What Is A Mattress Pad Used For

Helen Skeates
Helen Skeates
32 min read

Simply put, a mattress pad is a piece of fabric meant to be placed atop your mattress. You say that’s not the mattress topper, but I disagree. When compared to a mattress topper, a mattress pad is a more slender bed accessory.

If you’re still lost, we’ll elaborate on the mattress pad in the sections that follow. Who can say? Perhaps you’ll need it even more than a mattress pad.

What is a Mattress Pad?

Put a mattress pad on top of your mattress before you cover it with a fitted sheet.

A mattress pad serves two primary functions:

  • Facilitating a more relaxing night’s sleep. A mattress pad can enhance comfort in many ways, including through its softness, its ability to regulate temperature, or its plush pillow top.
  • Creating a barrier between the mattress and potential harm. Protect your mattress from stains and the buildup of dust and allergens with the help of a pad. Not all mattress pads are made to be waterproof, though some are equipped with such a layer for added security.

A mattress topper, in contrast to a mattress pad, is much more substantial and is used to modify the mattress’s texture and comfort level. Mattress encasements, also known as mattress protectors, are often made of waterproof material and enclose a mattress entirely with a zipper.

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What Are the Benefits of a Mattress Pad?

Mattress pads can be useful for a variety of reasons, and it is up to the individual buyer to decide if it is more appropriate for their needs to use a mattress pad, a mattress topper, or a mattress encasement.

The following are some of the major advantages of using a mattress pad:

Mattress Protection

A mattress protector that is also waterproof provides an extra layer of defense against liquids that could otherwise seep into and ruin your mattress. A non-waterproof pad can still absorb some spills, lessening their effect on the mattress and giving you more time to clean it up.

Reduction in Allergens

Mattresses can become a breeding ground for dust mites and other allergens throughout the year. Any fabric can help reduce the ability of allergens to reach your mattress, but an impermeable layer of vinyl or TPU offers a more reliable barrier.


Mattress pads, especially those made of thick and plush materials like down and wool, can improve the comfort level of a mattress. Overheating in bed is a common problem, and cooling mattress pads can help solve that problem.

Ease of Cleaning

It can be a hassle to spot-clean a mattress without risking damage. In contrast, it’s not hard to clean and dry a mattress pad. A mattress protector can make it much easier to maintain a clean, comfortable bed in this way.

Cost Effectiveness

For those on a tight budget, the fact that mattress pads are typically much less expensive than mattress toppers and protectors makes them an attractive option.

A mattress pad provides less protection for your mattress than a mattress encasement and less comfort than a mattress topper. Mattress pads, however, are a practical compromise that offers a number of advantages without breaking the bank.

What Is The Use Of A Mattress Pad?

The mattress pad serves as an extra layer of comfort by being placed on top of your regular mattress. You’ll put it on the bed before you put the sheets on, so to speak. We’ll compare it to a mattress topper later on to help you see the similarities and differences between the two so you can make an informed decision.

Protection and comfort

So why is it recommended to cover a mattress with a pad? The pad shields the mattress from wear and tear because of its substantial thickness. The pressure and weight won’t be transferred directly to the mattress, so the bed will last longer before showing signs of wear.

The mattress pad, depending on its composition, may also increase the softness of the bed. When a mattress starts to feel too soft or too firm, a pad can be used as a stopgap measure until a new one can be purchased. We will also address the question of whether or not a mattress pad is necessary.


Mattress pads are noticeably thinner than both traditional mattresses and mattress toppers. This makes it easier to clean and maintain than comparable alternatives. A mattress protector can protect your mattress from dust mites, allergens, sweat, oils, spills, and stains.

Keep in mind that mattresses can’t be washed, and it can be challenging to get to the bottom of problems that have been there for a while. Some mattress pads are even machine-washable, making cleanup a breeze. Mattress damage is no longer an issue for you.

Types Of Mattress Pads

Many varieties of mattresses are available from various manufacturers. However, to get the most out of this bed accessory, you should get something with multiple layers. The tufted top layer and batting of the most commonly available mattress pads are made of cotton.

