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Why Should You Use a Mattress Protector?
Securing Your Mattress Investment

Last updated on June 22, 2022

An inexpensive mattress cover protects your investment as well as the integrity of your warranty.

Do you HAVE Use a Mattress Protector?

Along with your new mattress, you’ll want to purchase a moisture-resistant mattress protector that will help protect the surface of your mattress and keep it clean and free of moisture and stains. The body loses a lot of water in the form of sweat during the night, and you’ll want to protect the surface of your mattress from this moisture, particularly as surface stains (even if they are invisible) can invalidate your warranty.

Mattress protectors are designed to go directly on the mattress, underneath the fitted sheet. Some mattress protectors come with a layer of quilted padding on top. Others are designed to keep out dust mites and bedbugs. Some fit over the top and sides of the mattress much like a fitted sheet (see example below), while others encase the mattress completely and close with a zipper; these are often sold as 'mattress encasements.'

This accessory can be made of waterproof materials like lightweight vinyl (recommended if incontinence is an issue, or for children's mattresses) or of more breathable and water resistant fabrics like tightly woven cotton. Choose a mattress protector whose construction and materials suit your needs. Mattress depths vary, so check to be sure the cover you choose will fit the size and the depth of your mattress.

Will a Mattress Protector Negate My Mattress's Cooling Features?

Modern mattresses now boast a number of features intended to combat sleeping hot. The most common of these features is the use of a heat conductor (usually gel, but sometimes graphite or copper) usually infused in the mattress's top layer of foam. These are intended to draw heat away from the body in a subtle way. Using a mattress protector won't effect this type of cooling feature as long as the protector is breathable (and not made of vinyl).

A less common cooling feature, but one that's growing in popularity, is the use of phase change material or high-density fibers to make a mattress feel cooler to the touch. This type of cooling feature is designed to help you feel cooler while you are falling asleep by delaying the time it takes for your body to warm up the mattress.

Be aware that any mattress protector will reduce the "coolness to the touch" of the mattress to at least some degree. Even cotton sheets can obfuscate this a tiny bit -- this is just physics. However, the good news is that reducing the coolness to the touch does not mean losing the cooling *benefit*. It just just means that the heat from your body will take slightly longer to reach the cooling features, so the coolness won't be something you feel as instantly. The net effect will be slightly more subtle but also slightly more sustained. 

What is the Best Waterproof Mattress Protector?

First, you'll want a mattress protector that fits your bed. They came in all standard sizes (twin, queen, etc.) but especially check the width. Today's extra tall 14" and 15" mattress won't fit in a protector made for more standard 9" to 11" beds.

Here's a short list of highly rated mattress protectors at; most are waterproof. There's really no reason NOT to get a waterproof version since they better protect against spills and won't affect the comfort or feel of your mattress. These days, waterproof fabrics can be flexible and breathable, so you needn't worry they'll feel like sleeping on plastic.

We also sorted through mattress encasements at, which have a zipper and wrap around the whole mattress, intended to help protect against dust, dust mites, and bedbugs as well as serve as a waterproof barrier.

What's the Difference Between a Mattress Topper and a Mattress Protector?

Mattress protectors, mattress toppers and mattress pads are easily confused. Mattress protectors aren't intended to provide additional comfort or support; rather, they are a lightweight barrier to protect your mattress against moisture and damage.

Note that the term “mattress pad” is often used interchangeably to mean either a mattress protector—which may or may not have a layer of padding—or a mattress topper, whose purpose is to add a layer of comfort. You will definitely want a mattress protector; whether or not you choose a mattress topper as well depends on your mattress and your personal comfort preference.

Rather, mattress pads are generally used to smooth out the feel of bumps or ridges on top of a mattress, and may or may not be waterproof. Here's a list of higher rated mattress pads you can purchase at


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