Mattress protectors are thin casings that go over your mattress like a fitted sheet. They’re usually waterproof and protect your mattress from stains, dust mites, bed bugs, and more. A mattress protector collects lots of bacteria and sweat over time, so you need to clean it so it works effectively and hygienically.
Since a fitted sheet goes over a mattress protector, the protector only has to be washed every one to two months. However, always wash your mattress protector prior to using it for the first time to eliminate any odors and soften it. In our article, we go over a few situations where you might need to wash your mattress protector more frequently, as well as general care guidelines.
While mattress protectors are attached to a fitted sheet, they’re different from a fitted sheet in a bed sheet set. Ideally, use both a mattress protector and a fitted sheet on your mattress. Fitted sheets are soft casings you lay directly on top of and they’re mainly for comfort’s sake, but they also protect your mattress from dirt and stains. Mattress protectors, on the other hand, aren’t really comfortable to sleep on because they do not add any softness or comfort.
It is always a good idea to have at least two mattress protectors so you have a back-up. When one is being washed, you can just use the other. And, if by chance, your protector gets dirty later in the day, you can quickly replace it without having to launder it before you go to sleep.
Maintenance of mattresses and covers
You don’t have to replace your bedding pieces every now and then. You can replace a mattress every 8 to 11 years and mattress protectors, every 1 to 3 years. With regular maintenance, you can help your bedding last longer. However, if holes are developing, seams are tearing, or you notice yellowing on any of your bedding, it’s time to replace them.
Mattress protectors are super easy to wash and typically washing machine-safe, though always check the care label for exact wash instructions and exact temperatures. We don’t recommend dry cleaning mattress protectors, as the heat can ruin the waterproof material. Either wash your mattress on its own or with like materials, such as bed sheets or soft clothing. Set your washer to the gentle or delicate cycle, and use cold or lukewarm water, avoid incredibly hot water as it damages the waterproof materials of your protector.
Wash your mattress protector with a mild detergent and avoid adding bleach or chlorine to the washing machine. After the protector is washed, complete a rinse cycle to ensure all the detergent is out. Any leftover detergent can cause mold and mildew to develop.
Mattresses are usable with or without a mattress protector, though they’re left vulnerable to dirt, dust, and stains. Protectors are generally inexpensive, simple to maintain, and prolong your mattress’s lifespan, so there’s no reason not to use one. We recommend using a protector with your mattress at all times.