Buying a new mattress can be expensive, both in terms of money and in terms of time spent finding a good fit for your needs. In order to safeguard your investment, you may want to consider purchasing a mattress protector as well.
Mattress protectors are different from mattress toppers and pads. While toppers and pads serve as an additional comfort layer, the primary job of a mattress protector is to keep the mattress clean. Available in a fitted or encasement style, protectors usually combine soft, breathable fabric with a waterproof layer. They’re designed to protect your mattress from things like spills, stains, dust, and dirt. They can also save you money by keeping you from having to replace your mattress so soon.
We’ll review our top picks for mattress protectors, delving into their construction and performance. Then we’ll explore how to choose a mattress protector, examining who needs one, the different types available, how they work, and how to care for them.
Sleep Doctor's Picks
Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Mattress Protector
- An all-around solid performer that protects and cools
- Silky soft feel
- Machine-washable and dryable
- Sleepers with allergies
- Those looking for a quiet option
- Those who tend to sleep hot
Heat-wicking technology paired with a luxurious feel help the Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Mattress Protector deliver superior comfort while protecting against dirt, allergens, and spills.
Featuring a smooth weave, the fabric of the Luxury Cooling Mattress Protector incorporates patented TitanCool technology to wick away body heat from the sleep surface. A waterproof polyurethane layer prevents stains.
The Luxury Cooling Mattress Protector is hypoallergenic and makes an effective barrier against common allergens. It’s machine-washable and dryable with a fitted sheet design that makes it easy to put on and take off your bed.
Our testers noted that the Luxury Cooling Mattress Protector was almost completely silent, making it a good choice for sleepers who are easily awakened by rustling or crinkling bedding. We also found that it did an above-average job of keeping our testers cool.
Shoppers can select from six standard sizes, including twin XL and California King. Brooklyn Bedding offers a 30-night sleep trial and a three-year warranty.
With its easy-to-care-for design and built-in cooling tech, Brooklyn Bedding’s Luxury Cooling Mattress Protector is a great choice for hot sleepers who want a quiet and comfortable mattress protector.
Coop Sleep Goods Ultra Luxe Waterproof Mattress Protector
- Blend of bamboo-derived viscose rayon and polyester blocks moisture and allows for good airflow
- Large pockets can accommodate tall mattresses
- Independently certified free of harmful chemicals
- Value seekers
- Those who tend to sleep hot
- Sleepers with children or pets
Made to protect mattresses from moisture without a lot of noisy rustling, the Coop Home Goods Ultra Luxe Waterproof Mattress Protector offers good performance at a reasonable cost.
A mix of 40% bamboo-derived viscose rayon and 60% polyester creates an Ultratech blend that repels liquids while remaining breathable and hypoallergenic. These materials have Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX certification, showing that they are free of harmful substances. The protector is also machine-washable and dryable.
The Ultra Luxe Waterproof Mattress Protector has 18-inch pockets that can accommodate taller mattresses. The roominess also makes it easier to put on and remove the protector.
Additionally, our testers noted that this mattress protector provides good breathability and temperature control, making it a good fit for those who want to protect their mattress but also tend to sleep hot.
Shoppers can select from six standard sizes. Coop offers free shipping for shoppers in the contiguous U.S. as well as free returns. The Ultra Luxe Waterproof comes with a 100-night trial period and a five-year limited manufacturer warranty.
Delivering on performance without sacrificing comfort, the Ultra Luxe Waterproof Mattress Protector is a cost-effective way to guard the investment you made in your mattress.
Avocado Organic Waterproof Mattress Protector
- Two organic cotton layers keep the protector soft and breathable
- Thin polyurethane layer defends against moisture and other contaminants without added bulk or noise
- Multiple independent certifications for organic and low-emissions materials
- Eco-conscious sleepers
- Those wanting a mattress protector that feels more like a luxe fitted sheet
- Sleepers who are easily awakened
For sleepers looking to combine practicality with a high-end feel, the Avocado Organic Waterproof Mattress Protector delivers moisture protection and luxe comfort.
Avocado emphasizes organic materials and green practices, ensuring that all its products meet rigorous standards. This mattress protector features two layers of GOTS-certified organic cotton with a thin layer of polyurethane between, providing an eco-friendly way to shield against spills.
