How Often Should You Wash Your Mattress Cover?

Washing and changing your sheets frequently is likely part of your cleaning routine. Some bedding items may not be so obvious. For example, a mattress cover may not get as much attention since it’s hidden under the sheets and serves as a protective layer for your mattress.

mattress cover


Why You Need A Mattress Cover

You’ve invested a good chunk of money in a mattress. But are you protecting your mattress with the right cover? A mattress cover serves as a thick, protective sheet that is fitted for the size of the mattress. These covers help extend the lifespan of a mattress by protecting it from dirt and stains, especially if you occasionally enjoy drinking your coffee or eating a leisurely breakfast in bed. “A mattress cover creates a barrier between your mattress and any spills, stains, or accidents that may occur,” says  Alicia Sokolowski, President and Co-CEO of AspenClean. “It also can help prevent the growth of mold, bacteria, and dust mites that can accumulate in your mattress over time.”

Mattress covers make cleaning easy since you can just pull them off and toss them in the wash, just like you do with sheets. “They are easily removable, so you can clean them as needed,” says Katie Dills, Senior Vice President, The Cleaning Authority. According to Sokolowski, “They can be machine-washed or dry-cleaned, making it simple to keep your mattress clean and fresh.”

If you don’t have one, you’ll definitely want to reconsider since a protective cover will help your mattress stay cleaner and last longer. “Mattress covers also help extend your mattress’ lifespan and quality,” says Dills.  

If you suffer from certain allergens like dust mites, using a mattress cover can help reduce these critters, too. “Mattress covers can help reduce the number of dust mites in your bed, which can help reduce allergy symptoms,” Sokolowski. “A must-have if you are even more subject to getting allergies.”

What’s The Best Way To Wash Mattress Covers?

Best Way To Wash

Most mattress covers can be washed in the washing machine using different cycles while some may be better suited for the dry cleaners. Before you wash your mattress cover, make sure you check the care label instructions so you know what temperature and cycle to use, whether you can place it in the washing machine as well as how to dry the cover. “Some may advise you on cleaning methods, such as hand washing versus machine washing,” explains Dills. 

The good news is the majority of covers can be placed in the washing machine. “Most mattress covers can be machine-washed in cold or warm water using a natural detergent,” says  Sokolowski. “A gentle natural detergent will prevent skin irritation and reduce the risk of allergic reactions.”  Wash the mattress cover on its own to ensure it is properly cleaned. “It's also recommended to wash the cover on its own or with similar fabrics to avoid damage or pilling.”

But if you have a mattress cover that states dry-clean only, you’ll want to adhere to the care instructions. “Some mattress covers may require dry cleaning, especially if they contain delicate fabrics or fillings that could be damaged by washing,” says Sokolowski. “Take the cover to a professional dry cleaner specializing in bedding.”

Best Way To Dry

When it comes to drying, you’ll also want to check the care instructions. Both experts recommend air-drying to minimize the possibility of the mattress cover shrinking from the heat of the dryer. “After washing or spot cleaning, it's important to air-dry the mattress cover rather than using a dryer,” says Sokolowski. “This can help to prevent shrinkage or damage to the cover's fibers.”

Choose a well-ventilated area or place outdoors to hang dry your mattress cover. “Lay your cover out in your laundry room or bathroom to air dry,” says Dills. “You want to make sure the cover is completely dry before placing it back on your mattress, as a damp cover could result in mildew growth.”  

How Often Should You Wash The Mattress Cover?

The frequency that you wash your mattress cover will vary based on how often you change your sheets and if there have been spills. “Over time, sweat, skin cells, and other bodily fluids can accumulate on a mattress cover, creating an environment hospitable to bacteria, dust mites, and other allergens,” says Dills. “I recommend cleaning your mattress cover once every one to two months,” she says.

If you have pets or spills occur, plan to wash the cover more often. “You might need to wash it more often if spillages occur or if you allow pets on your bed,” says Sokolowski.

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