What Is A Mattress Pad For

Helen Skeates
Helen Skeates
27 min read

There are many more components to a mattress than just the enormous, plush cushion you sleep on each night; for example, a mattress pad; but what exactly does the latter serve to protect your mattress from?

There are a wide variety of mattresses and mattress accessories on the market, and it can be difficult to choose which one is right for you.

I used it as a mattress before I realized what a mattress pad was, so it’s a bit flimsy.

So, for you not to make the same mistake, read on to learn more about this product.

What A Mattress Pad Is For?

So, for you not to make the same mistake, read on to learn more about this product.

Avoid making the same mistake I did and read on to find out everything there is to know about this product.

Since a mattress pad is quite thin, you may use it as an additional layer on your bed while still protecting your mattress from allergens like pet dander and dust mites.

Mattress toppers come in a variety of materials and thicknesses to suit individual preferences. My back is supported comfortably by the pad’s rounded contours.

Do I Need a Mattress Pad or Mattress Protector? | Sleepopolis

Some are intended to provide additional support, while others are placed between the mattress and the sheets to make laundering the latter easier.

My uncle, who can’t get up on his own anymore, used to occasionally urinate on his bed, despite having a waterproof mattress pad.

In addition, those who suffer from allergies should look for a pad that can keep out any potential irritants.

You should know your needs, your mattress’s thickness, the size of your bed, and the mattress pad’s materials before making a purchase.

In any case, learning about the many kinds of mattress pads can help you better understand the roles they play. It’s important that you keep scrolling down!

4 Benefits of a Mattress Pad & Why You Need One

Do I Need a Mattress Pad?

Some people will tell you that a mattress pad isn’t necessary, just like they’ll tell you that you don’t need chocolate, another glass of wine, or your favorite pants. That being said, don’t you find that having those items improves your life overall? The same reasoning can be applied to the selection of a mattress pad. The addition of one to your bed will boost your relaxation, activate its durability, and help you save cash.

  1. Keeping its strength intact. It’s best to protect yourself with a mattress pad. While it won’t stop your mattress from aging over time, it will make it last a little longer so you can enjoy your comfy bed for a little longer. Most estimates place the average mattress’s lifetime at about 8 to 10 years,” writes Business Insider. The numbers on your mattress will stay more stable if you use a mattress protector.
  2. To provide strength and solace. If it’s manufactured with the same care as a SHEEX mattress pad, a mattress pad can provide extra, comfortable support beyond what you’d get with simply your mattress. Mattress pads conform to your body’s contours and add padding, if that’s your thing.
  3. Price. A high-quality mattress pad is a worthwhile investment in your comfort that won’t break the bank. A new mattress is not necessary if you’ve only had your current one for a couple of years. However, if you want to sleep on something that feels “fresh new,” a mattress pad can provide some relief until you can afford to buy a new mattress.
  4. Allergens are cut down on. When you use a mattress protector, “you’re shielding yourself from the billions of microorganisms – sweat, lint, dust mites, animal dander, mucus, soil, sand, cosmetics, food, and insect parts, to mention a few,” according to a separate piece from Business Insider. If you feel like you’ve been struck by a bus load of allergies every morning, it could be because you aren’t “completely shielded” against them. If you have a mattress pad, you can remove the top layer and wash it instead of throwing away your mattress. To rephrase, a clean mattress pad will maintain its pleasant aroma for a significantly longer period of time.

Types Of Mattress Pads

Now that you know why a mattress pad is useful, we can move on to discussing the many kinds available.

Type #1. Waterproof pads

This sort of pad prevents urine or other fluids from reaching the mattress, making it ideal for persons who have bladder control problems.

Waterproof pads are typically backed with a rubber or plastic to ensure they remain waterproof during use.

Like a fitted sheet for a bed, certain waterproof pads are designed to be used as a mattress protector.

Some mattress protectors are made to cover the entire bed so they don’t shift about while you sleep.

The problem with this pad is that it makes too much noise, especially if you move about a lot when sleeping. Furthermore, some people may find the temperature to be too high for pleasant slumber.

Type #2. Allergen resistant pads

These pads could be the answer if you have a firm mattress and are allergic to it.

Protect yourself against allergens like dust mites and common household dust with allergen-resistant pads.

This allergen control pad can be used to cover a whole mattress and provide relief from allergy symptoms while you sleep. Rest easy!

