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How to protect your mattress and pillows

Last updated: February 2024

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Once you’ve invested in a new mattress and pillows, you’ll want to protect them from daily wear and any accidents that may happen. Follow this guide to find out more about the types of bedding protection available such as mattress toppers and mattress protectors, and how to care for them to ensure they last.

Mattress protectors

Another product that does exactly what it says on the tin – a mattress protector is used to protect your mattress from spills and bodily fluids. It’s also designed to protect the sleeper from allergens and irritants such as dust mites, bed bugs, and mould.


Do I need a mattress protector?

Although mattress protectors are an optional piece of bedding, we highly recommend purchasing one. As mentioned, they are designed to be an extra layer between you and your mattress, which can stop sweat, dust, and food spills from seeping into your mattress. As a mattress protector can be easily removed and washed, they are much more practical, especially if you have a memory foam mattress, which needs to be protected from liquids and cannot be cleaned as easily.

What are the different types of mattress protectors?

Mattress protectors mainly vary by their fabrics and different styles offer different benefits – whether that be for anti-allergy or repelling liquids. Here are the different types of mattress protectors we have at Dreams:

CottonPure cotton mattress protectors are naturally breathable so they’re great for keeping you cool. They’re also machine washable and naturally soft.
Anti-allergyFor those who suffer from asthma or allergies, an anti-allergenic or hypoallergenic mattress topper is a great investment as it will help to minimise common irritants that exacerbate symptoms.
WaterproofMost mattress protectors are water resistant but not all are fully waterproof. Having a waterproof design will protect your mattress from accidental spillages or night-time accidents – especially useful for young children. Mattresses are to be kept dry as any moisture can lead to the growth of mould which is an irritant for allergy sufferers.

How often should you wash a mattress protector?

Most mattress protectors can be machine washed, but always check the instructions on the care label. We advise that you wash your mattress protector as often as you wash your bed linen, which should be once every 1-2 weeks.

What is a mattress topper?

A mattress topper sits on top of your mattress and acts as an extra layer of comfort and support. It’s also designed to be a protective shield for the springs and/or fillings within your mattress. It can prolong the life of your mattress because it helps to reduce pressure on the internal layers and delays the general daily wear of the surface.

Mattress toppers are also a great option if you find that your mattress isn't comfortable enough but you're not in the position to buy a new one. A high-quality mattress topper can transform your bed. This makes them a great choice for student halls or rental properties that come furnished.


What are the different types of mattress topper?

Mattress toppers mainly vary by their filling and different styles have different benefits – whether that be for comfort, to alleviate aches and pains, or to help make your mattress last longer. The best mattress topper for you very much depends on your personal preferences. Here are the different types of mattress toppers we have at Dreams:

Memory foamMemory foam moulds to the contours of your body and ‘hugs’ you for utmost comfort. If you have a mattress that’s feeling a little too much on the firm side, then a memory foam mattress topper may help to give pressure relief.
CoolingIf you tend to overheat throughout the night, a cooling mattress topper is a great way to help regulate your temperature and keep you comfortably cool. Some TheraPur® toppers are made with Outlast® technology, a thermo-regulating material that helps you remain at a comfortable sleeping temperature. As the fabric absorbs, stores, and releases heat to maintain a comfortable temperature, this is a fantastic year-round investment. This versatile topper is also reversible with a soft and firm side – both sides feature thermo-regulating technology.
QuiltedA quilted mattress topper is great for adding an ultra-soft finish to your mattress. Lightweight and often machine washable, these toppers are a practical option.
LatexLatex mattress toppers are made from an elastic material that responds to the movements of your body, cushioning you throughout the night. These toppers are best for those who toss and turn a lot in their sleep.
WoollenWoollen mattress toppers are made from natural wool and are especially beneficial to those who suffer from allergies as they are less likely to exacerbate symptoms.

What's the best mattress topper for my sleeping position?

