Flip or Rotate Your Mattress? (All Types Explained)

Mattresses have come a long way from heavy-duty fabric bags stuffed with straw or horsehair. As new technologies emerge, mattress manufacturers, develop new mattresses.

Coils of wire in a fabric frame offers increased comfort and durability, then came different types of foam and the revolutionary memory foam.

For the purpose of extending the average lifespan of a mattress, which types can be flipped, and which types cannot?

Older mattresses with springs were double-sided, and flipping and rotating meant all the springs share the job of supporting the sleeping body. New mattresses with memory foam layers don’t benefit from flipping, but rotation still means you spread the wear around the mattress.

Why Do You Flip or Rotate a Mattress?

The benefits of flipping and rotating mattresses are twofold:

1. Increased life for the mattress by using more of the mattress surface and evening out the pressure on the mattress.

2. Greater comfort for the sleeper by delaying the formation of indentations and sagging.

Flipping the mattress involves turning it over. The bottom becomes the top layer.

Flipping was a routine with old-style mattresses because the soft filling needed redistribution to avoid a saggy indentation where people sleep.

Today you only flip a mattress if it is a double-sided mattress. Some brands market a mattress with a summer and a winter side. You expect to flip these mattresses as the seasons change.

Rotating means you turn the mattress through 180 degrees but keep the same surface uppermost. This practice helps even out wear, especially when one partner is more substantial in weight than the other.

You are still sleeping on the same surface but on different parts allowing your usual sleeping place to recover.

Manufacturer guidance varies on how often to rotate a mattress from every three months, twice a year or annually.

What Type of Mattress Can Be Flipped and What Cannot?

Modern, high-quality mattresses are built in layers, each serving a function to increase comfort and support for a restful night’s sleep.

In fact, most new mattresses you find on the market are now designed to be one-sided. You only flip a double-sided mattress such as an innerspring mattress with both sides performing as a sleeping surface.

But, can you flip a one-sided mattress? What happens if you flip a one-sided mattress?

Flipping one-sided mattresses destroy the functionality of the layers, and you lose the benefits the mattress as a whole is designed for. The different layers of materials work in unison as a composite unit, from the top down. These mattresses are at most rotated.

Let’s explore the types of mattresses available and see which can be flipped and/or rotated.

Traditional Inner Spring Mattress

The traditional innerspring mattress relies on metal coils or springs for bounce and durability. The thickness of the wire gauge determines the degree of firmness and durability.

Traditional innerspring mattresses are prone to sagging and form deep indentations over time. Flipping and rotating prolongs the life of a conventional innerspring mattress.

Innerspring mattresses continue to develop, and some innovations include enclosing the coils in individual pockets and combining the springs with other materials to provide hybrid mattresses.

Memory Foam Mattress

A memory foam mattress is not one large chunk of memory foam – it is multi-layer with extra dense foam at the base for core support and softer foam at the top for comfort.

It is the top layer of memory foam that provides the plush feel that memory foam mattresses are popular for.

You never flip, but should you rotate a memory foam mattress?

It’s mostly a matter of preference and how you sleep on the mattress. Generally, periodic rotation at least twice a year will prolong the life and condition of a memory foam mattress.

Hybrid Mattress

Hybrid mattresses combine traditional springs (often pocketed) and memory foam. They are typically called pocket spring mattresses, pocket coil mattresses, or hybrid foam mattresses.

The individually-pocketed springs give the mattress its renowned performance in motion isolation, making getting in and out of bed a less disruptive affair.

In less expensive mattresses, other foam provides the softer layers. The springs provide the bounce and durability and are in the lower layers.

You don’t flip a hybrid mattress unless it serves as a two-sided mattress – which one rarely does.

Flipping a hybrid mattress would leave you sleeping on the poorly padded spring section, and this doesn’t give you the comfortable rest provided by the foam layer. Plus, putting the foam layer underneath the mattress puts it under pressure and reduces its useable life.

