You’ve just spent hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a new mattress, so how do you keep it safe from stains, spills and nasties? Enter the humble mattress protector, a fabric covering designed to safeguard your comfy bed from allergens, urine and more.
Investing in one of these fabric covers is necessary if you want to prolong the lifespan of your new or older mattress and keep your sleeping space hygienic.
They are especially vital if you have recently bought the best mattress for your budget and are testing it out on a trial period; you could void the terms of the returns process (and warranty) if you don’t protect it properly.
So if you’re wondering whether mattress protectors are necessary, here are five reasons why, plus our recommendations for top-rated covers for each scenario…
1. Mattress protectors ward-off bedbugs
Dust mites and bed bugs aren’t house guests that any of us want. Both can cause problems for allergy and asthma sufferers, and bed bugs can leave us with nasty, itchy bites. These little blighters feed on our blood at night, so you really don’t want to share your bed with them.
Mattress protectors are tightly woven covers and casings that form a barrier to stop these household parasites from gaining access to your skin.
In addition, protectors stop us shedding oils and skin onto our bed and, because they can be easily washed, any dust mites and bed bugs that do pitch up on the protector are killed off during washing and drying.
2. They protect against bedwetting and spills
If you have young children, a mattress protector is a must as they progress through potty training and learning to stay dry at night.
Waterproof protectors are made of two-layer constructions, with a soft, absorbent top layer and a waterproof bottom layer to prevent liquids reaching the surface of your mattress.
Modern waterproof mattress covers also offer excellent breathability. So not only do they protect against urine and other accidental spills, they’ll allow good airflow through and from your mattress too. If you need to clean urine off a mattress, read our in-depth feature on how to clean a mattress for step-by-step guidance.
3. Without a protector, you could void the terms of a mattress trial
Most mattresses in a box offer risk-free trial periods (usually 100 nights, but some, including DreamCloud, picture below, Nectar and Avocado Green offer a full year). Check the small print though and most will say that you need to return the mattress in a clean and presentable condition.
If you change your mind during the trial period and try to return a mattress that has staining, wear and tear, or other signs of use, you may not get a refund.
In fact, many mattress manufacturers stipulate that you must use a proper protective covering throughout the entire trial period. Beyond that, using a mattress protector is part of the terms of warranty on some hybrid, innerspring and memory foam mattresses.
4. Mattress protectors reduce staining
Mattresses absorb liquids and sweat and body oils very easily, which does nothing for their lifespan. Mattress covers are designed to either absorb or repel liquids, preventing nasty stains from ruining your bed.
This is due to their water-resistant inner layer that prevents liquids soaking through, whilst an absorbent outer layer dissipates liquids so that they don’t puddle on top. You can use them over mattress toppers and pads too, and as these are normally spot-clean only, a protector is once again necessary to keep them free from stains.
5. Some help your bed feel cool to the touch
Cooling mattress protectors regulate the surface temperature of your mattress to keep you comfortable while you sleep. In general they are constructed from breathable materials, such as copper or gel, alongside shell fabrics including cotton, Tencel or rayon from bamboo.
These draw heat away from your body and wick away sweat and other moisture. This also helps to prevent heat from building up underneath the covers as you sleep, and will contribute to regulating your body temperature. If you overheat in bed, we’d recommend investing in the best cooling mattress for hot sleepers.
Are mattress protectors necessary: Conclusion
Compared to buying a new bed or some squishy pillows for sleeping, a mattress protector is a boring purchase. However, they are vital to maintaining a healthy sleep environment and will keep your mattress safe from a whole brigade of nasties.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get one, but you should add a proper mattress covering to every bed you own. Yep, even the guest bed. When you see how hard they work, and how many spills and stains they save your mattress from, you’ll quickly see their value.