Mattress Toppers Explained


A mattress topper is a layer or pad that lies on top of your mattress to provide extra support and comfort.

Why Use a Mattress Topper

There a number of reasons why you might use a mattress topper: 

  • A mattress topper can be used to prolong the life of a mattress that has passed its peak. Mattresses, or at least good quality ones, can be expensive, so prolonging their life can be a smart move.
  • A mattress topper can be very effective at protecting the mattress itself from the daily hazards in the life of a mattress, spillages and so on.
  • A mattress topper can be used to radically change the comfort of your bed. If your bed is either too hard, or too soft the right mattress topper could be the solution.
  • To follow on from the previous point, a mattress topper can help to alleviate various pains or ailments such as hip or back pain which can be exaggerated by a bed that’s ether too soft or too hard.

How to Clean a Mattress Topper

How you clean a mattress topper will depend primarily on what it’s made from. Many mattress toppers are made of foam or memory foam, similar to an actual mattress. Whilst mattress toppers may physically fit in a washing machine, that’s not generally recommended. But cleaning your mattress topper at least once a year though is a good idea, as dust mites, dead skin cells and other nasties accumulate over time.

At a minimum a vacuum with a strong handheld vacuum cleaner will go a long way to improving the cleanliness of your mattress topper. Carpet cleaners, no longer the preserve of professional cleaning companies, can also be used to effectively clean your mattress topper. Given that a carpet cleaner is going to apply some water to the mattress topper, unless it’s a bed you only use occasionally, you will probably want to get to work on it first thing in the morning to allow time for it to dry over the course of the day. Don’t under-estimate how long it might take to dry as you may be disappointed. If the mattress topper is not thoroughly dried, it may lead to mould or mildew, which you will certainly want to avoid. 

For any persistent stains there are a number of options to choose from. We would suggest perhaps trying an upholstery or carpet cleaner such as Vanish. Vanish is effective at removing stains as well as odours. Alternatively you could try a home-made solution containing baking soda and water (approx. 4 tablespoons of baking soda mixed with a litre of water). Prepare the solution, apply it to the affected area and leave it for half an hour before removing it with a wet cloth. Again be sure to let it dry thoroughly before use.   

What Are Mattress Toppers Made Of

Mattress toppers are made from a variety of different materials. Most common materials through are latex, foam or memory foam, feathers or wool.

Latex mattress toppers can be great for people looking for a lot of support. Some people can find them too firm, they can have an off-putting rubbery smell at first and some people also find latex mattresses or mattress toppers can make them too hot during the night.

Memory foam is a very popular choice and memory foam mattress toppers can be found in a range of different densities depending on your needs or preference in terms of comfort and support.

Feather mattress toppers can feel luxurious but in reality they provide little real support. They are more cost effective than their memory foam or latex counterparts. Obviously one to avoid also if you have an allergic reaction to feather.

What Do Mattress Toppers Feel Like

There’s no one answer to this question. There is a wide selection of different mattress toppers available, all designed to accommodate differing tastes and preferences. Suffice it to say, if you’re buying a matter topper it should be enhancing the comfort of your mattress, if not you should probably be looking for your money back.

As mentioned above, memory foam is a versatile option, with different levels of firmness on offer. Latex can be quite firm, which isn’t to everyone’s taste. Feathers can become compressed over time so feather mattress toppers need to be regularly plumped to maintain their effectiveness. That said they are probably one of the least effective options on the market.