Mattress pads can also be made from other materials like wool, silk, or even down. If you’re looking for a snug fit between the pad and the mattress, a skirted pad is your best bet, as it can be tucked neatly under the bed. If you can’t find one, you can also use anchor straps to secure a mattress protector to the bed.

What Is The Difference Between A Mattress Topper And A Mattress Pad?

A mattress pad is easily distinguishable from a mattress topper due to its thinner profile and machine-washability, as we briefly covered above. This is why there is such a wide range of mattress pad materials available. However, both serve similar purposes, so picking one over the other comes down to personal preference.

A mattress topper is the best option if you need something thicker, such as when trying to fix a dented surface. However, if you want to change the way your bed feels, all you need is a mattress pad. Keep in mind that neither of these items is meant to take the place of a comfortable bed for regular use.

Can You Sleep On Just A Mattress Pad?

You can use a mattress pad, but it’s not something you should do every night. Keep in mind that even when compared to a mattress topper, it is noticeably thinner. The difference in support and comfort from a high-quality mattress will be obvious.

Moreover, the mattress pad’s construction isn’t made to withstand the weight of a person sleeping on it every day. It helps support the mattress below, but a pad on its own will quickly flatten and lose its shape if used daily. If you want to sleep in the correct position, you need to lie on something that won’t compress too much under your weight.

Is It Necessary To Use A Mattress Pad?

There are many reasons why a mattress pad is an essential part of any bed’s setup. It can be used as a protector for your mattress and is easily laundered. It can also be used to change the feel of the bed without purchasing a new mattress.

A pad can also reduce the noise your mattress or sheet may produce. However, if you don’t experience any of these issues, a mattress pad isn’t necessary. It’s possible that some people will argue that it’s too weak or flimsy to make a difference.

Best Mattress Pads of 2022

Saatva Organic Mattress Pad

Price: $175

Contents Page:GOTS-approved organic cotton for the top panel GOTS-certified organic cotton and spandex make up the side panel.
Fill:Eco-friendly cotton

Who it’s best for:

  • Consumers who put a premium on buying organic products
  • Those in need of a supple and breathable cotton mattress pad
  • Clients interested in a prolonged sleep test


  • Made from GOTS-approved organic cotton that was harvested in a responsible manner.
  • The pad’s deep pocket corners allow it to be used with a wide variety of mattress types.
  • The ability to regulate body temperature thanks to a breathable construction.

If you’re looking for a mattress pad and prefer organic cotton that hasn’t been treated with chemicals, we highly recommend the Saatva Organic Mattress Pad.

This pad’s top is constructed entirely of organic cotton that has been independently certified as such by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). Organic production standards and worker rights must be upheld in order to earn GOTS certification. The Saatva Organic Mattress Pad is an excellent choice for consumers concerned about their health and the health of the planet and their fellow humans.

This mattress pad is made from 300-thread-count cotton, making it extremely plush and comfortable. It’s long-lasting, for one thing, and it can wick moisture well, so you stay dry and comfortable. The mattress pad’s deep side panels, made from stretchy 4% spandex, can accommodate mattresses up to 16 inches in depth.

Standard shipping is free of charge on the Saatva Organic Mattress Protector. The Saatva Company is well-known in the mattress and bedding industry for producing high-quality goods and providing excellent customer service. They guarantee your satisfaction with this mattress pad for 45 days, during which time you can return it for a full refund.

ViscoSoft Copper Pillow Top Mattress Pad

Price: $160

Contents Page:Cupro-cotton blend
Fill:Fibres of alternative down

Who it’s best for:

  • Warm snoozers
  • Anyone who sleeps on a mattress no thicker than 18 inches
  • Seekers of Value


  • Fabrics that wick away sweat and have copper in them keep you at a comfortable temperature.
  • All standard mattresses can be used with the 18-inch pocket depth.
  • Washable in a machine

The best mattress pad will enhance your level of comfort and safeguard your mattress from harmful environmental elements. The ViscoSoft Copper Pillow Top Mattress Pad is a great buy for thrifty shoppers because it meets both of these criteria while remaining reasonably priced.

