How to Wash a Mattress Cover or Protector

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You probably use a mattress protector to protect your mattress from dirt and grime, but did you know you're supposed to wash the mattress cover every now and then? Not to be confused with a mattress topper, which goes on top of your bare mattress to provide additional comfort, mattress covers are thin, typically fitted sheets that go over your bare mattress.

In this article, we'll show you how you can wash mattress protectors through hand washing or machine washing. Follow our step-by-step guide to give your mattress covers a full, deep clean!

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What You’ll Need

You'll need a few household staples to get started. There are two ways you can wash mattress protectors, either using a washing machine, or washing by hand. However, the cleaning solutions you need for both are generally the same:

  • Laundry detergent or Bleach-free laundry detergent (for non-white covers)
  • Spot clean solution:
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Washing machine (machine wash)
  • Large basin (hand wash)
  • Dryer balls

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How to Wash a Mattress Protector: A Step-by-Step Guide

Machine Wash Guide

Step 1: Remove Mattress Protector from Mattress

First, separate the mattress protector from the mattress. You may want to place a new mattress cover, or choose to dry clean your mattress while you do so. Remove any clips if you use a flat sheet instead of a fitted one.

Step 2: Toss Mattress Protector into Washing Machine

Place the mattress protector into the washing machine with some gentle detergent. If your mattress cover is white, add some borax powder for a laundry boost. If your mattress cover is colored, add some baking soda instead. These will brighten up your covers, and deodorize as well. Borax also kills dust mites on contact.

Step 3: Let Machine Run on Delicate Cycle

Whether you have a cotton, nylon, or polyester mattress cover, it is best to wash it on a gentle cycle to prevent ripping or wearing the fabric down. Unless your mattress is heavily stained, the gentle pressure from the swirling water will most likely clean your mattress protector properly without damaging it.

Let the machine run, then drain the water after one cycle. Do a couple of rinse cycles until the water is clear, and there are no more suds that appear. Drain the water completely, and wring out any excess moisture.

Step 4: Toss Mattress Protector in Tumble Dryer

Toss the mattress protector in the dryer along with a couple of wool balls or tennis balls to keep the static away, and prevent shrinkage. Avoid using heat as this may also cause the fabric to shrink, and tumble dry until the excess moisture is removed. Hang up to air dry.

Hand Washing Instructions

Step 1: Fill a Basin with Water and Soap

Fill a basin with water and soap as you would when using a laundry machine. Avoid using too much detergent as this would make it difficult for you to rinse the mattress protector later on. As a general rule, add a teaspoon of mild detergent for every gallon of water.

Step 2: Place the Mattress Protector into the Basin

Remove the mattress protector from the mattress, and place into the basin. Let the fabric soak up the soapy water, and let it sit completely submerged in the water for 10 minutes. In the meantime, you can prepare the drying area for hanging the cover.

Step 3: Gently Squeeze Out the Dirt

Gently press down on the mattress protector to release the dirt, and do this a couple of times. Drain away the water, and add fresh, clean water to rinse the cover. Keep pressing down and refilling the water to rinse out the mattress cover until there are no more suds.

For stains, use a stain remover paste made with vinegar and baking soda. Apply directly onto the stained areas, and let dry. Remove the paste residue, and wash the fabric. Do this before you wash the mattress protector to prevent the stain from setting.

Step 4: Wring Out Excess Moisture and Dry

Wring out as much moisture as you can remove, and hang up the mattress protector in a warm place to dry. Ideally, choose an area that gets ample sunlight, and good air flow so that the mattress cover dries quickly.

Washing Waterproof Mattress Cover

There are certain types of mattress covers that are made to be waterproof. Waterproof mattress covers are made with a special fabric that prevents moisture from leaking into the mattress pad. These are usually placed on children's beds in case of nighttime accidents.

However, most waterproof covers can be washed the same way as removable mattress covers. They can be washed in cold or warm water, and can be machine washed or hand washed with some mild detergent.

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How to Care For Your Mattress Protector

Avoid scrubbing your mattress protector with intense pressure. Do not use harsh chemicals, pure bleach, or other abrasive cleaners as these will wear down the material of your mattress cover, causing weak spots in the future. These weak spots are where tears are most likely to occur.

The best care for your mattress protector is to wash with a gentle or delicate setting, and use gentle but effective cleaning solutions to remove stains. Mattress protectors often come with their own care label that shows you how to properly care for them, so it is always best to follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding this.

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How Often Should You Clean Your Mattress Protector?

When you replace your bedding at the end of each week, wash the mattress protector immediately with a diluted, gentle detergent. Doing so will prevent dust and stains from setting into the fibers. You can safely wash your mattress cover once a week for maintenance.

However, if you don't often use your bed, or you vacuum your beddings regularly, you can get away with washing your beddings every two weeks instead.

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