If you want your mattress to give you your most comfortable sleep as long as possible, the most important thing you can do is also the easiest: add a cover. While few people would consider sleeping on a sheet-less mattress, adding pads and bed protectors under the sheets can make a major difference.
A mattress’ arch enemy is moisture, since they are incredibly difficult to dry if a major amount of moisture is absorbed, which then quickly becomes mold and mildew. This is why adding protective cover layers under the top sheets makes such a difference. Whether we are or aren’t aware of it, we perspire while we sleep. Our skin also produces oils along with the creams or lotions applied during the day. Over time, these things on your skin can rub off and permeate sheets and reach the mattress surface. Even if you have a specialty mattress, it’s still important to cover materials like foam or latex, and even sleep support materials like body bolster cylinder cushions, just to protect them from what’s on your body. The most basic cover for bed protection is a cotton mattress pad. Though the pad’s primary goal is to add a little extra softness to the mattress, it serves as an additional barrier between the sleeper and the mattress, and one that’s washable as well. These pads aren’t waterproof but their absorption ability is enough to slow body moisture from getting to the mattress and can provide a minor barrier should a glass of water or beverage spill onto the bed.
For the best protection, vinyl or plastic mattress covers provide a water resistant barrier for the bed. These covers can wrap-around the top with elastics or be complete encasements that zip up around the mattress. In addition to their moisture resistance, vinyl mattress encasements can assist in the prevention of dust mites or reduce the impact in a mattress where they already reside. They can also keep bed bugs from getting into a mattress’ seams. Simply put, mattress protection pads, much like a seat cushion cover, are an essential step to getting the longest life out of your bed.