A fitted pocket in two sizes allows for quick bedding changes. Sleepers can choose from the Standard Pocket design that accommodates mattresses up to 16 inches or the Deep Pocket design for mattresses up to 22 inches. The protector is machine-washable.
During our testing, the Organic Waterproof Mattress Protector stood out in terms of performance and design. We found that the organic cotton cover kept the protector soft and breathable, while the interior polyurethane membrane blocked liquids without being crinkly or stiff.
Avocado offers the Organic Waterproof Mattress Protector in six standard sizes. Shoppers receive free shipping and a 100-night sleep trial. The mattress protector also comes with a one-year warranty.
The Avocado Organic Waterproof Mattress Protector provides eco-friendly protection from dust and spills. Made with certified organic materials, it’s likely to appeal to shoppers who want a luxurious mattress protector that feels more like a high-quality fitted sheet.
Nectar Mattress Protector
- Quilted top for added comfort
- Designed to both protect against spills and sleep cool
- Machine-washable and dryable
- Sleepers with children or pets
- Those with a high-profile mattress
- People wanting a mattress protector with some cushioning
Made with comfort and functionality in mind, the Nectar Mattress Protector provides a light layer of cushioning while also protecting against spills and stains.
The Nectar Mattress Protector features a breathable cotton outer layer around a flexible inner layer of polyurethane. A quilted top balances the effectiveness of the waterproof polyurethane so that the protector feels less like crinkly plastic and more like a natural part of your mattress’ comfort system.
Our testers were impressed by the Nectar Mattress Protector’s ability to protect against fluids and repel dirt. They also appreciated its deep-pocket design. With a height of 22 inches, the protector is a good choice for sleepers with high-profile mattresses. The extra-deep pockets also allow for easy removal and placement of the protector when it’s time for a wash.
The Nectar Mattress Protector comes in six standard sizes. Nectar provides shoppers with free shipping and returns as well as a 50-night sleep trial. It also comes with a five-year warranty.
Able to both resist spills and keep you comfortable, the Nectar Mattress Protector is a good choice for anyone who shares their bed with kids or pets. With its extra-deep pockets, it’s also a solid option for those who have a high-profile mattress.
Best for Kids
Layla Full Encasement Mattress Protector
- Cover zips closed for six-sided protection
- Smooth and stretchy fabric with waterproof polyurethane barrier effectively resists liquids
- Designed to sleep quiet
- Parents co-sleeping with their kids
- Those wanting to protect their mattress from bed bugs
- People who want a protector that won't change the feel or profile of their mattress
Mattresses used by children may need added protection against spills and bodily fluids. The Layla Full Encasement Mattress Protector creates a soft, breathable, six-sided shield to keep sleepers comfortable and mattresses clean.
The Layla Full Encasement Mattress Protector slips over the entire mattress and zips around the top for complete protection on all sides. The outer fabric is a blend of polyester and spandex for a silky smooth feel with stretch. The protector’s fluid-blocking capability comes from thermoplastic polyurethane laminate. Our testers gave the Layla Full Encasement Mattress Protector excellent marks for both effective protection and quietness.
Like any full encasement design, this protector is a little harder to put on and take off than those with fitted corners. However, this style of mattress protector can help protect against pests like bed bugs in addition to minimizing daily wear and tear.
Layla provides free shipping to the contiguous U.S., plus a 30-night sleep trial with free returns. Shoppers can also take advantage of a one-year warranty. The Layla Full Encasement Mattress Protector comes in six standard sizes, including twin and twin XL.
The Layla Full Encasement Mattress Protector creates a soft, silent barrier against leaks, stains, and bugs. Its zippered design proves extra protection and makes it a particularly good fit for kids.
Slumber Cloud Core Mattress Protector
- Built-in cooling technology designed to maintain optimal body temperature
- Quiet, comfortable, and waterproof
- OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified free of harmful chemicals
- Those who tend to sleep hot
- Couples who prefer different temperatures while sleeping
- Sleepers in warm climates
Those who tend to sleep hot may be hesitant to add a mattress protector to their bed for fear of decreasing the breathability of their current mattress. However, the Slumber Cloud Core Mattress Protector is designed to enhance temperature control and help sleepers stay comfortable throughout the night.