Side sleepers

Due to pressure points and the risk of a numb arm and spine misalignment, side sleepers are best suited to softer mattress toppers that give cushioning and allow your body to sink slightly into the mattress. We recommend a memory foam mattress topper if you’re a side sleeper.

Front sleepers

Getting the right support for stomach sleepers can be difficult. Someone who sleeps on their front requires support to prevent their torso from sinking into the mattress and arching their back too much, but also a softness to cushion chest and hips. We recommend a firm, but cushioning Latex mattress topper for front sleepers.

Back sleepers

Sleeping on your back is beneficial for your spine’s alignment as it’s easier for you to remain in a neutral position. Compared to side sleepers, those who sleep on their back require firmer support to prevent their midsection from sinking in. We recommend a thinner mattress topper for back sleepers so that the support of your mattress remains prevalent.

What’s the best mattress topper for back pain?

Many different things can cause back pain. If you find your back hurts after waking up, your sleeping position and mattress are possible causes. Back pain can occur if your mattress is too soft or too firm and the right mattress topper can help to ease the pain but will not necessarily resolve it completely.

If your mattress is too soft and you’re sinking into it with no support, a firm mattress topper may help a little but it’s likely that you need a new firmer mattress to support you fully.

If your mattress is too firm, a soft mattress topper made from memory foam or Latex may help to add an extra layer of comfort and take the pressure off your back pain.

Find out more about how to prevent back pain while sleeping.

Best toppers for hip pain

The sockets of your hips are affected by the support your mattress gives you. In the past it was believed that firm mattresses and toppers were best for hip pain sufferers, however, throughout the last few years, this has been proven to be wrong as there is no one size that fits all.

Hip joints are pressure points. They’re pressed significantly deeper into the mattress and this is what sometimes causes aches and pains if you have the wrong support.

If your mattress is too soft and your hips are sinking in too far, a firm mattress may help to alleviate the pain. Alternatively, if your mattress is too firm and your hips are misaligning your spine when sleeping on your side, a soft memory foam mattress topper could help you sink in a little and feel more comfortable.

When should I replace a mattress topper?

While your mattress is likely to last around eight years, mattress toppers do not have a long lifespan. Due to them being a lot thinner than a mattress, they’re more susceptible to wear and tear. Depending on which type you choose and how well you take care of it, your mattress topper will last from 12-36 months before it needs replacing.

How to clean a mattress topper

Some mattress toppers can be easily machine washed, and some come with a removable cover that can be washed and even tumble dried. If you’re unsure, check the care instructions on the topper’s label.

It’s important to keep your topper clean to increase the longevity and protection of your mattress. Wash the topper or cover once every 1-2 weeks to prevent dirt and grease from getting through to the mattress.

Pillow protectors

Pillow protectors will shield your pillows from daily wear and tear, and they’ll also provide a healthier sleeping environment. This is because they help to repel fluids (which could otherwise lead to mould and mildew) and they also help to keep dust mites and bed bugs at bay.


What are the different types of pillow protectors?

Pillow protectors mainly vary by their fabrics and different styles offer different benefits – whether that be for anti-allergy or keeping you cool. Here are the different types of pillow protectors we have at Dreams and their benefits:

CottonCotton pillow protectors are great for their natural properties including breathability and softness. They’re also easy to care for as they can be machine washed.
HypoallergenicHypoallergenic pillow protectors are great for keeping allergy sufferers shielded from common irritants.
CoolingCooling pillow protectors help to keep your temperature regulated throughout the night. This means they will keep you cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold.

How often should you wash pillow protectors?

Pillow protectors can be machine washed and some tumble dried. If you’re unsure, check the care instructions on the label. It’s important to keep your pillow protectors clean to increase their longevity and ensure they remain efficient. Since pillow protectors are near your face, pillow protectors and pillowcases should be kept clean as they can contribute to skin breakouts and greasy hair. Wash them along with your bed linen once every 1-2 weeks to prevent dirt and grease from getting through to your pillows.