How Do You Wash Mattress Protectors

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How Often Do You Need to Wash Your Mattress Pad?

You do lay on it eight hours a night, after all.

There’s nothing that ruins the feeling of just-cleaned sheets like realizing that your protective mattress pad is looking a little. yellow. We all know you’re supposed to wash your sheets every one or two weeks, but what about this pesky thing under your sheets? Our expert is here to share her wisdom.

But first things first, when we say mattress pad, we mean a traditional protective covering like this. Pillowy toppers are a different story since they come in so many varieties (consult the care label for the best washing instructions), and the foam versions can’t be washed at all. You’ll want to replace your topper when they’re not comfortable or supportive anymore.

But here’s the scoop on mattress pads:

You should wash your mattress pad every couple months.

"It’s only necessary to wash your mattress pad several times per year," says Carolyn Forte, director of the Cleaning Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute. "Sheets generally take more wear and tear than a mattress pad which is why they are washed more often."

This makes sense: You lay directly on top of the sheets, so they’re the first line of defense against body oils and dust getting to your mattress. Your mattress pad bears of that brunt, too, but not quite as much.

Forte recommends following the care label for specific cleaning directions, but in general, most mattress pads can be machine-washed in warm water and tumbled on low to dry.

But there are some exceptions.

If you have allergies, or let your dog or cat sleep in your bed, you might need to clean your pad more often. Gauge how much you should increase the frequency by considering the severity of your symptoms or how much your pet sheds. By trial and error, you might find that it’s necessary to wash the pad as often as weekly.

And if you spill food or drink, notice a stain, or find that it’s stretched out, wash the pad immediately.

Earn bonus points if you clean your mattress while the protector is in the wash.

It’s not everyday you have a bare mattress, so Forte recommends using this time to vacuum up dust (sprinkle the mattress with a little baking soda first to absorb odors). You can also spot-treat any stains, or spray the mattress with Lysol to kill bacteria. Just allow it to dry fully before making the bed again.

How to Wash and Dry a Waterproof Mattress Cover

How to Wash and Dry a Waterproof Mattress Cover

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Waterproof mattress covers keep spills and leaks away from your bed, but they’re not impervious to getting dirty. Regularly wash your mattress cover to get rid of dirt and odor. Most waterproof covers have a cloth top and vinyl backing, so they’re typically safe to clean in the washing machine.

Waterproof Mattress Cover Care

Launder your waterproof mattress cover in the washing machine in cold or warm water, on a gentle or delicate setting. Use a bleach-free laundry detergent — bleach can damage the waterproof backing of some covers. After washing, tumble-dry the cover on a low-heat setting. It’s safe to dry the cover with other items, such as sheets or clothing. Don’t use high heat; doing so damages the vinyl. Do not iron the cover or have it dry cleaned. If your waterproof mattress cover is new, wash it before using it for the first time. Laundering helps remove packaging odors and softens the cover.

How to Wash a Mattress Protector and Topper

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When it comes to protecting our mattress, using a mattress protector is a must. However, do you know how to wash a mattress protector and how often you need to?

Can You Wash a Mattress ​Protector?

First of all yes, you can definitely wash a mattress protector like you would your new set of sheets​​​. That is the main reason for having one, since you are unable to wash your mattress.

While sleeping, we lose fluid, skin cells and any dirt on our bodies will rub off in the sheets. These tiny particles will push tough the fibers as we toss and turn, eventually making their way down and into the mattress.

Once inside of the mattress, it is almost impossible to pull it all back out, even with spot cleaning and vacuuming the top of your mattress.

Instead of having to worry about what’s falling through the cracks of your mattress ​and ​degrading its lifespan, opt to own and use a mattress protector.

A mattress protector is a thin fitted sheet that goes on your bare mattress and sits underneath your fitted and flat sheets. Most ​of the top rated mattress protectors are 100% waterproof and can hold more than a liter of liquid before you need to change it.

They are also engineered to be breathable through a cotton/terry blend that absorbs yet allows air to flow through so that you are not sweating due to the extra layer underneath you.

How to Wash a Mattress Protector

Whether you need to spot clean or completely launder your mattress protector then follow these steps to take care of spills, stains and regular refreshing.

Spot Clean

If you catch spills or accidents in time, you can spot clean your mattress protector instead of having to wash it between scheduled washes.

