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Are Mattress Protectors Really Necessary?

If you've recently purchased a mattress, you might already be thinking about how to protect your investment. How can you still enjoy its breathability and comfort while still protecting it from bed bugs, allergens and liquids? What happens if you spill something on your mattress? Can you simply remove a stain by cleaning your mattress? At the end of the day, do you really need a mattress protector?

You can absolutely clean your mattress after one spill, or even every few months, but there's no better way to protect your investment and your health than investing in mattress protection. Most quality mattress protectors fit just like a fitted sheet, and can easily be thrown in the wash along with your sheets and pillowcases. Their hypoallergenic design protects against bacteria, bed bugs, dust mites and all kinds of liquids. Plus, they keep your mattress looking and feeling new for longer.

Investing early in mattress protection can save you thousands down the line. So what's the deal with mattress protectors and encasements, how do you find one that works for you, and are they really worth it? Check out our overview on mattress protection, along with tips for finding one that's worth the money.


Should I get a mattress protector or a mattress encasement? What's the difference?

Mattress protection generally comes in two categories and is typically a waterproof mattress cover that safeguards either the top layer (mattress protector) or encases the entire mattress (mattress encasement) for full protection. Either type works, but each tends to have significant differences in how they feel and function.

Mattress Protectors

Most mattress protectors cover your mattress like a fitted sheet on your bed. They don't cover the entire mattress, but do protect it against most accidental spills, bacteria and some allergens. They're made of water-resistant materials that still allow for considerable airflow and breathability. If you have a mattress that has cooling technology in its upper-most layers (something like the Brooklyn Aurora, for example), a mattress protector retains the benefits of this cooling technology while simultaneously protecting your investment.

Choose a mattress protector if you:

  • Want protection against most spills and allergens, but want something that's nearly undetectable through the sheets
  • Are on a tighter budget and want to save money
  • Still plan to regularly clean your mattress to remove allergens
  • Want the ease and convenience of laundry care for something that is easily removed

Mattress Encasements

Mattress encasements are similar to protectors in that they safeguard your investment, but they're designed for maximum protection of your health and the life of your mattress. Because mattress encasements are usually zippered and cover the entire mattress from top to bottom, they deliver 360° coverage. They're often more durable and tend to keep out even things like bed bugs. Their full coverage can usually be felt more noticeably through the sheets. Removing them for laundering will require more effort than removing a traditional mattress protector.

Choose a mattress encasement if you:

  • Want more complete protection against both accidental spills as well as allergens and bed bugs
  • Are willing to spend a bit more for more comprehensive protection
  • Consider the mattress a "high risk" area for accidents that include bodily fluids
  • Have very sensitive skin or allergies that require extensive protection

Tips for Find a Quality Mattress Protector or Mattress Encasement

There are a variety of mattress protectors and encasements on the market today: some offer simple stain protection while others also deliver protection against allergens and irritants such as bed bugs, mold, dust mites, and dead skin. Most will be breathable and will not significantly hinder the cooling benefits of the mattress, but be cautious and read reviews to ensure your top pick does not change the overall feel on the mattress. To find a quality protector or encasement that's worth the money, consider these tips:

  • Check Out Reviews. You never really know how a mattress protector or encasement will feel on your bed until you try it. For a good indicator before trial, though, take a close look at reviews. Search for words like "cooling" and "softness" to find reviews that cover the feel of the protector.
  • Look at Materials. Most protectors use fabrics and materials that are moisture-resistant but still allow for some breathability. Terry cloth, polyester/lycra and even vinyl are popular materials that still allow for breathability while repelling water.
  • Consider Length of Protection. Mattress protectors of any quality should repel liquid immediately after contact, but only some can withstand extended exposure to liquids in large amounts. Check out any reviews that talk about how long a mattress protector can keep liquid out, as well as how much. You might not need something that can repel a quart of liquid for 24 hours, though, so weigh your particular needs against those reviews. Long-lasting repelling could impact breathability.

Why use mattress protection?

Although there are many cleaning agents and tips on how to clean a mattress, it can be difficult to completely remove stains or clean the mattress entirely. Mattress protectors or encasements solve this problem by simply repelling the stains to begin. Mattress protection products absorb or repel liquids and allergens and are easily washable in the washer and dryer. Protecting the integrity of your mattress and having a fresh surface to sleep on ensures you are healthier and happier in the long run.

Using a mattress protection product is often recommended to individuals who have significantly sensitive skin or chronic allergies. A quality mattress protector or encasement can provide that extra layer of protection that you need to avoid flare-ups triggered by common allergens and irritants like dust mites and bed bugs. Mattress protection is commonly used in nurseries and health care facilities, primarily because both protectors and encasements easily cleaned and sanitized.

Need mattress protection that's both breathable and durable? Check out the Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Mattress Protector or the Brooklyn Bedding Mattress Encasement.