Squeamish? On a budget? Eco-keen? Here's why a mattress protector is a must

A mattress protector is a must-have, whether your mattress is new or old. These tips tell you why you might need one – and how it could save you £££s in the long term

Emma SmartSleeve mattress protector
(Image credit: Emma)

Did you think that mattress protectors were purely for toddlers prone to bed wetting or (don't shudder, we'll all get there. Actually, that's why you're shuddering, got it), elderly relatives? Well, be prepared to be disabused of that nugget of knowledge. Apparently, every bed should have a mattress protector on it, however unlikely spills are. Why? It's all about mattress life, and not about up-selling. 

And while you might feel like it's an added expense when you've already shelled out for a mattress (which, we acknowledge, is a big ticket buy), it will actually save you money in the long run. So, what exactly can a mattress protector do that a plain old bedsheet can't? Be prepared to be somewhat grossed out. But then relieved at the best Prime Day mattress protector deal we could find.

1. A mattress protector keeps a mattress clean

Even without a tendency for spills, whether tea or wee, our bodies do quite a lot of nasty stuff at night. Look away if you're eating. 

At night, we all perspire – how much sweat we lose into the mattress depends on all sorts of factors, from how hot the room is (ready for that heatwave, people?), how old we are (night sweats, anyone?), and how breathable our mattresses or bedding is (hence why you should look out for breathable mattress protectors, like our top pick, the Nectar mattress protector, which wicks sweat away from the body).  

Along with that sweat is all the body oil we secrete. And the makeup we haven't quite managed to remove before bed, and the dead skin cells we shed (household dust is mostly made up of dead skin cells, FYI). And all that's penetrating your bedlinen and going straight down into your mattress – whether an old one or your newly bought, pay check-bashing mattress. Food for thought (but let's not talk food after that).

By the way, if you're putting your new protector on an old mattress, why not give it a clean first? Here's how to clean a mattress in easy steps.

2. A mattress protector keeps dust mites and allergies at bay

What do dust mites love to eat? Mmmm, dead skin cells – and they'll be plenty of those in your mattress if you don't buy a quality mattress protector to create a barrier between you and the mattress. On that point, make sure the one you buy is easily machine washable and tumble dryer friendly (or, buy two for a quick bed change turn around). 

And what can dust mites cause? Allergic reactions, such as sneezing, a runny nose, a wheezy chest and shortness of breath? Sound familiar – you might be able to kick the allergy meds into touch if you invest in a mattress protector. 

3. It protects the mattress' warranty, too

If you've just bought a mattress but have decided, within warranty period, that it's not right for you, having a mattress protector will help allow you to return it problem-free. If it's covered in stains, you're potentially going to have a lot of trouble returning it.

4. It'll extend your mattress' life and save you £££s

We all know a new mattress is a major outlay, but if you have a mattress protector on it, you will keep it feeling as good as new for much longer than if you don't. That slightly dank smell your old mattress gave off? That's the aroma of an unprotected mattress. And although you can clean a mattress pretty effectively, there is a limit. And with a protector, all you have to do is strip it off and pop it in the wash. Cleaning a mattress is quite a bit more involved than that.

5. A mattress protector can up comfort levels

A mattress protector isn't a mattress topper, let's be clear. However, they can up the comfort levels of a mattress to a degree, especially if you buy one with a quilted top. Or, put one over a topper and reap the benefits of both added comfort, support, breathability and waterproofing. 

6. A mattress protector is easy to clean

Take it off when you change the bed, pop it in the wash with your sheets, then put it back on the bed and you're done. Like to do an instant changeover? Buy two mattress protectors and you won't have to wait for it to dry – or put off washing it. Use our best mattress protectors buyer's guide to shop – or go straight to Amazon's dedicated mattress protector page.