Updated: February 22, 2018
If you’ve recently purchased a memory foam, latex, or hybrid innerspring mattress, you might already be thinking about how to protect your investment. How can you still enjoy the breathability and comfort of your mattress while still protecting it from bed bugs, fluids and allergens? What happens if you spill something on your mattress? Can you simply remove a stain by cleaning your mattress? At the end of the day, do you really need a mattress protector?
Sure, you can clean your mattress after a spill or every few months, but there’s no better way to protect your investment and your health than investing in a mattress protector. Most quality mattress protectors fit just like a fitted sheet, and can easily be thrown in the wash along with your sheets and pillow cases. They repel liquid, keep our allergens like dust mites, and keep your mattress looking and feeling new for longer. Investing early in a mattress protector can save you thousands down the line. So what’s the deal with mattress protectors, how do you find one that works for you, and are they really worth it? Check out our overview on mattress protectors plus some tips on finding one that’s worth the money.
Should I get a mattress protector or a mattress encasement? What’s the difference?
A mattress protector is typically a waterproof mattress cover that encases either the top layer (mattress protector) or the entire mattress (mattress encasement) to provide protection from accidental liquid spills. Either type works, but tend to have significant differences in how the feel and how they work.
Most mattress protectors fit like a fitted sheet on your bed. They don’t cover the entire mattress, but do protect it against most accidental spills and some allergens. They’re made of water-resistant materials, usually terry cloth, that still allow for considerable airflow and breathability. So if you have a mattress that has cooling technology in its upper-most layers (something like the Brooklyn Aurora, for example), a mattress protector retains the benefits of this cooling technology while simultaneously protecting it from most spills and allergens.
Choose a mattress protector if you:
- Want protection against most spills and allergens, but want something that’s nearly undetectable through the sheets
- Are on a tight budget and want to save money
- Still plan to regularly clean your mattress to remove allergens that kept out by a protector
- Want the ease and convenience of something that fits like a fitted sheet
Mattress encasements are similar to protectors in that they protect from liquids and allergens, but are an enhanced version for special cases. Mattress encasements are usually zippered and cover the entire mattress from top to bottom, rather than just the top layer. They’re tougher and more durable, and tend to keep out even things like bed bugs – but because they cover the entire mattress, they can usually be felt a bit more through the sheets. Sometimes this is a worthy sacrifice if you’re concerned about things like spills, accidents and bed bugs.
Choose a mattress encasement if you:
- Want more complete protection against both accidental spills as well as allergens and bed bugs
- Are willing to spend a bit more for more comprehensive protection
- Consider the bed a “high risk” area for accidents that include bodily fluids
- Have very sensitive skin or allergies that require extensive protection
- Don’t mind slightly reduced breathability in your mattress in exchange for great protection
Tips for Find a Quality Mattress Protector or Mattress Encasement
There are a variety of mattress protectors and encasements on the market today, some with just stain protection while others also provide protection against allergens and irritants such as bed bugs, mold, dust mites, and dead skin. Most will be breathable and will not significantly hinder the cooling benefits of the mattress, but be cautious and read reviews to ensure it does not change the overall feel on the mattress. To find a quality protector or encasement that’s worth the money, consider these tips:
Check Out Reviews
You never really know what a mattress protector or encasement will feel on your bed until you try it. For a good indicator beforehand, though, take a close look at reviews. Search for words like “cooling” and “softness” to find reviews that cover the feel of the protector.
Look at Materials
Most protectors use fabrics and materials that are moisture-resistant but still allow for some breathability. Terry cloth, polyester/lycra and even vinyl are popular materials that still allow for breathability while repelling water.
Consider Length of Protection
Mattress protectors of any quality will be able to repel liquid immediately after contact, but only some can withstand extended exposure to liquids in large amounts. Check out any reviews that talk about how long a mattress protector can keep liquid out, as well as how much. You might not need something that can repel a quart of liquid for 24 hours, though, so weigh your particular needs against those reviews, since long-lasting repelling could impact breathability.
Why use a mattress protector?
Although there are many cleaning agents and tips on how to clean a mattress, it can be difficult to completely remove stains or clean the mattress entirely. Mattress protectors fix this problem by simply avoiding the stains in the first place. Mattress protectors absorb or repel liquids and allergens and are easily washable in the washer and dryer. Protecting the integrity of your mattress and having a fresh surface to sleep on ensures you are healthier and happier (and protects your investment).
Using a mattress protector is often recommended to individuals who have significantly sensitive skin or chronic allergies. A quality mattress protector can provide that extra layer of protection that you need to avoid flare ups triggered by common allergens and irritants like dust mites and bed bugs. Mattress protectors are commonly used in nurseries and health care facilities, primarily because they are easily cleaned and sanitized.
Need a mattress protector that’s both breathable and durable? Check out the Brooklyn Bedding Mattress Protector.