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What happens if you don’t flip your mattress?

Flipping your mattress regularly is an important part of mattress maintenance. By not flipping your mattress, you are allowing it to wear unevenly, causing indentations and sagging. This can lead to discomfort, poor sleep, and even back pain. So what exactly happens if you don’t flip your mattress? Let’s take a closer look.

Wear and Tear Occurs on One Side

Mattresses are designed to be slept on from both sides. This ensures even wear and extends the life of the mattress. When you don’t flip your mattress, all the wear and tear remains on one side. Over time, this causes the materials on that side to compress and lose their support and comfort.

Body impressions then begin to form as the upholstery layers conform to your body shape. The insulation layers under the upholstery get pushed down, creating visible humps and valleys on the surface. Flipping the mattress helps avoid this one-sided sagging.

Reduced Support and Comfort

As one side of the mattress gets compressed down, it provides less pushback and contouring. This means your body won’t be cushioned as well, leading to pressure points and discomfort. The convex areas created by sagging will push against your body in unnatural ways.

Over time, a mattress that isn’t flipped begins to feel quite firm and uncomfortable. You’ll start waking up with more aches and pains as the mattress fails to provide adequate support. Flipping restores the comfort layers to their original thickness and feel.

A Buildup of Allergens and Dust

When you sleep on a mattress, you shed skin cells, sweat, and other bodily fluids into the material. These substances accumulate in the upholstery layers along with dust and other allergen particles. By not flipping the mattress, one side becomes heavily saturated with these irritants.

Flipping the mattress helps distribute these substances evenly so neither side gets too concentrated. This keeps allergens at lower levels for better air quality and fewer symptoms.

Odors Become Trapped

That musty, stale mattress smell is never a good sign. As moisture and sweat are absorbed into just one side of the mattress, odors get trapped in the material. Bacteria begin to thrive in the damp environment, producing gases that cause unpleasant odors.

Flipping the mattress allows it to air out fully on each side. It also redistributes the moisture and sweat so it can evaporate. This prevents heavy concentrations of bacteria and reduces unwanted smells.

Changes the Appearance

You may begin to notice that your mattress no longer looks symmetrical when you don’t flip it. One side appears puffed up while the other side looks deflated. The quilting and stitching may look distorted as the padding shifts around.

Rotating the mattress keeps it looking straight and uniform without bulges, dimples or skewed seams. It’s an easy way to keep your mattress looking like new for longer.

Voids the Mattress Warranty

Failing to rotate your mattress as recommended can actually void the warranty. Most warranties require you to flip the mattress at least twice a year from head-to-toe to qualify for coverage.

The fine print specifies proper handling and care instructions. Not abiding by these terms can forfeit your rights to repairs, replacements or refunds. Make sure to check your warranty and follow the flipping schedule.

Shortens the Mattress Lifespan

Mattresses that aren’t flipped wear out more quickly. The uneven support and impressions mean your mattress can’t adequately do its job. Within just a few years, your mattress will need to be replaced.

Regularly rotating your mattress extends its usable life significantly. It’s an easy way to maximize your investment and avoid buying another costly mattress too soon. Most quality mattresses should last 7-10 years with proper care.

Best Practices for Flipping Your Mattress

Now that you know what happens when you don’t flip your mattress, here are some best practices for doing it properly:

  • Flip your mattress 2-4 times per year, every 3-6 months.
  • Rotate it 180 degrees so the head and foot ends are switched.
  • Use two people for larger/heavier mattresses to avoid injury.
  • Flip your pillows and mattress topper too if you use one.
  • Use a mattress protector to keep the surface clean.
  • Allow the freshly flipped mattress to air out before remaking the bed.

Mattress Types and Flipping

Flipping recommendations can vary based on your mattress type:


Innerspring mattresses with coil systems should be flipped regularly, usually 2-3 times per year. This prevents depressions from forming.

Memory Foam

Memory foam mattresses only need to be rotated, not flipped. The foam comfort layers conform uniquely to your body shape.


Natural latex mattresses can be safely flipped 1-2 times per year. Synthetic blends may not need to be flipped.


For hybrid mattresses, follow the recommendations based on whether the top layer is latex, memory foam, etc.

Using a Mattress Topper

Adding a mattress topper can help extend the usable life of your mattress in between flippings. Look for a 2-3 inch thick topper made of memory foam, latex or feather. Be sure to rotate and flip the topper as well. A mattress protector will keep the topper clean.

When to Replace Your Mattress

While flipping can add years to your mattress, there will come a point when replacement is needed. Here are some signs it’s time to buy a new mattress:

  • Visible sagging, lumpiness or impressions
  • Reduced comfort and support
  • You wake up with stiffness, numbness or pain
  • Allergy symptoms are worse in bed
  • You see damage like cracks or tears
  • An unpleasant odor is present

If your mattress shows any of these signs, flipping likely won’t help much. Start shopping around for a new mattress so you can sleep comfortably again.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should you flip a mattress?

Most mattresses should be flipped every 3-6 months or 2-4 times per year. This evenly distributes wear and provides lasting comfort and support. Check your warranty for specific guidelines.

When should you flip a new mattress?

Start flipping a brand new mattress after 3-6 months of use. This allows the materials to initially conform to your body. After break-in, flip the mattress regularly.

Can you flip a pillowtop mattress?

Pillowtop mattresses have an extra layer sewn on top that should only face upwards. These can’t be safely flipped, only rotated.

What happens if you flip a memory foam mattress?

The unique body impressions in memory foam will be lost if flipped. Memory foam mattresses should only be rotated, not flipped.

How do I make flipping my mattress easier?

Use a lightweight mattress protector to reduce friction. Have someone help lift, bend knees, and keep your back straight. Stand as close to the mattress as possible for maximum leverage.

The Bottom Line

Neglecting to flip your mattress can lead to premature wear, lost comfort and support, and even void warranties. Make rotating your mattress part of your regular household routine. This simple practice extends mattress lifespan, maintains better sleep quality, and reinforces proper mattress hygiene. Invest a little time twice a year to flip your mattress and reap the long-term benefits.