Are Mattress Protectors Worth It? Ultimate Guide

A mattress protector is a kind of a special cover for a mattress, which helps to protect it from dirt and wear. A mattress protector with other bedding items creates an acceptable microclimate for warm air circulation during sleep. The mattress protector is simply irreplaceable if the mattress consists of foam rubber, latex and other synthetic materials that do not provide optimal moisture exchange.

Is it necessary to have a mattress protector? It is necessary to have a mattress protector since mattress protectors perform the following functions:

  • Mattress protectors prevent the accumulation of dust, dirt on the mattress, and also prevents wearing off of the mattress;
  • Mattress protectors create more hygienic conditions while sleeping;
  • Mattress protectors can make the mattress harder or softer adjusting it to your needs;
  • Mattress protectors provide an optimal microclimate in bed and retain more heat when a person sleeps.

Now let’s dive into this a bit deeper and see whether mattress protectors are really worth it and what we need them for.

There are several types of mattress protectors depending on the density of the filler or the type of material, they perform different functions. Here are some of the functions that mattress protectors carry out:

  • A regular mattress protector allows you to reduce the number of cleaning the mattress or upholstered furniture. It can be easily washed in the washing machine and dried quickly;
  • Waterproof mattress protectors will protect the mattress from leaks. This is ideal if you are looking for bedding for a baby bed or if you are worried about the comfort of the elderly or bedridden patients;
  • Seasonal mattress protectors are specially designed to ensure you sleep comfortably, whatever the climatic conditions. Summer mattress protectors made of cotton will enhance moisture removal and ventilation of the bed while winter models made of sheep wool will add comfort and warmth when it is cold;
  • A big thick mattress protector is able to combine two single mattresses into a single whole. This is especially useful if the spouses use mattresses with different fillings;
  • Depending on the filler, the mattress protector is able to change the firmness level of the mattress, allowing you to slightly adjust the sleeping conditions without spending money on buying a new mattress.
  • Most mattress protectors are washable. The washing mode and water temperature will depend on the materials of manufacture. This information is indicated on the label. It is necessary to read the recommendations before washing, as some types of fillers of mattress protectors are only suitable for dry cleaning.

If you are not sure whether it is necessary to have a mattress protector, you need to know what mattress protectors do. The mattress protectors should completely cover the mattress and be easy to remove, not slip off or gather in folds. The quality of sleep and the aesthetic appeal of the bed will depend on how correctly the mattress protector is selected.

Why You Need a Mattress Protector: Not Just for What You Think

What Does a Mattress Protector Do?

  • Mattress protectors extend the life of your mattress.

The key task of the mattress protector is to protect the mattress against wear. Modern orthopaedic mattresses are quite expensive, however, if you get a mattress protector, it can increase the lifespan of your mattress significantly and minimize damage. The mattress protector prevents mechanical damage of the mattress.

  • Mattress protectors prevent dust and dirt collection.

We must not forget about another function that the mattress cover performs is dust protection. Dust does little harm to the mattress but it can be very dangerous for your health, especially if you suffer from allergies. All microparticles of dust on the mattress instantly rise up in the air as soon as you lie on the bed. Then all this dust goes to the lungs causing you serious problems. The mattress protector perfectly collects dust on itself and is easy to clean.

  • Mattress protector prevents the mattress from stains. 

Another important function of mattress protectors is moisture and stain prevention. The mattress protector is usually not ideal against water, but it depends on its type. There are models with a waterproof film inside, which are able to retain any moisture.

Even if you choose not a waterproof mattress protector, it is still much better than nothing when it comes to spilling liquids. If you spill a cup of tea on a mattress that has no mattress protector, it will get a stain in no time. However, if you have a mattress protector, it will absorb all the moisture saving your mattress.  Otherwise, water can cause deformation of the fillers, distort the uniformity of distribution and harm the mattress in other ways.

As for stains, it must be admitted that the mattress is difficult to clean. Upholstery is often not designed to be cleaned with a stiff brush, and the use of moisture or detergents threatens to harm the fillers. How to be? Avoid stains and dirt. But you definitely need to take into account the fact that cheap mattress protectors themselves can paint the mattress in their own colour if poor-quality paint was used. 

