Do You Really Need a Mattress Protector?
Half a liter of water is approximately what the human body will lose during eight hours of sleep. The question is: where does it all go? Some of it will evaporate into the atmosphere, but most goes straight down into your mattress. So, how do you protect your mattress from all of this moisture on a daily basis? The best answer is often a mattress protector.
You need a mattress protector to protect your mattress from spills, moisture, allergens, dust, and bed bugs because this extends the life of your mattress.
A mattress protector can protect your mattress from stains, liquid spills, night sweating, and excess humidity which is, sometimes, responsible for premature damage to the mattress. They extend the life of your mattress.
Unfortunately, most mattress buyers often ignore a mattress protector or misidentify it as a mattress topper, which has a different purpose. Actually, a mattress protector is an important component of offering a comfortable night's sleep for a long time to come.
What Is a Mattress Protector and What Is It Used For?
A mattress protector is a covering designed purposefully to protect a mattress. Depending on the material and the design, a mattress protector may be used to protect against moisture, liquids, dust, dirt, allergens and bugs.
The use of a mattress protector is vital, because every night the human body releases an appreciable amount of water in the form of perspiration, thus creating a favorable environment for bacteria, germs, and mites. Mattress protectors are especially recommended for people prone to allergies. Using a mattress protector will also prolong the life of your mattress.
Mattress protectors are used for many different reasons. When you use a mattress protector, your mattress will last longer. A mattress protector is more hygienic and generally keeps the mattress cleaner and less soiled. Mattress protectors block accidental liquid spills from soaking that hard-to-clean and expensive mattress. They also prevent bed bugs and/or dust mites from nesting in your mattress. Mattress protectors are also suitable choices for dorm rooms. Make sure to take a look at our article on how to make a dorm bed more comfortable for more information, tips, and tricks.
Mattress Protectors vs. Mattress Toppers
Many people mistake mattress protectors vs. mattress toppers. This is understandable, as both are laid over a mattress to change its qualities but they are not interchangeable.
When comparing a mattress protector vs. a mattress topper, the main difference is that a mattress protector shields your mattress against stains, humidity, and dust, while a mattress topper enhances the comfort of your mattress.
Mattress toppers can be made of a wide variety of materials, including memory foam, synthetic fibers, feathers, or wool. They are fairly thick, often 2-4 inches thick. This is because a mattress topper is designed to change the feel of the mattress underneath, making it softer or firmer, cooler, or providing extra support. Our article on how to use a mattress topper, how to clean a mattress topper, and when to replace a mattress topper may also be valuable to you.
If your mattress has completely lost its support and comfort, a mattress topper will not be the solution, if there is any, in the long run. While it might level out some bumps and sags that will develop in older mattresses, a mattress topper won’t provide any extra resilience to a worn-out mattress. They can be a good short-term solution, but the only real remedy for your aging mattress is to buy a new mattress. Be sure to take a look at when you should buy a mattress topper instead of a new mattress for more information. We've also put together a complete guide to mattress topper benefits and disadvantages for your reference. Do you need a mattress topper? Take a look at our complete guide to find out!
In contrast, the mattress protector is a product that everyone should consider using, as they help to maintain and keep a mattress clean. Keep in mind, if you spend appreciable money on the adequate mattress, it is reasonable to add to the cart a protector that can extend its life expectancy.
Materials for mattress protectors are specifically chosen and designed for best moisture and liquid isolation (or absorption) while allowing for air circulation. Some materials are nicer than others. There are mattress protectors made of, for example, cotton fleece, PVC, and "terry cotton," which are as effective as they are aesthetic. Whatever your choice, try to pick a mattress protector made of an impermeable material that helps to protect the mattress by keeping liquids and moistures out of it. In particular, look for mattress protectors with a layer of polyurethane film that are not only waterproof but also breathable, such as those manufactured by Utopia Bedding.
Comparison of Mattress Protectors and Mattress Toppers
|Feature of Mattress Protectors and Mattress Toppers||Mattress Protectors||Mattress Toppers|
|Primary Purpose||Protects mattress from dirt and moisture||Provides more softness or firmness to a mattress|
|Thickness||Few millimeters||2-4 inches|
|Materials They Can Be Made Of||Vinyl/PVCTerry cottonPolyurethane||Memory foamSynthetic fiberFeatherWool|
|Durability/How Long They Last||Up to 10 yrs||2-5 yrs|
|Recommended Products||Utopia - Waterproof Zippered Mattress Protector PlushDeluxe Mattress Encasement||Sleep On Natural Latex Topper to increase firmness Bedding Direct UK Temperature Balance Mattress Topper|
If you know someone going off to college soon, make sure to also take a look at our article about choosing a mattress topper vs a mattress pad for college to find out which one you really need (or both!).
Pros and Cons of Mattress Toppers
A mattress topper is an extra layer placed on the upper surface of your mattress. So, it can offer you extra comfort while you sleep. Depending on the thickness and material, it can extend the life cycle of the mattress. Mattress toppers can also provide better air ventilation and make you sleep cooler.
However, quality mattress toppers can be expensive (it may cost hundreds of dollars). If you choose the wrong topper for your mattress, you can actually make your mattress less comfortable if you make it softer or firmer than you want. The wrong topper can also affect mattress ventilation. And bear in mind, mattress topper is a short-term solution for your mattress troubles. Make sure to check out how to fix a mattress topper that keeps sliding off as well.
Summary of Pros and Cons of Mattress Toppers
|Pros of Mattress Toppers||Cons of Mattress Toppers|
|Can add thickness and comfort, making a mattress firmer or softer, as needed||Can be expensive (however they are usually cheaper than buying a new mattress altogether)|
|Can extend the life of a mattress||Need to select the right type for your mattress or else your mattress may become less comfortable|
|If you are trying to save an old mattress with a mattress topper, you may be disappointed. Mattress toppers can only help to an extent but they cannot rescue an old, indented, dying, mattress.|
Do You Need a Mattress Protector for College? Is it Necessary?
