How to Install a Mattress Topper – Does a Mattress Pad Go Over a Topper?
A mattress topper is an extra cushioning layer that sits on top of a mattress to make it more comfortable and give it a new feel. It helps relieve pressure points and body pains and encourages a more restful night’s sleep. Mattress toppers are typically between 2 and 8 inches thick, are available in various materials, and are easy to install. Here are the steps to install a mattress topper on top of a regular mattress and under a mattress protector:
To install a mattress topper, first unpack it, then let it expand completely, next position it on top of the mattress and secure it in place to prevent it from sliding, finally place a mattress protector over the mattress topper as protection for both the mattress topper and the mattress.
Read this article from Cullum et al., titled “Beds, Mattresses and Cushions for Pressure Sore Prevention and Treatment,” April 2000 to assess the effectiveness of pressure-relieving surfaces in the prevention of pressure sores. We also wrote a useful article on how to choose a mattress topper to help hip pain.
- How to use a mattress topper on an air mattress to make it more comfortable
Step 1. Unpack the Mattress Topper
Unpacking a mattress topper should be done very carefully. First, open the topper box then slide out the rolled mattress topper with its cover. Place the mattress topper on the bed and carefully tear open the plastic cover. Unfold the mattress slowly and allow it to naturally unroll to a flat position—don’t force it to flatten as this may damage the product. Remove the plastic cover, and install the mattress topper on top of the mattress in its desired position. We like this mattress topper from Amazon with its soothing lavender infusion. Our article on how to use and clean a mattress topper provides in-depth care instructions for mattress toppers.
Step 2. Let the Mattress Topper Expand Completely
Leave the mattress topper on top of the mattress for 24 hours before use to let it expand completely. Failure to do so will affect the comfort and benefits expected from the mattress topper. Once the mattress topper looks fluffy and comfortable, it is ready to sleep on. Read our article on how long does it take a memory foam mattress to expand, for more guidance on correctly installing mattress toppers.
Step 3. Position the Mattress Topper on Top of the Mattress and Secure It in Place
There are various ways to anchor a mattress topper to keep it in place. For instance, use a deep-pocket fitted sheet, like this one from Amazon, to fit the combined height of your mattress and topper. Stretch the fitted sheet over opposite corners of the mattresses then tuck it inside the bed frame. This will prevent the mattress topper from slipping off. Read this article we wrote with tips on how to fix a mattress topper that keeps sliding off.
Step 3. Add the Mattress Protector (Optional, but Recommended)
A mattress protector provides an extra layer of protection when fastened over the mattress topper. It prevents spills, body odors, sweat and other liquids from reaching your mattress topper and mattress. We like this vinyl free zippered protector from Amazon because it's waterproof and prevents bed bugs from reaching the mattress. Ensure that the mattress protector completely encloses the mattress topper and mattress for best results. Our article on whether you need a mattress protector provides useful information when considering buying a mattress protector.
Which Side Goes Up On A Mattress Topper?
While installing a mattress topper, take care about which side is going to come into contact with the body. A hand pressed into one side of the mattress topper, and then into the other side will eliminate confusion—the side that conforms the most to the shape of the hand is the top of the mattress topper. Read our article about latex vs. memory foam mattress toppers to find out more about memory foam mattress toppers .
The side that goes up on a mattress topper (the top side) is the one that conforms the most to the shape of an imprinted hand pressed into the foam surface. This side will be in contact with the body. Some mattress toppers feature an obvious thin layer of memory foam, this side is the one that goes up.
Correct Fit of a Mattress Topper on a Mattress?
If the mattress is an unusual size or shape then cutting the mattress topper will ensure a better fit, however this will often void the manufacturer warranty. To ensure a good mattress topper fit check out our in-depth guide for choosing a mattress topper size and thickness.
To choose the correct fit of a mattress topper, ensure that the measurements of the base mattress and mattress topper are identical. A topper that is too small will not cover the entire mattress surface, and a topper that is too big will hang too far over the edge of the mattress.
Does a Mattress Pad Go Over a Mattress Topper? How Do You Make A Bed With a Mattress Topper?
