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Use a mattress protector in addition to a standard bottom sheet — not instead of one.
Use a mattress protector in addition to a standard bottom sheet — not instead of one. (BestReviews)

A quality mattress is a significant purchase, so it's natural that you'd want to keep it as clean and fresh as possible to help it last longer. A mattress protector can block dust mites, stop allergens (such as pollen, mold, and mildew) from settling into your mattress, and prevent liquids from reaching the mattress.

Mattress protectors vary in their breathability, waterproofing, materials, and other factors. In addition, they are designed to fit different mattress styles, so finding the model that works for your needs and your mattress is crucial.

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Read on to learn how to select the best mattress protector for you. Our favorite option is the SureGuard Mattress Protector, a soft, comfortable, and noiseless waterproof mattress protector with a cotton terry top layer.

Considerations when choosing mattress protectors

Waterproofing

Some mattress protectors are waterproof and some are not, but what are the benefits and downfalls of each type?

Waterproof mattress protectors keep all kinds of fluids away from your mattress, such as spilled drinks, sweat, and urine. They're particularly useful for children who aren't yet reliably dry through the night or anyone with incontinence issues. However, they generally provide some of the best mattress protection, even if bedwetting isn't a problem in your household. The trouble is that they can make a rustling sound when you move and they may feel hot to sleep on because of the waterproof layer.

Non-waterproof mattress protectors can absorb some nighttime sweat, prevent allergens from entering your mattress, and help slow down general wear and tear. Many are lightly padded to provide some extra comfort and they tend to be relatively breathable. Of course, they're not going to keep your mattress safe from any significant volume of fluid.

Material

The outer layer of a mattress protector is usually either made from cotton, polyester, or a cotton/poly blend. Of these materials, cotton is the most breathable and is the best choice to avoid sleeping hot.

The waterproof layer of some mattress protectors is most often made of polyurethane, since it retains some degree of breathability and isn't too noisy. PVC and vinyl are hotter to sleep on and make more noise but are more reliably waterproof when confronted with large volumes of liquid.

Features

Hypoallergenic

One of the great benefits of mattress protectors is that they can block allergens such as dust, pet dander, pollen, mold, and mildew from getting inside a mattress. These allergens may get trapped in the mattress protector but will wash away when you clean it.

Fit

The vast majority of mattress protectors fit on a mattress in the same way as a fitted sheet, but some models completely enclose your mattress. While these are more challenging to get on, they provide a more secure fit.

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Size

Be sure to purchase a mattress protector designed for your type of mattress. Otherwise, you my end up with excess material or not enough coverage -- or the protector may not fit on your mattress at all.

Price

Mattress protectors can cost anywhere between $10 and $100, depending on the design, size, and overall quality.

FAQ

Q. I don't think I sweat much at night -- do I need a waterproof mattress protector?

A. Even if you don't feel as though you sweat much in the night, you'll still be losing a small amount of liquid through perspiration. Spilled beverages can also be an issue, and if you suffer from incontinence, a waterproof mattress protector can make cleanup easy and can keep your mattress looking pristine.

Q. Do mattress protectors feel hot to sleep on?

A. Some mattress protectors do feel hot to sleep on, but this depends on the materials they're made from. A decent mattress should have some degree of breathability to allow airflow while you sleep, but when you put a mattress protector on top that made from non-breathable materials, more of your body heat will get trapped in bed with you. If you tend to sleep hot at night or are concerned about feeling too warm with the addition of a mattress protector, choose a model made from breathable materials.

Mattress protectors we recommend

Best of the best: SureGuard's Mattress Protector

Our take: This mattress protector feels soft and doesn't rustle as you move.

What we like: The cotton terry outer layer wicks away moisture. Uses a breathable membrane. Anti-allergen protection.

What we dislike: Some buyers say it isn't waterproof enough to deal with bedwetting.

Best bang for your buck: Hanna Kay's Mattress Protector

Our take: A versatile and affordable options that fits mattresses between six and 22 inches deep.

What we like: Protects against dust mites, fluids, bacteria, and more. Polyurethane membrane is waterproof yet breathable. Cotton terry top helps sheets stay dry-feeling.

What we dislike: Advertised as noiseless, but there are some reports of crinkling, especially when new.

Our take: Luna Airflow Technology allows air to flow through the waterproof membrane while blocking liquid getting through.

What we like: Hypoallergenic design. Cotton terry upper layer. Fits mattresses up to 18 inches deep. Comes with a 15 year warranty. Made in the U.S.

What we dislike: Can feel hot to sleep on despite claims of breathability.

Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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