How Often Should You Wash a Mattress Protector?

How Often Should You Wash a Mattress Protector

A good mattress protector can be an invaluable addition to your collection of bedding.

By protecting your mattress from general wear and tear, and also, depending on the protector design, from spillages or other fluid based accidents, it can really prolong the lifespan of a mattress.

Given that a mattress can be a relatively expensive item to replace, the low cost of a mattress protector makes it a valuable investment. To get the most from it however, it does require a little care of it’s own.

This article will discuss one of the biggest questions that many people have about this product, namely how often should you wash a mattress protector?

lifespan of a mattress

What Are We Talking About?

To prevent any confusion, a quick note before we begin. In this article we are talking about mattress protectors, not mattress toppers.

A topper is essentially an extra layer of cushioning that can be added to a mattress to improve sleeping conditions. It is not a protector, and will have it’s own washing instructions.

Here, we are only dealing with products designed to protect the mattress.

Why Clean It?

Well, why clean anything? Because it gets dirty of course! The whole point of a mattress protector is to be the defensive barrier between the mattress and the person(s) sleeping on top of it.

The bed sheets are the closest layer between the person sleeping in the bed and the mattress however, so naturally they absorb more of the day-to-day dirt and grime that builds up over time. The average person for example loses about 7 ounces of fluid every night as they sleep. Much of that will be in the form of sweat and whilst the sheets will absorb a fair amount, some will get down to the protector.

Keeping it clean therefore will help to keep your bedding pleasant, and help you get a good nights sleep. It also lets you inspect the protector regularly so you can replace it if and when it starts to show it’s age.

When to Clean It

This is really going to differ from person to person, will depend heavily on who (or indeed what!) is using the bed and even things like your local weather conditions.

As a broad rule of thumb however, you only need to wash the protector every few 3 to 4 months. That’s mainly because, as we discussed above, your actual bed sheets will be getting the majority of the dirt, body oils, sweat and dust that we all generate as we snooze. Change your sheets roughly every 2 weeks and that will go a long way to keeping the protector clean too.

As with any rule, there are of course exceptions. For example, the protector on the mattress of a potty-training child is going to take more of a beating and will need to be cleaned after every accident – even if it’s just a wipe down – and thoroughly deep cleaned every month or even weekly in the case of heavy soiling.

People with pets who allow them into beds will also need to clean the protector more often, as the animals simply bring more dust, hair and dirt into the bedding.

Finally, those people lucky enough to live in hotter areas may also consider cleaning the protector a little more regularly, simply as they are likely to sweat more.

types of mattress protector

How to Clean It

A mattress protector is pretty easy to clean, as most of them can simply be popped into the washing machine. However, that doesn’t apply to all types, so it’s very important that you read the washing instructions regarding method, water temperature and permissible cleaning products and follow them exactly.

When you are looking to purchase a new mattress protector, it is highly recommended that you read the care instructions before making the purchase.

Most manufactures of these products realize that people want protectors that are easily cared for, and that means being washing-machine safe. Therefore, if it can be washed in a machine that will usually be listed prominently as one of the main selling points for the product.

Many types of protector, especially ones that are made of vinyl, can be wiped down without being removed from the mattress. That makes that care even easier – just run a damp cloth over them every time you change the sheets. Even with this feature though they will still need to be removed completely for a through wash every few months.

Bonus Points!

Also, for extra bonus points, the time when you clean the protector could also be a good time to give the mattress itself a bit of a clean. After all, since the protector normally covers it, you can’t get easy access to it, so take this opportunity now.

With the protector removed, sprinkle a little baking soda over the mattress then give it a going over with the nozzle attachment of your vacuum cleaner.


A mattress protector should be easy to clean, with simple-to-follow instructions. By remembering to clean it at least every few months, you will have lovely clean bedding that will be a pleasure to fall asleep in, as well as the added bonus of effective protection for your mattress.

Stefani P
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