Type #3. Dirt control pads

A dirt control pad, as the name implies, prevents dirt from settling into your bed. Your mattress cover will have an easier time resisting dust and dirt.

This pad is ideal for families with young children who tend to make a mess in the bedroom.

However, keep in mind that it is not watertight, so any spills would necessitate extensive cleaning.

Quilted and cushioned dirt control pads are still washable, so there’s no need to stress if you end up with a mess on your bed.

Type #4. Foam pads

Pads like these are helpful for those who suffer from back pain as they sleep. Do you know what memory foam is? Sure, I’ll bet you are.

Supportive and comfy, memory foam or visco-elastic foam takes on the shape of the user.

Those in search of a home that feels like sleeping on a cloud have found it.

Type #5. Cushioning pads

This pad is ideal if you want your bed to be a little bit loftier, or if you just need a little bit of more support.

Pads are similar to thin mattresses, except they are stuffed with cotton, synthetic fiber, or feathers for added comfort.

Silk, wool, or fleece are commonly used as covers, and they are quilted over the filling to keep it in place and eliminate bumps and hollows.

Because of how fragile the coverings are, the pad should only be dry cleaned.

Type #6. Electric pads

That there are electric pads may come as a surprise to you. Certainly, such a thing does exist, and before you worry, no, it’s not meant to kill you with electricity, but rather to aid in restful slumber.

People in cold climates use these electric pads to keep warm.

Although the cushion can warm you up, its bulky wiring may be off-putting to others.

When it comes to babies and the disabled, I would not recommend this pad.

Those who are incontinent would have a very difficult time getting up.

The liquid could corrode the pad, which could lead to an electrical shock.

We Spent a Day Testing Mattress Pads in Our Lab—Here are 10 of the Best

Best Overall: ViscoSoft ViscoSoft Copper Mattress Pad

A few things we appreciate

  • Surface that is as plush as a pillow.
  • It’s soft and reassuring, just the way I like it.
  • In the middle of the pricing range
  • Comfortably conforms to the shape of the mattress.

What we don’t like

  • What we don’t like
  • Things we dislike

What do buyers say? Over eight hundred and sixty five percent of reviewers on Amazon gave this product four or more stars.

Exactly what are those who have recently purchased saying? 86% of the more than 1,500 reviewers on Amazon gave this product a 4-star rating or higher.

Trying out a mattress pad before buying it is the best method to make sure it is comfortable and supportive enough. There is a 60-day trial period for this choice, so if it doesn’t meet your needs, you can return it and receive a full refund.

Twin, twin XL, full, queen, and king; Polyester/polyester blend; No certifications required. Guaranteed Return within 60 Days

Best Budget: Utopia Bedding Quilted Fitted Mattress Pad

A few things we appreciate

  • High levels of breathability
  • Surface is a bit on the mushy side.
  • Save money

To sum up our displeasure with

  • No water resistance
  • Not exactly the most encouraging

If you’re like most people, you’d like a good mattress pad that won’t break the bank but will endure for years. This low-cost alternative can provide a comfy sleeping surface that allows air to circulate and keeps you from overheating. The Utopia mattress pad received 4 out of 5 stars for airflow, which is above average compared to other options. It’s not completely watertight, but if you don’t have any particularly clumsy members of your household, that might not be a problem. This mattress pad can be easily maintained because it can be washed in a machine.

In the event that you are a restless sleeper, your mattress pad may shift with you, resulting in tangled sheets and a general bed-making disaster. If you toss and turn throughout the night, this solution won’t shift because it conforms perfectly to your mattress. For this reason, we gave it a perfect score of 5 stars. This long-lasting mattress pad is available in multiple sizes, making it suitable for any bedroom and any bed.

Microfiber construction; available in twin (regular), full (extra long), queen (standard), king (standard), and California king (cal king), with various certifications and a return policy that varies by vendor.

Best Splurge: Birch Living Birch by Helix Organic Mattress Pad

A few things we appreciate

  • Pure organic cotton in every way
  • Certified as both GOTS and fair trade
  • Airy and gentle
  • Able to be washed in a washing machine

To sum up our displeasure with

  • Rather costly

It’s true that you often have to pay a bit more for a little more. This is true of the Birch by Helix Organic Mattress Pad. This luxurious mattress pad is produced from organic cotton that has been grown and processed without the use of any harmful chemicals. This option is great for hot sleepers because it is made of cotton, which is naturally breathable.

