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What is a Box Spring?

What is a Box Spring?

Box Spring & Box Spring Covers

We all know what a mattress is, what it does, and why we sleep on them. But what about that stiff, hard object the mattress sits on top - the box spring? For many of us, box springs remain somewhat of a mystery. Outside of raising the mattress off the floor, does it do anything? Does it serve a purpose? Do we actually need one? The aim of this article is to describe how a box spring indeed does serve a purpose -
specifically improving the performance and longevity of your mattress. We’ll also explain how they can potentially attract bed bugs, dust mites, and allergens. Finally, we’ll talk about how you can best care for your box springs to help ensure allergen protection, long product life, and ultimately restful sleep.


What is the Purpose of a Box Spring?

In the same way, a mattress provides support for you when you sleep, a box spring provides support for your mattress. In other words, it creates a stable platform that evenly distributes the weight of your mattress and prevents your mattress from sagging. This helps in the following ways:

  • A box spring reduces wear and tear on your mattress, aiding in longevity.
  • The mattress can do a better job of supporting you, helping to improve your comfort while reducing pain.

Many manufacturers require you to use a box spring, or else the warranty is voided. Additionally, box springs serve the following functions:

  • By supporting the mattress on a flexible metal framework, they reduce wear and tear by acting as a shock absorber.
  • By lifting the mattress, they help to separate you from dust and allergens, as well as the cold air near the floor.
  • When used in conjunction with a bed frame, the system places a layer of air between your bed and the floor, which provides ventilation.

What Are The Types Of Box Springs

For some historical context, the mattresses of yesteryear needed box springs to provide shock absorption and a stable platform. Otherwise, the mattresses didn’t last long and became uncomfortable quite quickly.

Mattress technology has changed and improved over the years, and in some respects, this has reduced or even eliminated the need for shock absorption. The need for a stable platform, however, has not changed. As a result, there are three primary types of platforms today:

  • Beox Spring:

    A grid of metal wires attached to a wooden frame, wrapped in fabric and possibly a small layer padding. This provides a platform as well as shock absorption.

  • Foundation:

    Very similar to a box spring, except that most consist solely of a wooden frame covered in fabric and possibly light padding. Since a foundation lacks metal wires, it only provides a platform and no shock absorption.

  • Platform Bed:

    This is essentially a bed frame and a foundation combined into one. Designs can vary, but these are typically constructed of wood and lack a fabric outer layer.


Can Box Springs House Allergens, Dust Mites, and Bed Bugs?

Since box springs - and many foundations - are wrapped in a layer of fabric and padding, they are every bit as hospitable to dust mites, bed bugs, and allergens as your mattress and pillows.

As we wrote in Your Pillow is Gaining Weight, bedding not only attracts the sleep inhibitors mentioned above, but also pollen and mold.

To learn more about how these conspire to ruin your sleep, you can visit the Bedroom Allergens and Bed Bugs pages in our Learn section. To prevent sleep inhibitors from ruining your box spring, you should take steps to protect it.


How to Protect Box Springs

The best way to protect your box springs is to use a box spring cover. Also known as an encasement, a box spring cover can offer one or more of the following features:

  • Seals out bed bugs and dust miles
  • Protection from spills, stains, and accidents (helps prevent mold and mildew)
  • Impermeable to pollen, dander, and other allergens

Box spring covers are available in all sizes, from a twin to a queen box spring cover, all the way up to a California king. Used in conjunction with a mattress protector and pillow encasement, you can enjoy a total bedding protection solution.

Proven Protect-A-Bed box spring covers include:

We hope this article gives you a new appreciation for the often disregarded box spring!


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