Whether you’ve recently bought a new mattress, or you’ve had your bed for years, a mattress protector should be number one on your shopping list. Not only will this bedding essential help extend the lifespan of your mattress, but it also offers extra comfort for a better night’s sleep.

As a mattress is one of our most expensive sleep-related purchases, it makes sense to spend a little extra to safeguard it from unwanted bugs, allergens and life’s little accidents. Here’s why you need one, and how to choose the best protector for each bed in your home.

Why a mattress protector? It’s all in the name.

The average person spends 33 years in bed, so it goes without saying that your mattress plays a crucial role in the quality of your sleep. Since it can’t go in the wash, how do we keep it clean and protect it from nasty germs and stains? That’s where a mattress protector comes in. This thin layer of fabric sits snugly on your bed and is as vital as your sheets and bed coverings. 

A mattress protector can save your mattress from:

  • Liquid damage, accidental spills and other unwanted residue.
  • Bacteria and allergens like pollen, mould, dust mites and bed bugs.
  • Body oils and sweat.
  • Wear and tear.

Protectors are particularly useful if you have young children who are toilet training, or you’re suddenly hit with a bout of sickness in the house.

Types of mattress protectors

There is a wide selection of mattress protectors currently available, at a variety of price points. You can choose different fit styles, fabrics, and whether you opt for a waterproof protector or not.

Fit choices

There are three main styles to choose from, which differ in terms of how they sit on your mattress and how they are anchored to prevent movement while you sleep.

  • Zippered – This protector encases your entire mattress from top to bottom and is closed with a zipper. 
  • Fitted (or skirt-style) – Similar to a fitted sheet, this tucks under your mattress with pocketed corners.
  • Elastic strap – Generally the most affordable option, this protector lays on the top of your mattress with simple elastic straps that wrap around the corners. This style is sometimes sold as a hybrid of two mattress sizes, such as a double and queen; or queen and king, as it is more adaptable than a fitted or zippered protector.

Fabric options

Standard mattress protectors are most commonly made from cotton or polyester, but can also be made from down, microfibre or tencel. Quilted protectors are a premium option that are padded for optimal comfort. 

Waterproof protectors combine a fabric layer with a coating of vinyl or polyurethane to repel liquid damage, body oils and sweat. 

How to choose the best mattress protector for you

Whether you’re buying a protector for your own bed, guest bed or for a child, there will be different features you want to weigh up. An important consideration is how frequently the mattress will be slept on, and whether there is a need for a waterproof protector. Generally, the more functional the protector and the higher quality the fabric, the more expensive it is likely to be. 

Looking for a mattress protector for your main bed?  

For the bed you sleep on every night, it’s worth spending a little more to get a technologically innovative product that offers enhanced breathability and a design that won’t slip around on your bed. Consider it an investment that will pay off by extending the lifespan of your mattress and providing better quality sleep. Higher quality protectors will generally offer longer product warranties.

More tips:

  • Choose natural fabrics like cotton or bamboo that will help regulate your body temperature. 
  • All mattress protectors offer some protection against moisture. Opting for a waterproof protector might depend on whether you sweat heavily, have any health considerations, or simply personal preference. 
  • Make sure it’s quiet and smooth to sleep on – reading reviews can help with this.
  • Check to make sure it’s easy to launder and dry.

Shopping for a guest bed?

Depending how often your guest bed gets used, you might want to opt for a more affordable mattress protector. A waterproof protector is a good option to prevent any unwanted embarrassment for guests.

If you have a sofa bed, fold-out, or other temporary bed solution that doesn’t come in a standard size or with a standard height mattress, a mattress protector with straps is a great choice as you can wrap it under the mattress and it will create less overhang than with a fitted or zippered style protector. 

Tips and tricks for kids’ beds

If you have young children, a waterproof mattress protector is a must, regardless of whether they are in a cot, toddler bed or full-sized bed. As with your main bed, consider that it will be slept on every night, so choose a quality protector made from breathable fabric. 

A clever trick is to layer their bed with a mattress protector, sheets, and then a second mattress protector and sheets. This will make unexpected, middle-of-the-night linen changes a breeze. 

How to take care of your mattress protector

Once you’ve chosen the ideal mattress protector for you, here are some tips to keep it in perfect condition:

  • Read and follow the care instructions on the packaging, as different brands and styles will have different requirements..
  • Wash your mattress protector regularly with antibacterial laundry sanitiser to make sure bugs don’t stand a chance.
  • Air it in sunlight periodically to remove any lingering smells.
  • Avoid tumble drying a waterproof mattress protector at a high heat, as it may damage the waterproof coating.
  • Many mattress protectors are also able to be dry cleaned.

Anyone who has a bed needs a mattress protector, it’s as easy as that! Consider it as insurance against life – both the everyday and the unexpected.