The Tencel outer cover feels soft to the touch and helps draw moisture away from the sleep surface. Outlast Xelerate technology in the lining is designed to help direct the flow of each sleeper’s body heat, storing it as they heat up and releasing it as they cool down.
During testing, the Slumber Cloud Core Mattress Protector’s built-in cooling technologies delivered above-average results in waterproof protection and enhanced cooling. It was also a top performer in terms of durability.
Slumber Cloud offers free shipping to customers in the U.S. as well as a 60-night sleep trial. All six standard sizes of the Slumber Cloud Core Mattress Protector are covered by a 180-day warranty.
The Slumber Cloud Core Mattress Protector mixes spill and stain protection with a cooling design. We found it to be a durable and comfortable option for those who tend to sleep hot.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our approach to testing combines diverse perspectives and years of experience in the sleep products industry. We’ve applied this methodology to mattress protectors, personally researching and testing a wide array to find the best across a range of sleep categories.
What Is a Mattress Protector?
Mattress protectors are designed to keep spills, sweat, dust mites, bodily fluids, and other contaminants off of your mattress. They can also protect you from molds and bacteria that may already be in the mattress.
Mattress protectors usually come in one of two types: fitted or encasement. A fitted mattress protector has elasticized pockets similar to a fitted sheet. These slip around the corners of the bed, protecting the mattress on five sides. An encasement slips over the entire mattress for six-sided protection.
The covers of mattress protectors can be cotton, polyester, Tencel, rayon from bamboo, or a blend. Waterproofing comes from a layer of polyurethane or another thin, flexible plastic.
While sometimes confused with mattress pads or toppers, mattress protectors are mainly meant to act as a barrier and do not typically have the same comfort or support features included in pads and toppers.
Do You Need a Mattress Protector?
Mattress protectors are usually considered an accessory. However, even if they aren’t essential, protectors can be a valuable, inexpensive addition that safeguards the investment you made in your mattress. By keeping your mattress free of dirt, germs, and liquids, you can potentially extend the life of your mattress.
It’s also worth noting that some mattress companies may require the use of a mattress protector in order for the mattress to be eligible for returns during the sleep trial period.
Benefits of Mattress Protectors
There are several benefits to using a mattress protector, including keeping your mattress clean and protecting against allergens. They can also extend the life of your mattress, keep you cool, and prevent bed bug infestations.
Keeps Mattress Clean
Protectors form a barrier against dust, dirt, dead skin cells, and other debris, which helps to keep the mattress cleaner.
Mattresses are susceptible to spills and other accidents. The waterproof layer in a mattress protector keeps these from forming stains, mold, or mildew.
Allergens can build up on the surface of the mattress or even inside of it. Either way, a protector can keep these irritants away from the sleeper.
Improves Mattress Lifespan
Protectors absorb some wear and tear, helping to preserve the underlying mattress. They can also prevent stains, mold, and mildew, which can damage the integrity of the mattress.
Prevents Bug Infestations
Full encasement mattress protectors keep bugs at bay by blocking access to the mattress on all six sides.
Many mattress protectors also have built-in temperature control technology that wicks away heat for cooler sleep.
Choosing the Best Mattress Protector
When choosing the best mattress protector for your sleep needs, it’s important to consider its design, its waterproof and cooling properties, and what materials it’s made from. You’ll also want to make sure that the protector’s pocket depth or height is compatible with your mattress’ profile. The availability and length of sleep trials and warranties can also impact your decision, as can cost.
Fitted vs. Encasement
Mattress protectors come in either a fitted or an encasement style. The performance characteristics of each design make them more or less suitable depending on what kind of protection you’re looking for.
- Fitted-Style Protector: With a design similar to a fitted sheet, fitted-style protectors are easy to put on the bed and to remove when it’s time to clean them. They work best for sleepers who anticipate frequent washing.
- Encasement-Style Protector: These protectors fully enclose the mattress on all six sides, including the bottom. Sleepers may find that putting on and taking off encasement-style protectors is more of a hassle, but they work well at locking out bed bugs and other pests.
Mattress protectors typically incorporate a thin, flexible layer of plastic to provide waterproof protection. This can also prevent stains, odors, mold, and mildew.