Elegant and understated, the design features tiny tufts that aren’t seen when using a standard flat sheet. This mattress pad has an elastic edging that prevents it from sliding about on the bed even if you move around a lot during the night. This mattress pad is akin to a cotton shirt in the summer in that it is only moderately resistant to spills and absorbs moisture, soon drying off. In the event of a major spill, you may simply toss the entire item into the washing machine. This mattress pad has a lot of useful functions, thus it gets five stars for efficiency.

Price will be greater because of the superior quality of the material used. Whether the price tag is putting you off, know that you have 100 nights to try out the mattress and see if it meets your needs. Additionally, if anything goes wrong, the warranty will cover you for a full year.

Sizes available in Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, and California King; GOTS and Fair Trade certified; 100-night trial period; 1-year warranty on materials and construction

The 8 Most Comfortable Mattress Toppers In 2023

Best Down Alternative: SUPERIOR Down Alternative Mattress Topper

A few things we appreciate

  • Provides extra cushioning, like a pillow top, for your mattress.
  • Able to be washed in a washing machine

To sum up our displeasure with

  • Excessive padding makes it difficult to cover with a sheet.
  • No elastic to keep it in place, thus it can shift on the bed.

Stuffing made from down alternatives can be used in place of real down in pillows and duvets. This mattress pad is made of a microfiber exterior and a synthetic polyfill interior. This makes the top layer exceptionally fluffy and soft, improving the overall comfort of your mattress. As far as support goes, this mattress topper got 4/5 stars from our experts. This topper is technically machine washable in the event of a spill, however its large size means it may not be suitable for use in smaller machines.

Although the fill is meant to be immobile, our tests revealed that the entire mattress pad moved. A mattress topper, in contrast to a mattress pad, does not adhere to the mattress itself but rather sits on top of it for further padding. The fill provides a comfortable cushion but may be too thick. The heavy stuffing layer made it difficult to draw the fitted sheet over the top, but that issue appears to be resolving with time.

To sum up, this mattress topper is pleasant to sleep on and can be used to soften the blow of sleeping on a harder bed. Therefore, if you buy it with those considerations in mind, you will find that it meets your needs rather well; for this reason, we gave it a perfect score of five stars in this category. However, there are different mattress pads available if you’re looking to safeguard your investment.

Microfiber shell with down alternative polyfill; available in twin, full, queen, and king sizes; uncertified; return policies vary by retailer.

Best Design: Coyuchi Organic Mattress Pad

A few things we appreciate

  • Easily breathed in and softly supporting
  • material made entirely from organic cotton
  • Sleek and simple style
  • Can withstand rain and snow to some extent

To sum up our displeasure with

  • Thinner, so less supportive
  • Expenses rise due to the material used.

This selection is a good choice if you’re looking for a mattress pad that serves both practical and aesthetic purposes. The white, fluffy tufts on the Coyuchi Organic Mattress Pad are elegant when exposed but disappear completely when covered by a fitted sheet. This mattress pad, which is made entirely of organic cotton, scores high marks for softness, breathability, and comfort. It’s a thin, breathable fabric that helps keep your body temperature down as you sleep.

This is a thinner material than most mattress pads, so it won’t be quite as fluffy, and it costs more because it’s produced from cotton that was grown without harming the environment. The elastic band keeps it in place, even with active sleepers, and the deep pockets may accommodate a wider mattress. You can try out this mattress topper for 30 days and return it if you don’t like it if you order one of the more common mattress sizes.

Twin, full, queen, king, and California king sizes available; GOTS certified and Made Safe; 30-day money-back guarantee on all orders

Best Organic: Avocado Organic Cotton Mattress Pad Protector

A few things we appreciate

  • An elegant and breezy fabric
  • Premium organic cotton
  • Environmentally-Friendly Credentials

To sum up our displeasure with

  • Slightly on the pricey side
  • No water resistance

The Avocado Organic Cotton Mattress Pad Protector is another another organic choice that will leave you feeling good about your purchase thanks to its high sustainability and several eco-friendly certifications. One reason is that it has been certified as having low chemical emissions by the Greenguard organization. It has also been certified as Made Safe, meaning it does not use potentially harmful ingredients like flame retardants. Although there is no waterproof layer on this mattress pad due to the organic manufacturing process, it seems to be rather resilient to accidental spills.

