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mattress guides

Why Do You Need A Mattress Protector And How To Choose The Best One?

mattress protector
Oct 27, 2020

Cleaning the mattress is time-consuming and tedious, but it’s not impossible. If you spill water on your mattress, you can dry it with your hairdryer. If your mattress is dirty, you can clean it with baking soda or enzyme cleaner. If there are sweat stains, you can use a bleach laundry detergent to get rid of them.

Or, you can simply buy a mattress protector and avoid doing all that.

Mattress protector does just what it sounds like: protects the mattress from dirt, spills, body fluids, and damage, thus keeping it in good condition longer. Protectors can be washed in a machine, they are affordable and extremely useful. Here, we’ll tell you all you need to know about them.

FAQ about protectors: Koala’s answering

Do I need a mattress protector for a memory foam mattress?

Yes, you do. Memory foam mattresses accumulate dust mites and mold just like all the other mattresses, and you can spill water on a memory foam mattress as well as on any other mattress. We can recommend choosing a protector with the surface that can absorb excessive moisture, such as sweat, as foam mattresses are not the best option for hot sleepers; but if you still want a soft comfortable mattress, you can just buy a protector that will provide you with even more comfort and enough breathability.

How often should I replace the mattress protector?

Most mattress protectors should be replaced once a year. If you wash it more often than once per 2 weeks, it's recommended to replace the mattress protector every 4-6 months, but it depends on how much it wears down.

Most mattress covers are made from polyester and cotton. Polyester-based covers are more affordable then covers made from cotton and they are perfect for people with allergies. Cotton covers are more comfy and more durable.

How comfortable is a waterproof cover for a memory foam mattress?

The waterproof mattress covers are not 100% comfortable. Actually, the mattress protectors are not that comfortable unless they have a soft top layer — it’s polyester and polyurethane that make them waterproof, but these materials are not that comfy.

Should I put a sheet over a mattress protector?

Yes, you should. Even the most luxurious mattress protectors aren’t very comfortable, as they are usually made of synthetic materials that have to protect your mattress from liquids and dirt. To feel even more comfy, you need to put a bed sheet on it. Putting a sheet over the protector will also make the latter last longer.

Koala’s list of best mattress protectors

Now, when you know why you need a protector and know the answers to the most common questions related to the topic, we offer you to look at our top of the best mattress protectors.

NameBriefly aboutPrice for Twin sizePrice for Queen size
LINENSPA Premium Smooth Fabric Mattress Protector

Main features: It has elastic around the whole pad, so it "hugs" the mattress — it's very easy to put the protector on the mattress and it doesn't come off unintentionally. It's quiet, soft, and it really protects the mattress from spills.

Pros:

  • It's very cheap
  • All the sizes are available, from Twin to California King
  • It's really waterproof
  • No PVC

Cons:

  • Some users claim that it doesn't work as expected after the first wash
  • It's quite hot
  • Not appropriate for pet use (if you use this protector, don't let your cat on the bed, because the claws can compromise the protection)
$15$16
SafeRest Premium Hypoallergenic Waterproof Mattress Protector Vinyl Free

Main features: It's a hypoallergenic protector that is both breathable (because of a breathable membrane) and waterproof. Thanks to the soft surface design it's also quite comfy and noiseless.

Pros:

  • Perfect for people with allergies — no vinyl and PVC
  • Really waterproof — tested by thousands of users
  • This protector breathes perfectly, so it's a good choice for hot sleepers even though it doesn't provide a cooling effect
  • Very durable — some verified users say that they've been using it for 4 years!

Cons:

  • Not completely noiseless
  • Some users claim that it leaks after a few accidents
$50$70
UtopiaDeals Bed Bug Proof & Waterproof Mattress Encasement

Main features: This polyester encasement protects all the sides of the mattress. It's breathable, water-resistant, and soft; it protects from dust mites and contains no toxic chemicals. A perfect mattress protector for the price.

Pros:

  • It's a great choice for those who suffer from bed bugs (but in such case, it would be better to buy two protectors: leave this one sealed on the bed and put another one that you'll wash over it)
  • The price is 100% affordable
  • The zippers are quite durable
  • Provides that soft and comfortable fabric feel

Cons:

  • It’s not 100% waterproof and it might leak after a few washes
  • It's lined with plastic, so it's not that quiet
$15$19
Tempur Mattress Protector

Main features: This protector is made of polyester fabric with a polyurethane laminate that protects the mattress from liquids. It's breathable, soft, and easy to care for (can be washed without any damage).

Pros:

  • The fabric provides comfort and airflow
  • Tempur-Pedic is one of the biggest and most trusted brands on the market
  • The lining is thick so it won't wilt over time
  • It's very durable

Cons:

  • It doesn't sit perfectly and might bunch up when you move at night
  • Some users are not happy with this protector because it doesn't encase the mattress properly and doesn't fit right
  • It’s not the most affordable mattress protector
$69$230
Tuft&Needle Mattress Protector

Main features: Liquid-proof, soft, lightweight — it's one of the best mattress protectors by one of the best mattress brands. It's super easy to wash and dry and it also protects the mattress against dust mites. According to the manufacturer, this protector has no feeling of plastic, as some cheap protectors have.