Those sleepers who share their bed with children or pets can particularly benefit from using a mattress protector. However, any sleeper may find a mattress protector useful for keeping their mattress free of dirt, dead skin cells, sweat, and other bodily fluids.
Some sleepers may worry that the plastic used to waterproof a mattress protector could make the mattress too hot. For these sleepers, it’s important to look for high-quality mattress protectors that use breathable fabric and incorporate lightweight plastic. Many mattress protectors also have built-in cooling technology designed to wick away body heat from the sleep surface.
Waterproof mattress protectors typically have an upper layer of lightweight fabric and a plastic layer underneath. Sometimes there is a second layer of fabric below the plastic. These layers can be made out of a variety of materials.
- Cotton: Soft and breathable, cotton promotes airflow, wicks away liquids, and is easy to wash.
- Polyester: Although not as breathable as cotton, the ultrafine synthetic fibers of polyester form a tight weave that’s thin, durable, and water resistant.
- Bamboo: The fabrics derived from bamboo fibers include rayon, lyocell, and modal. They look and perform similarly to cotton.
- Tencel Lyocell: Made from wood pulp, Tencel Lyocell fabric is known for its durability, moisture-wicking capability, and silky feel.
- Vinyl: Vinyl is a synthetic, waterproof material used in some mattress protectors. Although these protectors may have a lower cost, vinyl is often thicker and more rigid. It may also contain harmful chemicals.
- Polyurethane: Polyurethane is a plastic that can be formed into thin, flexible, waterproof material. It’s phthalate free and is often used in protectors that are OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified free of harmful chemicals.
Sleep Trials and Warranty
Sleep trials and warranties take away some of the risk of purchasing a mattress protector.
Sleep trials allow shoppers to try a mattress protector in their homes for a period typically ranging from 30 to 100 nights. During the sleep trial, shoppers can return the mattress protector for the purchase price. Many companies also include the cost of return shipping.
Companies that offer warranties on their mattress protectors cover any manufacturing defects. These warranties often last from one to five years. Shoppers can expect a full refund or replacement of the mattress protector.
Fit and Pocket Depth
Mattress protectors usually come in six standard sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California King. Fitted mattress protectors have elasticized pockets with depths that vary depending on the manufacturer. Full encasement protectors also have a maximum height. When shopping for a protector, it’s important to select one with pockets or an overall height that can accomodate your mattress.
Ease of Care
Most mattress protectors are machine-washable and can often be tumble dried on low. Fitted mattress protectors are generally easier to remove and wash than full encasement options.
Compared to the cost of a mattress, mattress protectors are relatively inexpensive. They can be a worthwhile investment, particularly if you have a new or more costly type of mattress that you want to protect.
How Often Should You Wash a Mattress Protector?
One of the main benefits of mattress protectors is how easy they are to clean. Most protectors can be machine-washed in cold or warm water on the gentle cycle and then tumble dried on low. Use gentle detergent and avoid fabric softeners. Some tough stains like blood or wine may need an enzyme-based stain treatment before washing. Always double check the manufacturer’s care instructions before washing.
With normal wear, mattress protectors should be washed every one to two months. More frequent washing may be called for if you have allergies or sleep with your pets. Of course, if the mattress protector gets soiled, you’ll need to wash it as soon as possible.
Reason for Cleaning
When to Clean
Every 1 to 2 months
Regular cleaning keeps dirt, dust, sweat, and other bodily fluids from accumulating.
Every 2 weeks
More frequent washing helps ensure that the irritants that cause allergies don’t build up on the mattress protector.
Dependent on type of mattress protector
Fitted mattress protectors should be removed immediately upon noticing signs of an infestation and washed in warm water to kill the bugs and their eggs. This process should be repeated every two weeks. Consider leaving full encasement mattress protectors on until the infestation is completely gone to prevent bugs from reaching the mattress.
Liquid Spills and Accidents
The sooner a mattress protector is washed after a spill or accident, the less likely it is that stains and odors will set in.
It’s a good idea to clean bedding as soon as possible after the sleeper using it has recovered from their illness. This can help prevent the spread of disease.
Sleeping with Pets
Every 2 weeks
Washing more often removes pet dander and fur.
Every 1 to 2 weeks
Those who tend to sweat at night may need to clean their protectors more frequently to prevent odors.