Can you wash a mattress protector? 4 simple steps for the perfect clean

Wondering whether you can wash a mattress protector? We’ve got all you need to know about keeping your sleep surface hygienically clean

Saatva Mattress protector
(Image credit: Saatva)

Can you wash a mattress protector? Yes, the fact is that mattress protectors do need washing regularly to stay fresh – just as your bedlinen, pillows, and comforter do. But, there are a few things to consider first!

A mattress protector is the first line of defense against allergies caused by dead skin cells, pet dander, and other irritants reaching your best mattress. It's important to keep your mattress clean, which is why you should be aware of the best way to wash a mattress protector to keep it looking its absolute best. 

We have all the answers about whether you can wash a mattress in a washing machine, below.

Can you wash a mattress protector? 

Yes, you can – and certainly should – wash a mattress protector, even if you think it looks or smells clean. 

A mattress topper will make your mattress feel softer while still giving the same level of support. It can be made from feather and down, cotton, silk, or memory foam; the most luxurious is Hungarian goose down. No matter what type you have, they are all easy to wash at home. 

However, the proper way to wash a mattress protector depends on the type of material used. We suggest that you always review the care label on the protector for guidance before following any of the instructions outlined below.

If you are looking for more tips on cleaning a bedroom, and also want to add an extra layer of comfort, it's worth knowing that most of the best mattress toppers come with machine-washable covers, too.

How do you wash a mattress protector?

‘Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to cleaning a mattress and we recommend a good mattress protector to keep the sleep surface clean and sanitary,’ says Ross Thurston, operations manager at Millbrook Beds. ‘Not only does a protector minimize the risk of stains but it can be easily washed in the washing machine, unlike a mattress.’ 

A few pre-emptive measures will ensure your mattress protector looks (and smells) good for longer. Go for a design with quilting and extra padding for comfort, or wicking and waterproof top layers for practicality. 

Look out for a machine-washable option, so you can clean it with your bed linen, and you should do so approximately once a month depending on soil levels and usage. Use these cleaning tips.

1. Start with stains 

Ideally, you want to tackle new stains on your mattress protector as soon as they happen. Soak up the spill with a dry absorbent cloth, then dab it away with cold water and a sponge. Don’t use hot water as it will only set the stain. Existing spots will be harder to shift – use a stain remover on more stubborn marks.

2. Get rid of dust and debris

Mattress protectors are breeding grounds for dust mites, as they live off dead skin cells and thrive in humid environments. Vacuuming or steam-cleaning your mattress protector will remove or kill the majority of mites and their allergens, but check with your mattress’ manufacturer first as it could damage the material.

3. Use natural cleaners to remove smells

If you don't wish to throw your mattress protector in the washing machine, you can use a natural alternative instead to temporarily remove smells. 

Natural cleaners, such as bicarbonate of soda and even vodka, are often less harsh than chemical solutions, so try these before using the harder stuff. Use vodka neat on stains or mix it with water in a spray bottle and spritz your mattress protector to remove odors. Bicarb is a handy deodorizer – sprinkle it on your mattress protector, leave for an hour, then vacuum it (and the smells) off.

However, this method will only remove smells. You will need to wash your mattress protector if you want it to remain clean.

4. Use the right setting for a thorough wash 

Check the care label Before you start, just as you would when washing pillows or washing a down comforter.

Set the cycle as hot as possible to kill germs Set the wash program according to the care label. Around 104ºF at 1200rpm is standard for a cotton or polyester mattress cover but, just as when washing bed sheets, go as hot as possible (according to the manufacturer’s recommendations) to effectively tackle bacteria. A non-biological laundry detergent is best for sensitive skin. 

best mattress protector naturepedic

(Image credit: Naturepedic)

Should you wash a mattress protector before use?

In most cases, yes, you should wash your mattress protector prior to using it. This will ensure they are soft, and any chemicals are removed. 

'In my experience, matress protectors have always been tough, so washing them beforehand helped to loosen them up, making them softer to touch,' says Lucy Searle, global editor-in-chief, of Homes & Gardens.

However, be aware that not all mattress protectors are machine washable, so always check the care label before doing so. 

Can you wash a mattress protector with sheets?

Yes, you can wash a mattress protector with sheets. Most good mattress protectors make cleaning your cover or protector as easy and simple as cleaning the rest of your sheets, which means you can throw it into your washer and dryer with minimal fuss or worry.

However, be sure to check the care labels and laundry symbols before washing a mattress protector with your sheets.

Jennifer Ebert

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.