  • Mattress protectors carry out an aesthetic function.

Modern designers have taken care of the perfect look of the mattresses, they are tastefully made and have an attractive design. However, the mattress topper in most cases will look more attractive and interesting. So, the final function of the mattress topper is to decorate the mattress. Few people choose a mattress by its appearance because its characteristics are more important. A wide selection of mattress covers will allow you to give your bed a stylish look.

What Are the Advantages of Mattress Protectors?

The mattress protectors will extend the life of the mattress or a sofa. It is much easier and cheaper to replace a mattress cover than a mattress itself. Most of the mattress protectors are machine washable. It will save the day when there is no financial opportunity to replace the sofa that is used for sleeping.

  • Mattress protectors have the ability to provide additional heat in the cold season;
  • Mattress protectors have the ability to absorb moisture from the body, which makes sleep more comfortable;
  • Mattress protectors preserve orthopaedic properties of the mattress;
  • Mattress protectors can solve the problem of the inconvenience of a sleeping place;
  • Mattress protectors protect against harmful microorganisms (some types of fabrics with antibacterial treatment);
  • Mattress protectors maintain correct body position during rest and sleep;
  • Mattress protectors protect the bed from the accumulation of static electricity and electromagnetic radiation;
  • Mattress protectors prevent bed linen from slipping;
  • Mattress protectors have a light massage effect;
  • Mattress protectors are inexpensive compared to a new mattress or sofa.

What Should I look For in a Mattress Protector?

To understand what you should look for in a mattress protector, you need to choose among the four possible options of mattress covers, each of which is responsible for performing certain functions during sleep.

  • Protective Mattress Cover

Protective mattress toppers are considered the most common and most affordable. They are made from blended fabrics based on natural and synthetic fibres that are inexpensive. The main purpose of such a mattress topper is to protect the mattress from dirt and bacteria that accumulate on the surface over time. When wondering whether mattress covers are needed for protection, pay attention to those mattresses that are used for a long time without it and any questions will disappear by themselves.

  • Waterproof Mattress Protector

The waterproof mattress protector will also collect dust and dirt like a simple protective mattress cover. But in this case, a waterproof mattress protector prevents moisture from penetrating into the mattress. Such a mattress topper is perfect for families with small children. Covering your crib with a waterproof mattress topper protects the mattress and extends its life, not to mention hygiene.

  • Orthopaedic Mattress Protector

Orthopaedic mattress protectors are characterized by the level of hardness of the filler. In fact, it is a thin mattress that is filled with materials which are designed to adjust the qualities of a sleeping mattress.

Very often, when you are buying a mattress, you can miscalculate its rigidity, you may think it can be too hard or, conversely, soft. Also, over the years, the mattress can wear out and be squeezed, which causes discomfort during sleep. If the mattress is not able to provide a comfortable level of support for you during sleep, orthopaedic mattress covers come to the rescue.

The orthopaedic mattress protector is filled with high-quality filler, thanks to which a person experiences more comfortable sensations during sleep. For those whose mattress is too soft, latex mattress covers are suitable as they perfectly harmonize the rigidity of the mattress, so it will be much more comfortable to sleep. For hard mattresses, they offer mattress toppers filled with coconut coir as this natural material is very soft and definitely compensates for the hardness of the mattress. In any case, an orthopaedic mattress protector will help you save money on buying a new mattress, making the old one much more comfortable.

  • Woollen Mattress Protector

Woollen mattress covers have healing warming properties. They are simply irreplaceable in the cold season. The mattress topper made of woollen filler will be very useful in cases of osteochondrosis, radiculitis, rheumatism and asthma.

What Is the Best Material for a Mattress Protector?

To choose the best material for a mattress topper you need to figure out what tasks it should perform. Here is a table clarifying the main characteristics of each mattress protector material. 

