotating your mattress:

  • It helps keep the mattress in good condition
  • It helps keep the mattress surface even
  • It maintains proper support for your body
  • It provides a more hygienic surface to sleep on

How often should you rotate your mattress? 

Rotating your mattress should be done roughly every three to six months, depending on the type of mattress. If it’s an older mattress you should aim for every three months, or if it’s a new mattress in a box you can leave it a few more months. Each manufacturer will have its own guidelines, so check the website for your brand before you get hands on. 

The key to effective mattress rotation is frequency, and setting a reminder to do it on a memorable date or on the 1st of the month, every six months, will help. If the mattress isn’t used very often – such as in a guest bedroom – then you won’t have to rotate it as frequently. If you own a memory foam mattress, then both you and your mattress will benefit from regularly rotating it because foam wears out more easily than a hybrid mattress.

How to rotate a mattress easily

Rotating a mattress 180 degrees can seem like a bit of a chore, which is why many of us put it off. But it can be done quickly and easily by following these tips:

  • Make sure the mattress is stripped of its sheets, comforter and other bedding, as this makes it easier to rotate the mattress.
  • Clear the surrounding areas as much as you can. Also make sure there are no lamps or knick-knacks that could get knocked off a nearby surface.
  • If possible, get someone else to help and use the handles if the mattress has them.
  • Rotate in a quarter turn, then rest the mattress while you move to the foot of the bed, then do another quarter turn. Trying to rotate the mattress in one go may prove to be unwieldy, especially if you’re doing it on your own.

How often should you rotate your mattress?

(Image credit: Emma)

How often should you flip your mattress?

If your mattress has been designed in layers, with a sturdy foundation and a cosy or cooling top layer, you can’t flip it. In fact, flipping a layered mattress to the wrong side up could really damage the soft layer and leave you sleeping on a surface that is too firm, causing you pain and discomfort.

Some traditional innerspring mattresses have a fiber filling, springs and padding, all of which are identical on both sides. These mattresses can be turned over and will distribute the filling evenly when you flip them. These should be flipped every six months or so, and you should also take the opportunity to rotate them at the same time.

Which types of mattresses should and shouldn’t be flipped?

Most mattresses these days are one-sided as they tend to have a base layer that works from the bottom up to give you plenty of support. However, there are still mattresses that are designed to be flipped. These have a softer side and a firmer side, with a support core providing the stability. All you need to do here is simply choose your side and then rotate it every so often.

Most one-sided mattresses will have the label or brand name clearly marked, so you know which way up it should be. If you are unsure about whether you can flip the mattress, check the brand’s website or contact them directly. 

It’s worth bearing in mind that just because you can’t flip a mattress doesn’t mean you won’t be getting proper support throughout its use, as one-sided mattresses are designed that way to give you plenty of stability. It’s this foundational layer that is key to keeping your posture aligned, so rotating it every so often and keeping it the right way up is important.

As mentioned, some traditional mattresses can and should be flipped, as they have identical construction on both sides. These should be flipped every six months or so and rotated at the same time to boost your comfort.

To recap, the mattresses that should be flipped are:

  • Traditional mattresses with identical construction on both sides
  • Mattresses that offer different firmnesses on each side

And the mattresses that should not be flipped are:

  • Those constructed in layers with a firmer base 

An image showing a cup of black tea spilling across a white mattress

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Extra mattress care tips

Aside from rotating your mattress (and flipping it if you have a two-sided version) there are several other things you can do to prolong the life of your mattress and keep it feeling fresh.

First, if your mattress has a removable cover that you can machine wash, it’s worth taking advantage of this to keep your mattress hygienic. If it doesn’t have a cover, invest in a mattress protector to help your mattress last longer. For extra cushioning, pop the best mattress topper you can afford on top as this will breathe new life into an old bed. Some of these have washable covers too.

If you have an accidental spillage or find a stain on your mattress, then don’t panic. Our excellent guide on how to clean a mattress has plenty of tips and tricks that will help, whether your mattress needs a deep clean, a quick freshen-up after a recent spill, or something in between.

Not all mattresses can be cleaned in the same way, so always check the label for instructions. For instance, you should avoid getting memory foam too wet, so take care when cleaning those stains. Generally speaking, it’s worth freshening up your mattress every six months or so, and this can be done easily with baking soda and a vacuum cleaner.

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Grace Franks

Grace is an experienced sleep writer and mattress reviewer who also contributes to our sister site TechRadar, among other Future plc brands. She's a big fan of organic sleep products and has recently invested in a wool mattress topper that she quite happily describes as "life-changing." (Hey, we're serious about our sleep products). When she isn't testing mattresses or writing about sleep, Grace enjoys reading and creative writing, and incorporates meditation and yoga into her wellness routine.