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The shell is made from a moisture-wicking fabric that has copper fibers woven into it for thermal regulation. Copper’s inherent antimicrobial properties make it an ideal material for bedding because it prevents the growth of bacteria and helps control lingering odors. The soft fiber filling of the quilted pillow top softens the overall feel of the mattress without making it too squishy, as a topper might.

The elasticized corners reach a pocket depth of 18 inches, making this pad compatible with the vast majority of modern mattresses, even the most luxurious. The pad can be machine washed, saving you the trouble of hand washing or the cost of having it dry cleaned. The pad comes in six different sizes to accommodate a wide range of mattresses.

This pad is a great value because of its low price and high quality. Free standard shipping is included with every order. 60 night sleep trial and 5 year warranty against structural defects are included with your purchase.

Slumber Cloud Performance Mattress Pad

Price: $209

Contents Page: Tencel
Fill:Substitute Fibres for Down

Who it’s best for:

  • Smokers in bed
  • Those who sleep on luxurious mattresses
  • Couples who use a king-sized split-base adjustable bed


  • Outlast fabric, which wicks away moisture, and a fiber fill that keeps in very little heat contribute to the garment’s breathable construction.
  • Maximum depth of 20 inches
  • There are a total of seven options, including split king.

Outlast, a proprietary material developed from Tencel fabric that wicks away moisture, is used in a wide variety of Slumber Cloud’s pads and protectors. No matter how hot you get, your Outlast mattress will stay cool and comfortable thanks to its innovative design. The Performance Mattress Pad, one of Slumber Cloud’s newest products, makes use of this innovation to provide a softer, more comfortable sleeping surface by using a down alternative fiber fill.

As an added bonus, Outlast fabric is incredibly smooth and soft, so it won’t irritate even the most delicate skin. The pad can be easily cleaned in the washing machine. Thanks to the pad’s elastic corners, which allow for a pocket depth of up to 20 inches, it can be used with a wide variety of modern mattresses, including pillow-top hybrids and other high-profile models that would otherwise be incompatible with pads with standard pockets. The pad is meant to be used with a fitted sheet.

The Performance Mattress Pad comes in a split king size and five other sizes that are compatible with a wide range of mattresses. The latter comes with a pair of twin XL pads. In the United States, shipping is free on all orders from Slumber Cloud, and in Canada, flat rates are affordable. A 60-day money-back guarantee and a 90-day warranty against manufacturing defects are included with every purchase.

Cozy Earth Bamboo Mattress Pad

Price: $203

Contents Page:Bamboo-based viscose
Fill:Filling made from bamboo fibers

Who it’s best for:

  • Those who sleep warmly and those who live in hot climates
  • Those who dislike substantial alterations to their mattress’s feel
  • Those who prefer extremely plush bedding


  • Superior ability to vent heat and keep you cool
  • Slender, just the right thickness to tweak your comfort
  • Smooth as silk to the touch

Bedding made from bamboo-derived materials has risen in popularity in recent years, especially among hot sleepers and residents of warmer climates. This is because of the breathable nature of bamboo. The materials of the Cozy Earth Bamboo Mattress Pad are all derived from bamboo. Both the cover and the filling are made from bamboo viscose, making for a luxuriously soft and plush finish.

The Bamboo Mattress Pad is exceptionally good at maintaining a comfortable sleeping temperature while maintaining a relatively low profile. Most beds sold today are within the 20-inch thickness range that can be accommodated by the elasticized corners.

The pad requires minimal effort and time to maintain. You can clean it in a regular washing machine and tumble dry it on a low heat setting, but you shouldn’t use bleach or softener. The bamboo fibers in the pad should be refreshed by hanging it outside twice or three times a year, as suggested by Cozy Earth.

