Mattress Cover vs. Mattress Protector: What’s The Difference? – The Bedding Planet

Mattress Cover vs. Mattress Protector: What’s The Difference?

The world of sleep can be complicated. The terminology – mattress cover, mattress protector, can all be a lot to sort through.

What is the difference between a mattress protector and a mattress cover? A Mattress cover and a mattress protector are essentially the same things; the terms are interchangeable. A mattress protector or cover is designed to act as a protective barrier from spills, bacteria, and some allergens.

We invest a lot in our mattress, and we want it to last. Most of us will expect to sleep on a mattress for at least ten years.

During that time, a lot can happen to our mattress. Here are a few facts about a mattress protector or cover that may prove beneficial for you to know.

If you are interested in checking out the best rated mattress covers currently available on the market, you can do so on Amazon here.

What is the Purpose of a Mattress Protector or Cover?

Although a vacuum cleaner can be used to clean a mattress, it’s very difficult to completely clean most standard mattresses. A mattress protector is an effective and affordable way to protect your mattress and make sure that it lasts as long as possible.

It protects against stains, spills, dirt, dust mites, and other allergens. A good mattress protector should go practically unnoticed by the person sleeping on it. It shouldn’t alter the feel of the bed in any way.

Why Invest in a Mattress Protector?

When we’re sleeping, we’re in la-la land and may not be aware of what is happening around us. But there are some very legitimate reasons for protecting our bedding:

  • Adults produce about 100 liters of sweat each year when they’re sleeping. That equals 26 gallons, or a little less than two kegs of beer.
  • Most of us have our mattresses for at least ten years. If you have a 7-year-old mattress, you’re sleeping with about 16 million bacteria.
  • This same mattress that you’ve had for seven years, can accumulate up to 1.5 million dust mites. These dust mites are living, defecating, and reproducing on your mattress.
  • Given all the hours we spend in our bed, 365 days a year, it’s crucial to take care of your bed and your health. A mattress protector will keep you and your partner safe from harmful chemicals, bacteria, dust mites, and other sneaky creatures.
    • Dust mites, though invisible to the human eye and less than a millimeter in length thrive in warm, humid climates (like your bed). They are one of the most common allergens people suffer from. Their feces and bodies can lead to nighttime nasal congestion, a runny nose, coughing, itchy skin, throat, eyes, nose, and asthma.
    • A mattress protector can be hypoallergenic and can help reduce symptoms of asthma, eczema, and severe allergies.

Mattress protectors are one of the most important accessories you can have when it comes to protecting the surface you sleep on. Not only will they increase the longevity of your mattress, but they’re also extremely affordable and keep you protected from your mattress.

What are the Benefits of a Mattress Protector?

  • A mattress protector protects your mattress.
    • The human body loses half a liter of water during eight hours of sleep. Where does it all go? Some of it will evaporate into the atmosphere, but most goes straight down into your mattress. We also produce dead skin cells. There are other things that take place on your mattress that produce wet spots. All of this can soak through your sheets and into the mattress.
  • A mattress protector protects the warranty.
    • With a mattress protector, the life of your mattress is protected from stains, liquid, spills, night sweats, and excess humidity. All of these things are responsible for premature damage to the mattress. Something as simple as a spill can void your warranty.
  • A mattress protector is affordable.
  • A mattress protector is easy to wash.
    • Most mattress protectors can be easily thrown into the washing machine with your sheets and pillowcases.
  • A mattress protector is lightweight.

Can a Mattress Protector be Used in The Place of Fitted Sheets?

Mattress protectors fit like a fitted sheet and can either cover the top and sides of your mattress or fully encase your mattress. A fitted sheet is designed to provide you a soft surface to sleep on, whereas a mattress protector is designed to protect your mattress. Sleeping directly on a mattress protector is not as comfortable as sleeping on a fitted sheet.

Is a Mattress Protector WaterProof?

Mattress protection comes in two forms and is typically a waterproof cover that safeguards either the top layer of the mattress or encases the entire mattress for full protection.

The fact that a mattress protector is waterproof can also be a disadvantage because this makes the mattress noisy. The waterproof material produces loud, crunchy, plastic sounds when you sleep or move around on the mattress. However, placing a fitted sheet over the protector usually reduces the noise a lot.

What Type of Material is a Mattress Protector Made Of?

Mattress protectors are made of water-resistant materials that allow for considerable airflow and breathability. In addition to conventional natural fabrics, new forms of synthetic protectors have appeared over the years including memory foam and spacer fabrics. These are more expensive than conventional protectors but add the advantages of pressure relief and, in the case of the latter, the ability to be washed.

Are There Any Disadvantages to Using a Mattress Protector?

There are a few disadvantages to having a mattress protector:

  1. Mattress protectors can be noisy. This is because the waterproof material produces loud, crunchy, plastic sounds when sleepers move around on the mattress.
  2. Some mattress protectors can cause heat retention which makes sleeping hot.
  3. If you don’t get the right size protector for your mattress and it doesn’t fit well, the protector can shift and bunch up under the sheets causing discomfort.


There’s no difference between a mattress protector and a mattress cover. The terms are used interchangeably. If you want protection against most spills and allergens, but want something that’s nearly undetectable through the sheets, and are on a budget and want to save money, a mattress protector, or mattress cover, is a good option for you.

If you are interested in checking out the best rated mattress covers currently available on the market, you can do so on Amazon here.

Niklas Lampi

My name is Niklas and I'm the author and content operator at The Bedding Planet. I've always had a big interest in bedding and more specifically sleep. If I find something that makes me sleep better, whether that's a lifestyle change or a better bedding environment, I'm ready to share it with the world!

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