Try to figure out how many college students have stayed in your dorm room before you. How many of them have laid their bodies on your mattress? Certainly some of them were sweaty or sick, or worse. A mattress protector puts a barrier between you and all that history from previous students, effectively defending you while you sleep. Mattress protectors, used in a dormitory, provides an affordable level of hygienic health protection.
You need a mattress protector for college because it will protect you from anything left behind on the mattress from previous users. It will also protect the mattress from those careless spills you are likely to have when you're studying or having fun with friends.
- Would a copper mattress pad help you in college?
Do Mattress Protectors Work against Bed Bugs?
With the global resurgence of bed bugs as a problem and their increasing resistance to pesticide controls, it makes sense to consider buying a mattress protector for added insurance against that nasty problem. Cutting costs, by skipping the mattress encasement step of a treatment process, is a shortcut that can end up costing more in the long run.
A mattress protector works against bed bugs by sealing the mattress inside a bug-proof case and by being easy to clean. If you see a bed bug on top of your mattress protector, you can machine wash the encasement to kill the bed bugs and their eggs.
While there is nothing insecticidal in a mattress protector, so there is nothing here that kills bed bugs, but what a bed bug encasement does is isolate a lot of potential hiding places for bedbugs.
Mattress protectors that are bed bug proof encasements will cover all of those hiding places that bed bugs love to hide in and replace them with a single smooth surface that bed bugs cannot penetrate. This will make it a lot harder for them to hide in your mattress, and a lot easier for you to spot them. This means that if you spot signs of bed bugs, you only need to treat the mattress and box spring with a vacuum steamer and sprays. You can put the encasements on the mattress or box spring and forget about them. You'll need to perform follow-up treatments a couple of weeks apart, to hit any survivors or new hatchlings, but you won't need to throw away the mattress.
If you do find bed bugs on the surface of your mattress protector, treating them will be very easy. Simply remove the encasement from the bed and throw it in your washing machine. The laundry cycle will kill any bed bugs or eggs on the encasement. That's much easier than inspecting and treating your mattress or box spring all over again. There are actually bed bug laundry bags that you can throw directly into the washing machine, so that you don’t have to worry about spreading the bugs when moving the protector into the laundry.
- How do you replace a mattress protector that's hot or uncomfortable?
- How often should you replace a mattress protector and how do you increase the life of your mattress protector?
Do You Need a Mattress Protector for Memory Foam and All Beds?
You need a mattress protector for memory foam mattresses because the encasement will protect the mattress against spills, liquids, and sweat and extend mattress life.
A mattress represents an investment and not a small one. If properly looked after, it will benefit you and comfort you for many years to come. The mattress protector acts as a barrier between you and the mattress, extending the life of your mattress. In the event of an unpleasant accident, such as a liquid spill, or child bedwetting, you can simply remove and wash the protector, as it is machine washable, while keeping your mattress intact.
Waterproof Mattress Protectors vs. Normal Mattress Protectors
The difference between waterproof mattress protectors vs. normal mattress protectors is that waterproof mattress protectors are designed to keep liquid from reaching your mattress. They are fitted tightly and made of hydrophobic materials. On the other hand, normal mattress protectors are not guaranteed to prevent liquid absorption.
A quilted protector consists of two layers made of a mix of cotton and polyester, filled with cotton and polyfibers held in place by lines of stitching. Unless stated and guaranteed by the manufacturer, most quilted protectors are not liquid-proof. In other words, liquids and/or allergens can still penetrate into your mattress. Make sure you research whether your quilted protector is water-proof if you desire that functionality.
The most familiar type of waterproof protector on the market is the Terry Towel Protector. It has an upper layer of absorbent terry towel and a waterproof inner layer. Since it has no filling, this mattress protector is thinner than a quilted mattress protector but it’s also designed to limit liquid breaches. Waterproof protectors will absorb liquids and repel allergens, keeping your mattress from being soiled.
Examples of Three Waterproof Mattress Protectors from Amazon
|Coop Home Goods Waterproof Protector||Breathable |
Bed bug proof
No vinyl or PVC
|SafeRest Waterproof Terry||Cotton terry |
|Grt Quilted Waterproof Protector||Quilted cotton alternative |
Bed bug proof
Be sure to also take a look at our list of the best waterproof mattress protectors for more options.
Alternatives to Mattress Protectors
Have you purchased your favorable mattress, but you are now limited by a strict budget? Do you feel that the mattress protector will be too expensive? If you can't get a mattress protector just yet, there are other things you can do to protect your important investment.
Alternatives to mattress protectors include traditional flat sheets and fitted sheets made of linen or cotton. They feel great, offer some coolness, and provide a little protection for the mattress, especially if you layer them. However, they are not waterproof, so you will need something more if you really need protection against liquids.
If water proofing is an urgent problem, you can spread a layer of plastic between the bedsheet and the mattress. This would be a very good economical, short-term solution.
Invest in a Mattress Protector
Your mattress is a long-term investment, not merely a place where you sleep. Buying a protector for your mattress is a must if you really want to protect and extend the life of your investment. A protector keeps your mattress more hygienic, with less allergens, and less dust mites.
All good mattress protectors are machine washable and easy to maintain, much easier to clean than a mattress.
And remember, prolonging the mattress' life is a simple means of protecting our environment by reducing disposal of synthetic materials into landfill sites. Ultimately, a mattress protector protects more than a mattress, it is good for your well-being and your loved ones.