Mattress Protector MaterialCharacteristics
Cotton Mattress CoversMade from natural 100% cotton. Cotton mattress covers are fixed at the corners with elastic bands or put on the mattress with an elastic band sewn around the fabric perimeter. Such mattress covers can and should be washed regularly, they do not shrink.
The service life of such a mattress topper is 5 years on average.
Waterproof Mattress CoversWaterproof mattress covers consist of a waterproof polyurethane membrane and protect the entire mattress surface. The outer part of the mattress covers is most often made of cotton. A waterproof mattress pad is a great option for protecting cribs. There are also waterproof mite and bacteria resistant mattress toppers.

Despite the high absorption of moisture, they prevent the growth of fungi, bacteria and other parasites. Waterproof mattress toppers can be washed in a regular washing machine and last about 5 years.
Antibacterial Mattress CoversIn fact, antibacterial mattress covers are the same as cotton mattress covers. Their peculiarity is that they are treated with a special substance Actigard and prevent the occurrence of mites and bacteria. Antibacterial mattress covers are recommended for people suffering from allergies: they are reliable protection against household allergies.

Such mattress toppers lend themselves to regular washing and do not lose their antibacterial properties over time. The mattress topper is put on with a sewn-in elastic band.
Latex Mattress CoversLatex mattress covers are made from 100% latex, they are used to correct the hardness / softness of the sleeping area. A pure latex mattress topper is ideal for increasing the softness of the mattress, and if you prefer a harder sleeping surface, we recommend buying a latex and coconut mattress topper.

Also, if you want to buy a latex mattress topper, it is important to consider that its height is on average 5 cm. Latex mattress toppers have anti-allergenic properties, ideal for those who are subject to allergies.
Coconut Mattress CoversThe material from which such a mattress topper is made is coconut coir. If the mattress is too soft for you, you should consider buying a coconut mattress topper. It increases the firmness of the mattress and also has an orthopedic effect, helping the body to assume the correct position during sleep.

Coconut mattress toppers are made of environmentally friendly, natural materials, do not cause allergies. They are meant to increase the comfort of a sleeping place and are very practical: they extend the life of the mattress.
Orthopedic Mattress Covers.Just like coconut mattress toppers, orthopedic ones are designed to adjust the hardness / softness. They can be made from coconut, latex, memory soft. Orthopedic mattress covers are highly anatomical as they help the body to take the correct position during sleep.
SheetsThick sheets made of 100% cotton are attached to the mattress with a sewn-in elastic band. Sheets are reliable protection of the mattress from dirt and liquid ingress, and they also prevent the wear of the mattress. They are washable in a regular washing machine, environmentally friendly and non-allergenic.

The best material for a mattress topper is individually determined according to the needs of a person. Do you need price-quality ratio, durability, better appearance or environmental safety?

If we compare natural and synthetic products with each other, of course, natural materials are preferable. But all natural materials wear out quickly. Therefore, sometimes it can be more reasonable to opt for synthetic models.

Modern manufacturers offer mattress protectors made from:

  • natural materials that may not be suitable for those who suffer from allergies;
  • synthetic materials that differ in lightness and basic antibacterial properties and are asy to wash and have a long service life;
  • combined options that are the best option for those who want to combine the quality of natural models with the convenience of using synthetic ones. They perfectly keep their shape and boast a stunning appearance.

Cactus fibre is the most environmentally friendly and hypoallergenic material but coconut coir can compete with it in terms of being hypoallergenic. Bamboo has the highest antibacterial properties.

If you need a winter mattress topper, natural wool and fluff will be the best choice for the filler, and wool, microfiber or fleece are ideal for the top coating of a mattress protector.

If, on the contrary, you need a summer model, then it is best to choose coconut coir with a silk, cotton or bamboo coating.

How to Choose a Mattress Protector?

Choosing the right choice of a mattress topper begins with determining the functions you need it to perform.

  • Material

If the purpose of the purchase is to make the mattress or sofa softer, then you should pay attention to products filled with felt, latex, holofiber, struttofiber.