Do you need to rotate a hybrid mattress?

A hybrid mattress benefits from regular rotation every 3 or 6 months to spread out the wear because you then use more of the sleeping surface over the year.

Pillow Top Mattress

A pillow top mattress adds a layer of padding to a standard innerspring mattress. The pillowtop layer is a minimum of two inches and utilizes a broad range of materials including:

  • Cotton
  • Polyurethane foam
  • Memory Foam
  • Fibers
  • Latex foam

Pillowtop mattresses provide the comfort of a more expensive mattress at less cost. The downside is that the pillow top is prone to wearing and sagging – especially for a heavier sleeping body.

Can you flip a pillow top mattress then?

Although a pillow top mattress is essentially an innerspring mattress at its core, you cannot flip a pillow top mattress because it has only one sleeping surface – where the pillow top layer is. Flipping it would simply make it just another innerspring mattress.

Rotation does help to prolong its life by moving the sleeping position around the sleeping surface.

When deciding how often to rotate a pillow top mattress, you need to balance the fact that pillow tops tend to wear out more quickly than the mattress base. It also depends on the material – high-quality memory foam is most durable.

Tempurpedic Mattress

Tempurpedic is the first mattress company that utilizes viscoelastic polyurethane foam, also known as Tempur foam or more commonly memory foam.

The branded Tempurpedic mattresses use layers of different density foams with high-density Tempur foams providing excellent support.

Skillful layering of foams allows airflow through the mattress that dissipates heat and makes sleeping on the mattress refreshing and pleasant.

The layered construction makes this a mattress you rotate, but don’t flip. How often do you rotate a Tempurpedic mattress?

These mattresses come with an excellent warranty, so you rotate according to the schedule specified to maintain the warranty.

How to Flip a Mattress by Yourself?

Can you flip a mattress by yourself? A mattress is heavy and awkward to handle.

It’s best to get help when flipping a mattress, but you can flip it yourself if you are physically strong enough and use the right technique.

The process for flipping a mattress by yourself or with a partner is as follows:

Step 1:

Remove all the bedding and make sure you can walk around three sides of the bed. Remove any furniture, lamps, and other items that might get knocked over.

Step 2:

Standing on one long edge of the mattress, slide it towards you so that the mattress is a quarter to half over the base.

For a big heavy mattress, you may need to move the top corner partway and then move the bottom corner to catch up. Use small movements until you maneuver the mattress into position.

Step 3:

Now the hard part – push the mattress until it is on the long edge (on top of the bed base). The mattress is now vertical. Hold the mattress in this position while you walk to the other side of the bed.

Step 4:

Pull the upper edge of the mattress towards you so that the mattress is lying horizontally half on and half off the bed base. Push the mattress away from you to lay fully on the foundation.

The lower surface is now the upper surface. You can replace the bedding.

Using a Wall

The above is the ideal method with plenty of room to maneuver. In a confined space, you may need to rest the vertical mattress at a slope against a room wall at Step 3. Make sure there are no pictures or shelves on the wall.

You remain on the same side of the bed. Pull and slide the lower edge towards you – this allows the top of the mattress to slide down the wall.

How to Flip a King Size Mattress by Yourself?

A king-sized mattress provides a spacious sleeping platform, but what about flipping it? How do you flip a king-sized mattress?

The honest answer is that a mattress this size generally requires two average-strength people to flip it, especially the newer and heavier mattresses. If you are thinking about how to flip a king-sized mattress by yourself, you need to rethink your approach. Wait until you can get a helper before proceeding with the task. It is not worth the potential back injury it may cause.

How to Flip a Queen Size Mattress by Yourself?

Flipping a queen mattress by yourself is less of a problem than a king-sized – those extra inches make a big difference in weight.

The basic technique is the same, but be sensible about your physical limitations and get help if you need it.

How to Rotate a Mattress by Yourself?

Rotating a mattress is safer and more straightforward with a partner because mattresses are heavy and awkward to maneuver.

