Luxury in bed: What’s the most comfortable mattress pad for you?
What’s missing from your bed?
Deciding that is the key to choosing the most comfortable mattress pad or protector. Do you need more support for your back? Peace-of-mind-protection from allergens and dust mites? Or just general comfort on an older mattress that you don’t want to toss just yet?
Depending on your needs, you might be in the market for a mattress topper, pad or protector – which are all different things! A topper is the most expensive of the three because it’s usually thicker, and made of more expensive materials. Both toppers and pads, however, deliver comfort, support, and relief from morning backaches.
Then there are mattress protectors, which usually offer little in the way of comfort because their role is to protect the mattress from liquids, and keep dirt, dust, and allergens away from your sleep space. Most protectors are flame resistant, hypoallergenic, anti-microbial and allergen resistant, and will preserve the life and freshness of a mattress.
It’s all about the materials
Toppers and pads range from ½-inch to four inches thick, with materials including memory foam, latex, quilted down, wool or cotton. Choosing the most comfortable mattress pad for you starts with your budget, and your preference for natural versus synthetic materials.
Cotton is naturally hypoallergenic, and wool is also suitable for allergy sufferers and has anti-allergen properties and is mold resistant.
Down alternatives, like the Mattress Topper Down Alternative, are excellent choices if you want to stay away from natural down. Many people swear that memory foam toppers, like the Geo-Tech® Memory Foam Mattress Topper, are the most comfortable mattress pads available.
As an alternative, there’s the “egg crate” style, which gives comfort for a lower cost than memory foam. Originally these looked like egg cartons, but nowadays you’ll find them in other shapes, all sculptured into the foam to help you choose a more precise feel for any or all five zones of the body. Each of these five zones can be harder or softer, depending on how the foam is cut and sculptured. This 5 Zone Foam Topper is a technologically-advanced version of the classic egg crate.
You can also choose a fitted pad or an anchor pad. Fitted pads are like fitted sheets that are secured around the entire mattress with elastic. Anchor pads, like the Easy Fit Mattress Pad, consist of a top with elastic bands on the corners to keep the pad or topper in place. They’ll fit a variety of mattress depths and types, including waterbed mattresses, and are cheaper than fitted ones.
OK, about the kids …
With children, hygiene and liquid resistance can top any other concerns, which means you’re in the market for a mattress protector. (If you’re worried about your child’s comfort and support for growing bodies, you can put both a protector and a pad on the bed.) Many parents choose latex-backed cotton mattress protectors because kids spill things, or wet the bed.
Wet or damp mattresses provide a perfect environment for bacteria, mold, mildew, and fungi, which can lead to a toxic sleep environment – not to mention the fact that wetness can ruin a mattress.
Currently, the only way to get complete waterproof protection for a mattress is with a plastic lining or membrane in a cover or protector pad. But Jane Sheppard, a parenting coach and editor of The Healthy Child Newsletter, has done extensive research on environmental toxins and their effects on babies and children, and she advises against most plastics as toxic to children.
Vinyl/PVC, (polyvinyl chloride) is a known human carcinogen, and the plasticizers used to soften the hard PVC plastic are phthalates, also know to be hazardous. They’re also weakly bound to the vinyl and leach or off-gas into the surrounding air where kids can breathe them in.
Caution: Several types of phthalates are banned in the U.S., but manufacturers are always coming up with new variants, some only slightly different, that are legal and not tested for safety. Until these are properly tested, Sheppard advises parents to avoid “non-toxic” and “phthalate-free” vinyl or PVC.
Other materials you’ll see in mattress pads are PEVA (polyethylene vinyl acetate) or EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate). Some manufacturers claim these are less toxic than PVC, but they may still contain chemicals you don’t want near your child’s body. Instead, look for polyurethane or polyester (a type of polyurethane) mattress pads as long as they’re formulated without added chemicals or solvents.
The Allerease Maximum Allergy & Bedbug Mattress Protector, for example, is not only made of polyester, but it’s also a zippered mattress enclosure to protect against bedbugs.
On the other hand, if you don’t want to risk having any synthetic materials in your child’s bed, consider an organic wool mattress pad (which will also provide greater comfort and support) together with an organic cotton mattress protector. The wool isn’t entirely waterproof, but the two together are a great team. Also, when you buy organic materials, you know there are no added chemicals.
Taking care of your mattress topper, pad or protector
If the most comfortable mattress pad for you is foam, including egg crates, be sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions before cleaning, because these are more delicate than pads made from natural materials. In general, they’ll tear in the washing machine and melt in the dryer.
Most manufacturers recommend spot cleaning. Vacuum both sides, then clean stains with an enzyme-based solution such as Oxi-Clean, or one made from equal parts water, distilled white vinegar, and lemon juice. Rinse with a clean sponge, blot with a clean towel and air dry.
For anything backed with vinyl as a liquid repellant, again, follow the instructions. As a rule, these protectors can be machine washed on a gentle cycle with mild detergent. Skip the bleach, because it can damage the vinyl. High heat in the dryer is also a no-no.
For natural materials, you have some options. Clean cotton pads every two or three months, and you can usually machine wash in warm or cool water with a mild detergent, and dry on low heat, with a tennis ball or two thrown in to keep pads fluffy.
The instructions for cleaning down are usually similar to those for cotton – but check seams carefully first, so you don’t wind up with a washing machine full of feathers!
Every time you wash your bedding, fluff, turn, and flip wool and down toppers. Air out your wool every three months or so on a sunny day, about an hour and a half on each side. You can vacuum your wool topper, but never machine-wash or dry-clean it.
Whatever your personal preferences, there’s comfort and protection available from a huge variety of mattress toppers, pads, and protectors. There are plenty of styles available at curtainandbathoutlet.com with low prices and excellent customer service, so don’t wait, shop today and rest easy tonight!
Don’t forget about the rest of your good night’s sleep when you add a mattress pad or protector.
We love sinking into the Allerease 2-Pack Pillow at the end of a long day.
The Ashton Chenille Sage Bedspread can turn any room into a serene getaway.
And, of course, the most comfortable mattress pads deserve the most comfortable sheets. Try the Holloway 400 Thread Count 100% Organic Flax 6 Piece Sheet Set to turn any night of slumber into a dreamy experience.