A mattress pad is a cover that is designed to be placed on top of the mattress and underneath the fitted sheet. Mattress pads give additional comfort and cushioning to the bed and are typically made of soft and comfortable materials, like this one from Amazon. Their primary purpose is to protect the mattress against wear and damage, and to prevent spills from soaking through to the mattresses. Read our article: do you really need a mattress protector to discover more about mattress protectors and when one is needed.
A mattress pad goes over a mattress topper since it is thinner. To make the bed with a mattress topper and a mattress pad, first secure a deep-pocket fitted sheet over the mattress, topper, and pad and tuck it into the sides. Then place a blanket evenly over the sheets. Finally, put the pillows at the headboard side of the bed and add a comforter or a bedspread.
Make sure you use sheets with deep pockets that can typically accommodate up to 22 inches in height. If you use a regular fitted sheet, you will not be able to pull the elasticized portion of the fitted sheet to the bottom of your mattress. A comforter is optional and is only added for warmth and decoration. Our article on 5 steps to dress up a platform bed presents easy ways to make an attractive looking bed.
How to Put A Mattress Protector Over a Mattress with a Mattress Topper?
A mattress topper gives extra height and cushioning to your mattress and can make an old mattress feel brand new—while a mattress protector provides a greater degree of protection from spills and stains. A mattress protector also protects the mattress from body oils, dead skin cells, dust mites and hair. Mattress toppers and mattress protectors can be used together or separately and aim to elongate the lifespan of the mattress.
Put the mattress protector over a mattress with a mattress topper by installing them in layers. First the mattress topper lays on top of the mattress surface, then the mattress protector lays on top of the mattress topper, so that the mattress protector is the top layer.
The mattress topper adjusts the firmness of your mattress, our mattress topper hack about how to prolong mattress life and make the mattress firmer or softer goes into great detail about the different types of mattress toppers. However, if you are satisfied with the level of comfort of your bed, then just put the mattress protector, like this one from Amazon, directly on top of your mattress without a topper.
Does a Mattress Topper Go Under the Sheets?
Bed sheets come in two types: fitted sheets with elastic corners and flat sheets without elastic corners. The elastic corners stop the mattress topper from sliding off during restless sleep. We like these bed sheet holder straps from Amazon.
A mattress topper goes under the sheets because the sheets provide warmth, insulation, comfort, and breathability. Placing the mattress topper under the sheets also protects the topper from dirt, dust, hair, sweat and body oils.
How Do You Keep a Mattress Topper From Sliding?
If your mattress topper is always shifting, it may disrupt your sleep. Some models come with a feature that keeps the topper in place like this mattress topper. But for those that don’t, this slip resistant mattress gripper pad from Amazon is a terrific solution.
To keep a mattress topper from sliding, cover it with a securely fitted sheet, velcro system, or install a non-skid mat to allow sufficient friction between the mattress topper and the mattress. Other possible solutions to a sliding mattress topper include, carpet or duct tape, safety pins, and adding a headboard and footboard to the bed frame.
You can find more ideas about how to hold down a mattress topper in our related article. Also, be sure to check out our step-by-step guide on how to attach a headboard, and this article on how headboards work to prevent your mattress and mattress topper from shifting.
Recommended Mattress Toppers
Mattress toppers feature extra options to make your sleep more comfortable.
Below are 3 recommended mattress toppers with their benefits and prices:
|Product Name + Link from Amazon||Benefits of the Product||Price|
|Linenspa 2 Inch Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper||Conforms to the shape of your body. |
Contains gel beads that keep you cool and fresh throughout the night.
Distributes your weight evenly.
Softens your mattress and extends its lifespan.
|Lucid 2 Inch 5 Zone Lavender Memory Foam Mattress Topper||Improves the breathability of your mattress. |
Relieves pressure points especially at the shoulders, hips, and knees.
Conforms to the curves of your body.
|Niagara Sleep Solution Air Flow Cooling Mattress Topper||Provides breathability to the mattress. |
Regulates body temperature.
Softens a hard mattress.
Features elastic bands to stay in place.
Installing a mattress topper with a mattress pad will ensure a more luxurious and comfortable sleeping experience as well as offer the kind of protection that will prolong the life of the mattress. Our article on how to protect a mattress topper or mattress pad has more information on extending the longevity of both the toppers and pads.