By Maria Ramos
A great bed isn’t just dependent on a great mattress. Pillows, beddings and other accessories you add to it can dramatically affect the quality of your sleep.
Looking for an affordable way to level up your bed? Consider the useful but often overlooked mattress pad.
Looking for a good mattress pad? Try the Luxor Linens Francisco Mattress Pad.
A mattress pad is a layer of material that should cover your sleeping surface completely. It is often made of quilted and padded fabric that is soft and resilient.
It’s easy to confuse a mattress pad with other bed accessories. Mattress toppers and mattress protectors can get lumped together with mattress pads.
Unlike thin mattress pads, mattress toppers are one to four or more inches thick. They’re also often not machine washable.
The main use of a mattress topper is to directly affect the feel of your mattress. With a mattress topper, you can make your bed much softer or firmer. Common materials include latex foam, memory foam, down feathers and down alternatives.
Mattress pads and mattress protectors look a lot alike. The difference is that a mattress protector will rarely have the plush surface that’s common for a mattress pad.
A mattress protector has one job: to keep contaminants off your mattress. Bacteria, bed bugs, dust mites, fungi, moisture, and other dubious agents will have a harder time compromising the cleanliness of your mattress with the right mattress protector.
If you love eating and drinking in bed, a waterproof mattress protector may be a great investment.
Mattress pads take cues from both mattress toppers and mattress protectors. They are all-around accessories that provide a little bit of both padding and protection. Mattress pads may also make fitted sheets snugger, keeping them from rippling or sliding out of place.
They are more portable and not as expensive as mattress toppers. They are also easier to clean and typically more comfortable than mattress protectors.
A good baseline mattress pad provides the best value and the best utility. What do we mean by baseline? It’s the design and make that’s most common across the board: quilted, breathable, and can go over a mattress like a fitted sheet.
Look for higher quality materials and a money-back guarantee. A manufacturer’s warranty is a great bonus, too---but not as essential as a trial period with a refund policy.
While a baseline mattress pad is a good blanket recommendation, some have particular needs that a basic mattress pad design won’t be able to address. If you feel like you need something more specific, check out the mattress pad variants below.
If you’re allergy prone, this just makes sense. It’s worth noting that many basic mattress pads are marketed as having anti-allergen properties, though.
Some sensitivities are very particular, though! If you’re the type that can’t handle polyester, for example, you will probably need a mattress pad that’s made with bamboo fiber, organic cotton and/or natural latex foam.
A hypoallergenic mattress pad is a good option for the allergy prone and for those thinking of their little ones.
If you’re in need of more cushioning or pressure relief, and you don’t have the budget for a new mattress or a mattress topper, a pillow-top mattress pad could be a good temporary solution.
This is the kind that gets confused with mattress toppers. You may even find them marked as mattress pad toppers in some stores. They feature pillow-like material---extra thick fiberfill or batting, even a thin layer of foam---within the quilting.
If you are sensitive to temperature changes or tend to sleep hot/cold, you may want to consider this. There are different kinds to choose from, and most are very far from the baseline mattress pad design.
If you find yourself waking up in a sweat often, a cooling mattress pad may help. These can aid heat dissipation by using some sort of cooling gel, gel memory foam or a convoluted egg crate foam cut.
If fall and winter months have you needing extra warmth, you can go the other way and get a mattress pad heater. This type of mattress pad usually employs remote controlled heating elements. Don’t want to go electric? Look for a wool mattress pad.
If you want to control exactly how hot or cold your sleeping surface is, there are mattress pads that can do that. They are only remote controlled, but also allow you to set the exact temperature you prefer.
A pet that loves to sleep on your bed may be another reason to get a waterproof mattress accessory.
If you are accident prone, occasionally share the bed with pets and/or small children, or like to eat or drink in bed, a waterproof mattress pad may serve you well.
A waterproof mattress protector will also work. But waterproof mattress pads may be able to absorb more moisture, which can help in cases where accidents and spills aren’t immediately apparent and taken care of. They’re also more comfortable and are less likely to make squeaky sounds.
So you’ve chosen a mattress pad and have started using it. Now what? Next is maintenance and care. This includes knowing when to wash or replace your mattress pad.
Can’t tell if your mattress pad is worn out or just in need of a wash? Here are some signs that it needs replacing:
Washing mattress pads regularly will definitely help lengthen their usable lifespan. But if they are over five years old or nearing the end of their warranty period, it’s best to buy a new one.
The typical mattress pad is low maintenance and can be run through your normal washer and dryer.
Most mattress pads are machine washable and can be set to tumble dry on very low heat, but there are exceptions. Rule #1 is to always look at the care label and follow the instructions.
Worried about the padding losing softness and fluffiness? You may use dryer balls. These will help and may lessen the time it takes for your mattress pad to dry.
Have a vinyl-backed mattress pad? Don’t use bleach, as it could damage the vinyl.
Air drying? Make sure both sides of the mattress pad are completely dry before using it. Being careless can result in mildew or mold growth.
Bed sheets are washed about twice a month because body oils, excessive sweat, dust, and dirt cling to your sheets first. Your mattress pad is not as exposed to regular wear and tear, so changing and washing every few months---about four to six times a year---should be fine.
Again, Rule #1 is to follow that the mattress pad manufacturer suggests. But your personal habits should be considered, too. You may want to wash your mattress pad more often than recommended if:
Of course, it goes without saying that you should also wash your mattress pad along with your sheets immediately if you notice a stain or spill.
Comments will be approved before showing up.