Do I Need a Mattress Topper or a Mattress Protector?

What is a mattress protector and why would I want one? 

When your mattress arrives at your home it is covered in protective packaging that prevents damage during storage in the warehouse and transit.  You take the packaging off before you use it but what protects it from marks and stains while it’s in use?

A mattress protector slips over the mattress and can be easily removed for home washing.  The benefits of a mattress protector are that it will:

    • Extend the life of your mattress
    • Protect against spillages (if you drink tea in bed!)
    • Protect the mattress from stains from perspiration (we lose up to a litre of fluid when we sleep – more if you have night sweats or fever), or heavy menstrual flow etc.
    • Some mattress protectors also protect you from dust mites that inevitably end up living in the

      dust that accumulates in the bedroom.  Protection from dust mites is especially important if you have allergies that stop you from sleeping well.  Click here for our 3-step plan on reducing your exposure to allergens in the bedroom.  There’s an example of a bug-excluding mattress protector here.

  •  Increase the hygiene of the bed – you can wash the protector but not the mattress.
  •  For similar reasons, consider pillow protectors as well.
  • Some designs or mattress protectors add an extra layer of comfort and warmth.  We’ve added a great one here.

    As a personal recommendation, the first time I slept on a bed with a padded mattress protector I thought I’d died and gone to heaven!  I was on holiday but would have happily spent the entire time in that bed!  If you’re thinking about what sort of mattress protector to buy you can guess what my advice would be!

What is a mattress topper and why would I want one?

Mattress toppers are also known as ‘enhancers’.  They add an extra comfort for you and protection for the mattress and are gaining popularity all over the world.

Other benefits of a mattress topper is that:

    • It will also greatly extend the life of the mattress.
  • If your mattress is old and lumpy then this might provide a solution for greater comfort if a tight budget means you can’t currently afford the new mattress you want.   This is what I did with the mattress on our guest bed.  We used a topper similar to the one featured on the left here (from a UK company) and our guests have commented on the quality of sleep they’ve had.  A standard fitted sheet fits over the mattress and topper.
  • Some toppers give better support than some inexpensive mattresses, especially memory foam toppers.

A mattress protector should lie over the top of both the mattress and the topper as most toppers aren’t washable.

Elspeth Raisbeck

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