5 reasons why you REALLY need a mattress protector (new bed or not)

Protect your bed at all costs

Why you need a mattress protector with dog in bed
(Image credit: Beddable / Adam Kang)

Renters, new bed owners (the lucky few of you), and those with furry friends, if there's no mattress protector hugging your bed, I suggest you get one ASAP. You may have thought a mattress protector was an optional extra or that an extra sheet will do the job, but a protector is key for keeping your mattress in good shape. Nothing too wild will happen without one, but they are beneficial. 

If you've moved to a new home that has a bed already, are staying in a dorm, or just can't resist letting your pet get under the covers, there are so many reasons why you should pick up a good mattress protector

But don't just take it from me (though I do know a thing or two), I've spoken to Theresa Schnorbach, sleep scientist at Emma - The Sleep Company, on why protecting your mattress from a whole range of icky stuff is worth it. 

5 reasons why you really need a mattress protector

1. It keeps germs at bay 

unmade bed with turquoise headboard

(Image credit: Getty / Photographer, Basak Gurbuz Derman Creative #:1387103573)

To start with the harsh truth, you're not in bed alone. And no, I'm not talking about the partner you share your space with either. I mean the bacteria that builds up every night. Gross.  "From spillages or bodily fluids such as sweat, your mattress can come into contact with a lot of moisture in its lifetime," says Schnorbach. "A mattress that has absorbed too much moisture then becomes a perfect breeding ground for all sorts of germs and mold which could be dangerous to your health and create some nasty odors."

Here's where a mattress protector comes in handy. Stopping you from coming up close and personal with the potential bed bugs and whatever else may be wriggling in your sheets — I'll stop, sorry — a protector acts as a washable barrier between you and your uninvited lodgers.

2. It stomps out allergies

Ever feel a sneeze coming on late at night? Me too. I suffer from "home fever," which refers to allergies caused by dust mites in your space. And don't get me started on hay fever when summertime comes around. If you're in an apartment block like me, or an old house prone to buildup, then it's most likely your bedroom gets dusty quickly.

Well, mattress protectors have been proven to make beds less hospitable for dust mites, and I can vouch for that. There are lots of anti-allergy mattress protectors out there that have been treated with a product that actively gets rid of dust mites. There are also hypoallergenic options that are made from materials like polyester, which are less likely to trigger your allergies. 

3. It'll lengthen the life of your mattress 

Coffee spilt on bed

(Image credit: Getty / Iuliia Alekseeva)

To talk about the finer details for the moment, it's important to find out whether your landlord or landlady is willing to replace your mattress if it's past its sleep-by date. If not, it might be an expensive swap. If you've had to buy one yourself in an unfurnished apartment, then you'll understand how important it is to make sure your mattress lives as long as possible. 

A mattress protector can do most of the work. Think of it as a bodyguard for your bed, protecting it from anything life throws at it (literally) to make sure it stays as good as new. Schnorbach also notes that "cleaning a mattress can be tricky, so choosing a waterproof mattress protector that can be removed and washed separately will help your bed live longer."

4. It'll help you save your warranty (and your deposit)

It may feel like a long way off if you've just moved in, but trust me, when it comes to the end of your contract, you'll be wanting that deposit back. A ruined mattress (with more than everyday wear and tear) might be a good enough reason for a rental company to keep your cash.

"If you've gone out and bought a new mattress, it will have come with a warranty that enables you to return it, should it not be working out for you," says Schnorbach. "However, this warranty can be voided if the mattress isn’t properly cared for." If you've taken the time to find and invest in the memory foam mattress or springy cushion of your dreams, make sure you add a protector and you won't miss out on money.

5. A protector makes it more comfortable 

Hands peace sign and coffee out of bed

(Image credit: Getty / ShotPrime)

Sleeping on a bed you didn't buy? Then it's more than likely your mattress isn't a good fit for you and your sleep style. Too firm? Soft? Well, mattress protectors can include a plush top layer to up the comfort level. It's not the same support a thick topper provides, but it is a way to transform any old rental mattress from basic to bougie (psst, it's how I did it). 

If you're a hot sleeper, there are great cooling mattress protectors to help regulate your temperature. No more kicking your leg out in the middle of the night. 

A few of my fave mattress protector picks

Louise Oliphant
Ecommerce Editor

Louise is the Ecommerce Editor at Real Homes, specialising in sleep content so you can wind-down well. With prior PR experience working for a luxury bedding brand, Louise knows the importance of getting a great night’s sleep. Joining the other side of the desk as a full-time journo, Louise brings her bedding expertise to writing sleep buying guides, reviews, and news for Real Homes. Aside from helping readers get essential shut eye, Louise also writes shopping content for homeware items that’ll add a decorative edge to your space. With an eye for design that won’t snooze on style, but a budget that won’t quite stretch, Louise loves nothing more than a modern designer dupe. From coloured glassware to contemporary storage, anything to upgrade the bare space of her rented East London flat.