How to wash a mattress protector: A 5-step guide for a squeaky clean sleep (2023)

How to wash a mattress protector: A 5-step guide for a squeaky clean sleep (1)

Not knowing how to wash a mattress protector isn't something you should sleep on. Whether your bed looks clean, or it presents tangible signs that it needs a little TLC, the removable item that sits on top of your mattress should be sanitized every now and again.

You shouldn't just be looking for significant marks and stains to trigger a clean. Odors can often indicate that bacteria, dust mites, bed bugs, and other nasties are present, and of course, some of these things can't be seen by the naked eye...

And, while some of the best mattress protectors on the market claim to provide some protection against pests and skin irritants, disinfecting your topper needs to be done occasionally as a preventative measure to stop mold and other organic matter to thrive.

How to wash a mattress protector

The good news is that you don't need to send your mattress protector off to a specialist service or spend money on expensive equipment. All you need is your washing machine and some household items you'll likely already have to hand.

So whatever your reason for needing a mattress protector, be it to alleviate the symptoms of any allergies, increase the longevity of your best mattress, or... if you tend to be a little clumsy when eating or drinking in bed... You should be able to get good results.

You may need

1. A vacuum cleaner with brush attachment/handheld vac
2. A mild
laundry detergent
3. A soft cleaning cloth:
get one from Amazon
4. Your
washing machine

Prior to bunging your bed accessories in your washer, you'll want to check it for any damage. Using your washing machine to clean your cover without glancing over it first could impair the item and may even break your appliance in the process.

'Before you finally put up the mattress protector for washing, you must check for any signs of damage, like holes, wear, or tears. If these holes are left unrepaired, they could fill your washing machine with fluff and even empty mattress protectors.' warns Eric Jones, CEO, Couture Candy

1. Remove dirt and debris

We spoke to Martin Seeley, a startup enthusiast, entrepreneur, CEO, and Founder of Mattress Next Day notes how 'First and foremost, you need to remove any and all materials that may be on the mattress protector. This includes sheets, blankets, pillows, and anything else that might be on the surface.'

Next 'You can use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to gently remove any dirt or debris that may be on the surface.' Think pet hair, dust, dirt from mucky feet and all the rest.

2. Spot clean and pre-treat stains

Next, you'll want to do any pre-stain treatments beforehand. Seeley adds 'Once you've vacuumed the surface, you can start spot-cleaning any areas that seem to be particularly dirty. You can use a mild detergent and a soft cloth for this purpose.'

'If there are serious stains, it’s better to work on them before throwing the mattress protector into the washing machine.' explains Alex Savy, a certified sleep science coach and the Founder

'If you're removing blood from bedding, the stain needs to be pre-soaked in cold water mixed with a bit of salt. When dealing with urine stains, it’s better to soak the mattress protector in a mix of lukewarm water, dish soap, and half a tablespoon of ammonia solution.'

Tony Klespis, also a certified sleep science Coach, and Sleep Accessories Editor at Mattress Clarity says that you can also 'use a mixture of equal parts hydrogen peroxide, dish soap, and water in a spray bottle. Simply spray this on your mattress protector and blot it out to tackle stains.'

3. Target lingering odors with baking soda

If your mattress protector is particularly smelly, try adding in a baking soda step as recommended by Klespis. 'You can use baking soda to clean your mattress protector and get rid of any pesky odors!'' This will work best by sprinkling it on then spraying it with water and letting it soak for a while before the main wash.

4. Hand wash or use the machine (on the right setting)

Just as you'd check the labels on your clothing when doing laundry, you also need to do your due diligence when washing a mattress protector.

Seeley continues 'When you're finished spot-cleaning, you can put the mattress protector in the washing machine. Be sure to use a gentle cycle and mild detergent.'

We spoke to Larry Snider, VP of Operations of Casago Vacation Rentals who says: When cleaning your mattress protector, be sure to check the label. Depending on the brand and type, there will be different care instructions and you'll want to follow them in order to protect the quality of the mattress protector. The labelwill tell you the temperature of water you should use, the dryer cycle that works best, and whetherany special washing practices are recommended.

Amar Vig, managing director, London-fs adds: 'A true mattress protector is machine-washable, unlike mattress toppers. This accessory ranges from fabric that acts like a fitted sheet to others that protect against dust mites and liquids.'

