A waterproof mattress protector usually consists of two layers, an upper surface that is there to provide comfort and absorbency and a lower layer that makes it waterproof. Both of these layers are important when choosing the best waterproof mattress protector.
Let’s look at the upper surface first. You are looking for comfort and absorbency, now you might not think that these matter for an item that is going to be hidden beneath your bedding, but choosing the wrong one can be a mistake. The reason that you need a waterproof mattress protector is that we produce moisture as we sleep. This is in the form of perspiration, saliva and other bodily fluids. The upper surface needs to be able to absorb this and just as importantly wick it away from you as you sleep. This is where the moisture soaks out across the surface creating a greater surface area which in turns allows it to evaporate more quickly. This means that you are less likely to feel clammy and sweaty as you sleep.
Most waterproof mattress protectors use a terry towelling upper surface, this is because the tiny loops of fabric vastly increase the surface area meaning that it can hold more moisture than a flat woven surface, but it is important to look at what this terry towelling is actually made from. For example Polyester is a man-made textile manufactured from oil. As you can imagine polyester has almost no ability to absorb moisture so it usually needs to be blended with cotton to give it some absorbency. So the higher the polyester content the less absorbent it will be. No polyester at all is better. 100% cotton terry towelling is vastly preferable, but of course a higher polyester content makes the protector cheaper but less effective. There is another natural fibre that is many times more absorbent than cotton, this is Tencel, in fact Tencel is so absorbent that it doesn’t have to be a terry towelling it can be a flat weave and still be more absorbent than a cotton terry.
So in conclusion a waterproof mattress protector should have either a 100% cotton terry upper or one made from Tencel.
Now let’s look at the waterproof underside. The qualities that you are looking for here are breathability and comfort. Breathability sounds strange when it is waterproof, but it’s just the same as our own skin. If it isn’t breathable then it will make you hot and sweaty. So try to avoid a mattress protector with a PVC underside. PVC isn’t breathable. You need to choose a waterproof mattress protector that has a polyurethane underside. Polyurethane is breathable.
You then need one that has a very thin membrane, too thick and you will feel it and possibly even hear it. Some manufacturers apply the waterproof layer as a wet paste which is spread onto the underside and left to dry. The trouble with this method is that the layer is uneven, thicker in some parts and thinner in others. This leads to lumps that you can feel or thin spots that wear out. Here at Snugnights we produce the waterproof layer as a separate microfine film that is the same thickness all over. We then bond this to the underside. This is the only way to ensure the comfort and performance of a waterproof mattress protector.