For those who are primarily interested in orthopaedic characteristics, models made of polyurethane foam, cactus fibre or coconut coir are the best (coconut coir being the toughest). They will also be interested in the “memory” filler which remembers the shape of the body and its similarities (almost every manufacturing factory produces its own “proprietary” materials).

  • Size

The next defining parameter when choosing a mattress protector is the size of the mattress protector. It is important to choose the correct size of the product so that it fits exactly the length, width and height of the mattress or sofa. In the case where the coating is larger, it will create folds which lead to discomfort.

Manufacturers offer a full range of products to match standard single, one and a half and double beds. If none of the standard sizes fits, then the only way out is to order according to individual size. The most correct decision is to buy a mattress topper at the same time as a mattress.

  • The thickness of the elastic bands.

You need to pay attention to the thickness of the elastic bands if the choice is stopped on a model with a 4-elastic mount. If the fasteners are too thin, they will quickly tear and the mattress topper will slide off.

  • Time of the year.

Depending on the time of year, you must decide what kind of mattress topper is needed for your sleeping place. In the warm season, an orthopaedic mattress topper with coconut filling is perfect as it perfectly relaxes muscles, does not cause a greenhouse effect and contributes to deeper and more pleasant sleep. Choose those mattress toppers where the cover is made of natural or mixed fabrics, they are more hygienic and provide optimal heat exchange during sleep.

In winter, give preference to mattress covers made from natural materials, especially wool. Also, remember to wash your mattress topper regularly. If you can’t clean it yourself, it’s best to go to a dry cleaner. This will make your mattress topper more hygienic and free of bacteria and parasites.

  • Additional functions.

Based on the needs and financial capabilities, you can get a mattress protector with a set of additional properties and functions such as antibacterial or moisture-proof impregnation, hypoallergenic materials and so on.

For example, if you suffer from allergies, the right choice is a microfiber mattress topper. This material is characterized as durable and pleasant to the touch.

How Often Should You Change a Mattress Protector?

Mattress protectors do not need to be changed as often as bedding. Ventilate them once a month and vacuum them once a week with a special soft-bristle nozzle (not to be confused with a carpet brush because coarse bristles can leave clues on knitted or terry cloth).

Can mattress protectors be washed? Washing the mattress protector is necessary every three to six months but you can vacuum it or wipe with a damp cloth once a month.

If you want your mattress protector to last longer, you need to adhere to simple rules:

  • Strictly follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for caring for the mattress protector, since each material has its own peculiarity during operation.
  • Mattress cover made of membrane fabric should be washed only with special liquid detergents, otherwise, the micropores of the membrane become clogged and it loses its properties.
  • Coconut coir mattress protector should not be folded, otherwise, the fibres will break and deform.
  • If you want the mattress protector to last longer, it is necessary to turn the mattress topper every 2-3 months and regularly ventilate outdoors.
  • Do not iron mattress protectors.
  • If washing is allowed, then the water temperature should be no higher than 40 degrees. Do not use aggressive detergents.

How Long Do Mattress Protectors Last?

On average, mattress protectors last five years, however, it will depend on the material it is made of. Cotton mattress protectors, for example, last up to 5 years while coconut mattress protectors will last up to 4 years. 

Mattress Protectors Maintenance and Care

For the mattress protector to serve for a long time, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. As a rule, manufacturers advise to observe the following rules:

  • The mattress topper, regardless of the material, must be ventilated periodically.
  • If washing is allowed, temperatures should not exceed 40 degrees. For washing waterproof membrane-coated models, use only special liquid detergents. 2-4 washes per year will be sufficient. You need to carefully read the label, many models are subject exclusively to dry cleaning.
  • Woollen products are dried flat in a horizontal position.
  • It is forbidden to iron the mattress topper.
  • Coir mattress protectors cannot be rolled up.
  • It is recommended to swap the top and bottom of the mattress cover every two months and turn it over (if the design allows it). This creates conditions for uniform wear and therefore extends the service life of the mattress protector.
  • Be sure to keep the mattress protector away from chemicals.
  • Do not place the mattress protector close to sources of the open fire and flammable devices.


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