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A guide to mattress protectors and toppers

Last updated: February 2024

As an essential part of your bedding, mattress protectors and mattress toppers can help extend the life of your mattress, keep it fresh and most importantly ensure you get a good night’s rest. Use our guide to decipher whether you need a mattress topper, a protector or both.

Feather mattress topper

What’s the difference between a mattress topper and a mattress protector?

A mattress topper is used to provide an extra layer of comfort to your bed. This is simply placed on top of your mattress, beneath your sheets, to add further cushioning. They’re available in a variety of fillings. Expect everything from memory foam mattress toppers to cooling gel options which will help you achieve a great night’s sleep.

A mattress protector is used to keep your mattress fresh, hygienic and free from stains. This helps prolong the life of your mattress and keeps it as hygienic as possible. They range from waterproof options to anti‐allergy protectors – ideal for a range of needs.

Do I need both?

Seeing as both pieces of bedding offer different functions, it’s advised to use both a mattress topper and a protector on your bed. This way you can be sure your bed is as comfortable as possible, while protecting the lifespan of the mattress from any damage. However, if you’re on a tight budget, opt for just the protector to ensure peace of mind.

To use both a topper and a protector, layer the topper over the mattress, followed by the protector and then your bed sheets. This way the protector can also form a barrier for the topper, ensuring it remains free of bacteria and dust mites.

What are the benefits of mattress toppers?

  • A mattress topper can help you achieve a plush night’s sleep without forking out for a luxury mattress. This is ideal if you’d like a memory foam feel without the price tag.
  • Mattress toppers are also an inexpensive solution to an uncomfortable mattress. This might be best for you if you often wake up with back pain or sore joints. Opt for a soft topper if you’re mattress is too firm or a firm topper for mattresses which are too soft.
  • A topper acts as an extra barrier between you and your mattress, so naturally it will help your mattress stand the test of time.

Should I get a mattress topper or a new mattress?

A topper can be an inexpensive solution to any aches or pains, without having to purchase a new mattress. However, there are some occasions when buying a new mattress may be needed, for example:

  • If your mattress has a dip in it.
  • If your mattress fillings are damaged.
  • If your mattress is over 8 years old.

Which mattress topper is best for me?

Woollen toppers

This type of topper features natural fillings to ensure the softest night’s sleep possible. This is ideal for those who have a firmer mattress but prefer a soft comfort grade. Because of the luxurious wool and natural fillings, they’re also well suited to those who are prone to allergies.

Memory foam toppers

As one of the most popular options, a memory foam surface conforms to the contours of your body allowing you to sink into the mattress topper. While offering optimum comfort, this topper also boasts support for those who suffer from back pain.

Cooling toppers

Some mattress toppers feature cooling options to provide pressure relief and regulate your temperature as you sleep. This fabric absorbs heat when you are warm and releases heat when you are cool, perfect for those who are often hot during the night.

Latex toppers

Finally, latex toppers feature the latest technology to regulate temperature and offer a cushioned surface. Again this is ideal for those with back problems or sore joints, as pressure is evenly distributed.

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How to care for your topper

Most mattress toppers last up to 36 months. However, there are certain things you can do to ensure the longevity of your mattress topper. For example, keep it clean. Should any food or drink make its way to your topper, place it in the washing machine. If your particular product isn’t machine washable, wash its removable cover.

Also, ensure to wash your bed linen on a weekly basis to avoid any dirt getting through to your topper. If you’d like to increase the life of your topper, it may be worth investing in a mattress protector to go over it as well.

What are the benefits of mattress protectors?

  • Mattress protectors can help your mattress achieve its full lifespan of 8 years without you having to pay for a new one due to any unexpected damage.
  • Unlike your mattress, they are easily machine washable should any spills occur.
  • If you are prone to allergies, a mattress protector can form a barrier for your bed against dust mites and keep it hygienic.
  • Waterproof mattress protectors are ideal for those with young children or pets, to ensure the mattress can stand the test of time.

Which protector is best for me?

Waterproof protectors

Accidental spills are bound to happen, it’s very easy to spoil a mattress by liquids soaking into it. We recommend waterproof mattress protectors for kids, people who share the bed with pets, and the elderly. Waterproof protectors are a firm safeguard when it comes to protecting your mattress.

Anti‐allergy protectors

Specially treated with antibacterial protection to actively discourage house dust mites, anti‐allergy mattress protectors are perfect for asthma and allergy sufferers. Most importantly, they are washable at 60°C, the ideal temperature for killing dust mites without harming the anti‐allergy treatment.

Cooling protectors

Similar to our cooling mattress toppers, if you find yourself overheating at night, a mattress protector can also help. Our 100% Cotton cooling mattress protectors have been specially designed to quickly wick moisture away from your skin, regulating your body temperature for a cool, comfortable night’s sleep.

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How often should you wash mattress protectors?

Mattress protectors can be thrown in the washing machine alongside your bedding. To keep your mattress as fresh as possible, we recommend washing your protector once every 1‐2 weeks. If in doubt, check the instructions on the particular product.