Cleaning 101: How to Wash a Mattress Protector the Right Way
Mattress protectors are your last line of defence to prevent any damage to your mattress. Maintaining its integrity by taking care of it is your responsibility.
So how do you clean and wash your mattress protector? Below are some tips, tricks and how-tos to keep your mattress protector in tip-top shape and things to avoid that will help prolong its life.
Why Should You Wash Mattress Protectors Regularly?
If you’re like most people, you probably don’t give much thought to washing your mattress protector. After all, it’s not exactly the most glamorous of household items. But did you know that it’s important to wash them regularly? Here are a few reasons why:
Like other nighttime linens, the mattress protector gets dirty over time since it’s the last barrier between your sheets and your mattress. This means your mattress protector becomes laden with excess sweat, body fluids and spills.
TIP: This is doubly important if you suffer from excessive nighttime sweating or suffer from incontinence, or have a pet or potty-training kiddo that frequently sleeps on your bed.
When your mattress protector goes without regular cleaning, it creates an ideal stomping ground for bacteria, mould and other allergens like dust mites, which thrive in humid conditions. Dust mites and mould are known triggers for runny noses, coughing, difficulty breathing and skin irritants.
You just got over an insufferable cold, or infection that often left you clammy at night. You think you’re in the clear until you find out the hard way that forgetting to wash it means the bacteria responsible for your cold are still lingering in the padding of your mattress protector. Prevent the spread of germs by cleaning your sheets after getting sick.
If regularly cared for, mattress protectors can increase the life of your mattress itself by up to 10 years. If left unchecked, it may not be possible to clean the mattress protector without it becoming damaged in the process.
Can You Wash Mattress Protectors? And How Often?
Even though the material and handling of a mattress protector vary from other linens, it still needs to be regularly maintained and washed. In fact, most manufacturers recommend washing mattress protectors every few months. This helps to remove any build-up of dust, dirt, and sweat that can accumulate over time.
The frequency your mattress protector needs to be cleaned depends on who you ask, but the general recommendation is to wash it once every month or two. This recommendation is not the case for anyone who regularly has nighttime messes like spills, sweating, allergies, or accidents.
- If you have an encasement-type mattress protector, you’ll have to unzip it to be able to completely remove it from the mattress for washing.
- If your mattress protector has any additional components, such as memory foam or other padding, determine if they can be removed in order to wash the protector itself. Memory foam padding should be vacuumed and not washed unless otherwise indicated on the care label.
- You’ll also want to check the seams for any wear and tear as your mattress protector could be torn apart in the wash by the machine if it’s too delicate.
It’s recommended to replace your mattress protector every one to two years. In the event it’s prematurely damaged or it’s reached the end of its life it’s probably time to replace it.
However, if your mattress protector has made it this far and only needs a refresh, a simple cleaning will do. It’s important to read the labels to verify which washing method to use on your mattress protector to maintain its integrity.
How to Launder Your Mattress Protector
Spot Clean & Fight Stains
If your mattress protector has any tough stains, you can pretreat any trouble areas by doing a spot clean. Below are different methods to use to get the job done. If you are not needing to do a deep clean, the general solution is the recommended method. If fighting any recent stains, soak up any excess mess with a microfiber towel first before applying any stain solutions.
General solution: lightly mist your mattress protector with water so it becomes damp and sprinkle baking soda over the damp area. Allow it to do its magic before vacuuming it up or dabbing it away with a damp cloth.
- Wine: combine eco-friendly laundry detergent and white vinegar and dab (don’t scrub) at the spot. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes before rinsing in hot water.
- Blood: apply eco-friendly laundry detergent to the area and allow it to sit for 30 minutes before rinsing in cold water. If the stain is stubborn, apply hydrogen peroxide to further lift the stain.
- Urine: combine eco-friendly laundry detergent, water and vinegar and dab the solution on the stain starting from the outside and working your way towards the center. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes before rinsing in cold water.
- Mould: run your mattress protector through two cycles with hot water, borax, and white vinegar.
