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Care Tips

Do You Need a Mattress Protector? [5 Benefits]

    Last Updated
    January 17, 2024
    min read

    Do you need a mattress protector? A mattress protector is optional but serves as the best way to protect your mattress from spills, stains, and allergens. It also helps extend the lifespan of your mattress and maintains a hygienic sleep environment.

    Spills and stains are inevitable mishaps. So why leave your mattress unprotected?

    A mattress protector isn’t just an optional bed accessory — it's the ultimate way to protect your investment so your mattress lasts longer

    A quality mattress protector like the Purple Mattress Protector® not only ensures protection from common contaminants, but also retains the comfort and support of your mattress.

    Purple Mattress Protector®

    Defend your mattress from spills, dust, and dander without sacrificing comfort using our five-sided dual-layer defense.

    So, do you need a mattress protector? This post discusses mattress protector benefits, who should use one, and how to find the right one for you.

    What Is a Mattress Protector?

    A mattress protector is a removable piece of bedding placed on top of your mattress and beneath your sheets. While features vary by protector, its main purpose is to shield your mattress from wear and tear such as spills and stains. 

    Mattress protectors usually have a ventilated layer on top of a water-resistant or waterproof material. Like a fitted sheet, they have deep pockets that fit over a mattress’s corners. This makes them easy to remove for washing.

    Graphic defining a mattress protector with an image of a mom and daughter putting one on a bed.

    5 Mattress Protector Benefits

    Many mattress protectors go beyond preserving your mattress. Many options come with a range of benefits that enhance your sleep experience and ensure you get the most out of your mattress. Here are some advantages that mattress protectors bring to the table.

    1. Protects Against Spills and Stains

    Whether it’s a late-night cup of tea or night sweats, spills and stains happen to even the most careful mattress owners. Constructed from water-resistant or waterproof materials, mattress protectors make sure any liquid mishaps stay on the surface. This ensures nothing seeps into the mattress and causes long-lasting damage like discoloration or odors.

    2. Reduces Allergen Buildup

    The additional layer of a mattress protector also helps defend against allergens, dust mites, and even mold on your mattress. It creates a tight barrier that prevents these microscopic particles from accumulating within the mattress fibers.

    If you suffer from allergies, a mattress protector can be a game-changer for mitigating allergic reactions and irritation. Some mattress protectors are even designed with hypoallergenic materials for an additional layer of defense.

    3. Helps Preserve Mattress Warranty

    Some mattress warranties may be voided if the mattress shows signs of damage or stains. Following the manufacturer’s guidelines and using a protector as a proactive measure will pay off in the long run if you ever need to use your warranty. 

    4. Can Increase Mattress Lifespan

    Without protection, dirt and debris from dead skin, crumbs, or pets in your bed work their way into your mattress. These elements can degrade the integrity of your mattress over time. A mattress protector helps keep dirt and other elements out so your mattress maintains its original quality for as long as possible.

    5. Easier To Clean

    Mattress protectors keep liquids from reaching the surface of a mattress. When something spills on your bed, it’s much easier to clean up if you have a mattress protector. You just need to wash your sheets and mattress protector versus having to deep clean the mattress itself, which is much more difficult and time-consuming. 


    Graphic listing the benefits of using a mattress protector with an image of a young boy putting one on a bed.

    What Is the Difference Between a Mattress Pad and Protector?

    The main difference between a mattress pad vs. protector is that a mattress pad provides an extra layer of cushioning, while a mattress protector acts as a barrier against spills, stains, and allergens. 




    Mattress Protector

    Protects against spills, stains, dust, and wear and tear


    Helps preserve mattress warranty


    Increases mattress’s lifespan


    Easier to clean than a mattress

    Other brands crinkle with movement


    Other brands may impact the feel or temperature regulation of the mattress

    Mattress Topper

    Adds a layer of softness or firmness to your mattress


    More affordable than replacing your mattress

    Can shift and slide on top of your mattress


    May transfer motion easily

    Mattress Pad

    Protects mattress against dirt and wear and tear


    May be machine washable


    Adds a plush layer to the top of the mattress

    Typically not waterproof to protect against spills


    Impacts mattress’s feel


    Thinner than mattress toppers

    Mattress Sleeve (Encasement) 

    Tighter around mattress to guard against bed bugs and allergens


    Often waterproof or water-resistant 

    Difficult to put on and remove, making it difficult to wash


    Not made for thin or thick mattresses

    Who Should Use Mattress Protection?

