Many people think that once they’ve purchased a mattress they have everything they need … throw a fresh set of sheets and a couple of pillows on top and they’re all set. But with your mattress representing one of the bigger investments that you will make, it’s a good idea to take the time and spend a little bit more to protect it. By purchasing a mattress pad, a mattress topper or some kind of encasement you are not only providing yourself with an insurance policy against all of the stains and dirt that can impact the look of a mattress but you may also actually add to its useful life. Mattress protectors come in a variety of materials and are sold for a wide array of purposes, including increasing a mattress’ ability to retard flame, repel bed bugs, resist allergens and dust and even microbes. Others are simply designed to add to your bed’s overall comfort.
You can purchase a mattress protector or mattress pad in every size that beds are available in. Some applications for mattress protectors are so obvious that they barely require explanation: crib mattresses and mattresses being used for young children should always have some kind of protection against wetness, and it’s always a good idea to pack a mattress cover for your college-aged kid or camper to use when they are away from home – after all, you don’t know who has been sleeping on their mattress, or what the mattress has been through.
There are a number of different types and styles of protection available for your mattress. Some completely encase the mattress and box spring, while others simply lie on top of the mattress itself. Choosing the one that is right for you requires a careful assessment of exactly what your needs are. We’ll take a look at all of the different benefits that each offers.
Mattress Encasements: For those who suffer from allergies a mattress encasement that fully covers both the mattress and the box spring is an absolute must have. Mattresses are vulnerable to penetration by dust, dead skin, pet dander, and a wide assortment of other allergens. A fabric mattress cover will do nothing to prevent any of these from making your mattress your home, but a mattress encasement will offer you complete protection.
Special Mattress Encasements for Bed Bugs: Many areas of the country are being hit hard by infestations of bed bugs, and once the pests are present in a home or building it is very difficult to get rid of them. Having a special mattress encasement with a locking zipper is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from becoming a meal for bed bugs. It is the only way that you can be certain of protecting yourself.
Mattress Pads: Mattress pads are different from encasements in that they do not fully surround the mattress and rarely go around the box spring. They are designed to be set on top of the mattress and are the layer that goes between the mattress and the fitted sheet. They can provide protection, padding and even serve the purpose of preventing the sheets from coming off of the bed too easily. There are a number of different types of mattress pads.
- Fitted mattress pads usually look like a fitted sheet but have an additional layer of quilting sewn into them. Because of their construction they do not move around on the bed.
- Anchor mattress pads are much like fitted mattress pads but are usually less expensive because they utilize less material. Rather than being held onto the mattress by wrapping around the mattress’ sides they simply have elastic straps that anchor them onto the corner of the mattress.
- Guaranteed-to-fit mattress pads are variations of anchor mattress pads. The only real difference between the two is that the guaranteed-to-fit versions have greater allowance for different mattress thicknesses, and are designed to accommodate the newer, high profile mattresses.
- Memory foam mattress pads are designed to provide extra cushioning for a bed. They are made of the same type of foam as memory foam mattresses, but are much thinner and lighter weight. Much like the mattresses they are made to provide even support that reacts to your weight and your body temperature.
- Egg crate mattress pads have been popular for many years. They are named for their similarity to the look of egg crates and have a dimpled appearance. They provide even weight distribution with their cushioning and are very inexpensive.
- Down mattress pads are considered luxury items. Rather than providing comfort through the presence of foam, they are filled with feathers. These also are said to provide greater warmth. A less expensive version can be filled with a synthetic product known as fiberfill.
Mattress pads can be made of a variety of different materials for the individual sleeper’s comfort and for the sake of aesthetics as well. The most popular of the fabric varieties are made of cotton, polyester, or wool, though they are also available in silk. Mattress pads are not always used for comfort – many of them are not padded and simply provide a layer of protection for the fabric that tops the mattress.
Many people purchase a mattress topper to try to get a couple of extra years out of a mattress that has lost its initial comfort. Depending upon the condition of the mattress this may be effective for a few months of even for up to a year depending upon the quality of the mattress topper you purchase. It is also possible to buy a twin sized mattress topper for just one half of a queen or king-sized bed to provide an additional layer of support for just one of two people who share a mattress. This enables people with different comfort preferences to both be happy.