Best mattress protectors 2021: keep your mattress cool, clean and fresh

Sleep easy in the knowledge your mattress is safe from spills and stains with our tried and tested guide to the best mattress protectors
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  • Think mattress protectors are a wasted investment? Think again: these all-round bedding heroes can deliver multiple benefits, not least protecting the surface on which you spend one-third of your life. A good mattress can easily set you back £650 or more, whereas most mattress protectors can be snapped up for less than £100. In fact, our best value pick is a snip at just £23.99 for a double. If you consider that using a mattress protector can prolong the life of your mattress by at least a couple of years, without even factoring in early replacement due to major accidental damage (hello, Norovirus), then a mattress protector soon sounds like a very wise purchase. Invaluable even.   

    Many of the options on our hit-list offer far more than protection for those who have splashed out on the best mattress. From temperature regulating to bacteria battling, odour-control and anti-allergy, these high performing mattress protectors can really add to the quality of your beauty sleep. All of the mattress protectors we tested excelled in terms of fit, feel and quality of materials. Improved hygiene is a huge lure, so we ensured that every protector on our list can be machine-washed to thoroughly remove mites and allergens. Any protector that increases body heat is not going to promote undisturbed sleep. So, while there are two options (1 & 8) that directly target cooling, the rest also scored well in terms of temperature control. There was no waking in a hot sweat on our watch. 

    To narrow your choices, you should start by deciding if you need full waterproof protection, if you don’t your protector will be more breathable. Then think about comfort. Mattress protectors are not the same as mattress toppers when it comes to boosting comfort levels but if your existing mattress could benefit from a little extra cushioning, check out the quilted designs with padding. Finally, it boils down to individual needs, like cooling and allergy relief, but if neither affects you, we’d recommend choosing on price!

    Best mattress protectors

    1. The White Company Temperature Balance Quilted Mattress Protector

    Best mattress protector overall

    The White Company mattress protector

    Size: Single, double, king, super king, emperor.
    Material: Cotton and polypropylene
    Reasons to buy: Outlast cooling technology, luxury quilting
    Reasons to avoid: None

    Incorporating technology developed for NASA, this mattress protector is great for hot sleepers. Said tech is a coating called Outlast that uses phase-change materials to regulate your body temperature. While wicking technology manages moisture by reacting to sweat and pulling it away from the skin, Outlast technology is more proactive and helps prevent sweating from occurring in the first place. Not only do you sleep more soundly, but there’s less laundry to do when you wake up. 

    Sure, it sounds unduly complicated for bedding but all you really need to know is that it works. You can literally feel the cooling in action when you touch the surface, even when covered in a bedsheet. We tested this protector during a heatwave and it definitely provided some relief during the hot, airless nights. 

    In other news, this mattress pad is machine washable at 40°c – using a ‘delicates’ wash cycle – and can also be dry cleaned. It is well secured to the mattress using an elasticated fitted skirt. The double we tested looked rather voluminous on first fit, which is a deliberate move to compensate for the natural shrinkage of cotton. Sure enough, post-washing it fit like a glove.

    Ideal Home rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    2. Silentnight Soft as Silk Mattress Protector  

    Best mattress protector for great value

    Silentnight Soft as Silk Mattress Topper

    Size: Double or king size
    Material: Polyester and polypropylene
    Reasons to buy: No shrinkage, two-year guarantee
    Reasons to avoid: If you don’t like synthetic materials

    If you just need a well-fitting, durable mattress protector that can handle plenty of washing and doesn’t cost a bomb, this is the one for you. The silky soft claims are indeed true – it feels much more luxurious than you might expect for the money – and the skirt hugs a double mattress neatly. 

    The hollowfibre layer is a nice touch but is so thin that it doesn’t really register when you lie down. Don’t expect this mattress protector to transform a lumpy mattress – that’s not its job. However, that extra cushioning isn’t a waste of time though as it will soak up stains and spills to reduce those ugly brown drool circles (you know the ones) blighting your mattress over time. We also found this protector did not increase our body temperature when sleeping, which is always a concern.   

    The fitted skirt will easily tuck around a 30cm-deep mattress and didn’t shrink at all after washing at the recommended 40°c and tumble drying on a low heat. The material is hypoallergenic, so offers extra protection against dust mites and other allergens that we don’t really want to dwell on. 

    There are no crazy claims or extra bells and whistles on this mattress protector, but you do get to sleep sounding, safe in the knowledge it’s made by one of the UK’s most trusted brands.

    Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    3. Panda Bamboo Mattress Protector

    Best mattress protector for potty training

    Panda Bamboo mattress protector

    Size: Cot, cotbed, single, small double, double, king, super-king, EU single, EU double, EU king and EU emperor
    Material: Bamboo and cotton
    Reasons to buy: 30-night sleep trial, waterproof 
    Reasons to avoid: No padding

    Unlike many baby and toddler safe mattress protectors, Panda’s does not make a sound. No tell-tale crunkle or crunch as your little one tosses and turns. Naturally, it’s not just aimed at children, there’s a size to fit any mattress imaginable, but the noise thing makes it a very appealing proposition for parents.  

    The use of natural materials also makes this a popular choice for parents. The main ingredients are sustainably sourced, naturally antibacterial bamboo fibres and cotton, with the waterproofing provided by a very thin layer of Nano TPU. We acknowledge that this is essentially thermoplastic polyurethane but if you want to protect a mattress from bed-wetting, not just the odd patch of sweat, it’s always going to involve some form of plastic barrier. Oh, and Nano TPU is biodegradable in soil so Panda gets to keep its well-earned eco halo. Instead, focus on the fact it doesn’t ‘feel’ like plastic, in any way, shape or form and nor does it make you sweat, unlike many thicker waterproof covers we’ve tried. 

    Additional benefits include a 30-night sleep trial, which is a rare commodity in the mattress protector world and makes this a risk-free purchase. It is also machine washable at 50°c, which is 10°c higher than most and can go in the tumble dryer on a low heat, although Panda recommends line-drying. We loved the fit; the 32cm-deep skirt is more generous than some and will suit those with chunky sprung mattresses, but the excess tucked tightly under our 30cm deep mattress. 

    Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    4. Simba Performance Mattress Protector

    Best mattress protector for the perfect fit

    Simba Performance Mattress protector

    Size: Single, double, king, super-king, small double, EU double, EU Queen, EU single
    Material: Cotton and polypropylene
    Reasons to buy: Non-slide, breathable, prevents odours
    Reasons to avoid: Not waterproof

    If you’ve bought a Simba mattress, it makes great sense to protect your investment with a protector that fits like a glove. We tried this protector on a Simba Hybrid mattress and also a thicker sprung mattress by Silentnight, just to make sure Simba’s claim that it fits well on any mattress is true. Happily, we can confirm it was just as firmly secured on both, and we love how the double-bound edging sits perfectly on the full surface of the mattress, so you don’t get any annoying folds or creases. 

    Fit aside, this protector has a nice thickness to it, with sufficient padding to feel the comfort. It’s not a topper of course, but the quilted top is not just for show. Simba says it contains Bi-Ome technology, that “attracts microorganisms and deactivates them on contact, preventing growth and spread”. Translation: the fabric has received an antibacterial treatment. Crucially, this treatment doesn’t involve harmful ingredients so those with delicate skin or allergies can rest easy.

    It’s important to use non-biological laundry cleaner when washing this cover, but if you are an allergy-prone household, then you’ll likely have some in stock. It can go in the washing machine and tumble dryer without issue, and we also appreciated the breathability-factor, especially when testing during a heatwave! Some of the reviewers on Simba’s site claim it’s waterproof but, after pouring a tumbler of water on it, we can reveal that is fake news. 

    Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    5. Brook & Wilde The Kensington Mattress Protector

    Best mattress protector for luxury

    Brook + Wilde Kensington mattress protector

    Size: Single, double, king, super-king
    Material: Cotton and polyester
    Reasons to buy:  Luxurious, breathable
    Reasons to avoid: None

    Brook & Wilde has secured its reputation as purveyors of seriously luxurious mattresses (we highly rated the Brook + Wilde Ultima mattress) and bedding so of course The Kensington has to live up to this brands ethos. The posh name is a giveaway – this mattress protector is certainly a cut above when it comes to plushness. It is mostly made from 163 thread count percale cotton, which is not the highest thread count out there but it’s the highest possible if you also need a little stretch in your cotton. Nobody needs a mattress protector with no give underneath them.

    The Kensington is the most generously filled mattress protector we’ve tested and it’s worth noting that it retains this pillowy plumpness well, without the need for constant shaking out. The cushioning is provided by hollowfibre polyester, which admittedly doesn’t sound terribly posh, but trust us, it’s a great choice for allergy sufferers and anyone who easily overheats. There’s no waterproof protection on offer but assuming you are potty trained, the thickness of this protector makes it more than capable of keeping your mattress pristinely clean.

    Washing is by machine on a gentle 40°c programme and it can be dried in the tumble dryer on a low heat. The polyester jersey elasticated skirt fits very well, with plenty of space to accommodate the thickest mattress, including Brook & Wilde’s premium 30cm deep Ultima mattress.

    Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    6. Dormeo Evercomfy Silver Mattress Protector

    Best mattress protector for freshness 

    Dormeo Evercomfy Silver mattress protector

    Size: Single, double, king, super-king
    Material:  Polyester and hollowfibre
    Reasons to buy: Anti-odour, anti-bacterial 
    Reasons to avoid: None 

    We’re not going to spell out what kind of person might benefit from an odour-repelling mattress protector but if you want one that keeps that ‘just laundered’ freshness for longer, read on. Silpure is the magic ingredient in the Evercomfy mattress protector. Silpure is essentially a fabric treatment containing ultra-fine silver crystals that release silver ions at a controlled rate to combat bacterial growth. The boffins behind Silpure claim it can sustain multiple washes and, since it’s most popular use is in underwear (which is generally washed a lot more than mattress protectors), we’re inclined to trust them on that point. 

    We tested this mattress protector for one week – possibly the hottest on record for 2021 – and then did a thorough sniff test (using three noses to rule out any olfactory failings!). The results were unanimous: if not exactly ‘fresh’ in the summer meadows style of laundry adverts, this mattress protector was completely odourless and, happily, didn’t smell like it needed boiling in bleach for a week. In short, it didn’t need washing. Result.   

    In other news, this mattress protector lives up to all the usual requirements – deep elasticated skirt (for up to 30cm deep mattresses), machine washable at 40°c (the website says 60°c but the washing label on the actual product is 40°c) and with decent hollowfibre filling. 

    The polyester microfibre cover is also anti-allergenic as it doesn’t encourage dust mites to hang around and dead skin etc can’t get through to your precious mattress either. In short, this protector offers plenty of benefits for a very reasonable price. 

    Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    7. Nectar Mattress Protector

    Best mattress protector for stain removal

    Nectar mattres protector

    Size: Single, double, small double and king-size
    Material: Tencel
    Reasons to buy: Waterproof, washable at 90°c
    Reasons to avoid: Not dryer friendly

    Nectar’s USP for this mattress has to be its Tencel top layer, which feels incredibly soft and is said to be more breathable than cotton. Tencel is a sustainable option made from wood pulp fibres from responsibly farmed forestry. It’s hard to quantify the breathability claim scientifically without a Testing Lab to hand but we can say that we didn’t overheat or sweat while sleeping on this mattress protector, which is especially impressive given its waterproof abilities.  Speaking of which, we poured a tumbler of water on the surface, and not one drop permeated the polyurethane protective barrier underneath.

    One of our favourite features of this protector is the chance to wash it at 90°c – the only one we have found suitable for such hot, bacteria-killing, stain-removing temperatures. It isn’t quite as quiet as Panda’s waterproof mattress protector but it certainly isn’t sleep-disturbingly crunchy or excessively thick and unyielding when you move around. 

    Anyone with sensitive noses might not appreciate the slight chemical smell that occurs when opening the box of this mattress protector, but it is designed to be washed before first use which quickly solves that small issue. One other minor bugbear is that Nectar’s mattress protector can’t go in the tumble dryer, but this is typical of waterproof mattress protectors. We popped a freshly laundered protector on a Sheila’s Maid ceiling rack after breakfast and it was ready to go on the mattress by bedtime.  

    Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    8. Soak & Sleep CoolMax Mattress Protector

    Best mattress protector for hot nights

    Soak & sleep coolmax mattress protector

    Size: Single, EU single, small double, double, king, EU king, super-king, emperor
    Material: Polyester
    Reasons to buy: Breathable, waterproof, matching pillow protectors
    Reasons to avoid: None

    We’ve tested mattresses topped in CoolMax and were very impressed (some made it to our list of the best cooling mattress pads), so expectations were high on the cooling front when this mattress protector arrived for testing. For the uninitiated, CoolMax is an engineered polyester-based fibre with moisture-wicking superpowers that’s often used in performance sportswear. The difference between CoolMax and regular polyester is to do with the shape of the fibres, which allow moisture to be drawn away quickly from the skin where it then evaporates without disturbing your precious sleep. 

    Does it work? In short, yes. And, besides our sleep test – which was a resounding success on the temperature regulating front – this mattress protector’s fast-drying skills is also evident after washing. It feels dry straight out of the washing machine in fact, although we wouldn’t recommend putting it on your mattress before actually drying it. A quick tumble dry is all it takes to get this mattress protector back in action, which anyone on a fast laundry turnaround will really appreciate.

    So, it’s cooling but what else does this mattress protector have going for it? Full-on waterproofing, via a thin TPU bottom layer, which is also quiet and stretchy. It also comes with a two-year guarantee against defects, and you can save money on bundles if you want to enjoy the same level of protection on your pillows. If we had to find fault, it would be the feel of the CoolMax top layer, which is a little ‘manmade’ (like that polyester jumper that always gives you an electric shock), but since you don’t sleep directly on the mattress protector, it really isn’t going to have an impact.

    Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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