do you wash mattress protectors before use
Kristina Davis

A lot of people want to know, do you wash mattress protectors before use, or can you use them right away?

I needed to learn this because I have tons of furniture, and I want everything to be perfect.

So, in this guide, I’ll let you know all about the things I’ve found in washing your mattress covers.

Yes, you need to wash mattress protectors to soften them up and free them from chemicals they may have. However, not all mattress covers are machine washable, so read the label carefully before doing so.

Before we dig deep into this, let me briefly go over what a protector or a cover is so we are both on the same page.

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Understanding Mattress Covers Deeper

understanding the mattress cover

Mattress protectors are an integral part of your bed or your mattress because they’ll serve as the outer or external cover of your bed or mattress.

They’re usually the fitted covers that prepare your bed for another layer of cover or protector.

Don’t confuse yourself, these aren’t the sheets that come in contact with your body when you lie down.

Instead, they are the cover or the layer that you put right after the mattress to conceal and protect its interior.

So, can you wash a mattress protector? Yes, of course, you can!

And before I tackle that deeper and more seriously, let me enumerate the real important reasons for washing your mattress encasements. 

Why Should You Wash a Mattress Protector?

why wash mattress cover

Washing and cleaning your mattress protectors or covers is important, especially if you just recently purchased them.

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Here are a few of the most common reasons why you should:

To Soften It

In my experience, all the new mattress protectors I bought were hard and tough and needed softening.

So, it has never been a question of whether I should wash it or not.

Tip: Washing it before using it can help loosen up its tight composition, making it easier, better, and more convenient to use.

To Get Rid of Chemicals and Residue

get rid of chemicals

Another reason is the residue or chemicals that could have been used for its manufacturing.

As we all know, most mattress covers and protectors are products of factories, they’re often not handmade.

And to hasten the process, manufacturers use certain chemicals for better strength, better flexibility, and other properties.

Cleaning it up can wash these chemicals and residues away and keep it safe to the touch.

To Eliminate Smell and Odor

New clothes usually smell like raw fabric, which in reality is a combination of fabric sizing and dye.

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It releases a pungent, mildew smell that could be irritating.

eliminates smell

By washing it, this smell will be masked and covered by the combination of the detergent and fabric conditioner.

Do You Wash Mattress Protectors Before Use?

Yes, considering the three reasons I mentioned above, you should now be convinced to wash your covers even before thinking of using them.

You should take note, though, that not all these encasements are made equally. This has been one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced.

I recall a time when I machine washed my protector even though it wasn’t fit for a washing machine.

do wash mattress protector

What happened?

Basically, the fabric was ruined. The fabric material fluffed – it became damaged. Right after I took it out of the washer, it was not presentable anymore.

So, you always need to take precautionary measures before washing it.

How Do You Wash a Mattress Protector?

It’s probably the piece of fabric you’ll be intimidated to wash because of the big size and the complexity of the material.

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But don’t be fooled – it’s usually always as easy as washing your clothes!

Here’s how you can properly wash and clean your mattress protector.

Step #1: Check If You Can Machine Wash It

can machine wash

The first thing you want to check is if you can wash it with a machine.

There are various fabrics that can be machine washed as well as those that can’t. This is an important step because this is how you can maintain the quality of your protector.

I would recommend putting them in the washer if they’re eligible, and if there’s enough headroom inside the washer after putting it inside.

Having it too fit and tight can be bad, especially for the wringer. Should I have known this before, I could’ve salvaged my mattress cover!

Step #2: Use Cold Water

Whether or not you’ll use a washing machine, use cold water as much as you can.

Hot water can potentially damage the materials of the mattress protector – some even report lukewarm water isn’t good, too!

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Most fabric softeners and detergents work better and more effectively in cold washing,” says Jo Winston, St. Modwen Homes Sales Director.

What I usually do is fill my washing machine with cold water for the machine to use that water for the entirety of the process.

Step #3: Use a Mild Detergent

mild detergent

Then, you want to make sure that the detergent you’ll use is mild. Detergents with additives like bleach can cause damage to the plastic membrane of the cover.

This membrane binds the material to the fabric’s surface. So, check the contents of the detergent you are going to use and make sure that it’s mild.

Step #4: Rinse Completely

The next step is to make sure that the protector is rinsed off completely.

Leftover detergent can develop mildew or mold, and you don’t want that with your mattress covers, right?

What I do is rinse it at least 2 times just to be sure that no detergent is left on the surface of the protector.

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Step #5: Dry It Properly

For the last step, you need to dry it out completely.

Depending on the machinability of the fabric, you can toss it in the dryer, air dry it, or dry it swiftly in front of the fan.

dry properly

Should you go for the first option, refrain from using the highest heat setting.

Set it on low heat and minimal tumble, and then dry it out more under the sun.

Note: Remember that excessive heat can damage its inner fibers, which can sprout into further damage onto its surface.

How Often Should You Wash Your Mattress Covers?

Did you know that washing your mattress protectors more often than you should is also not good?

The way these pads work is that they wouldn’t be the first layer of defense against spillages, spoils, and ruin.

The rule of thumb in cleaning your mattress protectors should be at least once every 2 months.

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Washing it more times than that can soften its structure and make it weaker.

how often to wash

The buildup of dirt, dust, and sweat can trigger allergies and health issues. So, if you are prone to these, try washing your protectors at least once a month.

Using your mattress protectors straight from retail is not ideal especially if you bought them in-store.

So, ensure to wash your covers before using them to avoid rashes, allergies, bacteria, and even a foul smell!


Thinking of other questions relative to this topic? Here are some of the most asked questions about washing mattress protectors.

faqs about cover mattress

How Long Should Your Mattress Protectors Be in the Washer?

There’s no ideal timeframe for washing your mattress protectors. Have them inside the dryer until all the dirt and dust are removed.

In addition to that, take note of the smell and odor and make sure that they’re gone before rinsing them.

What Setting Should I Wash My Mattress Protector On?

Depending on the washing machine you have, you need to set it to the lowest setting possible.

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Some washers have a “gentle” or “delicate” setting, ensuring that your encasement is cleansed and washed properly without beating it up too much.

What Temperature Should You Set to Wash Your Mattress Protectors?

You can wash your mattress covers at regular temperatures ranging between 40 and 70 degrees Celsius.

Again, this will depend on the settings and modes of your washing machine.

Just take note of high temperatures as they can damage the inner workings and fibers of the protector.

Final Verdict 

Do you wash mattress protectors before use? If you don’t, let my experience teach you that you should.

Not washing it can result in a lot of different problems from bacterial infections, allergies, and foul odors.

So, make sure that you wash and clean them before assembling them into your furnishings to keep the safe, pleasant, and comfortable atmosphere you have inside your home.