    While everyone should use a mattress protector, some people would especially benefit from this additional bedding layer.

    • Parents with young children: Getting urine out of a mattress in the middle of the night is never fun. In addition to protection from dirt and debris, a mattress protector is essential during the potty-training phase or for parents co-sleeping with their children.
    • Allergy sufferers: If you have allergies, you may find relief from common allergens like dust mites, pet dander, and pollen by using a mattress protector.
    • Pet owners: Even if you don’t let your pets on your bed, you should still use a mattress protector to safeguard against pet-related accidents, fur, and dander.
    • Hot sleepers: If you tend to run hot at night, a mattress protector can help prevent mattress damage from sweat. Some protectors have moisture-wicking properties to help even further.
    Graphic listing factors to consider when buying a mattress protector alongside an image of one.

    How To Choose a Mattress Protector

    When comparing mattress protectors, here are a few considerations to keep in mind:

    • Level of protection: Your specific needs and lifestyle will determine whether you need a water-resistant or waterproof mattress protector. The Purple Mattress Protector® features an absorbent outer layer that dissipates fluids and an inner layer that repels liquids so wetness won’t seep through to the mattress.
    • Machine washability: The ability to wash your mattress protector in the washing machine and dryer makes regular maintenance convenient.
    • Material preference: Choose between natural (like cotton) or man-made (polyester) materials. Cotton is known for its breathability, while polyester may be a bit more durable and moisture-wicking. Some mattress protectors may be made from a blend of the two.
    • Mattress fit: Make sure the protector will fit your mattress size and depth. It should also still allow you to experience the features of your mattress. For instance, the Purple Mattress Protector® has enhanced stretch that allows you to experience the full benefits of our proprietary GelFlex® Grid.
    • Other benefits: Explore other features like hypoallergenic properties for allergens, antimicrobial material for added hygiene, or moisture-wicking and cooling technology for temperature regulation.
    • Cost range: Determine your budget to find a protector that meets your needs and provides protection for your investment in your mattress.

    Upgrade Your Sleep With Purple 

    Still wondering if you need a mattress protector? This simple bedding addition is the key to protecting your investment in a quality mattress. By preventing dirt and spills from negatively impacting your mattress, you can sleep better at night knowing your mattress will last for many years to come. 

    Water- and stain-resistant, machine-washable, and five-sided dual defense — Purple’s Mattress Protector is engineered to preserve your mattress integrity and comfort. A lot of life happens on your mattress, and we’ve designed this protector to cover it all.

    Purple Mattress Protector®

    Keep your mattress and all of its features intact.



    Yes, a mattress protector is necessary if you want to guard your mattress against spills, stains, allergens, and general wear and tear. It can greatly extend the life of your mattress as well as improve your sleep hygiene.

    Yes, you still need to use a sheet if you use a mattress protector. While some people may find a top sheet unnecessary, a fitted sheet is a must for ensuring optimal protection and comfort.

    Yes, you should use a mattress protector for a memory foam mattress. A memory foam mattress is susceptible to damage from spills, stains, dirt, and moisture.

    How often you should replace a mattress protector depends on the quality of the protector and how well you maintain it. On average, a high-quality mattress protector can last two to three years with regular maintenance, but many include a 10-year limited warranty.

    No, a quality mattress protector won’t make your bed less comfortable. The best options have a ventilated top layer and feature stretchy materials that won’t crinkle or prevent you from experiencing the full comfort of your mattress.

    About the authors

    Cecilia Gillen

    Cecilia brings over five years of writing experience primarily centered around lifestyle and health topics. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Media and Journalism from the University of South Dakota. She’s both an advocate for sleep and a night owl at heart.

    Tasha Martin
    Manager, Product & Merchandising (Bedding)

    Tasha Martin specializes in bedding products. With over half a decade of product management experience,  Tasha finds joy in delivering products that improve the lives of others.