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What is the Difference between a Mattress Cover and a Mattress Pad? What are the Advantages of a Zippered Mattress Cover?

mattress-coverMattress Cover vs. Mattress Pad

The terms “mattress cover” and “mattress pad” are often used interchangeably, but the two items are actually quite different from one another. While a mattress cover’s main purpose is to merely protect a mattress, a mattress pad can do this while also providing extra padding and comfort for someone trying to catch some Z’s. So, do you need a mattress pad or a mattress cover? Well, that depends on the type of protection that you are looking for.

Mattress Covers

Let’s begin with the mattress cover. Many people swear by mattress covers (as do mattress manufacturers); since these items effectively protect mattresses from spills, sweat stains, and some wear and tear. When you want to increase the life of your mattress, a mattress cover is an excellent idea.

Vinyl mattress cover with zipper

Vinyl mattress cover with zipper

Mattress covers come in a variety of styles, sizes, and materials so that you can choose the right cover for your bed. If incontinence is an issue, then a vinyl & plastic mattress cover is a wise choice, since these covers are waterproof. Vinyl covers are ideal for children and for those of our loved ones who unfortunately need extra nighttime protection.

If extra protection is not needed, then you may want to select a natural cotton cover like our Zippered Mattress Cover (unbleached cotton). Cotton covers are comfortable and durable, yet cotton also breathes well, so you won’t have to worry about overheating.

In either case, a mattress cover that comes with reinforced corner zippers will make adding and removing any cover a lot easier. A zippered cover also ensures that every inch of your mattress is covered, which may be hard to achieve with a cover that only has an elastic band.

unbleached cotton natural zippered mattress cover

Unbleached 100% Cotton Mattress Cover With Zipper

Mattress Pads

Mattress Pads are slightly different than mattress covers since pads provide, well, padding! In addition to protecting your mattress from those spills and stains, a mattress pad will also make any bed more comfortable. Mattress pads also help keep slippery sheets in place, since they provide extra grip.

There are all kinds of mattress pads on the market, and these items come in a number of different materials, shapes, and sizes. Mattress pads that are made from natural materials are best, since these pads won’t trap heat as much as synthetic pads will – these are part of your bedding sheets essentials.

The addition of a mattress pad or a mattress cover to a bed used to be reserved for those who could afford an extra bit of luxury. Today, this is no longer the case. Modern mattress pads and mattress covers are not only affordable, they are also seen as a necessity for those who want to prolong the life of a mattress. Because of this, I actually view my mattress pad as a money *saving* purchase.

Now that the difference between a mattress cover and a mattress pad is clear, you can decide which item is best for your bed. In any case, if you want to protect your mattress from everyday wear and tear, purchasing either a mattress pad or a mattress cover is a wise idea. While most new mattresses can withstand a lot of abuse, any mattress will last longer with the addition of a mattress pad or mattress cover.

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2 Responses to “What is the Difference between a Mattress Cover and a Mattress Pad? What are the Advantages of a Zippered Mattress Cover?”

  1. Josh says:

    I just finished reading the article on mattress pads and covers and it was very informative. Very well written! My question has to do with using both a mattress pad and a protector. I have been getting very hot when sleeping at night and I have been trying to figure out how to solve it since I know it is something to do with the bed. I am currently using an Iso Cool waterproof mattress protector on my new pillow top mattress. This seems to help the heat a little. However, I’m still too warm. Would it be appropriate to place a cotton mattress pad over the protector? Or would this be too many layers? I appreciate any feedback that you can provide. Thanks!! – Josh

  2. Charon says:


    If there is anything on your bed that contains plastic, it’s going to make you sweat. It’s so hard to find all cotton, but this is the only breathable fabric. My husband’s a super hot guy who sweats a lot, especially at night. And, any man-made fabric that I try to sleep on makes me sweat. 100% cotton allows us to sleep all night long. It, as well as linen & silk are the only fabrics we use, well and wool for my husband’s suits. Try it, you’ll like it. It’s worth the work of finding 100% cotton mattress covers and/or pads (yes, even, or especially with non-micro fiber stuffing), as well as sheets. Guarantee it’s going to help.


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