The fabric has a luxuriously smooth texture and, like all cotton goods, is exceptionally breathable. Although it provides some cushioning for a hard mattress, it is not as luxurious as other options. This mattress pad is more expensive than the others on this list, but it is composed of high-quality cotton that will endure for years and won’t harm the environment.

Greenguard, GOTS certified, climate neutral, certified vegan, FSC certified, and manufactured safe; sizes available in twin (twin xl), full (full xl), queen (queen xl), and king (king xl).

Best Cooling: The Company Store Cooling Mattress Pad

A few things we appreciate

  • Airy and bright, with climate control technology
  • Exceptionally relaxing

To sum up our displeasure with

  • No water resistance

If you tend to overheat easily, sleeping through the night in the summer may seem like an impossible task, and you may toss and turn as you search for a cool spot to rest your head. A cooling mattress pad is ideal for this situation. The cotton and CoolMax moisture-wicking poly fibers in this selection from The Company Store work together to maintain your mattress at a comfortable temperature throughout the night. Our sleep experts gave this mattress a 4 out of 5 stars for breathability because of how well it circulated air.

This is not a waterproof mattress protector, but it does wick away perspiration and other moisture. This mattress pad has a silky cotton layer that makes it feel as good as some pillow tops (so comfortable it almost lulled our testers to sleep, earning a perfect score in that category). In addition, this mattress topper comes with a generous 90-day return policy.

Twin, full, and king; 100% cotton; CoolMax moisture-wicking poly fibers; no certifications; 90-day return policy.

Best Waterproof: AllerEase Platinum 360 Zip-Off Top Mattress Protector

A few things we appreciate

  • The outer lining can be washed in a washing machine.
  • Mattresses with full-length zippers are more secure.
  • Extra protection against plastic wrap around the zipper.
  • Waterproof

To sum up our displeasure with

  • Assorted clumps under the flat sheet
  • It might be too hot

The mattress is completely protected by the AllerEase Platinum Mattress Protector, which zips around the mattress rather than being fitted with elastic like traditional mattress pads. The top zips off for easy machine washing, and greater waterproofing is guaranteed. A plastic barrier in addition to the zipper helps keep liquids, dust mites, and other allergens out of the mattress. Because of these features, we gave it a perfect score of 5 stars.

This mattress pad is made from a soft polyester material on top, which can make it uncomfortable to sleep on during the warmer months. We also noticed some bunching under the fitted sheet during testing. Overall, this mattress pad does a good job of keeping water away from your bed and providing a comfy surface on which to sleep.

Twin, full, queen, and king; Polyester blend; No certifications; 90-day return policy with lifetime limited guarantee

Best for Pest Protection: Hospitology Products Sleep Defense System Mattress Encasement

Favorite Things

  • No leaks, no spills
  • Budget-friendly
  • Maximum security zipper construction

Things We Dislike

  • There is no softness or cushioning.
  • A little bit loud

Creatures such as dust mites and bed bugs are attracted to the space where we spend the majority of our time when we sleep, which is not pleasant to consider. Therefore, it is recommended that you use a mattress encasement system such as this one to prevent these unwanted guests from gaining access to your mattress (in addition to preventing spills and stains). The Hospitology Products Mattress Encasement, as the name suggests, is not a plush mattress topper but rather a protective cover for your mattress. The system’s efficacy was a major factor in our decision to award it the maximum possible score of five stars.

We found it to be somewhat noisy when we laid on it; this is likely owing to the fact that it is more of a cover than a soft pad; however, we anticipate that this will be greatly mitigated by the addition of sheets and bedding. There is a large selection of sizes to accommodate any bed, and the manufacturer stands by their product with a five-year guarantee.

Details You Need to Know

Polyester construction; Twin/Twin XL, Full/Full, Queen/King/Cal King, and California King sizing; no official certifications. Policies on returns are determined by the individual store, and a 5-year warranty is included.

Best Spill-Proof: SafeRest Premium Hypoallergenic Mattress Protector

Favorite Things

  • Waterproof
  • Is not prohibitively expensive

Things We Dislike

  • Comparable to a mattress protector more than a mattress pad
  • Warms up quickly due to retaining heat.