PRO TIP: The hot water will ensure any mildew spores are killed, but this is not a recommended go-to solution as heat will break down your mattress protector over time.
If you don’t have a machine capable of handling the weight of your mattress protector or if your mattress protector is too delicate to machine wash, you can hand wash it instead.
- Vacuum off the sides, creases, and corners of your mattress protector’s lining to remove any particulates hiding away in any crannies.
- Spot clean any areas by spraying it with water and sprinkling baking soda over the affected area. Allow it to dry before vacuuming away the remnants.
- Fill a sink or tub with warm water and add a mild detergent (non bleach). Gently swish the mattress protector around in the water and then let it soak for a few minutes.
- Rinse the mattress protector in cold water to remove any soapy residue.
- Allow the mattress protector to air dry.
TIP: When it’s time to dry, you can use a hairdryer on a low setting to get the job done more quickly or allow it to air dry if you don’t mind the wait.
If your washing machine can handle a 7kg or more load, then you can machine wash your mattress protector. Just be sure to use a mild detergent on a delicate cycle, with warm water.
Following the steps below will supply you with a clean and undamaged mattress protector.
- Remove the mattress protector from your bed.
- Separate any parts that aren’t permanently attached and clean them separately (such as removable padding)
- Vacuum off the sides, creases, and corners of your mattress protector’s lining to remove any dirt or dust mites.
- Spot clean any troublesome areas using an adequate solution such as a combination of baking soda and water or eco-friendly laundry detergent.
- [Optional] If you have a mesh laundry bag available, place the mattress protector inside of it before washing. This helps to protect the fabric from snagging or tearing in the washing machine.
- Toss the mattress protector into your washer and use a combination of cold water and eco-friendly laundry detergent.
TIP: Eco-friendly detergent prevents damages to the natural fibers in your mattress protector that other solvents could destroy. Cold water should be used over hot as hot water can weaken the integrity of the waterproofing material on your mattress protector.
- Wash on the delicate cycle.
TIP: Be aware of the type of washer you use to wash your mattress protector. Some machines are equipped with an agitator, the center pillar found in most top-load machines. Agitators take up any valuable space and could also damage the delicate material of your mattress protector, which is why it’s better to wash on a gentle cycle.
- Allow to completely dry before returning it to your bed.
You have two methods to completely dry your mattress protector now that it has been cleaned.
- Line dry: Drape your mattress protector over a dryer line, or over something inside that will allow air flow to approach the mattress protector from both sides and allow it to dry completely before returning it to your bed.
PRO TIP: Use padded clothes pins, or apply the clothes pins to the fabric instead of the plastic lining of your mattress protector to prevent the plastic lining from tearing.
- Dryer: Add your mattress protector and a couple of dryer balls into the dryer and run on a low-heat setting. Remove immediately once the cycle finishes so the mattress protector is not damaged from resting against the hot dryer drum.
PRO TIP: Removing it from the dryer immediately also helps avoid any wrinkles. Do not attempt to iron the mattress protector as it will melt and damage the plastic that keeps your mattress safe.
Due to the plastic backing, the drying time on your mattress will take longer than that of the rest of your bedding as air cannot flow through the material. For this reason, you’ll want to allow the mattress protector to dry completely before returning it to your bed to avoid any mildew that can grow in damp conditions.
It’s always a good idea to wash your mattress protector before using it. This will help to remove any manufacturing chemicals that may be on the fabric. Hand washing is preferable, but you can machine wash on the delicate cycle as well.
Use “normal” or “gentle” cycle. Alternatively, you can wash the mattress protectors at 800 to 100 RPM and temperature no more than 40c or 104F. Do not overstuff the washing machine, as mattress protectors need space in the drum to drench properly. This will help to ensure that the fabric doesn’t get damaged in the wash. When it comes to drying, you can either air-dry your mattress protector or put it on the low setting of your dryer.
Rest easy now and drift into a blissful sleep knowing you’re now protected by a clean mattress protector.