The entire contiguous United States is eligible for free shipping from Cozy Earth. Each customer is given a 100-night sleep trial to determine whether or not they would like to keep the Bamboo Mattress Pad.

Puffy Mattress Pad

Price: $229

Title Page Content:Material crafted from bamboo
The Stuffing:Substitute Down Fill

Who it’s best for:

  • Those who sleep hot and those who sweat profusely at night
  • Mattress owners up to 15 inches in thickness
  • Those who dislike the firmness of their current mattress


  • Clusters of down substitute encased in viscose made from bamboo give off a lavishly fluffy vibe.
  • The shell fabric is wicking and air permeable.
  • Made to be washed in a machine for convenience.

People who sleep hot or who perspire excessively during the night, or who live in particularly warm or humid climates, may benefit from purchasing an all-season mattress pad. The outer layer of the Puffy Mattress Pad is made from bamboo viscose, a naturally hypoallergenic and moisture-wicking material. Its fill is made of clusters of down alternative that are soft and warm but won’t trap heat like real down. The fill also offers decent insulation, so you won’t have to worry about being chilly even in the colder months.

The softness is amplified by a quilted jacquard finish. The pad’s extra padding makes it ideal for those whose current mattress is too hard. The pad’s elasticized corners ensure a snug fit on mattresses up to 15 inches in thickness, which is most of them. The pad can be easily cleaned thanks to its machine-washable design.

There are six options available, all of which are compatible with contemporary mattress sizes. Each purchase at Puffy comes with a 101-night risk-free sleep trial and free ground shipping within the continental United States. Those who choose to keep their Puffy Mattress Pad will also be covered forever against manufacturing flaws.

Birch Organic Mattress Pad

Price: $199

Contents Page:sateen made from GOTS-certified organic cotton
Fill:100% GOTS-certified organic cotton

Who it’s best for:

  • Warm snoozers
  • Mattress owners up to 16 inches in thickness
  • Organic product users are a growing demographic.


  • Fabricated with three thick but breathable layers of organic cotton
  • Totally GOTS-approved fibers
  • The pad stays in place thanks to the thick band around the edge.

Even though the Birch Organic Mattress Pad isn’t completely waterproof, it does a great job of absorbing moisture and protecting your mattress from accidents. The pad has three layers, each of which is made from 100% organic cotton. The sateen weave creates a supple fabric that can make for a more comfortable bed.

The cotton has been certified as both GOTS and Fair Trade, guaranteeing its environmentally friendly cultivation and the fair treatment of its workers. For shoppers who prioritize supporting ethical production practices, this is a selling point for the pad. Those who tend to sleep warm will also benefit from the pad. The three-layer construction is highly permeable, so it shouldn’t keep too much heat in.

The pad’s 16-inch pocket depth means it can be used with the vast majority of modern mattresses. A strong elastic band keeps the corners from falling off during the night and provides excellent stability. You can throw it in the washing machine and dryer, or spot clean any small stains as they appear. The pad should last for a while if you keep it clean.

The Organic Mattress Pad is reasonably priced given its long-lasting construction and high-quality materials. All 50 states can receive free shipping from Birch. In addition to the standard one-year warranty, you will also receive a 100-night sleep trial.

Sijo Clima Mattress Pad

Price: $175

Contents Page:A blending of Tencel and nylon
Fill:Waterproof breathable lining (Clima fill)

Who it’s best for:

  • Smokers in bed
  • Customers looking for a waterproof pad that is also softer and quieter than other pads on the market
  • In-bed eaters and drinkers


  • The breathable and comfortable Tencel shell.
  • The use of phase change material in the fill aids in temperature neutralization.
  • Bed is protected from moisture by a waterproof membrane.

Unfortunately, the waterproofing of some mattress pads comes at the expense of comfort, as the designs are often stiff or crinkly. The Sijo Clima Mattress Pad, however, shields against spills while providing a pleasant night’s rest.

