Frequently Asked Questions About Mattress Pads

I carried out some research and came up with answers to frequently asked questions about mattress pads.

How mattress pads look like
CC mattress pad image courtesy of The Sleep Judge on Flickr

This was after I spent some nights at my sister’s house. 

The mattress I was sleeping on had a pad and so it felt different during that time.

It was quite comfortable, and it didn’t leave me sore in the morning.

Now, mattress pads may not be as important as mattresses, but they do add comfort and even protect the mattresses against spills.

And they also perform other functions too.

So, without further ado let’s get to the questions….

1. What is a mattress pad?

A mattress pad is a layer of material with covering that is placed on top of a mattress before the bedding. The pad, which fits the size of the mattress, provides you with comfort and support.

2. What are mattress pads made of?

Most mattress pads are made of foam or polyester fiber. And the covers, which may include some quilting, feature fabrics such as cotton and bamboo-derived materials.

In some cases, you can find a mattress pad that also comes with cables for a heating system.

3. Where can you buy mattress pads?

You can buy a mattress pad from any store that deals with sleep products. E-commerce stores and brick and mortar stores that feature sleep-related products stock mattress pads. 

But the price may vary from one store to the next.

You can get a mattress pad for over $30 depending on the size, brand, and materials used. But the truth is mattress pads tend to be highly priced because of their construction.


4. How does a mattress pad work?

The mattress pad comes in the size of a mattress and features a quilted section that covers the face of the mattress.

It may also include a skirt that fits the height of the mattress.

Nowadays, most pads come with these attached stretchable skirts or elastic bands that hold the pads in place.

Some skirts stretch to over 16 inches, which means they can fit the thickness of most mattresses. After fitting, the ends of the skirts or bands are tucked in to secure the pads.

A sheet is then covered on top of the pad, and the bed gets ready for use.

The best pads work well with a variety of mattresses including innerspring, foam, and latex. And because they don’t affect beds, you can use them anywhere even on your foundation or Murphy bed.

5. What is the difference between a mattress pad and a topper?

Some manufacturers use both names for the same thing. But in most cases, a mattress pad features softer materials and includes a cover.

mattress topper works like mattress pads
CC mattress topper image courtesy of JoelInSouthernCA on Flickr

On the other hand, a  mattress topper is usually made of foam or latex and is a little thicker than the pad.

The mattress topper may not feature a cover, and its main function is to providey ou with extra support.

You can get both of them for your mattress if you have the funds. In case you do that the topper will have to sit before the pad.

6. Is a mattress pad, and protector the same thing?

They aren’t exactly the same thing.

In most cases, a mattress protector doesn’t add comfort it protects the mattress against bugs, allergens, and spills.

A good mattress pad, on the other hand, can also act as a mattress protector if it has some waterproof properties. For this reason you may not need a protector if you have this type of pad.

And you ca neven fit another one under your mattress if you have funds to spare. The extra pad will protect your mattress from wear and tear brought about by the metal bars of your bed frame.

7. Are mattress pads machine-washable?

Yes, there are some machine washable pads, which require gentle cycles and low heat when tumble-drying.

The good thing is most manufacturers include care instructions on these products. So it’s easy to find out if your preferred pad is washable.

8. What are the three main things to consider when buying a mattress pad?

The three main things to consider are:

  1. The pad should be easy to clean. You can find this information from customer reviews or the manufacturer’s website.
  2. It should feature quality material that will provide you with that luxurious comfort
  3. The material used should be durable

9. Are mattress pads good for your back?

Mattress pads alone aren’t good for your back. They work well when placed on good mattresses and toppers that aren’t worn out.

Pads may help you sleep comfortably, but I suggest you seek medical advice first for our back before you buy one.

Depending on the problem you may have to change the mattress or get different pillows.

The doctor may also advise you to get a topper, which tends to provide more support than a pad.

10. Is a mattress pad necessary?

No, a mattress pad isn’t necessary if your mattress and bed frame are comfortable.  

11. Is a mattress pad recyclable?      

Yes, but probably not by state recycling agencies because most of them don’t accept pads.

You may have to do some  DIY recycling projects for your old mattress pad. You can cut it into pieces and use for cleaning a garage. Or take the pieces to a humane society near you.

The pieces help in the care of the animals.

12. How does a heated mattress pad work? Is it safe?

The heated mattress pad usually comes with separate cables, controls, and plug. The cables connect the controls and plug to the power source. And the number of controls varies depending on the size of the pad.

A heated mattress pad is an example of mattress pads
CC heated mattress pad courtesy of Daniel Max on Flickr

For example, two controls may come with a queen size pad and one for a smaller size.

The pad includes hidden wires that meet at the foot of the bed in most cases where there is a power outlet. This power outlet attaches to a fitting configuration, which is usually on the cable.

When in use the plug is then fit in the power socket and turned on using the controls that have buttons for switching on and off. And also settings that control the degree of heat you desire.

Is it safe?

Well, heated mattress pads are still in use, so, yes, you can find a safe one that uses low voltage. It would be wise to get a pad with a non-hazardous certification.

And a limited warranty that allows you to contact the manufacturer in case of defects.

13. What of cooling pads? What are they made of?

Some cooling pads/ toppers feature microfiber and foam compositions together with breathable bamboo-derived covers. These materials tend to keep the pad cool even when the surrounding is warm.


14. Would you get a mattress pad for your child’s mattress?

Yes, I would get a waterproof mattress pad for my kid’s mattress when necessary.

The pad should feature quality materials that are easy to maintain. It should be a noiseless pad that stays in place. And I wouldn’t mind if it had a warranty too.


Mattress pads have other functions besides keeping mattresses comfortable. You can use them to transform and protect your mattress and to make your bed look presentable too.

Now, a mattress pad may be an accessory, but it can be a necessary item especially when you don’t have enough funds.

So, would you consider getting one for comfort?

CC featured image courtesy of The Sleep Judge on Flickr

Author: Brenda

Brenda Nadi is a proud mama, entrepreneur, and sleep blogger. She creates guides, tips, and reviews of sleep products that make comfortable environments for new buyers.

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