The best way to be able to spot clean is to do it as soon as the accident occurs or as soon as you notice it. Putting off spot cleaning may result in set in stains or permanent yellowing of your mattress protector and needing to wash it instead.

  1. Use a paper towel to blot up the excess moisture. (A paper towel will pull most of the liquid out)
  2. Do not rub the area, this can damage the mattress protector fibers and spread the stain further.
  3. Mix a little mild detergent ​with water to make it thinner and pour it in a spray bottle. (always use a spray bottle for spot cleaning since it controls the flow and keeps you from over soaking a spot)
  4. Agitate the detergent a little with your fingers to help awaken it. (Again, don’t scrub or rub)
  5. Use a clean cloth dipped in water to blot up the detergent
  6. Dip the soapy cloth in clean water and squeeze out the excess and repeat until there is no more soap on the mattress protector.
  7. Follow up with using paper towels to blot out any excess moisture to help your mattress protector dry faster.
  8. Allow it to air dry by hanging it up.
  9. Once fully dried replace and continue to use

It is important to control how much water you are using to spot clean. You don’t want to over soak the area with detergent or water, this won’t clean it any better and will take a longer amount of time to dry.

Less is better, because you can always work up to using more if needed. You cannot work backwards from over soaking the area or adding too much soap.

Also spraying too much detergent or not watering it down a little can cause too much soap residue to get into the fibers and be difficult to remove it all. More soap does not mean cleaner, it just equals out to more work needed to rinse it.

​Machine Wash

You should strive to wash your mattress protector once a month. You can stretch it to once every two months if your sheets are changed regularly and you don’t have many spills or accidents.

Your mattress protector needs to be laundered regularly due to the buildup of dirt, dead skin cells, dust mites and odors. Washing your mattress protector will also restore the freshness of it to keep allergens under control.

  1. Set your washer to the cold water and gentle/delicate cycle.
  2. Add in a bleach free laundry detergent or a ​natural one you can create at home. (Bleach can damage the waterproof backing)
  3. Place your mattress protector in the washer with your sheets or alone.
  4. Let the washer run through the entire cycle and skip the fabric softener, this will reduce the absorbency of the mattress protector.
  5. For the best drying results hang up your mattress protector to dry. If you need it quicker then you can place it in the dry on a no heat or low heat setting. (place damp towels in with it to help dry and fluff it up.)

The best thing you need to remember about washing your mattress protector is that you need to avoid high heat settings. Similar to washing wool, and other sensitive materials, ​washing or drying with heat​ can damage the waterproof backing, shrink it and reduce it’s ability to protect your mattress.

Can You Wash a Mattress Topper?

If you have a mattress topper, it is a little different from a mattress protector. A mattress topper, sometimes referred to as a pad, is a padded cushion that fits on your mattress like a fitted sheet would.

The main difference between the two is that a topper is used to add a layer of cushion to your mattress where as a mattress protector adds little to no cushion and offers waterproof protection.

A good mattress pad will make your night’s sleep a lot better. It doesn’t provide any protection for your mattress though.

You can wash most mattress toppers. Cotton and polyester blends are able to washed and dried following the same instructions as above. Since it is a thicker version of a mattress protector it may need to be dried a little longer.

If you have a memory foam or egg crate mattress topper then you may not be able to wash it as easily. You can vacuum the top to pull out any debris or dust and spot clean as needed


Now that you know more about how to wash a mattress protector and the best schedule for taking care of it, you can begin to work it into your cleaning routine. Keeping your mattress protector clean and functioning will help extend the life of your mattress underneath since it is catch all of the daily wear and tear.

How often do you wash mattress/pillow protectors?

After lurking on many a ‘how often do you wash your sheets/towels’ thread, I’ve been a little concerned as to whether I should be regularly washing mattress covers/pillow protectors. They are infinitely more difficult to dry, especially in winter. I never used to use them, but 4dds have demonstrated to me that they are a necessity if you don’t want to be regularly buying new mattresses and pillows. I’ve been washing mattress protectors when beds get wet. For each child that averages at about once a month/six weeks. Is this disgusting? They aren’t turning yellow or anything, which is probably a good indicator of needing to be washed. Please come and tell me I am doing the right thing!

Personally i wash protectors every other chNge of bedding. Does this help?

when needed – as you are doing. Or grab a sunny day opportunity.

