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We are Literally Sleeping on a Petri Dish

  • Friday, March 31, 2023, 7:31 am

Mattress Testing by 10:PM Reveals Ultra Ick Findings

SYDNEY, March 30, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- 30% of the weight of a mattress is made of dried epidermis particles, from your skin and that of anyone else who has ever been on your bed. This is just one finding from new eco Aussie mattress brand, 10:PM who tested some of the 1.8 million mattresses that are illegally dumped on our streets every year.

In a quest to showcase what Aussies are sleeping on and to encourage people to change their mattress more regularly, Harrison Reid, well known Bondi Lifeguard and founder of 10:PM, engaged building biologists to scour Sydney streets and test a bunch of dumped mattresses.

The findings reveal that many of us are literally sleeping on a petri dish every night – some of us sleeping ourselves sick, without even realising it.

This will make your skin crawl…

We spend around 26 years on our mattresses and shed around 200 millilitres of water and one teaspoon of skin every night. That's around 2,000 litres of liquid and 200 cups of skin heading straight into our mattresses over our lifetime – from just one person!

Further to that, given dust mites feed off skin cells (and even semen), it shouldn't surprise you that there are around 12 million dust mites in the average mattress.

When you consider the skin cells and dust mites, semen, urine, blood and mould and you might start to look at your comfy bed a little differently.  

The result is clear – change your mattress you filthy animals!

"The beds we tested, we're guessing from the filth found on them, that they'd be well over 10 years old," says Reid. "We should be replacing our mattresses a lot sooner, around every 7 years, 10 at worst. We wanted to show people exactly what they're sleeping on to encourage them to think about ditching that mattress they got handed down from Mum and Dad or have had since their uni days. We found some pretty gross things on the mattresses we tested." And Reid would know, having grown up around the mattress business of his parents in New Zealand.

"Through various tests, including surface mould samples, UV light fluid tests, and dust mite and debris extraction tests, we found millions of dust mites, urine, semen, blood and mould," says Nicole Bijlsma, Building Biologist and founder of Australian College of Environmental Studies. "These can cause health issues ranging from itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, itchy, runny or blocked nose, dry persistent cough, wheezing and eczema. Symptoms are likely to be worse at night and upon waking, and generally improve when away from the source."

"It's important people know the potential health implications that sleeping on an old mattress can perpetuate. All the mattresses we tested were way past their use by date."

According to Carol Parr, Building Biologist, in severe cases, mould and allergens in mattresses can result in trouble sleeping, leading to brain fog and even effects on cognitive function.

Reid says that the findings reveal the shocking truth around mattress quality. "People change their bedding but forget to change their mattress. It's a bit of a case of out of sight, out of mind and given we literally can't see the germs and allergens on our mattress, we tend to not even think about it."

What's more, it seems that those of us diligent in making our bed every day, may be doing ourselves a disservice. "Mattresses need to be aired. When we make them every day, we're actually increasing the likelihood of capturing moisture, which leads to mould and bacteria growth, and dust mites," says Reid.

Passionate about showcasing what lurks beneath the sheets, 10:PM used these dumped mattresses as billboards to humourously tap into Sydney suburb stereotypes to create buzz and start the conversation around mattress health.

In dog-centric areas, they've reminded pet owners their mattress is dog-eared, dog-clawed, dog-gnawed, dog-drooled and dog-flea-infested. In family friendly Randwick, the mattress unveils a tapestry of parental defeat with a wee-soaked bed and in Bondi, they've let backpackers know that there's been a very sunburnt Englishmen on that bunk bed before them! The Darlinghurst set, post World Pride, have been warned that after her 10th Mardi Gras, their Queen has come out on bottom.

"Using these dumped mattresses to test and then as billboards, has been such a fantastic way to not only talk seriously about the importance of mattress care and health but it's also given us a platform to speak to Sydneysiders in a way that's funny but very relatable," says Reid. "At the end of the day, if we can get people thinking about how old their mattress is and what they might be sleeping on, then that's a really positive thing."

You can read the full Billbeds here.

These findings are exactly why Reid started 10:PM - to give Aussies access to mattresses which are Australian made, sustainable, affordable, family owned, extremely comfortable and with health and wellness front of mind. With a 40-year family legacy in the mattress business, 10:PM is in Harrison's DNA, having watched his dad, Kevin in the NZ mattress business for decades, and now bringing their combined knowledge to 10:PM, created for Australians.

Each 10:PM mattress is antimicrobial treated to prevent microbe growth, reduce odour, improve hygiene and product longevity and approved by Sensitive Choice so those with asthma and allergies can rest easy. With sustainability also at its core, Tencel is used which is produced by environmentally responsible processes and 10:PM mattress and pillow foam has been assessed to meet environmental, human health and social impact, while also proving that it performs as promised. 

Australian made for Australians is what 10:PM lives, breathes and sleeps. Everything is made right here in Australia with Aussie comfort front of mind. While affordability is important, but also temperature management, with its 10:02 and 10:03 mattresses having Thermobalance technology, which disperses heat and hot spots from you mattress when you sleep. No other mattress in a box brand has this technology.

10:PM's mattresses come in three models, the 10:01, 10:02, and 10:03, and in single, double, queen, and king sizes starting at $649 for a single. Accessories including mattress protectors and pillows start at $169.

10:PM is available for delivery to Sydney metro only. Delivery Australia wide is coming soon.

To find out more, head to and @10pmsleep.

Available for Interview:

  • Harrison Reid
  • Nicole Biljsma

High-res images of 10:PM mattress testing, 10:PM Billbeds and products can be found here.