Pros:

  • Doesn't take away from the comfort and softness of the mattress
  • High quality of materials
  • It's really waterproof
  • Perfect for thick T&N mattresses (14 inches)

Cons:

  • It slips under the bed sheet — if your mattress is 10 inches or thinner, this protector will fit loose and bunch up under the bed sheet
  • It's not as quiet as the advertising tells
  • Not the best choice for hot sleepers
$50$70
Leesa Mattress Protector

Main features: This is a 5-sided mattress protector that is both water-resistant and anti-microbial. It's made of very lightweight fabric, that's why it doesn't change the feel of the mattress. As it's very thin, it doesn't add any cushioning or softness.

Pros:

  • It's very durable and really waterproof
  • Doesn’t make the bed hot

Cons:

  • It's quite loud
  • For some users, it feels and sounds bit plastic
  • The fit is not perfect which means the sheets can shift
$69$79
Casper Mattress Protector

Main features: Waterproof, breathable, elastic — this Casper protector works exactly as expected, it fits the mattresses that are up to 16 inches thick, and it's very soft and comfy. It’s easy to wash and it fits almost any mattress like a glove.

Pros:

  • It's very soft and doesn't make you feel like it's plastic
  • It's very quiet and makes no specific sounds even when you roll around on the mattress
  • If you need some extra cushion, this protector is what you're looking for
  • It's 100% waterproof and works exactly as expected from a waterproof protector

Cons:

  • It's not the most breathable protector which means it can make you sleep hot or sweat at night
  • Quite high-priced
$85$95
Nectar Mattress Protector

Main features: Topped with cotton cover, this mattress protector provides that silky feeling and cooling. Of course, it's machine washable, it's very stretchy, and it can protect the mattress from both liquid and dust mites.

Pros:

  • It keeps the mattress dry, exactly as expected
  • It's soft and doesn't feel like you're sleeping on a plastic bag

Cons:

  • Some users say that this protector adds firmness which might be not the best option if your mattress is firm already
  • It's not that hot, but it doesn't also add a lot of cooling
  • It's quite big and can bunch up
$99$99
Allerease Ultimate Zippered Mattress Protector

Main features: This mattress protector is a great choice if you worry about dust mites, mold, and allergens. It's a zippered encasement that fits up to 14 inches mattresses (up to 17 inches if you have a Queen or a King-sized mattress).

Pros:

  • Good and durable zipper
  • Almost no plastic sound
  • Works really great for allergy sufferers

Cons:

  • According to the reviews, it's not 100% waterproof, it's "water-resistant" — able to resist the penetration of water and other liquids, but not entirely
  • There is too much extra space and the protector doesn't stay in place
$39$49

Mattress protector vs mattress pad vs topper: What’s the difference and what to buy?

A mattress protector will save your mattress in case of spills, accidents, bedbugs, and dust mites. The protectors don’t actually add much comfort — they are waterproof, and what makes them waterproof is usually the reason why they are not that comfortable. The main problem of the mattress protectors is that many of them feel a bit like plastic, are too noisy, and can make your mattress warmer — that's just how a waterproof/water-resistant polyurethane membrane works.

A mattress topper mitigates the shortcomings of the protector. In most cases, a mattress topper is made of soft material which makes a mattress more comfortable and enhances the support. In short, if you want to add another layer of comfort and support to your old mattress or if you are going to buy a mattress protector, you need a topper. What's the main problem of a mattress topper? Just as a mattress protector, it will most likely move around and bunch up — once you roll over, there will be ridges and bumps.

A mattress pad provides a finishing touch. It adds a thin layer of padding and has that elastic skirt that doesn't move around the mattress. If you want the mattress protector to be kept in place and the mattress topper to not bunch up under the sheet, you need to purchase a mattress pad. It will keep everything together.

How to buy the best mattress protector: key factors to consider

Type of the protector

There are 2 types of mattress protectors: encasement and fitter. Encasement protectors are 6-sided which means they cover the whole sides of the mattress. They work best for allergy sufferers and for those who worry about bed bugs/dust mites. Fitted protectors must be installed like a fitted sheet and they don't cover the bottom side. Unlike 6-sided protectors, the fitted ones are super easy to install and perfect for those who are going to wash the protector every 1-2 weeks. They usually don't protect the sides of the mattress, only the top surface.

Size

The main problem here is that most protectors are too large and don't stay in place/bunch up, so your mattress protector has to be of the same size as your mattress.

Warranty

When you buy a mattress, there is usually a trial period and a 10-25 year warranty. When you buy a mattress protector, there is usually no such thing as a trial period (which is quite obvious), but in most cases, the manufacturers offer at least a 1-year warranty. Of course, you should choose a protector that comes with a warranty — at least a warranty that protects against manufacturer malfunctions or defects.

Breathability

Everyone wants to feel cool at night, but the thing is: something can't be 100% waterproof and 100% breathable at the same time. Yes, some mattress protectors are very breathable, but this only means that they don't fully protect your mattress from liquids. If you really want to both protect your mattress and feel cool at night, buy a cooling mattress topper and put it over the protector.

Comfort

The majority of mattress protectors are not that comfy, especially if they are 100% waterproof. If you want to find the most comfortable product that will also protect the mattress from spills, choose the one with the soft top layer.

Ease of washing

If you're going to wash your mattress protector every 1-2 weeks, choose a 5-sided (fitted) protector. Such protectors are much easier to add and to remove.

Conclusion

The mattress protectors are cheap, lightweight, and extremely important because they make the mattresses last longer, save them from spills, accidents, and dust mites. However, they are not too comfortable and they are often too noisy — but that's the price you pay for waterproofness. You can solve the comfort problem quite easily — just buy a comfortable mattress topper and put it over the protector. That’s how you will get all three — protection, additional comfort, and support.