Why use a mattress protector?
A good quality mattress can be quite an investment, and many people will use their mattress for many years before buying a new one. During the night, our bodies shed miniscule dead skin cells, hairs and perspiration, which can all seep into the mattress and form an ideal breeding ground for dust mites, which can cause irritation for people with allergies or breathing problems. A mattress protector will form a barrier to protect your mattress, and is easy to remove and clean. It will add to your level of comfort and hygiene, as well as prolong the life of your mattress.
What kind of mattress protectors are available?
Mattress protectors can come in two styles, either fitted around the top and sides of your mattress, or with straps, where the mattress protector lies on top of the mattress and has straps that fit around the corners of the bed. Mattress protectors are sold in the same sizes that beds come in and are available in single, double, queen, king and super king size.
As well as general mattress protectors, it is also possible to buy waterproof mattress protectors, which will protect your mattress against accidents or spills, and anti-bacterial mattress protectors, which are especially made for people who are sensitive to allergies as they will prevent bacteria in the mattress coming into contact with the skin.
Although waterproof mattress covers will provide an extra layer of protection to your mattress, the materials used to ensure the waterproofing will not allow them to be as breathable as for instance cotton mattress covers, as air cannot circulate freely.
What is the difference between an underlay and a mattress topper?
Underlays are normally fitted around your mattress, enclosing the mattress like a fitted sheet would do. They will add an extra layer of softness and warmth, since these budget-friendly underlays are normally made from synthetic material such as polyurethane foam, while more expensive underlays are often made from natural materials such as wool. Reversible underlays allow you to choose either the wool side in winter and the cotton side in summer, which will allow more circulation for your skin.
Mattress toppers are most often designed to be fitted on the top of the mattress with straps that go around the corners of the mattress, this will add an extra layer of comfort. It looks a bit like a quilt, and can have added fibres to assist in pressure point relief during sleep. Some mattress toppers can also be filled with duck or goose feathers. Adding an underlay or mattress topper to your bed can extend the life of your mattress and revive an old mattress, this is especially handy if you are not able to invest in a new mattress at the time.
If you are using both an underlay or topper, as well as a mattress protector, put the mattress protector over the underlay or mattress topper, which will ensure you get the benefit of the extra comfort while keeping dirt and spills away from the mattress and its underlay or topper.
How can I clean my mattress topper, underlay or mattress protector?
Please take care to follow the manufacturers instructions when it comes to the care and cleaning of your bedding. Depending on the materials used, some synthetic fabrics cannot be machine washed, but have to be sponged clean or hand washed at low temperatures. Natural fabrics such as cotton and wool can generally be machine washed, but products do vary, so please always consult the label. It is recommended to have at least two mattress protectors for your bed, so one can be used while the other is being washed and dried.