The outer fabric is made from Tencel, a popular fabric with a number of desirable characteristics, including softness and the ability to wick away sweat. The Clima fiber fill is a phase change material developed to be temperature neutral. There’s a waterproof membrane inside that keeps moisture out of your bed. This meticulous design shields your mattress from accidental spills and moisture while also assisting sleepers who tend to overheat or sweat profusely throughout the night by maintaining a cool sleeping surface.

The Clima Mattress Pad can be purchased in full, queen, king, or California king sizes. The pad’s elasticized design and 15-inch pocket depth make it a snug fit over the vast majority of mattresses available today; however, it may not work with higher-profile beds. The pad can be washed in the washing machine using the gentle cycle and cool water, and then dried using the low heat setting.

Sijo offers a 30-night risk-free trial of their sleeping pad. Within the trial period, you can send the pad back and get a full refund. For orders over $65, shipping and returns within the contiguous United States are on the house.

The Company Store Legends Hotel Waterproof Mattress Pad

Price: $159

Contents Page:400 thread count 100% cotton damask
Fill:Waterproof polyester down alternative fibers encased in a cotton jersey shell.

Who it’s best for:

  • Sensitive-skinned individuals
  • Bedwetting is a common problem among children.
  • Owners of mattresses up to 18 inches in thickness


  • Luxuriously soft cotton damask encases plush down alternative fibers, making for a weightless experience.
  • Protect your mattress from spills and stains with a waterproof membrane.
  • The vast majority of mattress purchasers will be able to find a comfortable fit with two different pocket depths.

The Company Store’s Legends Hotel Waterproof Mattress Pad is a great choice for anyone who likes the plush comfort of hotel bedding. The cushion’s shell is made of cotton damask, and its filling is a down-alternative cluster design. Your mattress will be safe from spills and leaks thanks to a waterproof membrane that is buffered by layers of breathable cotton jersey, all without the pad becoming too hot to sleep on. Additionally, the shell’s softness makes it ideal for those with skin sensitivities.

Depending on the height of the mattress, the customer can select either an 11-inch or 18-inch pocket depth. Pillow-tops and other high-profile mattresses, which are not compatible with low-pocket pads, fall within this range. The pad is offered in six different sizes to accommodate a wide range of mattresses. The pad can be cleaned quickly and easily in a washing machine. Wash with like colors on a delicate cycle and dry on a low heat setting. Do not iron the pad because doing so may destroy it.

The 18-inch pocket depth pads cost a little more than the 11-inch depth versions of the same size, but both are still very reasonably priced. The Company Store provides affordable flat-rate shipping to Alaska, Hawaii, and the U.S. territories, in addition to free ground delivery on all orders within the contiguous United States. A sleep trial of 90 nights is included with every purchase.

How to Choose a Mattress Pad

There are many different types of mattress protectors available, making it difficult to choose the best one for your needs. Shopping for a top-quality mattress pad is much easier if you know what to look for.

What to Consider When Purchasing a Mattress Pad

Since different mattress toppers are intended to address varying concerns, it can be difficult to make direct comparisons between brands. Examine the following criteria and think about what matters most to you when deciding on a mattress pad.

There’s no getting around the fact that price is a major factor for most consumers when looking for a new mattress pad. Setting a rough budget before you begin shopping can help you avoid wasting time investigating products that are out of your price range. Mattress toppers range in price from around $20 for the most basic to $300 or more for the highest quality models.

A waterproof mattress pad is your best bet for protecting your mattress from accidents. However, a water-resistant mattress pad may suffice if you rarely have food or drinks near your bed. If you want to buy a waterproof mattress pad, you should check for information about the material used to make the layer that acts as a barrier against liquids.

High-Quality Components
High-quality materials are used to make long-lasting and trustworthy mattress pads. Companies that put money into innovative designs and high-quality parts often receive overwhelmingly positive feedback from their clientele. You may want to think about whether or not it matters to you that the materials used to make your mattress pad are all-natural, organic, or environmentally friendly.