'Mattress protectors should be washed in lukewarm water with a mild laundry detergent on the gentle cycle. We want to remind you of the risks of bleach, dry cleaners, and hot water. Rinse after washing. Soap and suds can promote mold and mildew on mattress protectors. Before using the material, dry it thoroughly to prevent fungal growth.'

Brad Hall, co-founder, and CEO of SONU Sleep actually recommends a cold water cycle. 'You want to clean your mattress protector carefully because of the important job it does... Hand wash your mattress protector in cold water.'

5. Let it dry completely

Our experts recommend that however you wash your protector, you should ensure it's completely dry before putting it back on the bed. Hall says once washed, 'Then let it air dry completely before fitting it back onto your mattress in order to prevent bacteria buildup. Avoiding the dryer is important because heat will not only shrink your fitted mattress protector but will also begin to deteriorate the wet-wicking elements that keep your mattress clean and dry.' he adds.

However, Geoff McKinnen, a certified sleep coach at Amerisleep has a different viewpoint on the drying process. He says: 'You can either put your mattress protector in the dryer or air dry it under the sun or by a fan. If you choose to tumble dry it, do so with similar fabrics, but be sure to use a low heat and low tumble setting. After the topper is completely dry, it’s ready to use. Don’t iron your mattress protector as excessive heat damages the waterproof lining.'

How often should you clean a mattress protector?

'You'll want to make sure that you're washing your mattress protector about once per month,' says Grace Baena, interiors curator, and director of brand at Kaiyo

'If you suffer from allergies then you might want to increase the frequency to about once every two weeks. Because the mattress protector is covered by the bottom sheet, it doesn't need to be washed as often as your sheets – but it should still be washed regularly.'

And, of course, if you like to host friends and family overnight in a guest room, it's essential that you clean the mattress protector either side of their stay. The same goes for if you've been ill for example with a cold or flu, for obvious reasons.

'Always wash your mattress protector before and after guests visit. If the mattress protector isn’t being used regularly, there’s no need to wash it as often as other protectors. However, you should still clean it every two to three months to avoid dust build-up.' explains McKinnen.

What not to do when cleaning a mattress protector

As well as avoiding harsh detergents with bleach and chlorine, extreme heat is also something that your mattress protector shouldn't be subjected to as it can shrink and destroy the special textile matter that makes protectors, (in particular waterproof mattress protectors), function the way that they do.

'We don’t recommend dry-cleaning mattress protectors, as the heat can ruin the waterproof material.' says McKinnen.

How to wash a mattress protector: A 5-step guide for a squeaky clean sleep (2)

Martin Seeley

CEO, and Founder of Mattress Next Day

With over three decades of industry experience, Seeley's aim is for you to save money and sleep happy - the very next day. MattressNextDay stocks a range of products from well-known brands such as Silentnight, Sleepeezee, and many more, with a proven track record for great quality products and customer care.

How to wash a mattress protector: A 5-step guide for a squeaky clean sleep (3)

Alex Savy

Founder and certified sleep science coach at Sleeping Ocean

Having written over 100 articles about sleep and sleep-related products, Alex Savy enjoys diving deep into the topic and discovering what can help people get a good night’s rest. He has reviewed over 20 products, including mattresses, toppers, pillows, and sheets, and makes mattress video reviews on YouTube, sharing important specs with the audience.

How to wash a mattress protector: A 5-step guide for a squeaky clean sleep (4)

Brad Hall

Co-Founder and CEO of SONU Sleep

Brad received his healthcare background early on working as a pharmacist. In 2013, he then jumped into corporate leadership until co-founding SONU Sleep in 2019.

Geoff McKinnen

Certified sleep coach, Amerisleep

Geoff McKinnen is a writer focusing mainly on the healthcare industry and has written articles on everything from foods to help you lose weight to the connection between Alzheimer’s and sleep. He is passionate about helping readers improve their well-being to lead happier lives.

If peeling off your protector has revealed any stains on your bed, we've got a whole guide on how to clean a mattress too. Our stain removal methods include commercial cleaning products, eco-friendly supplies, and natural treatments you might find in your kitchen pantry.


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