Mattress Pad vs. Mattress Cover

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Customizing your mattress might be a good idea if you feel like you need to take it to the next level in terms of comfort and support. Many modern mattresses already offer some sort of padding on the top, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take things further and take steps to improve them even more. Not only will something additional like a cover or a pad help you in terms of comfort and support, but they can also provide extra protection for the mattress and help it last longer.

There are two main options if you’re looking to add something to the top of your mattress. You can choose a mattress cover and a mattress pad. Those two things might sound very similar, but they’re not. Most people don’t know the differences between the two, so before you decide which is right for you, you need to find out more about each item and what makes them different from one another.

What Are Mattress Pads?

The first thing you need to know about mattress pads is that they usually are made from 100% polyester. It sits on the top of your mattress in the same way a fitted sheet would. It adds another foam layer between you and the mattress underneath. That means that the number one reason to use a mattress pad is to offer more comfort and improve the experience of using the bed.

Most people choose mattress pads because they’re looking for ways to improve the comfort of their mattress. It’s not uncommon for people to have problems with older mattresses that have seen better days. They become less comfortable over time and this leads to issues with comfort. A mattress pad can correct the problem and make it more comfortable.

However, keep in mind that mattress pads can only do so much. If a mattress has completely lost its support, a mattress pad won’t be enough to correct the problem and you should instead consider a new mattress. It’s also the case that mattress pads will rarely be necessary if you already have a new mattress like a Tempur-pedic mattress that’s brand new condition and that offers total support and comfort.

If you still would prefer a mattress pad over a new mattress there are a few things you should look for. First of all, you should make sure that it’s fitted so it’s easy to use on your bed. It should also be waterproof and easy to clean. Most high-quality mattress pads will be machine washable, so make sure you check for that before making a purchase.

The Purpose of Mattress Pads

Mattress pads are typically constructed of 100% polyester and sit on top of your mattress like a fitted sheet, acting as a separator between guests and the surface of the mattress. A mattress pads primary purpose is to add comfort to your mattress.  If you’re unhappy with the current comfort level of your mattresses, a mattress pad is a great short term solution to add comfort to an older or uncomfortable mattress. We don’t recommend mattress pads if you are purchasing our newer mattresses, or if your mattress has completely lost its support. Mattresses naturally lose support and comfort overtime, and once support is lost, a mattress pad is only a temporary solution.

Recommendations to consider when buying:

  • Should be Fitted Style
  • Should be Waterproof
  • Should be Machine Washable
  • Should be Absorbent

What Are Mattress Covers / Protectors?

The main purpose of mattress covers is to ensure mattresses stay protected and can breathe well. This can be achieved without sacrifice because mattress covers don’t have any impact on the comfort offered by the mattress. That means they won’t make the mattress less comfortable. 

So, if you’re looking to make your mattress more comfortable and supportive, you are looking for a mattress pad, not a mattress cover. But if you want to make sure that your mattress stays protected, a mattress cover might be just what you’re looking for. Most importantly, they are known to increase the lifespan of a mattress, helping them to stay in shape and supportive for as long as possible.

They’re very commonly used in the hospitality industry. Hotels like the fact that they keep the mattress supportive and consistently so for a long time. They also help to protect against bed bugs, which is obviously vital for hotels. It’s something that homeowners will benefit from as well. It’s as good a reason as any to start using a mattress cover on your bed.

Another benefit about mattress covers is that they’re good for people who have asthma and allergies. The allergens and mites that might be present on the surface of the mattress can’t get through the surface of the mattress cover, making it easy to avoid those kinds of problems.

There are both fitted and zipper mattress covers available, and they usually come in polypropylene or vinyl. You can choose which is best suited to you depending on your needs. Vinyl covers are waterproof and fire retardant, so that’s why many people choose those over polypropylene covers. Zippered covers offer more protection from potential problems such as bedbugs.

The Purpose of Mattress Covers

The hospitality industry has historically sworn by the mattress cover to increase the life of the mattress, protect against bed bugs, and protect against water damage.  We recommend mattress covers because they breathe well, stay protected with zippered coverings, and their thin layer doesn’t alter the comfort of new mattresses.

Mattress covers are ideal purchases with new mattresses. Installing a mattress cover will make sure the 100th guest has the same sleeping experience as the 1st guest! More importantly, mattress covers are a good choice for guests that suffer from allergies or asthma. Mattress covers don’t have any filler, therefore dust mites or other allergens that do hide on the surface of the mattress cover can easily be eliminated with regular laundering.

Which is Right for You?

So, do you need a mattress cover or a mattress pad? Well, it all depends on your current mattress situation and what you’re looking to achieve. The first thing that’s clear is that you should try to make your decision based on which kind of mattress you currently have and how old it is. The age of your mattress is arguably what’s most important here.

If you have an old mattress that you’re trying to provide a temporary comfort fix for, you need to choose a mattress pad. They offer that extra layer of comfort and support that you’re looking for. It’s what they’re designed for and it’s what they do better than any of the alternative options on the market. They’re inexpensive but effective in terms of the difference they can make. If you want have something more substantial it is best to consider getting a new mattress 

But if your mattress is newer and you want to make sure that all the great qualities it currently possesses are retained for as long as possible, you need to choose a mattress protector/cover. They offer unrivaled protection and preservation and that’s what you need most of all when you’ve got new mattresses that you want to keep in good shape for as long as you possibly can.

We hope the information we have provided you give you more insight into what these different options offer. You should now be able to make an informed decision with regard to whether a mattress cover/protector or a mattress pad is best for your sleep needs.

7 Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is A Mattress Cover Necessary?

You will need to replace your mattress more quickly without the protector. Helps prevent dust mite allergies from acting up. Dust mites eat dead skin cells, and there will be dead skin cells in your mattress if you don't use a cover. Helps protect the warranty.

2. Do You Put A Fitted Sheet Over A Mattress cover?

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.

3. How Often Should You Wash A Mattress Cover?

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."

4. Is It OK To Sleep On A Mattress without sheets?

So, Is sleeping on a mattress without sheets bad? The short answer is yes. Because almost all of us sweat while sleeping and bedsheets protect the mattress from making contact with your sweat. Also, sleeping on a mattress with no sheets exposes the mattress to grime, dust mites, dirt, and dead skin cells.

5. How often should you replace a mattress pad?

While the rule of thumb says you should change your mattress every 8 years, this doesn't apply to everyone. If you're still sleeping well on your mattress and it show no visible signs of deterioration, don't feel pressured to make the switch.

6. Can bed bugs get through mattress cover?

A mattress cover can kill existing bed bugs by sealing them within and keeping them from feeding on you at night. But bed bugs are very small. With their flat shapes, they can easily sneak through crevices. Purchase a mattress cover with a zipper and reinforced seams.

7. Do mattress covers make you sweat?

A vinyl mattress cover helps protect the mattress from all sorts of things, such as sweat, stains and dust mites. But that same waterproof and dust-proof barrier protecting the mattress may make you feel hot or sweaty, especially if you are already prone to feeling overheated while you're sleeping.

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