I wash pillow and mattress protectors on every change of bedding – once every one to two weeks. Bedding goes in tumble to dry, pillow protectors on radiators and mattress protector over dining chairs and dries overnight (I have two).

Eeeps.I work more on the theory that without a mattress protector, it would just be the sheets being changed/washed and the poor mattress would getting grubby with occasional vacuums and maybe the odd wipe down. The protector just saves the mattress a bit so while I change sheets every week or occasionally every other week the poor protector an every two or three month thing. Now I’m thinking I’m a total sluttern I should be changing it once a month.

annually when they look like they need a clea and the weather is fine, or if there have been any bodily fluid incidents.

Hmmm, so it’s split pretty evenly into doing what I do, and washing them all the time. T those that wash them all the time, are you using the plastic backed ones that take forever to dry?

You Hoover mattresses? I have never hoovered a mattress in my life!

I wash mine only when there is room in the washing machine for them in the load I’m doing, so probably ever couple of months or so.

About every 3 or 4 months for mattress protectors, possibly slightly more frequently for the pillow ones on our bed. I don’t have a tumble dryer, or a spare set so it has to be a day when it is sunny, or there is no other washing and I can get it washed and dried within the day.

My dc never wet their beds (just sheer good fortune on my part) so I wash their mattress protectors a couple of times a year. I guess that makes me skanky but, hey!

Pillow protectors every couple of bed changes. Mattress protector every couple of months. No kids so no little accidents. No tumble drier but find the type I have dry fairly quickly.

Imip I wouldn’t worry on the vacuuming of the matress since mattress protectors are supposed to lessen the need to vacuum the mattress itself. I’m not sure it does that much good anyway. Apparently 95% of dust mites will survive the mattress being vacuumed.

I think a mattress protector and sheets washed at 60 degrees C or above is enough to keep the dust mites down. Not sure why I bother about it so much given the amount of dust under the bed. I’m terrible at getting the Hoover right under.

I vacuum the sofa too although only about once a month though.

yes hoovering is a good idea for all mattresses as it helps keep dust and dust mites at bay, also good to turn the mattress over a few times a year. i wash my brolly sheets mattress protector s every month, as its also waterproof that does also keep the dust mites etc out a bit

I do it as a sort of Spring clean thing. probably twice a year for the mattress cover, but a bit more often for pillow covers. And also, if we ever have bodily fluid issues (rare). I am looking forward to better weather so that they dry.

Seems to work for us!

Hmmm, I am feeling much better now. Except of course with regard to hoovering the bed. My Hoover is actually really filthy. Lots of hoovering kid’s food mess off the ground etc. I wouldn’t want to put it on my bed. Banking on the mattress protector to keep the mattress clean!

More Articles

Written by: Christopher Carter

Written on: February 05, 2019

Pillow and mattress protectors keep your pillows and mattress looking good long after the initial purchase. In addition, pillow and mattress protectors keep your mattress and pillows free of stains and mildew. Mattress and pillow protectors also help for children and adults who suffer from incontinence.

Washing mattress and pillow covers extends their lifetime and usefulness.

Machine Wash

Wash your pillow and mattress protectors as often as you wish. Ideally, wash pillow and mattress protectors at least once a month. This will protect your pillows and mattress from bacteria, mould, dust mites and other insects. Before putting your mattress and pillow protector on your bed, wash it first.

Mattress and pillow protectors are most often made of polyester, cotton or a poly cotton blend. Machine wash your mattress and pillow protector in warm or slightly cold water. Avoid chlorine bleach.

Tumble Dry

After you’ve finished washing your pillow and mattress protector, dry the bedding items in one of two ways. Hang them on a line to dry, or tumble dry your protectors. If you tumble dry your bedding, use a low or medium temperature setting. If you tumble dry your pillow and mattress protector on high, it will cause your bedding to lose its protective qualities. The back of your protectors may peel away, leaving the pillows and mattress susceptible to leaks and other damage.

General Care

If you choose to hang-dry your protective bedding, never use an iron to remove wrinkles from the protective bedding. Heat from the iron may damage to your pillow and mattress covers. Never dry clean your protective bedding. Pillow and mattress covers were meant for use by humans. Allowing your pet to urinate on your protective bedding will destroy the it’s protective properties. Avoid using your protective bedding inside out. You won’t receive any protective benefits if the protective barrier isn’t facing your pillow or mattress.

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