How Often Should You Wash A Mattress Protector?

Experts recommend that the average adult should get seven to nine hours of sleep every night. If you sleep for eight hours a night, that means that you spend one-third of your day in bed. When we consider any other time spent in bed, like taking naps or watching television, this adds up to an even greater amount.

Now, think about how often you fall into bed after a long day of work, still wearing the clothes you wore on the bus, to the office, to the grocery store, and more. Or, consider the times that you immediately fell asleep after a workout because you were just too tired to shower.

This is all to say that we, as human beings, sometimes get in bed without getting perfectly clean first. Because we do spend so much time in our beds, it is inevitable that we will occasionally bring dirt, germs, allergens, dust mites, bed bugs, and more into that space. That is why mattress protectors are so essential.

Mattress protectors do exactly what you would expect: they protect our mattresses from undesirable materials underneath our bed sheet. Allergens, fluids, bacteria, dirt, and even insects can infiltrate our beds and create a sleeping environment that is far from ideal. Put simply, a mattress protector is a removable bedding item that shields the mattress from being permanently contaminated by these things. They're not the same as mattress toppers or mattress pads, which add extra cushioning to your bed. 

This raises the question: how often should you wash a mattress protector? In order to remain effective, mattresses protectors certainly need to be washed, even if you're using a fitted sheet. In this article, we will explore exactly how often you should be doing this, as well as tips and tricks for getting the most out of your mattress protector.

Why You Should Wash Your Mattress Protector

Mattress protectors serve as the last line of defense between your mattress and all of the dirt, grime, and bacteria that may enter your bed. Without a mattress protector, these substances will accumulate in your mattress over the years. This can cause the mattress to deteriorate more quickly than it normally would, and it can even cause damage to your health.

So, is it enough to place a mattress protector on your bed and hope for the best? No. You should, indeed, wash your mattress protector.

We frequently wash our sheets, pillowcases, and other bedding items because they easily become dirty with sweat, dead skin cells, and other germs. In the same way, mattress protectors accumulate these substances over time. Now, let us explore precisely how often you should wash your mattress protector as compared to your sheets and pillowcases.

bathroom with washing machine

How Often To Wash Your Mattress Protector

Many sources recommend that you wash your mattress protector every two months. However, this estimate varies depending upon who you consult. Some people claim that you should wash it every month, while others advocate for once every three to four months. 

The rule of thumb for bed linens and pillowcases, on the other hand, should be washed every one to two weeks.

The reason for this difference is that our sheets come into direct contact with our bodies, as well as any bacteria or dirt that may also be present. Our sheets manage to prevent some, but not all, of these unhygienic substances from reaching the mattress protector.  So clean sheets are essential for a good sleeping experience.

That being said, mattress protectors do accumulate germs and debris over time. By washing yours every two months (at least), you can increase its effectiveness and extend its lifespan.

Special Circumstances

As we mentioned above, it is a good idea to wash your mattress protector every one to four months. Admittedly, this is a broad window of time. If you are still uncertain about how often to wash your mattress protector, you should think about your own personal circumstances.

  • Do you have pets? If your cat, dog, or other animal sleeps on your bed, consider washing your mattress protector more often. Your pet adds extra hair, dander, and germ buildup to your bedding, and so cleaning it more frequently is a smart idea.
  • Do you have allergies? Substances like dust and pet hair can aggravate allergies. If these things seep into your mattress cover, your allergies may worsen. It may be wise to wash your mattress cover once a month or even more often, depending on the severity of your condition.
  • What is the weather like in your area? Do you live somewhere warm and tropical? If so, you may find yourself sweating a bit at night. An above-average level of sweat at night is a compelling reason to wash your mattress protector often.
  • Is your mattress protector on a child’s bed? Children, especially those who are in the process of potty-training, tend to have accidents at night. This may seem obvious, but if this is the case in your home, you should certainly clean your dirty mattress protector as much as necessary.
  • Is your mattress protector on a guest bed? If so, the bed is probably not being used as much as a regular bed. You should probably wash the mattress protector once every three or four months, but anything more frequent is not needed.
  • Did something get spilled on the bed? If a liquid is spilled on your bed, you should wash your sheets and mattress protector. This is important because it prevents mold, mildew, and bacteria from growing after the spill.

Tips For Cleaning Your Mattress Protector

Once you have determined how often you need to clean your waterproof mattress protector, it is time to do what you came here to do: wash the thing. Following the proper protocol for washing your mattress protector will allow you to get the most out of your product. You will ensure that your mattress protector lasts as long as possible. 

Most mattress protectors are not difficult to clean—in fact, many are machine washable. To be sure about your specific product, check the care label or the washing instructions that came with it. If you cannot find either of these, consider contacting the manufacturer. Many companies have contact pages or online customer service messaging available if you want to learn about specific cleaning directions. You want to be sure whether you should be using warm water or hot water, and using a delicate cycle, as well as if you should be using a specific laundry detergent or fabric softener. You should also check if it can be dried on low-heat setting or if you need to air dry it.

Most sources strongly recommend cleaning your waterproof mattress cover before using it for the first time. Doing so will get rid of any strange smells, kill any bacteria, and soften the material itself. 

Each time you wash your mattress protector, it is best to use cold or lukewarm water. If using a washing machine, the gentle setting is best. Any temperature or cycle too harsh could potentially damage the mattress protector, rendering it less effective. 

Similarly, mild detergent is the best option when cleaning your mattress protector. For drying, a low tumble setting is usually the preferable option.

Before washing your mattress protector, you should be certain that your specific product is, indeed, machine washable. 

Pillow Protectors: What Are They?

If you are currently in the midst of researching mattress protectors, you are probably familiar with pillow protectors. Pillow protectors serve the same purpose as mattress protectors. They are placed under the pillowcase of any pillow to provide an extra layer of defense against unwanted substances. 

Like mattress protectors, pillow protectors need to be washed. You probably wash your pillowcases frequently, along with your sheets. Why wash your pillow protectors, too? Of course, you should wash them because they can accumulate germs, sweat, dead skin, and much more. It is best to clean pillow protectors to remove these substances and ensure that you are sleeping on a clean and sanitary surface.

You should wash your pillow protectors at least three times a year. Indeed, you can apply the tips and tricks above to pillow protectors. If you feel that your pillow receives more wear and tear than the typical pillow, consider washing your protectors more frequently than average.

dad and daughter wash

In Summary

It is clear that using a mattress protector is a wise decision. As human beings, we spend a huge amount of time sleeping or relaxing in our beds. This fact inevitably leads to plenty of germs, dirt, dust, and bacteria entering our beds, unwanted. 

Fortunately, there is a way to guard ourselves against these elements. Mattress protectors help us to create a cleaner and healthier sleeping environment while lengthening the lifespan of our mattresses.

That being said, it is essential to clean our mattress protectors so that they can continue to function effectively. You should clean your mattress protector every one to four months. Evaluate your particular circumstances to determine the right cleaning schedule for you.

If you follow the tips and tricks listed above, as well as the manufacturer’s instructions for care, your mattress protector should last a long time. More importantly, it will allow you to sleep more soundly at night, knowing that you are sleeping in a clean bed. 

Be sure to wash all of your bedding, including your pillowcases, pillow protectors, sheets, and throw blankets, to truly optimize your sleeping experience. Sweet dreams!


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