Capacity to Cool
A cooling mattress pad can be a welcome addition to the bed if you tend to sleep hot or live in a warm climate. Comfort cooling, in which moisture is removed from the body and allowed to evaporate, can be achieved with the help of breathable fabrics with cooling properties. Another textile innovation that can aid in temperature regulation is the use of phase change materials (PCMs). Keep in mind that the mattress pad isn’t the only factor in maintaining a comfortable sleeping temperature; the mattress itself, as well as the sheets and blankets, can make a difference.

A thicker mattress pad is preferable if you want to increase the height of your bed or alter its texture. A thinner pad is preferable if you only need minimal comfort or waterproofing.

Hardness Scale
Think about how firm you like your mattress to feel before purchasing a thick mattress pad like a pillow top. If you prefer a firmer, more conventional feel in bed, you might not want to use a thick down mattress pad. There will be less of an impact on the softness of your bed from thinner mattress pads.

Release From Tension
You should think about how a thick mattress pad will affect the pressure relief you get before purchasing one. Think about how the pad will interact with your mattress and whether or not the two will provide adequate pressure point support for your shoulders, hips, neck, lower back, and other trouble spots.

Measurement of Pocket Proportion
The depth of a mattress isn’t usually an issue for mattress pads, but if you have a particularly deep mattress, you should measure it to make sure the pad you’re considering will fit.

A mattress pad that is simpler to clean is ideal for people who are prone to spills or who like to eat and drink in bed. Most mattress pads are washable and dryable in a machine, but it’s always a good idea to check the manufacturer’s guidelines just to be sure.

The plastic-like construction of some mattress pads makes them crinkle and rustle uncomfortably in the night. Because of this, most people go for quieter, thinner, and smoother mattress pads.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Mattress Pads

Some frequently asked questions may help you decide if a mattress pad is the right choice for your bed.

How Does a Mattress Pad Attach to the Bed?

Most mattress protectors adhere to the bed with the help of elastic straps.

Sewing the elastic into the pad’s border is the most typical method of deploying it. A skirt or side panel is draped over the sides of the mattress, and it is secured in place with elastic that runs around the entire hem or just the corners. These mattress protectors can be tucked into the bed just like a fitted sheet.

Some mattress pads forgo the skirt and side panels in favor of elastic straps at each corner to keep the pad in place. This design’s pads frequently become dislodged and require reaffixing.

Can Mattress Pads Adjust the Firmness of My Bed?

While most mattress pads will only slightly alter the firmness of your bed, a thicker pad made from a soft material like down feathers can completely transform the feel of your sleep surface. A mattress topper, rather than a mattress pad, is the better choice for people who want to drastically alter the feel of their bed.

How Do I Clean My Mattress Pad?

For the best results when cleaning your mattress pad, always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines. If you follow the care instructions for your mattress pad, you can extend its life, prevent it from wearing out too quickly, and keep its waterproofing intact.

Mattress pads can usually be machine washed and dried on low heat, but the best cleaning method should be determined by the specific pad’s material.

What’s the Difference Between a Mattress Pad and a Mattress Topper or Mattress Protector?

A mattress pad is more like a thin blanket than a thick mattress topper, which is designed to alter the bed’s texture. Although they provide some protection for a mattress, mattress pads do not encase the entire thing like a mattress protector would.

All of these goods fill important niches in the market. Mattress encasements are the best option if you want to prevent accidents and keep allergens at bay. A mattress topper is the best option if you want to drastically alter the feel of your bed. A mattress pad is a great option if you’re looking for something that can protect your mattress without completely replacing it.


When looking for other bedroom necessities, you might find mattress pads. But what exactly does one do with a mattress pad? In layman’s terms, it’s a thinner alternative to traditional mattress toppers.

You’ll spread it over your bed to protect your mattress and enhance the comfort level. Keep in mind that a mattress pad is no substitute for a proper mattress when it comes to consistent support. Leave a comment if you have any further inquiries.

Helen Skeates

Helen Skeates

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