Can Mattress Covers Make You Sweat?

If you recently purchased a new bed, the salesperson probably recommended a mattress cover to go with it. But you may have heard that a mattress protector can make you sweat. Is this true? We've investigated the issue and have some revealing answers for you!

It is confirmed that vinyl protectors, in particular, restrict airflow and can make you swelter. However, a waterproof membrane made from polyurethane will be far more breathable than vinyl. Fabric covers composed of cotton, bamboo, or Tencel often have a cooling effect!

So, what should you look for in a mattress cover? Are they really necessary? Will you still need a fitted sheet, as well? Continue reading to learn all about finding your perfect bed protector!

Female hand pulling mattress cover white sheets, Can Mattress Covers Make You Sweat?

What are the coolest materials for bed protectors?

Most of us want to protect our mattresses but aren't too excited about sleeping in our own sweat. Thankfully, we don't have to choose! There are several refreshing options when it comes to protective bedding on the cooler side. Let's dive into the specifics!

Vinyl vs polyurethane membranes

Female hand pulling white sheets

Every competent mattress cover contains some sort of waterproof membrane. This is the layer that repels moisture away from soaking into the bed. Two of the most popular materials used to accomplish that are vinyl and polyurethane.

While vinyl is a practical textile at fending off bugs and liquids, it is also the hottest sleeping. Because the material is so thick, body heat becomes trapped as you sleep. It's also quite noisy at night because it crinkles. For your comfort, we recommend avoiding steamy vinyl protectors for beds in regular use.

Polyurethane, on the other hand, is a powerhouse material for bed protectors. It is not only much more breathable than vinyl but is also twice as efficient as a barrier! Although it prevents stains, bugs, and liquids from penetrating, polyurethane promotes airflow via microscopic holes. And you won't hear it during the night because it's so flexible.

Now that we've covered the composition of the waterproof layer let's talk about the types of outer fabrics!


Being a natural product, bamboo is a wonderful hypo-allergenic option when it comes to bed protectors. It's formulated from the pulp of bamboo trees and is great for sensitive skin. Bamboo covers have exceptional air exchange and moisture-wicking properties, making for a refreshingly cool sleep. Plus, they discourage the growth of bacteria that cause odors in your bed. This may be the most durable mattress covers you can buy.

Click here to see a Cooling Bamboo Mattress Protector on Amazon.


As we know from clothing, towels, and bedsheets, cotton is one of the most absorbent fabrics available. Since it soaks in all that moisture and releases the heat, your body temperature remains more stable. You don't have to worry as much about waking up in a puddle of sweat. Protectors with outer layers of cotton tend to be cool, comfy, and affordable.

Click here to see a 100% Cotton Mattress Protector on Amazon.


Tencel lyocell is an up-and-coming fabric derived from plant products- specifically eucalyptus, oak, and birch. This material adores water, and it's even more absorbent than cotton and bamboo. That means you'll remain chilled and dry for twice as long! It's also hypoallergenic and wonderful for those with sensitive skin issues. Tencel stays cool and silky against the body, making for a comfortable night's sleep.

Click here to see Perlux Tencel Mattress Protector on Amazon.

What should I look for when buying a mattress cover?

bedclothes on sale

The first thing you should decide on when looking for a mattress cover is the material. We've already established that bamboo, cotton, Tencel, and polyurethane make for some of the coolest and most effective protectors. But let's take a look at a few other important factors you should consider.


Unfortunately, we can't pretend that money doesn't matter. With so many demands on our wallets these days, it's an important consideration in any purchase. Typically, the more advanced and functional a product is, the higher the price tends to go. You can often get a basic protector for $50 or less. However, more specialized/technologically superior covers are known to increase as high as $150. You'll have to decide on a personal level how much to invest in your bedding.

Care and cleaning

Washing machine door with rotating garments inside

As we've discovered, not all mattress covers are created in the same manner. This is especially true when it comes to the kind of care and cleaning required.

If you expect that you'll need to wash them frequently, look for products that are machine-washable and able to be run through the dryer. This will save you tons of time and effort. Conversely, many full-zip barriers are designed to require washing less frequently. So, they're great for situations where the protector isn't exposed to as much moisture- or general use.

Being exposed to high heat will ruin the membrane of certain types of covers, so thoroughly check what you're buying. The product description or back of the package should point this out. Always follow the guidelines for the specific product you choose.

Design type

There are different design styles in terms of how the protector is attached to your mattress. Consider which is easiest and most effective for your situation.

  • Fitted protectors have pocketed corners that tuck under your mattress, similar to a normal fitted sheet.
  • Encasement protectors cover 100% of the bed. They normally have a zipper and are the best at repelling bugs. However, they tend to be on the hotter side because of a lack of air exchange.
  • Strapped mattress covers are anchored to each corner of the bed with an elastic strap.

Is a mattress cover necessary?

Bed protectors are not a requirement; however, they are highly advantageous and recommended. Mattresses are often an expensive- and vital- investment. You'll want to do everything you can to prolong its lifetime and warranty. Let's name off the protections offered by a quality barrier.

Fights bed bugs

Bed bug fear or bedbug worry concept as a cast shadow of a a parasitic insect pest resting on a pillow and sheets as a symbol and metaphor

Bed bugs are tiny, parasitic insects that love to feed on our warm bodies at night. They make a home inside unprotected mattresses and are terrible roommates that you never want to have moved in!

Lowers dust mite and allergen exposure

For those of us with allergies, a good protector is vital for quality sleep. It's excruciating trying to rest while sneezing uncontrollably and dealing with itchy, watery eyes. Dust mites are a huge allergy trigger, and an extra barrier can help control exposure to them.

Repels liquid and stains

From pets and kids piling up with you to spilled drinks and regular bodily fluids, waterproof covers keep liquids out of your mattress itself. The more moisture that a bed absorbs, the less likely it is to last a long time. Plus, stains are ugly and even embarrassing. So, it's good to have extra protection.

Do you still need a fitted sheet if you have a mattress cover?

3 bedding sheet set

Even if you have a bed protector, you'll still want a regular fitted sheet on top of it. For one thing, it will add extra comfort to your skin. The more sweat, dirt, and dander the barrier is exposed to, the more often it needs to be washed. Increased washings will drastically shorten their longevity, so it's still good to add a normal sheet into the mix.

Do you cover a mattress topper?

Woman puts a cover on the mattress to protect it from water and house dust mites

If you have added a topper to your bed, think of it as an extension of the actual mattress. Your body is in direct contact with it; therefore, it needs to be covered. This will help protect it from day-to-day hazards so you can use it for longer. Not to mention, toppers would be uncomfortable without some type of covering, as many of them are memory foam.

To Summarize

So, can mattress protectors make you sweat? Yes, especially vinyl ones. But if you go with polyurethane and bamboo, cotton, or Tencel, you can protect your investment without the negative side effects. Most of these offer extra cooling and moisture-wicking properties. And of course, there's also something to be said for assurance bringing a good night's sleep!

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