The technique for rotating a mattress either by yourself or with a helper is as follows:

In your mind, label the four corners of the mattress as A, B, C, and D. AB is the short top edge, and CD is the short bottom edge of the rectangle.

Step 1:

You need plenty of room to maneuver because you are going to turn the mattress through 180 degrees so that CD replaces AB as the top edge at the headboard.

Remove any objects that may get knocked over or trip you up. Remove any bedding.

Step 2:

Standing at one long edge, pull and rotate the mattress 90 degrees so that the AB short edge is facing you. The mattress is now at right angles to the bed base.

The top and bottom parts hang off the side of the base.

Step 3:

Walk to the foot of the bed and pull the AB edge into position facing you. You have rotated the mattress through 180 degrees and can re-make the bed.

Rotating a mattress is a relatively easier and lighter task than flipping a mattress of the same type and size. If you were wondering how to rotate a king size mattress or any mattress size larger than a queen, the same method above applies.

Can You Rotate a King Mattress 90 degrees?

A king-sized mattress is close enough to a perfect square in shape, but it isn’t. It measures 76” in width and 80” in length.

The construction and material of a king-sized mattress on the longer and shorter edges are the same. If the sleeper is no taller than 6’4” and provided the width of the bed base can afford adequate support, rotating a king mattress 90 degrees is not a problem. Doing so can help to even out the wear of the mattress the way regular rotations of 180 degrees would.

Tips on Flipping or Rotating a Heavy Mattress

Regardless of the type and weight of the mattress you sleep on, it is inevitable that you would need to flip and/or rotate your mattress at some point.

After you’ve done it once, the subsequent times get easier.

Whenever you plan to flip or rotate a large and heavy mattress, be mindful of these tips:

  • If possible, get helpers.
  • Remember to bend your knees and keep your back straight when lifting to protect your spine.
  • Don’t lift the mattress by the handles, especially the heavy mattresses – these might rip.
  • If in doubt about having enough strength to complete the task by yourself safely – don’t.

How to Flip and Rotate a Mattress?

Flipping combined with rotation is beneficial for double-sided mattresses in spreading out the wear on the mattress surface.

Follow the rotation instructions to Step 2 (see the earlier section of this article), where the mattress is at a 90-degree angle. Now push and turn the mattress into a vertical position and lay it down so that the AB side facing you is BA.

Then continue rotating.

Alternatively, you can flip or rotate first and then perform the other action.

How Often Should a Mattress be Flipped?

If you have a double-sided mattress and you want to prolong the life and condition of the mattress, you need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on flipping.

How often you need to flip depends on the number of people sleeping on the mattress and the bodyweight of the sleepers.

Simple physics dictates that heavier bodies exert more pressure and wear on a mattress.

How often you flip is a matter of choice and how much effort you need to put into flipping the mattress. If there are two of you and it is straightforward, you can flip every week or every month – if that suits you. Typically, a manufacturer will suggest a schedule of three months, twice a year or annually.

How often should mattresses be rotated?

The ideal rotation schedule depends on who is sleeping on the mattress and their weight. The manufacturer will give a suggested rotation schedule of one month or three months.

How often do you rotate a new mattress?

You decide because you know how you sleep on your mattress, so you are the best judge of what rotation schedule works for you.

How often should you rotate a memory foam mattress?

Memory foam mattresses rebound to their original shape. The lifetime of a memory foam mattress depends on the density of the foam, and higher density foams last longer. A 3-month rotation cycle helps to ensure that the memory foam mattress remains in excellent condition by reducing the number of times one patch of memory foam compresses in use.

How often should you rotate a hybrid mattress?

That depends on your circumstances, but rotating a hybrid mattress in a similar way to flipping an innerspring mattress is an excellent routine – at least twice a year.

The other factor is how much effort you need to put into rotating your mattress.

It’s not worth rotating the mattress if you are going to strain muscles and take days or weeks to recover. Accept that the mattress wears out a little quicker than is ideal.

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