Spills are inevitable in a home, whether you have kids, pets, or are just clumsy. Mattress pads made from materials that limit spill absorption into the mattress are available to aid with this issue. The cotton terry surface of this option from SafeRest has a membrane back covering to prevent spills from being absorbed.

This option is suitable for either you or your child, as it is available in a wide range of sizes (from twin to California king) and comes with a 10-year warranty for peace of mind. If you’re searching for anything to soften up a firm mattress, seek elsewhere; our reviewers found this to be more of a mattress cover than a mattress pad. Not that it’s uncomfortable; in fact, our testers gave it a perfect score for comfort and support. Overall, if you value the longevity of your mattress and its protection against spills and dirt, this is the perfect cover for you.

Details You Need to Know

Twin, full, queen, king, and California king (sizes) | Cotton terry with membrane back coating | No certifications | Return policy based on store, plus 10-year warranty

How We Tested the Mattress Pads

The editorial staff of The Spruce spent a day at The Lab putting 12 recommended products through their paces. On a scale from 1 to 5, we rated the 12 toppers we tested for comfort, support, breathability, effectiveness, durability, and overall value, and 10 of them made the cut.

We had a panel of testers lie down and roll around on each mattress pad, keeping track of how the pads felt overall and whether or not they shifted or crinkled. To test the waterproofness of a mattress pad, we poured half a cup of coloured water onto it and let it sit for a few minutes to see if it kept the fitted sheet and mattress dry. We also tested the breathability of each topper by blowing air through it using a hair drier. These thoughts were blended with the work of our writers and editors to produce this compilation.

What to Look for in a Mattress Pad


Consider the season and your sleeping needs before deciding on a mattress pad material. Mattress toppers made of cotton or poly-cotton are often the least expensive and most breathable. Specialized materials, such as down or wool, can provide insulation in colder climates and breathability in warmer climes. You should also observe if the mattress pad can be washed in a machine in case of any accidents.


Make sure the mattress pad is deep enough for your bed to prevent the effort and stress of trying to stretch a too-small pad over your mattress. While a pad designed for a conventional mattress should work fine, those with a deep or extra-deep mattress will need to look elsewhere. While the sides and corners of most mattress pads are stretchable enough to accommodate a variety of mattress depths, it is still a good idea to measure your mattress to be sure.

Standout Features


You should try to find a mattress pad that can be cleaned in a washing machine and dried in a dryer. Some mattress toppers have a removable top that zips off, letting you wash only the sleeping area without taking the whole thing off.

Extra protection

Mattress protectors are designed to prevent damage to your mattress, but some models can offer other benefits. If you want to prevent leaks or spills from ruining your mattress, invest in a waterproof mattress pad; just make sure it’s not too crinkly. You can lock your bed down against bed bugs with the help of a mattress protector, which provides coverage on all six sides of the bed.


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

A mattress topper adds a layer of soft padding to your mattress, while a mattress pad serves as a protective barrier to keep your mattress in good condition for longer. Mattress toppers, in contrast to mattress pads, always feature extra stuffing for that plush sensation on top of your mattress. Many are designed to repel liquids and soil, while others simply offer a plush feel to the top of the bed. Mattress toppers are used to soften the bed, while mattress pads prevent damage to the mattress.

What is a mattress topper? | Best mattress toppers | Argos

When do you need a mattress pad?

If you have kids or dogs or just want to make sure your mattress stays clean, a mattress pad is a good investment. If you share a bed with someone who prefers a softer or firmer mattress, this is something to think about as well. If you and your partner have different preferences in mattress firmness, a mattress pad might help you get the feel of a softer mattress without compromising on support.

How often should you wash a mattress pad?

Casper suggests adjusting how often you clean your mattress pad based on how often you really use it. If it is on a bed in a guest room or another infrequently used space, for instance, it may not need to be washed more frequently than once every few months. The standard recommendation is to clean it every two months in high-traffic areas. You should wash your bedding after getting sick to get rid of any remaining germs, and any spills should be cleaned up very away.

It’s A Wrap!

Having the right bedding accessories might make all the difference in getting a restful night’s sleep.

I really hope you’re able to locate the perfect mattress pad for you among all the options presented.

No of your answer to the question, “What is a mattress pad for?,” I appreciate you taking the time to read this. I think that covers all you asked.

Helen Skeates

Helen Skeates

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